Strip dates given are those of their original appearance in the British newspaper the Daily Mirror, first compiled by Geoffrey Wren and Ann Holmes and updated by Ant Jones and Philip Harbottle

See Also: Garth: An Introduction

• Garth – Strip Checklist – Part One | Two | Three | Four | Five | Six | Seven | Eight (Reprints)

The very first episode of Garth © Daily Mirror
The very first episode of Garth © Daily Mirror

Garth
Writer: Don Freeman & Stephen Dowling
Artist: Stephen Dowling & John Allard
Published: 24th July January 1943 – 11th March 1944 (B175 – C61)
Number of Episodes: 197

The opening Garth adventure was set in a mythical “Lost Horizon” type of world. Creator Steve Dowling was an admirer of Milton Caniff’s Terry and the Pirates, and its mysterious Far Eastern setting.

Lashed to a raft, after days adrift, delirious and suffering from partial amnesia, Garth is washed up on a strange shore. Here he is found by an attractive native girl, Gala, who administer the kiss of life.

Gala is a member of an underground opposed to the tyrannical rule of a High Priest, who plans to invade a neighbour country. Garth agrees to help her cause by pretending to act as a figurehead ruler under the High Priest.

Using his great strength and cunning, Garth defeats the tyrant and his murderous High Priestess Ola – and helps Gala’s father find his long-lost daughter. Garth then travels on by balloon, hoping to reach western civilisation and restore his memory.

Synopsis by Philip Harbottle

Garth - Children of the DawnChildren of the Dawn
Writer: Don Freeman
Artist: Stephen Dowling & John Allard
Published: 13th March 1944 – 5th August 1944 (C62 – C186)
Number of Episodes: 125

Garth’s balloon crashes in icy mountains, and he encounters an isolated race of cave people. He rescues a girl from a ritual sacrifice (whom he christens ‘Dawn’) and teaches her rudimentary English. Dawn wants Garth as her mate! Embarrassed by her attentions, Garth moves on down river in a log canoe, rescuing the beautiful dark-haired Karen Karolenskaya from drowning. Karen is hard and sophisticated, the antithesis of the clinging Dawn. She introduces Garth to Professor Jules Lumiere, the leader of her scientific expedition that includes a Japanese explorer looking for mammoth remains.

Garth shows Lumiere the lost tribe, and they are joined by the besotted Dawn, to the cynical amusement of Karen (who also has designs on Garth). They find an entire mammoth preserved in a glacier, and after Garth saves the party (with Karen’s help) from the treacherous Japanese, they transport the mammoth (encased in ice) back to Lumiere’s island laboratory.

Synopsis by Philip Harbottle

Garth - The Island LaboratoryThe Island Laboratory
Writer: Don Freeman
Artist: Stephen Dowling & John Allard
Published: 7th August 1944 – 16th September 1944 (C187 – C222)
Number of Episodes: 36

With this story, the plotline develops into science fiction. Arrived at Lumiere’s island, Garth finds an ultra-modern scientific research centre, Dawn is dressed in modern clothing and continues her education – and her rivalry with Karen for Garth’s affections. Lumiere carries out a successful experiment to resuscitate the frozen mammoth, which runs amok. Only Garth’s strength saves the party.

Lumiere then offers to help Garth regain his memory by putting him under the influence of his ‘recapitulator’, an electronic gizmo designed to put those under its influence into a trance, when they will experience their past lives as a speeded-up dream. Garth is to relive his past reincarnations up to the moment when he lost his memory.

Lumiere warns that during moments of crisis or peril, he must utter the Indian evocation “KARMA” in order to pass safely to his next existence. Karen and Dawn also volunteer to share Garth’s trance.

Synopsis by Philip Harbottle

Garth - The Seven Ages of GarthThe Seven Ages of Garth
Writer: Don Freeman
Artist: Stephen Dowling & John Allard
Published: 8th September 1944 – 20th January 1946 (C23 – E17)
Number of Episodes: 413

In this epic story, Garth is regressed back into seven former lives. He adventures variously as a British slave during the Roman occupation of Britain, a 12th century Crusader, a participant in the Wars of the Roses, an Elizabethan sea captain, a Cavalier fighting the Roundheads, and in a climactic final previous life he is an Englishman caught up in the French Revolution. In each segment, Garth lives the last weeks of an earlier life as a man of that period in time and he finally comes to a bloody and heroic death.

Thanks to Lumiere’s foresight, Garth is conditioned to visualise the word ‘KARMA’ at the moment of death, enabling him to jump to his next life. Throughout the tales, Karen and Dawn (avariciousness and virtue respectively) share Garth’s lives in their own earlier incarnations.

Written during the exigencies of wartime, these fascinating stories are both frank and brutal.

Synopsis by Philip Harbottle

Garth - The Saga of GarthThe Saga of Garth
Writer: Don Freeman
Artist: Stephen Dowling & John Allard
Published: 22nd January 1946 – 20th July 1946 (E18 – E171)
Number of Episodes: 154

In this last phase of his trance, Garth relives his earliest years in the present.
Shipwrecked off the island of Thule, the baby Garth is washed ashore in a crib with a strangely inscribed sword. He is adopted by Ragnar, leader of a community descended from Vikings, and his wife Thora. With his great strength of mind and body as he matures, Garth seems destined to succeed Ragnar as leader.

Ragnar’s renegade brother, Sven, leads a gang who loot wrecks washed up on the isle. Enraged to discover his daughter Gerda plans to marry Garth, Sven tries to shoot him. Seeing his action, Gerda runs to warn Garth – straight into the line of fire. Garth kills Sven in retribution, and buries Gerda where she died, along with the sword found in his crib.

Synopsis by Philip Harbottle

Garth - The Awakening of GarthThe Awakening of Garth
Writer: Don Freeman
Artist: Stephen Dowling & Dick Hailstone
Published: 22nd July 1946 – 19th October 1946 (C172 – E249)
Number of Episodes: 78

Garth joins the Royal Navy, to fight the Nazis. His ship is sunk in the China Seas, and he abandons ship on a raft, eventually being washed up on a strange shore to be found by Gala.
His memory restored, Garth has Lumiere fly him to Thule, to see his adoptive parents. Lumiere’s mystic ray has imbued Garth’s body with an electro-magnetic energy, causing any electric machinery near him to cut out. These powers enable Garth to prevent the government from turning Thule into a radio and electronics centre, and return control of the island to Ragnar.

Karen and Dawn have followed Garth, but still mourning Gerda, he tells them he is not interested. Rebuffed, Karen flies off, leaving Dawn behind. Lumiere perforce becomes her guardian.

Because of his unique powers, Garth is then recruited as a special agent by the foreign office to undertake a top-secret mission in India…

Synopsis by Philip Harbottle

Garth - The Quest of the G-RayThe Quest of the G-Ray
Writer: Don Freeman
Artist: Stephen Dowling & Dick Hailstone
Published: 21st October 1946 – 26th April 1947 (E250 – F99)
Number of Episodes: 159

British Intelligence tells Garth that a Russian scientist, Oscar Villani, has established a scientific citadel behind an energy barrier in a remote area of India. He is working on applications of the same electro-magnetic energy suffusing Garth (the “G-Ray”) to threaten the world. Only Garth can penetrate the energy barrier. Lumiere puts Dawn in a Finishing School and accompanies Garth on his mission to neutralise Villani. Captain Stark, a double agent (working for Villani), captures Dawn fleeing the Finishing School and learns of Garth’s mission. Posing as a British agent, he accompanies them, with Dawn disguised as Ali, his Indian boy servant/

Stark plans to overpower Garth and deliver him to Villani so he can learn from him the secret of his G-Ray powers. Stark’s brutality to Dawn causes her to reveal Stark’s treachery, but Stark succeeds in shooting and wounding Lumiere and trapping Garth in a deep animal-trap pit.

Then, unexpectedly, enter Karen, engaged on the same mission as Garth, but working for the Russians. After aiding Lumiere to recover and then rescuing Garth from the pit, she joins forces with him. Stark is killed, but Dawn is captured by Villani.

