Super Naturals Adventure Book

British Comics Past: Super Naturals

Super Naturals Logo

Super Naturals must surely rank as one of the shortest-lived British comics of all time, with just nine regular issues to its name.

In common with the M.A.S.K. and Ring Raiders comics, Super Naturals was based on a series of toys, released in 1986 by Tonka, a company now owned by Transformers makers Hasbro. The Super Naturals figures differed from other action figures in that the front of each figure consisted of a hologram showing its facial features etc, giving each character a very spooky appearance.

The heroes of the range were the Heroic Warriors, led by Lionheart (who could transform into a lion), supported by his other warriors – Eagle Eye (a Red Indian who could turn into an eagle) and Thunderbolt (a Viking who transformed into a lightning warrior).

Their adversaries were the Warriors of Evil – Skull (a Skeletor-like warrior who could become a living Skeleton), Snakebite (who transformed from snake charmer to deadly cobra) and Burnheart (an evil knight who could become a fiery spirit).

Each set of warriors were assisted by their own ‘ghostlings’ who, like the Warriors, had once been human but could now also change from one thing to another. The main good ghostling was Spooks (who could change from court jester to, er, a spook and who hosted the comic’s letters page) and the evil ghostlings included Scary Cat, who could turn from wicked witch to hissing cat – and who introduced a series of complete one-part stories based on ideas suggested by the readers.

(If you want to know more about the figures, there’s a detailed guide to them here on I-mockery)

Super Naturals Preview Comic
Super Naturals first appeared as a preview comic in October 1987, given away free with other titles such as 2000AD (with Prog 546) Eagle, along with a colourful fact card.

Super Naturals Preview Issue One

The first regular issue was cover dated 31st October – 13th November 1987 (Super Naturals was a fortnightly publication) and both this and the second issue came with a free mask.

The comic was initially printed on glossy paper, although this was replaced by a cheaper matte-fmish paper with Issue Five.

A spread from Super Naturals comic. Photo: Paul Goodenough
A spread from Super Naturals comic. Photo: Paul Goodenough

Artists on the title include Dave D’Antiquis, who also worked on the 1990s Eagle (drawing “Doomlord”, among other strips) and albeit briefly, on 2000AD, but who seems to have left the comics industry; John Gillatt (perhaps best known for  “Billy’s Boots” and “Scorer”, who was unable to recall working on the title when I interviewed him for EFA a few years back); Sandy James, a prolific and much-admired comics artist whose work spans titles from the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, including “Johnny Cougar” for Tiger, “S.O.S” and “Timespell” in the the 1990s Eagle, Ring Raiders and at least one issue of Commando (Issue 451) for DC Thomson, in 1970; Alan Langford, now better known as an incredible equestrian artist, whose comic credits also include 2000AD and Eagle; Jim Watson (whose many credits include “Captain Scarlet” for TV21 and work for 2000AD); and Marvel and 2000AD artist Anthony Williams, who also worked on The Real Ghostbusters.

Other creators included, many drawing just one strip, include Massimo BelardinelliJohn Cooper (better known for his work on “Johnny Red” for Battle); and Commando artist Keith Page, creator of Charlotte Corday.

Many of the strips were written by James Tomlinson, son of Roy of the Rovers and Eagle editor Barrie Tomlinson.

The comic’s main strips featured the Super Naturals themselves, with each set of warriors battling it out for supremacy, but another popular regular story was “The Doll“, the artist as yet unidentified, which told of an evil ventriloquist’s doll which came to life and did unspeakably nasty things – and left a lasting impression on some of the strip’s readers, including horror author Matt Wesolowski, who describes it in his feature here as “the most terrifying thing I had ever read in my life”.

It’s a story that’s perhaps out of step with the more junior fare of Super Naturals, which has made some of the downthetubes team wonder if it was originally commissioned for a very different, more teenage title.

