Specialist Dutch publisher Uitgeverij Boumaar is publishing “Folio Plus” editions of the Eagle strip “Riders of the Range“, first published in Holland in the anthology title Arend.
“Riders of the Range” began as a BBC radio serial, launched in 1949, written and produced by Charles Chilton, combining music and drama to tell stories about the cowboys of the 6T6 outfit from Pecos, Texas; aiming to present an authentic picture of America’s wild west. The stories were set against a background of real events.
Sadly, all the episodes, running over six series, were performed live and not recorded, although the scripts survive. The series hero was Texas Ranger Jeff Arnold, played by the Canadian singer and actor Paul Carpenter, chosen for the role, apparently, because he sounded like John Wayne.
In 1950, Chilton was approached by Eagle editor Marcus Morris to write a “Riders of the Range” strip for the then new boys comic. Morris even paid for Chilton to make his first visit to the American West.
Eagle has already published one cowboy strip, “Seth and Shorty“, but “Riders of the Range” launched in the weekly comic’s first Christmas edition (volume 1, No. 37, cover dated 22nd December 1950), was much more successful, outlasting the radio series and, as Win Wiacek notes, becoming the longest running western strip in British comics history.
Initially drawn by Jack Daniel, then, briefly, Angus Scott, its most fondly remembered stories are those drawn by Frank Humphris. Some of the strips were collected by Hawk Books in 1990 and the Eagle Society regularly documents the strip in Eagle Times.
Like a number of Eagle strips, “Riders of the Range” was published in Europe, appearing in Arend in Holland as “Jeff Arnold, Ruiters van het Wilde Westen“, published between 1955 and 1962, almost without interruption.
Uitgeverij Boumaar , who are publishing Riders of the Range over three volumes, is a small publishing house based in Kerkrade, which has been specialising in Dutch-language editions of classic Dutch comics for almost 30 years, such as Piloot Storm, Kick Wilstra, Smidje Verholen, Bob Evers and many other well-known and less well-known newspaper comics.
The publisher already publish Robot Archie collections (titled “De Man van Staal”), are publishing collections of the strip over three volumes, edited by Ron Streppel with covers credited to Paul Kerres, as part of their “Folio Plus” range.
• Details for “Jeff Arnold, Ruiters van het Wilde Westen“, from Uitgeverij Boumaar
With thanks to Richard Sheaf and Steve Winders