Posing as a defector willing to assist him, Karen gains Villani’s confidence. She learns that he has built the Brain, a fantastic electronic computer, with which he is able to keep the superstitious locals in subjection. Garth penetrates the citadel to rescue Dawn. Expecting his attack, Villani has programmed the Brain to hate and destroy Garth by projecting deadly G-Rays – only to get in its line of fire and be destroyed himself.

Garth - Garth Versus The BrainGarth Versus The Brain
Writer: Don Freeman
Artist: Stephen Dowling and Dick Hailstone
Published: 28th April 1947 – 15th August 1947 (F100 – F194)
Number of Episodes: 95

Having wrested control of Villani’s citadel, Garth invites the formerly oppressed local people to occupy it. But as Villani died the Brain had absorbed from his mind all his cunning and guile. Garth gradually loses the radiant energy from his body, but the immobile Brain still retains it, and the power to destroy assailants entering its machine room.
Garth activates a switch operating a super-metal insulating door to the room, so there is a stand-off.

The Brain broadcasts sound waves throughout the city and outside, exhorting the brutal Janus, Villani’s former Janissary whom Garth had exiled, to gain recruits to attack the city and kill Garth.

Garth realizes the Brain is vulnerable to a dynamite explosion from the cellars beneath it, and risking his life succeeds in blowing it up. Janus is killed in a final showdown with Garth, thanks to an invention of Lumiere’s derived from the insulated door.

Synopsis by Philip Harbottle

Garth - Deep WatersDeep Waters
Writer: Don Freeman
Artist: Stephen Dowling and Dick Hailstone
Published: 16th August 1947 – 24th January 1948 (F195 – G21)
Number of Episodes: 137

Scientists worldwide are researching the G-ray, following Lumiere’s discovery that it can be maintained with glaucosite, a mineral found only on the ocean floor, its purity increasing at greater depths. Glaucosite has been discovered off Crater Island in the Indian Ocean. Spurned by Garth, Karen elects to join her own government’s mission there. Soon afterwards Garth and Lumiere are similarly engaged by the British government.

En route with Dawn, their plane is attacked by another flyer and shot down over the ocean. Garth catches a glimpse of one of his attackers – a white bearded man. They are rescued by a passing British government ship, the “Research.” Captain Steel informs them that he is bringing scientific equipment for Lumiere to Crater Island. On arrival they find many nations on the same mission, and in the international saloon bar they come across Karen, who faints at the sight of Garth.

At the quayside, Garth sees the white-haired man disembarking from a private yacht. Steel identifies him as Baron Von Grimm, a “harmless” hermit author studying folklore. Before Garth can challenge him, they learn that some presumed monster in the deeps has been decapitating divers. On his first undersea exploration Garth catches a glimpse of figures lurking in a marine forest, but is then attacked by a giant swordfish.

Meanwhile, Von Grimm encounters Karen who challenges his earlier story to her about witnessing Garth’s plane crash through mechanical failure.

Garth vanquishes the fish and returns to the surface convinced that the divers were killed by a human agency. Whilst Lumiere is assembling an apparatus to adapt Garth’s body to withstand pressures at greater depths, Garth follows Karen as she visits Von Grimm’s private estate. He pretends to be a writer, descended from the famous German brothers. Karen discovers he is lying, but before she can warn Garth she is badly concussed. Garth rushes her to hospital, then rejoins Lumiere, who adapts his body to withstand pressures at greater depths than other divers can go.

Garth descends to the deeps, but is drawn by a powerful current into a submarine cave beneath a volcanic island known as Moaning Isle. Here he discovers the wreck of a ship, before returning to the surface. News of his discovery reaches Von Grimm, whose men have been killing divers before they can discover the cave entrance. The wreck has a cargo of gold bullion, which Von Grimm is planning to salvage.

After Garth makes his third descent, the now-recovered Karen volunteers to receive Lumiere’s de-pressurising treatment, so she can warn Garth. In the deeps she aids Garth in battling with Von Grimm’s men, shooting one, whilst Garth decapitates another killer with his own sword.

Pursued by the “Research” Von Grimm’s yacht enters a cleft too narrow for the larger vessel to follow, so Garth and Karen swim ashore to locate its hiding place. They are ambushed by Von Grimm and his band of Lascars. In the ensuing struggle, Garth hurls Von Grimm into the creek, to his presumed death. However, he survives and is picked up by his yacht, which returns to Crater Island. Here he recruits some unscrupulous characters from the other expeditions to aid him in salvaging the gold. He is observed by Dawn, whom he kidnaps and takes back to his estate, instructing his men go ahead of him to Moaning Isle.

Returned to Crater Island, Garth sets off for Von Grimm’s estate in search of Dawn. As Garth fights his servant, Von Grimm’s bungalow is set on fire, and Von Grimm escapes, carrying Dawn over his shoulder. Pursued by Garth, he plunges over the rim of an extinct volcano. Garth believes he has committed suicide – taking Dawn with him!

Synopsis by Philip Harbottle

Garth - Into the AbyssInto the Abyss
Writer: Don Freeman
Artist: Stephen Dowling and Dick Hailstone
Published: 26th January 1948 – 10th April 1948 (G22 – G86)
Number of Episodes: 65

Lumiere plans to salvage the gold by descending from the “Research” in a bathysphere, from which Garth can swim to the wreck and attach cables to the gold chests. Special apparatus will then draw both gold and Garth back to the bathysphere against the current.

Whilst these preparations are made outside the cave entrance, Von Grimm’s men have neared the cave by descending from the surface down a network of lava tunnels, to await Von Grimm’s arrival. He has fooled Garth by descending hidden steps inside the crater.

However, the powerful current drags not only Garth but the bathyscape containing Lumiere and Karen, into the flooded cave. It strikes and jolts the wreck like a cannon ball, uncorking another shaft up which they are ejected in a waterspout into a cave above. The jolted wreck settles back, resealing the shaft. Basalt pillars in the caves impregnated with glowing glaucosite provide the underground with illumination.

Garth frees the dazed Lumiere and Karen from the battered bathysphere, and then explores the network of tunnels alone, seeking a way out. With his knife he carves a trail on the walls, to find the way back.

Von Grimm, with his captive Dawn, has rejoined his men. He leaves her with them whilst seeking his old escape route from the cave of the gold ship. As he and Garth converge in the tunnels, Garth is suddenly attacked by a gigantic spider emerging from a hole in the rock walls. Observing Garth’s death struggle, Vin Grimm decides to follow his marked trail, which leads him to Lumiere and Karen. He overhears Lumiere telling Karen of his plan to raise the gold ship to the surface of the Isle by dropping depth charges, forcing it up the shaft on a waterspout. He ties them up at gunpoint, then goes to rejoin his men and implement Lumiere’s explosives plan.

Meanwhile, with his knife and super strength, Garth fights free of the spiders, and then rescues Dawn from Von Grimm’s gang. Von Grimm returns, and as Garth closes with him, a recovered gangster smashes a rifle butt on his head, stunning him. During the struggles another giant spider has dragged Dawn back to its lair. Leaving Garth for dead, Von Grimm and his men return to the cave and set their explosives before withdrawing to the safety of their camp above. Lumiere and Karen are left behind to die in the explosion.

As Garth recovers, he hears Dawn’s cries, and finds her embedded in a vast web: the spider – its normal prey bats – has stored her in its larder. Garth kills the spider and slashes Dawn free. They return to the cave just in time to free Lumiere and Karen, dodging beneath a rock archway as the depth charges explode. The explosion is heard up above by Grimm, and also by Captain Steel and his men, who have landed on the island to search for Garth.

Grimm leads his men to the surface to find the wreck. Below, Garth snatches a lifeboat swept from the wreck, and his party are able to sail it on the swiftly rising waters up the lava tunnels to the surface.

Up above, Von Grimm slips into a ravine now filling with the rising sea. His frightened men abandon him. Von Grimm struggles to a ledge – only to be devoured by a giant spider! Garth and his party discover the wreck now floating on the surface, whilst Captain Steel’s men capture the gangsters as they emerge, before picking up Garth’s party and returning triumphantly to Crater Island.