Super Naturals Issue Nine Cover Detail - The Doll

Super Naturals Issue One - The Doll Page 1

Art from "The Doll" from Super Naturals Issue One
Art from “The Doll” from Super Naturals Issue One

The Super Naturals letters page was great fun and readers were able to nominate people to be ‘Trapped in the Tomb’ (Michael Jackson was one of those who suffered that fate); or turned into a Ghostling (RoIf Harris and Bruce Forsyth both being nominated for this).

Super Naturals Adventure Book

As previously stated, Super Naturals ran for just nine issues (although every ongoing story came to some kind of conclusion, suggesting it’s end was not unexpected). We also got just one Summer Special and a Super Naturals Adventure Book, reprinting every story.

I was sorry that it did not last longer and was not merged into another title. After the sad departure of Scream, it had been nice to have another horror comic in British newsagents, albeit one aimed at a younger audience.

Ian Wheeler

• This article was originally published in the British comic fanzine Eagle Flies Again in Summer 2008

Super Naturals Toy AdThe Toys

There are some great photos of the whole glow in the dark range on Figure Realm here

SERIES 1 1987

Lionheart
Eagle Eye
Thunder Bolt
Burnheart
Snakebite
Skull

GHOSTLINGS

Spooks
Hooter
Mr. Lucky
See-Thru
Vamp-Pa
Scary Cat
Rags
Weird Wolf

VEHICLES & PLAYSETS

Dark Dragon
Lion Wings
Ghost Finder
Bat Bopper
Tomb of Doom

The Comic

Super Naturals Preview Comic
Cover: Ian Kennedy

16-page free-gift preview issue, featuring stories from issue one and photos of the Tonka toyline. Included a free Super Naturals fact file card

“The Legend of the Super Naturals” (Part One)
Writer: Unknown
Art: John Gillatt

“The Ghostlings”
Writer: Unknown
Art: S. James

Issue One
Cover: Sandy James

Free gift: double-sided mask (Skull)

“The Legend of the Super Naturals” (Part One)
Writer: Unknown
Art: John Gillatt

“Ghostlings!” (Part One)
Writer: Unknown
Art: Anthony Williams

“The Doll” (Part One)
Writer: Unknown
Artist: Unknown

“The Scary Cat Challenge – The Hunchback of Hinkley Rest
Writer: Unknown
Artist: Jim Watson

“Super Naturals – Mount of Athos” (Part One)
Writer: Unknown
Artist: Alan Langford

Super Naturals Issue Two - CoverIssue Two
Cover: Sandy James

Free gift: double-sided mask (Lionheart)

The opening page of "Legend of the Super Naturals" from Super Naturals Issue Two
The opening page of “Legend of the Super Naturals” from Super Naturals Issue Two

“The Legend of the Super Naturals” (Part Two)
Writer: Unknown
Art: Dave D’Antiquis

“Ghostlings!” (Part Two)
Writer: Unknown
Art: Anthony Williams

“The Doll” (Part Two)
Writer: Unknown
Artist: Unknown

“The Scary Cat Challenge – The Spider
Writer: Unknown
Artist: Jim Watson

“Super Naturals – Mount of Athos” (Part Two)
Writer: Unknown
Artist: Alan Langford

Super Naturals Issue Three - Cover

Issue Three
Cover: Sandy James

“The Legend of the Super Naturals” (Part Three)
Writer: Unknown
Art: Dave D’Antiquis

“Ghostlings!” (Part Three)
Writer: Unknown
Art: Anthony Williams

“The Doll” (Part Three)
Writer: Unknown
Artist: Unknown

“The Scary Cat Challenge – Simon’s Mask”
Writer: Unknown
Artist: Unknown

“Super Naturals – Mount of Athos” (Part Three)
Writer: Unknown
Artist: Alan Langford

Super Naturals Issue Four - Cover

Issue Four
Cover: Sandy James

“The Legend of the Super Naturals” (Part Four)
Writer: Unknown
Art: Dave D’Antiquis

“Ghostlings!” (Part Four)
Writer: Unknown
Art: Anthony Williams

“The Doll” (Part Four)
Writer: Unknown
Artist: Unknown

“The Scary Cat Challenge – Monster of the Lake”
Writer: Unknown
Artist: Vivas

“Super Naturals – Mount of Athos” (Part Four)
Writer: Unknown
Artist: Alan Langford

