DC Thomson Media is clearly ramping up its “Heritage Brands” output, teasing an impending announcement for “The Victor Files” – a reference to one of the Dundee-based company’s most popular weekly boys adventure comic titles, published between 1961 and 1992.
Launched in January 1961 and running for an impressive 1657 issues until it ceased publication in November 1992, The Victor was very much an adventure title, but alongside its war comic strips (and, initially, come text stories) it’s probably best known as the home of “Alf Tupper – The Tough of the Track” from 1968 onwards, the hugely-popular story of a working class athlete famed for his fish and chip suppers first published in the 1950s in The Rover, as well as his running prowess.
During its lifetime, The Victor incorporated six other titles: Wizard, Hotspur, Scoop, Buddy, Champ and Warlord, finally succumbing to declining sales with the issue cover dated 21st November 1992, as the market changed around it in favour of licensed titles, despite a major revamp in October 1991.
Alongside the weekly comic, DC Thomson also published its annual The Victor Book for Boys, first published in 1964, the in 1994. A hardback book, The Best of The Victor, was also published in 2010 ready to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the weekly comic, followed by the annual in 2011 and Alf Tupper in 2012.
News of “The Victor Files” has appeared on Commando Comics social media streams, and the title relaunched “Codename Warlord” this week, in the first of two new stories starring secret agent Lord Peter Flint from Warlord comic.
It seem more likely that the Heritage Brands team may be looking at reinvigorating strips such as “I Flew With Braddock” (later known as “Braddock of the Bombers”) starring bomber pilot Matt Braddock, and a teaser image, featuring art suspiciously akin to Keith Burns work on Out of the Blue and Johnny Red. Both of those projects were written by Garth Ennis, who mentions writing “two 10-page shorts that’ll see me back in British comics after a bit of an absence” in our recent interview.
Or could the new project feature the Flashman-inspired “Cadman – The Fighting Coward“, the story of a cowardly British officer who, through the efforts of his batman, always came out smelling of roses?
The latter was a huge hit with readers of Victor, with art largely by Mike Dorey, who has been attending a number of comics events recently after a long absence from the industry.
Given that the character’s later adventures saw him recruited by the British Secret Service to work in Germany prior to the start of World War Two, might the Commando Comics team be thinking of a possible crossover with Lord Peter Flint further down the line?
Of course, there are other great strips in The Victor that deserve renewed attention, such as “Morgyn the Mighty – Master of Black Island” a character that actually debuted in 1928, drawn by Dudley D. Watkins, whose adventures continued until 1968; medieval warrior Chell Puddock, “The Hammer Man“, often drawn by Ted Rawlings; and who wouldn’t want to see some reprints of the marvellously inept bandit, “Figaro!“, drawn by Tom Bannister, who also appeared in The Topper, drawn by artists that included Keith Reynolds and Barry Appleby?
Not forgetting other strips such as “Gorgeous Gus”, “Joe Bones the Human Fly”, “Killer Kennedy’s Rag Tag Navy”, “Send for Saxon”… trust us, there’s plenty to choose from!
DC Thomson tell us we don’t have long to wait – all will be revealed on Monday…
COMMANDO COMICS LINKS
• Official Commando Comics Site:www.commandocomics.com
• Don’t forget The Art of Ian Kennedy is available to order here on Amazon (Using this Affiliate Link helps support downthetubes, thank you)
• The Victor-Hornet web site offers a terrific introduction to The Victor, The Hornet and The Hotspur comics, celebrating three great British Boys comics packed with adventure, war, humorous and sports stories
• The Ultimate Victor Comic Web Site is a fantastic resource for fans of the comic
• Buy Commando Comics on AmazonUK (Affiliate Link)
With thanks to Jeremy Briggs and Colin Noble