Synopsis by Philip Harbottle

Garth - Olympic ChampionOlympic Champion
Writer: Don Freeman
Artist: Stephen Dowling and Dick Hailstone
Published: 12th April 1948 – 20th September 1948 (G87 – G225)
Number of Episodes: 139

Whilst working with Lumiere on Crater Island, Garth is invited at short notice to compete in the 1948 London Olympic Games. Lumiere offers to fly Garth in his new rocket plane, accompanied by Karen and Dawn. But the still experimental plane flies off course and crashes in a lake in a lost valley where a colony of Greeks have preserved their old way of life since the fourth century.

Emerging safely from the lake thanks to Lumiere’s patent escape hatch, they are attacked by Greek soldiers who mistake them as Persian invaders. Garth repulses them with his prodigious strength, but without causing any fatalities, earning their respect.

Their advent has been observed by Colchas, a priest to the oracle of Apollo. Pythia, the Oracle’s priestess, is enamoured of Garth, so she pronounces that he has been sent by the Gods to compete in their Olympiad.

Garth goes along with the story to give Lumiere time to enlist the help of Colchas to recover his plane from the lake. Colchas knows their origin and wishes to preserve the colony’s isolation.

The local culture demands that whilst in training for the games, Garth is separated from Karen and Dawn, who are placed under virtual house arrest by Milo, Captain of the Guard who is plotting to overthrow the government. His plan depends on his winning at the Games, so he arranges for an archer to assassinate Garth. Dawn is able to foil the attempt by dropping a heavy vase on to the archer’s head, killing him before he can fire his arrow. Milo has Dawn arrested for murder. He is enamoured of Karen, who plays up to him to learn his plans, and warns Garth. His and Lumiere’s intervention at Dawn’s trial clears her.

Garth duly wins the Games – and helps to prevent the overthrow of the government by Milo, in alliance with the now hostile Pythias, who has been spurned by Garth. She is shot by Karen as she attempts to stab Garth in the back. Garth slays Milo and the revolt is crushed.
The friends leave in Lumiere’s repaired plane, only to find it had been sabotaged by Pythias. They bale out by parachute. Garth is last to jump, and finds himself descending alone into the next valley, which Colchas had warned them to avoid at all costs!

Synopsis by Philip Harbottle

Garth - The Wonder WomenThe Wonder Women
Writer: Don Freeman
Artist: Stephen Dowling and John Allard
Published: 21st September 1948 – 8th February 1949 (G87 – G225)
Number of Episodes: 120

Being the last to bale out from their sabotaged aircraft, Garth is separated from Lumiere, Dawn and Karen. Whilst they land in the mountains, Garth’s parachute lands him in the next valley – the realm of the fabled Amazon women – a region they had been warned to avoid. He encounters an abjectly timid man, Fidelius. He speaks in Greek, a language which Freeman had been careful to have Garth learn in the previous story. Fedelius warns him that if any of his women overlords find Garth, he is as good as dead. Before Garth can hide, he is found by two mounted Amazonian warriors, Thalassia and Antiope, who fight over who shall kill him first. Thalassia kills her opponent, only to find that Garth has found concealment.

She rides back to the city, to warn that Garth’s advent may be the prelude to an invasion.
Fidelius counsels Garth to discard his western clothes and dress in the slain woman’s garments after they bury her, so that he might slip into the city unnoticed. He hopes that his enlightened mistress, The Lady Delia (Thalassia’s sister), may be willing to help Garth escape.

Garth learns that the Amazons raid neighbouring states to find men as husbands – but as soon as they become fathers, their wives kill them. And no woman may marry until she has slain a man. The only men allowed to live are those perceived as weak and unsuitable for breeding; these types are taken as servants to the women.

Garth then witnesses a strange public gathering in the city’s market square. Queen Hippolyta is about to carry out the long-delayed execution of her own infant son, Nemo, to prove to the assembled women that she is fit to continue serving as their warrior Queen. Garth intervenes, wresting a dagger from her hand. He is promptly accused by Thalassia as being the male spy who had murdered Antiope. Garth counter claims that it was Thalassia who killed Antiope in jealous rivalry, before subduing and spanking her. This public humiliation cements her enmity towards Garth.

The uneasy Queen Hippolyta, thankful for the interruption, declares that Garth is to be imprisoned at her palace, pending a formal trial, and that her son’s execution will be postponed “in view of this serious matter.”

The story then quickly develops in a complex – but beautifully clear and concise – manner, as Garth learns more palace secrets. Hippolyta had not executed her husband Laertes, as prescribed by law. She substituted the body of a slave to make the deception. Laertes (in disguise) is employed in the royal stables, and at night occupies a permanently locked room adjacent to Nemo’s sleeping chamber. At night he slips into Nemo’s room to lovingly gaze at his sleeping child.

Garth, with great cunning, manages to train the oppressed male servants into a fighting force able to form into a phalanx using shields, and effect to a bloodless coup, overthrowing the women’s rule. He also overcomes a bid by Thalassia to overthrow her ruler, but it is the formerly timid Fidelius who accidently kills Thassalia. He is so overcome that he flees into the mountains. The ruthless, oppressive Amazonian way of life is transformed as men and women are declared equals, and Laertes is installed as King alongside Queen Hippolyta, ruling jointly, with Nemo nominated as successor.

The story abounds with satire and light humour, whilst still being action-packed and occasionally dark. In a clever piece of plotting, Garth learns from Fidelius – who eventually recovers himself and returns from the mountains – that he had met Lumiere, Karen and Dawn, who had an encampment in the mountains. But they had fallen under the sway of a sadistic white hunter, who was on safari with a party of natives. Fidelius observes darkly that the hunter’s tent is hung with the skins and heads of wild beasts, and of men too – !

Synopsis by Philip Harbottle

Garth - Man-HuntMan Hunt
Writer: Don Freeman
Artist: Steve Dowling/John Allard
Published: 9/2/49 – 9/7/49 (H34 – H16)
Number of Episodes: 129

As in all Freeman-scripted stories, the action in this story follows on directly from the previous one, with Garth still separated from his friends in Africa. Eventually linking up with Lumiere, Dawn and Karen, Garth finds that they have been captured by a white hunter, Captain Cain. Satiated after a lifetime of hunting Cain is on the edge of insanity. Infatuated with the beautiful Karen, he refuses to let his prisoners go, unless she remains and agrees to marry him. Only then will he give Lumiere and Dawn supplies and directional maps to enable them to find the nearest settlement. Lacking weapons or directions in the African wilderness, they are unable to make a break for it. Garth offers himself as bait, inviting Cain and his men to hunt him down and kill him before he can reach the next town, through jungle and across desert. If Garth succeeds, the party goes free. If Cain kills Garth, he gets to marry Karen.

The basic plot has resonances with the classic novel (filmed by M. C. Cooper in 1932) The Most Dangerous Game, aka The Hounds of Zaroff. The man-hunt unfolds in spectacular fashion, with an intriguing sub-plot involving an abortive attempt by Karen to escape and assist Garth, the failure of which aids him indirectly. The climax of the story has Cain and Garth fighting an exciting duel in the desert, with the town only a few miles distant.

Synopsis by Philip Harbottle

Garth 14 - Selim the SlaverSelim the Slaver
Writer: Don Freeman
Artist: Steve Dowling/John Allard
Published: 11/7/49 – 26/11/49 (H163 – H282)
Number of Episodes: 120

With Garth a magnanimous victor in the Manhunt, he has gained Cain’s respect and friendship. They are recuperating from their ordeal in the town of El Wadi, whilst Lumiere, Dawn and Karen await their return some miles away at Cain’s base camp. Garth and Cain witness a procession of warriors through the town, bearing the carriage of the notorious Sheik, Selim the Slaver. Cain informs Garth that Selim’s power and influence is such that the authorities turn a blind eye to his nefarious activities. Selim conducts business from a “floating city”— collapsible buildings assembled on board a great raft, which floats down river to a fresh location after Selim has conducted his business.