Super Naturals Issue Five - Cover

Issue Five
Cover: Ian Kennedy

“The Legend of the Super Naturals” (Part Five)
Writer: Unknown
Art: Dave D’Antiquis

“Ghostlings!” (Part Five)
Writer: Unknown
Art: Anthony Williams

“The Doll” (Part Five)
Writer: Unknown
Artist: Unknown

“The Scary Cat Challenge – The Visitor”
Writer: Unknown
Artist: Unknown

The opening page of "A Ghostling Tale" from Super Naturals Issue Five, drawn by John Cooper
The opening page of “A Ghostling Tale” from Super Naturals Issue Five, drawn by John Cooper

“A Ghostling Tale presented by Weird Wolf”
Writer: Unknown
Artist: John Cooper

“Super Naturals – The Curse” (Part One)
Writer: Unknown
Artist: Alan Langford

Super Naturals Issue Six - CoverIssue Six
Cover: Sandy James

“The Legend of the Super Naturals” (Part Six)
Writer: Unknown
Art: Dave D’Antiquis

“Ghostlings!” (Part Six)
Writer: Unknown
Art: Anthony Williams

“The Doll” (Part Six)
Writer: Unknown
Artist: Unknown

“The Scary Cat Challenge – Nightmare”
Writer: Unknown
Artist: Massimo Belardinelli

“A Ghostling Tale presented by See-Thru”
Writer: Unknown
Artist: Keith Page

“Super Naturals – The Curse” (Part Two)
Writer: Unknown
Artist: Alan Langford

Super Naturals Issue Seven - CoverIssue Seven
Cover: Sandy James

“The Legend of the Super Naturals” (Part Seven)
Writer: Unknown
Art: Dave D’Antiquis

“Ghostlings!” (Part Seven)
Writer: Unknown
Art: Anthony Williams

“The Doll” (Part Seven)
Writer: Unknown
Artist: Unknown

“The Scary Cat Challenge – Food for Thought”
Writer: Unknown
Artist: Jim Watson

“A Ghostling Tale presented by Hooter
Writer: Unknown
Artist: Unknown

“Super Naturals – The Curse” (Part Three)
Writer: Unknown
Artist: Alan Langford

Super Naturals Issue Eight - CoverIssue Eight
Cover: Anthony Williams

“The Legend of the Super Naturals” (Part Eight)
Writer: Unknown
Art: Dave D’Antiquis

“Ghostlings!” (Part Eight)
Writer: Unknown
Art: Anthony Williams

“The Doll” (Part Eight)
Writer: Unknown
Artist: Unknown

“The Scary Cat Challenge – Shock”
Writer: Unknown
Artist: Vivas

“A Ghostling Tale presented by Vamp-Pa”
Writer: Unknown
Artist: John Cooper

“Super Naturals – The Curse” (Part Four)
Writer: Unknown
Artist: Alan Langford

Super Naturals Issue Nine - CoverIssue Nine
Cover: Unknown

“The Legend of the Super Naturals” (Part Nine)
Writer: Unknown
Art: Dave D’Antiquis

“Ghostlings!” (Part Nine)
Writer: Unknown
Art: Anthony Williams

“The Doll” (Part Nine)
Writer: Unknown
Artist: Unknown

“The Scary Cat Challenge – Genie”
Writer: Unknown
Artist: Unknown

“A Ghostling Tale presented by Weird Wolf”
Writer: Unknown
Artist: John Cooper

“Super Naturals – The Curse” (Part Four)
Writer: Unknown
Artist: Alan Langford

Super Naturals @ Hasbro

Published by

Ian Wheeler

Ian Wheeler

Former Co-ordinator of the Doctor Who Appreciation Society. Publisher and Editor of comics-related fanzines. Contributor to books on Doctor Who from Virgin and Miwk Publishing. Contributor to cult TV fanzines and periodicals.

Let us know what you think about this story

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.