Returning to Cain’s base camp, Garth and Cain learn that Selim’s raiding party have kidnapped Dawn and Karen, leaving a badly wounded Lumiere behind. Acting on Cain’s advice that the authorities will be hard to convince and slow to act, Garth decides to play a lone hand to rescue the girls. Whilst Cain remains behind to look after Lumiere and try and convince the authorities to send a force to El Wadi, Garth returns there with the help of Nimrod’s loyal black tracker, and Ahmed, a young local trader who had assisted him in the previous story. He manages to gain an audience with Selim, posing as the reputedly wealthy Captain Cain.

As Cain, Garth offers to buy the two white women that he understands Selim is holding to be sold as slaves. Selim is initially taken in, and agrees in principle, but tells Garth that he is awaiting the arrival of another rich prospective bidder, and that Dawn and Karen will be sold to the highest bidder. After making his presence known to Dawn and Karen, Garth can only agree to await the auction, remaining aboard the floating city as Selim’s “guest”.

Meanwhile, Cain has offered a reward for the rescue of Garth and the girls and persuaded the commandant of police to lead an unwilling expedition against Selim. Garth tells Selim that he has no money on him, but that he holds unlimited credit at the bank of El Wadi. The suspicious and cautious Selim agrees that Garth’s black guide, Nimrod, can return there to collect the money — but with an escort of Selim’d men. Garth had been banking on Nimrod meeting Cain’s reinforcements en route and guiding them to the floating city. The mysterious “other client” arrives at the raft by helicopter, and turns out to be a white man named Gorgon, whose face is completely hidden behind a close-fitting flesh-coloured mask. Gorgon tells Garth that he wants to buy a white woman to become his wife.

Dawn and Karen are paraded at the auction and Gorgon is smitten by the beautiful Karen. A spirited bidding war ensues, until Garth wins with a fantastic bid of £50,000, outstripping his rival’s limit of £40,000.

Meanwhile, Nimrod has overpowered Selim’s escort and met with Cain and the police, and is guiding them to Selim. But one of Selim’s men has survived and escaped, and is able to warn Selim, who promptly order’s Garth’s arrest, and for the city to get on the move. After a terrific scrap, Garth is overpowered by sheer weight of numbers. Witnessing his impressive struggle, Gorgon decides to intervene as Garth is about to be killed and thrown in the river. He offers Selim his previous bid of £40,000 for the two women—but only provided that Garth is also sold to him. Selim agrees.

Gorgon visits the imprisoned girls and informs them that he has bought them—and Garth. He learns from their reactions that Karen loves Garth, and tells her that he is willing to let all three go free—but only on condition that Karen agrees to marry him. He wants a willing wife who will represent him in places where he can’t appear because of his facial deformities. Gorgon then visits the captive Garth, and tells his strange story.

He had begun life in a fair, not as a showman but as the show—a human monster. But he was too hideous even for that, so he had taken up the business side, running sideshows, circuses and boxing booths. Eventually he had become one of the richest boxing promoters in Europe. Now he needs a beautiful woman to stand by his side in society. Garth is enraged to learn that Karen has consented to be his wife, but being under Selim’s armed guard is unable to attack Gorgon. Gorgon then pays Selim his money. Selim is confident that by effecting a speedy exodus he has escaped Cain’s forces, and can successfully hide in the jungle. But young Ahmed has escaped and leads Cain and Nimrod to Selim’s new camp site. Cain then leads an attack.

Selim’s men are overcome, but Cain is shot and dies in Karen’s arms, watched by the loyal Nimrod who, enraged, murders Selim with a dagger in his stomach. Cain is buried where he died, mourned by Garth’s party and Nimrod, and Karen confirms to Garth that she intends to keep her promise to marry Gorgon.

Synopsis by Philip Harbottle

Garth and the Glove GameGarth and the Glove Game
Writer: Don Freeman
Artist: Steve Dowling/John Allard
Published: 28/11/49 – 3/6/50 (H283 – J131)
Number of Episodes: 159

Sam Gorgon has learned from press reports and letters from his manager and Chief Trainer in London that his star boxer, Irishman Paddy O’Braune, is out of control and running wild. He decides to fly back to England to sort matters out, taking Karen with him. Lumiere is still not recovered from his wounds, and when his ward Dawn loyally agrees to stay and look after him in Africa until he recovers, Garth elects to accompany Karen and Gorgon on the plane to London.

On arrival at the airport, they are met by the trainer, Tich, who tells them that Paddy – whom Gorgon had been building up for an imminent championship bout – has broken training and gone “berserk”. Gorgon asks Garth to be a guest at his country house (whose extensive grounds also serve as a training camp) and Garth accepts the role of Karen’s chaperon and protector until the marriage. He learns that the fighter had been permitted a limited amount of drugs to combat his pre-fight nerves. But when they arrive at Gorgon’s country house they are met by a rampaging Paddy who, after knocking out a policeman who had tried to serve an assault summons, now savagely assaults both his trainer and Gorgon, only to be kayoed as he tries to tackle Garth.

On examining Paddy’s arm, Garth sees it carries a mass of puncture marks. They realize that the fighter must himself have got hold of a supply of needles and drugs. After the police arrive to arrest Paddy, Gorgon despairs that Paddy’s arrest will soon be splashed in all the papers, and that his reputation as a promoter will be ruined. He offers to release Karen from their engagement, but she stands by him.

Gorgon explains that he had been building up his fighter through a series of contests to meet the British Champion, Dandy Denkins, managed by a rival promoter Mrs. Silverado, in a winner-takes-all match. She is the widow of Syd Silverado, a man who had earlier nearly ruined Gorgon. Sam has guaranteed everything – stakes, gate money, the venue itself, and if he can’t put his man in the ring on the agreed date, he stands to be ruined. Karen comes up with the suggestion that she could persuade Garth to take his place. Gorgon is so elated by the idea – the contract would allow a substitution – that he takes of his mask to kiss Karen. She screams and shrinks away, repulsed by his bestial appearance.

Garth agrees to fight Mrs. Silverado’s champion, but only on condition that Gorgon releases Karen from her engagement if he beats Denkins. Gorgon shakes on the deal, and Garth goes into training. In due course Paddy is discharged by the court provided he takes a course of medical treatment to cure his drug addiction.

When Garth goes riding with Karen and Gorgon, he is shot at by a hidden assailant and narrowly escapes death by spurring his horse as he spots the glint of a gun barrel in the bushes. Karen’s horse bolts, and in the confusion, the gunman slips away across the fields.

The next day, Gorgon is driving Garth into London when they encounter a road block, and as Sam looks out of the car window, a dagger is thrown at him. He only escapes death because the knife embeds itself in his well-filled wallet!

Gorgon tells Garth that the only venomous enemy he’s ever had was the late Syd Silverado. Could his reclusive widow, whom Gorgon has never seen, be carrying on the vendetta? Silverado had died after shooting himself in order to spite Gorgon. It was his only way out from bankruptcy and disgrace – he owed Gorgon a fortune that he couldn’t collect after his death.

The story rapidly develops into an intriguing mystery, through a series of exciting action scenes, including more murder attempts when Gorgon’s circus lions are released by the bearded and mysterious and eccentric Diego, whose farm adjoins Gorgon’s estate. He is revealed as being in league with Denkin’s manager, the shady Cliff Clay.

As an unknown quantity, Garth is obliged to have a couple of warm-up fights to prove he is a worthy opponent for the champion. The ingenious story is full of near slapstick humour, but also has some dark satiric undertones dealing with the crooked side of post-war professional boxing. This was the heyday of British boxing icons Bruce Woodcock and Freddie Mills, and a British Heavyweight story would strike a responsive chord with Mirror readers.

When Gorgon eventually gets to meet Mrs. Silverado, he takes off his mask in order to shock her into confessing that she is behind the attempts at murder and to ruin him – only to learn that she had been blinded because of her faithless husband’s affairs. She had hated him, and greatly admires Gorgon.

Further twists involving the identity of the would-be murderer, help build up to an exciting climax when Garth (with a badly injured left arm!) gets to face Denkins in the ring. Of course, he wins by a dramatic knock-out, and both villains meet their deserved deaths. Sam Gorgon loses Karen as his fiancée – but gains the blind but beautiful Mrs. Silverado as a replacement! His mission accomplished, Garth announces his immediate retirement, and Paddy O’Braune having underwent a successful rehabilitation, rejoins Gorgon’s boxing stable.

Synopsis by Philip Harbottle

Garth - Journey to JasonJourney to Jason
Writer: Don Freeman
Artist: Steve Dowling/John Allard
Published: 5/6/50 – 23/12/50 (J132 – J305)
Number of Episodes: 174

Garth, recovering at Sam Gorgon’s home, along with Karen, is surprised to receive a visit from a sculptor who asks Garth to pose for a giant statue of himself. It has been commissioned anonymously by someone “in high quarters”, and is to be shipped abroad when completed. Karen tell Garth the contents of an “extraordinary” letter she has received from Professor Lumiere, sent from a new secret observatory — the address of which has been censored—from where he has apparently observed a “flying saucer” headed for Earth!

The newspapers are full of a story that a new planet — named “Jason” — has wandered into the solar system from interstellar space. The press reports come from an observatory in El Wadi, and when Garth’s completed statue is collected by a lorry with a military escort, and the sculptor tells him it is to be shipped to El Wadi, he is intrigued. Lumiere, his statue, and the new planet are obviously somehow connected. He cables to Lumiere that he is returning to El Wadi. Karen elects to stay behind to help the blind Sylvia Silverado prepare for her wedding to Sam Gorgon.

Alighting from his plane at El Wadi, Garth is met by Lumiere — and an escort of American troops. Lumiere has been appointed as Director of an international stellar research station. Elaborate secrecy is being maintained following the crash landing in the desert of a flying saucer from Jason. Their ship is destroyed but its alien crew of two diminutive humanoid aliens have survived, and are being held captive. Lumiere tells Garth that he has learned from the aliens — who are telepathic — that they were advance scouts for a planned invasion of Earth. Jason was originally a planet revolving around a star in Argo Navis. Its highly evolved scientific inhabitants have discovered the secret of near immortality but are facing over-population. Discovering how to navigate their entire planet through space by atomic power, they set out to find another world to which they could migrate, and are now in orbit around the Earth.

Lumiere’s plan is to send Garth’s imposing statue by a remote controlled rocket to Jason. As a representation of mankind, he hopes it will impress its inhabitants (who are physically puny) giving them a broad hint to ‘keep off the grass! It will have a warning note written by the hostages not to attack Earth and seek to destroy such a godlike race of giants. The Jasonites themselves are weak, and fear the physical prowess they lack. The hostages consent to write the letter on Lumiere’s promise that they will be given a rocket in which to return to their own world, if the message was heeded.

The rocket with Garth’s statue is duly launched, and lands on Jason. But the strategy does not work—Jason moves threateningly nearer to the Earth. The hostages inform Lumiere and Garth that this is a prelude for either bombarding the Earth with super weapons, or actually to impinge upon it, for a mass landing. But they are grateful for how well they have been treated, and impressed by Garth. They offer to plead for the invasion to be called off, if Lumiere will allow them to return to Jason — taking Garth with them as an ambassador for Earth.

The plan is agreed.

Their spaceship takes off, and on the journey Garth names the aliens Romulus and Remus. They are both over a hundred years old, and are the latest generation, the population needing to be rigidly controlled. Garth is appalled on learning that there are no children or young men and women on Jason — but the aliens let slip that there is one beautiful young woman, the product of the union of an advanced Jasonite and a ‘Hoolig’ — an unmentionable race of primitives who still dwell on the surface—the advanced Jasonites living mainly in underground cities.

Jason has a very light gravity and a dense atmosphere which enables people to swim in it — akin to flying. They teach Garth how to control his breathing of the dense air. The low gravity is a consequence of Jason having suffered aeons of excavation, which have almost hollowed out the planet.

(It should be noted that Freeman’s brilliantly original plot device of aliens being able to “fly” in a dense atmosphere was shamelessly and quite blatantly plagiarised three years later in the Dan Dare story “Operation Saturn”!)

Using Lumiere’s guidance system, Garth pilots the rocket to a landing, only to encounter very dense clouds that are caused by a planet-wide thermal system which maintains a uniform heat and enables the roving planet to move unharmed through interstellar space. The clouds cause Garth to overshoot the designated landing area, and the rocket lands in one of the Hoolig reservations.

The Hooligs are a primitive race whom the Jasonites had enslaved until, with the advance of science, they became obsolete, and are confined to reservations on the surface. They are avoided and feared by the Jasonites because of their physical strength. Although they are almost immortal, the Jasonites can be killed by physical violence.

On reaching a Hoolig settlement they find that Garth’s statue had landed there, and has been set up as a sort of idol which the Hooligs worship. Presently a flying craft arrives, dispatched by the Leader to collect them. Garth is taken underground to meet the Leader, Alpha.

Alpha has learned English and converses freely with Garth after an awkward initial encounter. He respects Garth and confides to him that Jason is beset with problems posed by the Hoolig reaction to the arrival of his effigy. He symbolises their aspirations as a race — strength, virility, grace — the human qualities they admire, and which the advanced Jasonites lack. They regard the statue as having fallen from their heavens, to lead a Hoolig revolution on Jason. Alpha had moved Jason nearer to the earth as a device to divert public attention from its internal troubles. By attacking Earth he had hoped to solve his racial problem and gain more territory.

Alpha shows Garth a projection of the beautiful Zeta, the last born child of a Jasonite father and a Hoolig mother, both of whom were liquidated for their offence. The Jasonites keep her because of her great beauty, which inspires their sculptors, artists and architects. But lately the Hooligs had been claiming her as their goddess until Alpha let them keep Garth’s statue instead.

Alpha’s television devices allow him to see the Hooligs marching to that part of their city serving as an entrance to the underworld, ostensibly to demand Garth’s release. Alpha is about to activate their death ray defences when Garth stops him, offering to meet the Hooligs himself and tell them to go back.

Alpha is not absolute Ruler; he is head of a Council, on which he has a bitter rival, Omega, who is in favour of the invasion and of destroying the Hooligs. However Garth is backed by Alpha and is allowed to meet and disperse the Hooligs peacefully, on his promise to meet them later.

Alpha conducts Garth down into the bowels of the planet, where Garth sees the giant robot, Phi, who pilots Jason through space from a vast atomic power house at the core of the planet. He is responsive only to the Leader’s voice.

Garth returns to the surface with Alpha and visits the beautiful Zeta, who has already fallen in love with Garth from observing him earlier. Garth’s visit stirs jealousy in the heart of Skal, a sculptor who has been modelling Zeta on his arrival. Alpha shrewdly observes that Garth has revived old emotions on his planet, as well as bringing new ideas and perspectives. He conducts Garth to the Star Council — the inner Council of Five — Alpha, Omega and three others — who are elected by an outer Council of one hundred. Garth makes an impressive plea to the Council to reconsider their decision to invade Earth. He warms them that humanity shall fight them to the death. Invasion would only unite the peoples of Earth — just as the Hooligs are already uniting on Jason to overthrow their soulless regime.

Omega then intervenes to advocate destroying the Hooligs, killing Garth, and proceeding with the invasion. But he is outvoted, and Garth is spared to visit the Hooligs, and the larger issue of invasion is to be put before the Council of one hundred. Omega threatens to bring about Garth’s death and Alpha’s resignation, and flies off, after donning special headgear to screen his thoughts from being read by the others. To counter this threat, Alpha gives Garth special tablets which will render his body impervious to the Jasonite death ray.

Omega and his men kidnap Zeta, knocking Skal aside. She is taken to Omega’s dwelling and locked in a transparent bubble prison, following which he returns to the Council and informs them that as Minister for Internal Affairs he is holding Zeta as a hostage to prevent Garth leading a possible Hoolig uprising.

Meanwhile, Skal alerts Garth before he leaves with Omega to visit the Hooligs, and instead directs Garth to Omega’s dwelling. Garth bursts in, and after brushing the guards aside, smashes Zeta’s prison and frees her, intending to take her to the Hoolig country for her own safety.

Despite Omega’s effort to destroy them using his ray machine, Garth and Zeta escape the city, together with the loyal Skal, and reach Hoolig territory. Garth learns their simple language from Zeta, and teaches them morality in order to prepare them to share eventually in the running of their planet.

At length Alpha loses control of the Star Council and a civil war breaks out between the adherents of Alpha and Omega, using chemical and ray weapons. Romulus and Remus are refugees from the conflict and join Garth and the Hooligs, bringing this news.

Omega is gaining the upper hand, and sends out a fighting craft which ray-blasts Garth’s statue, whilst the Hooligs take refuge in their caves. Garth, who is impervious to the rays, leaps into action and brings down the craft by smashing into the cockpit. The crew meekly surrender, and tell Garth that Alpha has been wounded—perhaps fatally—and that as the robot Phi is no longer receiving his instructions, Jason is now careering through space.

Garth returns to the city and comes upon the dying Alpha being tortured by Omega and his men to record new instructions that will make Phi (who presently only obeys Alpha’s voice) obey Omega as the new Leader. Garth springs into action to free Alpha, and his mighty blows kill Omega by crushing his skull.

Just before he dies, Alpha — who has been afflicted with a new ray weapon to which he was not immune — manages to record his verbal instructions to Phi, so that the robot will obey Garth’s voice. Garth descends to the internal regions and by playing the recorded message manages to get Phi under his control and to return Jason — which had been careering towards the sun — to a safe Earth orbit. The violent gravitational changes cause havoc on the surface of Jason.

As Garth is ascending he is confronted by the sudden appearance out of thin air of a new figure — the “Thinker”, the Chief Scientist on Jason. He explains to Garth that he had built Phi, and had hitherto solved all the material and scientific problems that the Council had put to him. On the outbreak of the Civil War he had made himself invisible during the conflict, and awaited the outcome to see which Leader he should obey. Garth tells him that with both Alpha and Omega now dead, he has assumed temporary Leadership and tasks the Thinker to determine Jason’s future whilst he ascends to the surface to see who has survived the cataclysm. He also charges him to solve the problem of how he can return to Earth.

On the surface, Garth discovers that a few Jasonites have survived the general discussion and he rallies them to his support before hastening to the Hoolig territory. He finds that Zeta and some others who obeyed her had survived in the deep shelters — but that many other Hooligs had marched on the city and had been swept off into space when Jason went into reverse. Garth tells the survivors that both Hooligs and Jasonites must now unite to rebuild life on the shattered planet. Under his leadership, new buildings arise, including an impressive new temple (“dedicated to a power that is above us all”) and in it Garth is asked to officiate at the wedding of Zeta and Skal. Garth hopes that the example should soon provide a balanced population.

Considering his work on Jason done, Garth instructs the Thinker to take Jason back to its original constellation — after he has solved the problem of his return to Earth. After several days the Thinker comes up with an amazing solution. Not by spaceship, but by Garth travelling in Space-Time: instead of following the usual course through curved space, Garth will take a straight line through the fourth dimension, overtaking time and arriving almost instantaneously at his destination.

The Thinker has constricted a cloak to cross space and a helmet to control time. Wearing them Garth will be insulated against heat, cold and friction whilst the ‘no time’ factor eliminates the need for breathing. The Thinker warns that if Garth goes a fraction off his course he might arrive on Earth a few thousand years earlier or later, but by taking off again from a high point, he may be able to try again to reach his target — the desert observatory, 1950.

Garth bids farewell to his friends on Jason, and then in his Space-Time flying kit, leaps into space on his fourth-dimensional journey back to Earth…

Synopsis by Philip Harbottle

Space-Time Traveller J306Space-Time Traveller
Writer: Don Freeman
Artist: Steve Dowling/John Allard
Published: 27/12/50 – 12/5/51 (J306 – K113)
Number of Episodes: 117

This story begins a three-story sequence in which, for the first and only time, Garth took on the trappings of the US superhero Superman. Despite what has been widely written and parroted, his origins in 1943 actually had nothing whatsoever to do with Superman. But now, “Space-Time Traveller” was clearly the start of an experiment to try and gain US newspaper syndication for Garth by the Daily Mirror.

Although Garth was being successfully syndicated all around the world — in Australia and New Zealand, European countries, India, and elsewhere — he had not cracked the most lucrative American market.

The story opens as Garth emerges on a mountain side over a desert on Earth, and at first thinks he has materialised in El Wadi, where his previous adventure, “Selim the Slaver”, took place. He caches his Space-Time helmet and cloak in some rocks, in case they reactivate and whisk him off elsewhere.

As he descends to the plain, he spots approaching riders, whom he assumes are friendly Arabs. But when they attack him, he quickly realises he is must be far back in the past, and that they are mounted Tartar warriors. He is actually in the Gobi desert, and by the look of things, around the time of Kubla Khan and the Tartar conquest of Cathay (China).

Garth runs back up the mountainside to retrieve his cloak and helmet. He struggles into his cloak, but before he can don the helmet, Tartar warriors again catch up with him. To escape them, he launches himself into space and glides down to the plain below, where he plucks the startled Tartar chieftain from his horse. A Tartar bowman takes aim at Garth, but the impressed Chieftain stops him, commanding that the flying “wonder man” be spared.

At this point, Garth discovers that the Thinker on Jason has somehow contrived things so that he can understand and speak the language of whichever country and time era in which he emerges. Utter fantasy of course, but at least author Freeman was recognising that Garth would not be able to communicate otherwise (unlike sloppy and cynical writers who ignore this basic axiom). Freeman knew that by his simply acknowledging the paradox, readers would be happy to suspend their disbelief and buy into the fantasy for the sake of getting on with an exciting story.

Garth tries to explain to the chieftain that he comes from a world beyond his ken, but the impatient Tartar cannot understand and asks Garth to join his force as a warrior. He, Tamar, a chieftain of the tents of Boriat (a family privileged to drink the milk of Imperial white mares) is leading an army of the great Khan, to conquer a province of Cathay. Before Garth can reply, a warrior arrives with Garth’s helmet. Garth demands its immediate return to him. Tamar asks Mangu, his magician, whether or not he should return the helmet. The sly magician counsels that Garth would likely work great evil with his “magic helmet”. Tamar concurs and decides to take the helmet and place it in a shrine at his encampment. Garth is obliged to accompany Tamar and his men.

At the encampment, Tamar invites Garth to go inside his tent, but warns him not to touch the threshold, because he regards it “as a bad omen.” Tamar questions Garth again about his origins, but Garth demands the return of his helmet before he will explain further.

Meanwhile, the superstitious Tamar has sent a guard to command Mangu to cast his spells to determine if the flying man is friend or foe. Tamar then tells Garth that they are to embark on a 30 day march across the desert to attack the city of Sair-Kin in Cathay. He wants Garth to travel with his cavalry. He is interrupted by the excited arrival of Mangu, who — afraid and jealous of Garth — claims that his oracles have decreed Garth as a foe who should be slain. But the unfortunate Mangu has touched the threshold of the tent. This enrages Tamar who orders that the transgressing magician be given the bastinado.

As night falls, Tamar takes Garth with him into the desert to pour his privileged family’s mares’ milk over the sands “to placate the demons of the desert who lure travellers to destruction with music and strange voices.” Garth explains that the so-called “singing sands” are just the wind blowing across the dunes as they cool after the heat of the day. Tamar protests by saying that he himself has seen “phantom armies” crossing the desert. Garth counters by explaining they were simply mirages. At that moment, the magician passes nearby, being carried on a litter after his punishment, and calls out that Garth is speaking falsely because a “phantom army” is even now passing their camp. Sure enough, a cavalcade of horses and a caravan is clearly visible in the distance.

Garth warns Tamar that it is a real procession, and challenges Tamar to approach it and see for himself — unless he is a coward. Stung, Tanar calls for volunteers to join him in investigating, ordering Garth to be secured. If he does not return safely by dawn, Garth is to be slain.

When dawn breaks and Tamar has not returned, Mangu (who covets Garth’s “magic helmet”) orders men to kill Garth, only for Garth to escape into the air after donning his flying cloak. Garth finds that the cloak is only good for fairly short hops without being linked to the helmet, and eventually falls to earth. He is about to be shot by a pursuing bowman when the returning Tamar intervenes.

Tamar castigates Mangu, because it had been a Chinese caravan passing by. Garth had spoken the truth and the magician had lied. Tamar and his men had slain the Chinese party and taken booty, but he had spared a young boy who was wearing the imperial yellow. A royal prisoner could prove useful. Mangu is seized, his fate to be decided later.

Tamar rewards Garth by giving the royal captive to Garth’ care as his slave, until such time as the great Khan claims him. Garth is reluctant until he realises that the captive is actually a young woman. A tent is provided for Garth, and when they are alone Garth learns that she is the Princess Peach Blossom who had been crossing the desert for an arranged marriage to the young Prince Tao of Sai-Kin, the city Tamar is heading towards to sack.

Tamar summons Garth and invites him to give the word for Mangu’s execution by beheading. However, Garth insists that his life be spared. Tamar agrees, but then reveals to Garth that he was fully aware the ‘boy’ is a girl. He believes she can be a useful hostage and can be exploited when they reach the defended gates of the city. He hints that he can gain her co-operation by torture, but hopes that Garth can gain her co-operation by forming a relationship with her. Garth has no option but play along for the moment.

Tamar resumes his march on the city, Garth at his side, with his precious helmet in the care of Mangu, following behind the main army. The advance is known, and they encounter obstacles and ambushes. Garth has to side with Tamar and his flying power and physical strength rout the attacks, eventually helping them break through the great wall of Cathay. Garth gets the defenders’ lives spared, and tells them they must return to the Prince Tao in Sai-Kin and tell him that “the Bird-Man” will deliver the Princess to him safely. He must persuade the king not to resist the Tartars, and Garth will guarantee that he will live to reign over the city with her.

Space-Time Traveller K52

As they camp for the night, Garth tells the Princess that he knows it is fated that all Cathay will come under the control of the Tartars, so all he can do is to try and save as many lives as he can.

The next day, whilst awaiting the arrival of his main forces, Tamar reveals to Garth how he intends to capture the fortified city, which is surrounded by a deep river. He will send the Princess across the river with some of his men disguised as her Chinese retinue. When the gates open to admit her, Tamar will launch a three-pronged attack, put the defenders to the sword and sack the city.

Garth persuades him to first allow him to fly over the river and the city wall, and to try and bring about a peaceful surrender. He hopes to make Prince Tao persuade his old father the King to abdicate. Khan can then allow Tao’s homage.

Space-Time Traveller K56On arrival in the city, Garth finds that King Tsu is a coward, and ostensibly ready to surrender if his life is spared. But that he should abdicate in favour of PrinceTao is problematical when he reveals the Prince is not really his own son, but that of a slave, secretly adopted and passed off as his son to avoid a civil war because he has no issue.

Space-Time Traveller K69

The watching Tamar sees a huge display fireworks exploding above the city, and Peach Blossom tells him that it portends that Garth has is either being welcomed, or they are celebrating his capture. Tamar can only wait impatiently whilst the matter is considered by both parties in the city.

Space-Time Traveller K76

That night, Peach Blossom succeeds in creeping away from Tamar’s encampment, and reaching the bank of the river. Her torch signal is spotted by Prince Tao from the battlements, and he picks her up by sampan.

The next day, the King tells Garth he agrees to surrender, and will let Tamar decide who will be the vassal king, always provided his own life is spared. Garth then returns to tell Tamar, leaving the palace by what he believes is a special gate…only to find himself trapped in a high-sided labyrinth of poison thorn bushes, on which are hung the bodies of the king’s enemies who attempted to escape. Garth does not have his flying cloak because it had been confiscated on his arrival in the city.

 

The treacherous king has Tao and the Princess seized and turned over to his torturers, who he instructs to first tear out their tongues. Tao is to be wrapped in Garth’s cloak, so that the king can subsequently claim to Tamar that he had killed Garth to gain the cloak.

Space-Time Traveller K95

When Garth fails to return, the angry Tamar shouts across the river to the King on the ramparts, threatening to attack. The King tells him that he is ready to surrender, but that Prince Tao had killed Garth and thrown his body in the river. To punish him, Tao’s tongue had been torn out, and he was scheduled to die.

But after the King leaves, the head torturer confesses to the Prince that he is loyal to him and cannot carry out his orders. Wearing the cloak, Tao flies over the maze to find and rescues Garth, warning the Princess to pretend to be dumb.

He finds that Garth has just discovered a trapdoor in the ground leading to an underground passage. It seems clear that it had been installed there by the King so that he could view the remains of his enemy’s bodies impaled on the thorns. Instead of escaping, Garth elects to descend into the passage with Tao, and to confront the King back in the palace.

Meanwhile, King Tsu has opened the gates to welcome Tamar and his men. Tamar demands to see the Princess, and Tsu — believing she has had her tongue removed — readily gives the order for her to be brought from the prison. But the uninjured Peach Blossom immediately begins to blurt out the truth of what has happened, and the discredited King realizes he is doomed. But he still has another card to play: at his signal a trail of gunpowder leading to explosives hidden under Tamar’s chair has been lit. At that moment, Garth dramatically bursts into their room, and the angry Tamar leaps up from his chair to assist Garth in seizing the King. Trying to get away, Tsu stumbles across Tamar’s vacated chair and is blown to pieces in an explosion intended for the chieftain.

Space-Time Traveller K101

After some initial hesitation and misgivings, Tao becomes enamoured of the Princess and agrees to marry her and share the throne of Sai-Kin, accepting the Khan’s rule. With Tamar able to take the city without bloodshed, Garth’s bargain is fulfilled, and he demands the return of his helmet — only to learn that the traitor Mangu has fled to seek out the Khan in his city of Kanbalu, taking the helmet with him. Using his restored cloak, Garth flies off in pursuit.

The Khan has left his palace with his bodyguard on a tiger-hunting expedition, and Mangu has reached his camp, and been granted and audience as Tamar’s astrologer. Mangu claims that he fled from the traitor Tamar because he was in league with a white magician who had befriended Khan’s enemies. He has brought with him that magician’s “magic helmet” to prevent it being used against the Khan. However he goes on to elaborate that any wearer of the helmet is rendered invulnerable and can defy any death threats. Intrigued but suspicious, the Khan decides to put it to the test. He instructs his bodyguard to force Mangu — wearing the helmet — to enter the cave that is the tiger’s lair.

He is immediately attacked and savaged to death, but then the tiger suddenly emerges from the cave and leaps on the Khan. The flying Garth arrives at the same moment, and swoops down to grab the Khan’s fallen spear with which he kills the tiger, saving his life.

Garth then relates the full story of his exploits to the astounded and grateful Khan. The Khan decrees that Tamar shall be made governor of South Cathay and Tao can rule over the city as a free king. He wishes to recruit Garth as Chief of his magicians, but having regained his helmet Garth declines—the only reward he wants is to be allowed to go on his way in peace. He climbs to a mountain summit and then dives off—disappearing into the fourth dimension! His space-time adventures continue…

Mention needs to be made of Dowling and Allard’s exceptional artwork. Whilst still executed in Dowling’s usual deceptively straightforward and quickly-executed “workmanlike” and utilitarian style (Dowling was also responsible for a second Daily Mirror strip Ruggles, which he also wrote!) the inspired fantasy storytelling of Freeman here caused them to move it up several notches. The panels are punctuated with dramatic atmospheric black areas and silhouettes and astonishing cinematic perspectives, cleverly compressed into the four small daily panels, including some intricately detailed scenes akin to Chinese willow-pattern plates. The Garth strip had entered its golden age!

Synopsis by Philip Harbottle

Garth - The Phantom Pharaoh - Titles K114The Phantom Pharaoh
Writer: Don Freeman
Artist: Steve Dowling/John Allard
Published: 14/5/51 – 6/10/51 (K114 – K239)
Number of Episodes: 126

Garth materialises atop an Egyptian pyramid. Flying down to the dwellings below, he is hailed by a reverent crowd as “Horus, the Hawk-God”. He realises that he has landed in Ancient Egypt.

He is approached by an arrogant figure who introduces himself as Ptah-Hotep, High Priest of Memphis. Realising that he has been mistaken for a God, Garth turns to try and scale the pyramid for another take-off, but he is hemmed in by the crowd and his cloak snatched from his shoulders. He manages to retrieve the cloak but is unable to fasten it, so he runs along a colonnade leading into the pyramid entrance. The High Priest tells the crowd that as the God Horus is entering the tomb of the ancient king, he alone can follow him, together with the temple guards.

Garth had been hoping to hide in the pyramid galleries until nightfall, but he has to go deeper inside to avoid his pursuers. He bumps against a stone block which opens into the sepulchral chamber of an ancient queen and is startled to see a young woman standing alongside a huge tomb.

Garth - The Phantom Pharaoh - K121She quickly ascertains that Garth is a fugitive – like herself. As the High Priest and guards approach, she tells Garth that she will be killed if caught, so Garth raises the massive lid of the sarcophagus, bidding her to hide inside.

The High Priest enters and exclaims that the sarcophagus is open, but before he can investigate, Garth hustles him outside, and asks to speak to him alone. Ptah takes him into the temple of Ptah, the God of Memphis, after whom he had been named. Garth is obliged to take off his winged helmet and cloak in this holy place, before following the High Priest into the inner shrine. Here Ptah admits he is not sure if Garth is a God or a man, but if he is indeed a God he can be of great help to him and his fellow priests.

Their power is being threatened by “the Phantom Pharaoh”, ruler of the great house of Thebes, capital of the Upper Nile. The pharaoh has repudiated all the Egyptian Gods, and declared himself an ordinary man. Additionally, since the death of his wife Queen Nefri, he hides his face behind a golden mask. The High Priest wants Garth to lead an uprising against the pharaoh. But Garth refuses to get involved in palace politics, and goes to retrieve his space-time kit from where he had left it. However, on the High Priest’s instructions, the guards have hidden it.

Having guessed that Garth possesses no special powers without the helmet and cloak, Ptah threatens to denounce him as a tomb robber unless he agrees to help him in putting his nominee on the pharaoh’s throne, when they will be returned. Garth is obliged to accompany the High Priest to his riverside palace. He leaves Garth to sleep on the matter.

Garth has no desire to get mixed up in the political intrigue, but senses that the mysterious girl is somehow involved. Determining to find her, he leaves his room to search for his space-time kit. He overhears the High Priest detailing two guards to guard the room where the helmet and cloak have been taken. Garth overpowers the guards by slamming their heads together, and is about to don his space-time kit when the High Priest unexpectedly returns and enters the room. In hastily donning the helmet Garth accidentally reverses the winged controls and discovers that it has rendered him invisible.

Garth - The Phantom Pharaoh - K138Garth - The Phantom Pharaoh - K139Donning his cloak, Garth flies invisibly to the temple during the night, and observes the girl slipping out, accompanied by a Nubian dwarf. Garth lands and renders himself visible, but the girl is disinclined to linger and talk with him. Before slipping away, she gives Garth a sacred scarab ring and tells him that this will grant him an audience with the pharaoh at Thebes.

Dawn is breaking as Garth returns to the High Priest’s palace. Finding Ptah glowering over the still unconscious guards, Garth speaks to him invisibly before reappearing. The cowed Ptah – now in awe of Garth – claims that he had acted for the best. Suddenly noticing the scarab ring of the dead Queen, he jumps to the conclusion that Garth is a tomb robber. He admits that he has been robbing the pyramid himself to finance his planned revolt against the pharaoh, and promises to share the spoils with Garth if he helps him place his ally, Harmhab, the Nomarch (Governor), on the throne.

Garth asks to meet this Harmhab and they travel upriver to his island fortress. Garth learns that it is surrounded by sacred crocodiles, and a human sacrifice is being made. When Garth sees the struggling figure of the Nubian dwarf, he dives overboard to save him. Garth’s unexpected arrival scatters the crocodiles, and the dwarf escapes to the opposite bank. A guard informs Ptah that the dwarf had been caught travelling secretly through the Nomarch’s domains, with ‘a strange woman’. She had escaped, and when the dwarf would not talk Harmhab had ordered his execution.

Ptah conducts Garth into the presence of Harmhab, whom he informs of his plan to use Garth – posing as the God Horus – to arouse Egypt against the pharaoh who denies the Gods, and then nominate Harmhab as his pious successor. Garth remains silent, but has now made up his mind that he will not assist a man who throws people to crocodiles. Harmhab tells the High Priest that he has received news that Ptah’s brother, the High Priest of Ammon-Ra has died at Thebes. His priestly office now falls on his brother – and also the post of Grand Vizier to the pharaoh. Ptah is anxious to return and claim his inheritance. The cowardly Harmhab – disturbed by the spies from Thebes – is unwilling to become involved as yet, so endorses Garth accompanying Ptah back to Thebes as his protector.

Garth - The Phantom Pharaoh - K156Whilst Garth and the Ptah sail back down the Nile to Thebes, the valiant dwarf has stolen and ass and has ridden ahead of them. En route, he has encountered a band of roving Hyskos warriors, here called ‘Bedawins’ (after Bedouins), and told them that he was fleeing from their mutual enemy, the High Priest. The Bedawins arrange an ambush by blocking the river with a huge log, where it narrows at a rocky gorge.

Spotting the bowmen poised atop the rocky bank, Garth operates his helmet’s invisibility control and flies ashore. Looking down, he spots the leader who is directing the ambush. Garth plucks him from his horse, holding the leader in mid-air. The terrified archers cease firing at the uncanny sight. The invisible Garth orders the leader to call off the attack, before revealing himself as the God Horus. He learns that the young leader is Mahmud, a prince of the Hyskos. The pharaoh had been kind to his wandering tribe.

Sensing that Mahmud’s fighting force could be useful later, Garth instructs him to await his call to arms. Garth then returns to Ptah’s barge, which continues its journey unmolested. The High Priest is aware of Garth’s intervention causing the attack to cease, but ignorant of the details and the new allegiance Garth has formed.

When Garth and Ptah arrive at Thebes and approach the temple, they come upon a small procession. The High Priest is furious to learn that the mummified body of his brother is being carried to a tomb in the temple, but – by order of the pharaoh – entirely without the usual pomp and ceremony accorded to a priestly brother of Ammon-Ra. Whilst Ptah harangues the temple guards at this insult, Garth takes the opportunity to slip away unnoticed, and flies across a lake to the great house of the pharaoh.

Garth - The Phantom Pharaoh - K171

Garth is challenged by a guard, but the Nubian dwarf arrives and takes charge, welcoming Garth. He conducts Garth for a personal audience with the pharaoh.

Garth declares that he comes as a friend and shows the ring. The masked pharaoh acknowledges that he has good reports of Garth from his spies. He explains to Garth that he is determined to abolish the ways of his past ancestors who have oppressed the people by claiming divinity and building vast pyramids and wasteful tombs, and to stop the priests enslaving people with superstitious sacrifices to a dozen different Gods. He has proclaimed that there is only one God.

Garth congratulates him for being an enlightened man, but questions how he can hope to gain the acceptance of the people whilst hiding his face behind a mask. At Garth’s question the pharaoh becomes strangely disturbed and sweeps out, telling Garth that Pepi – the dwarf – will bring him to resume the audience again tomorrow.

Pepi tells Garth that since the Queen’s simple funeral, the pharaoh hides his grief behind the mask. When Garth asks what has become of the woman who had given him the ring, Pepi tells him to forget her, because he will never see her again. As they emerge on the palace steps, an angry Ptah arrives and announces that he has been accepted by the people as the new High Priest of Ammon-Ra. He demands a state funeral for his brother, and asserts that he is also the Vizier now. To his astonishment, Pepi dismisses him, informing him that the pharaoh has made him first minister. He tells Ptah to retire to a villa that has been reserved for his retinue.

Garth and Ptah’s retinue are led to the villa, where they are confined almost like prisoners. Looking out over a parapet across the desert to a cliffside, Ptah tells Garth that Queen Nefri lies there in a simple rock tomb. He has moved his brother’s body nearby until he can arrange a more fitting funeral. He suspects that his brother may have been poisoned, so intends to inspect his body during the night, while the guards are sleeping.

That night, Garth rises ahead of the High Priest and flies invisibly to the largest of the rock tombs. He reads an inscription, “Here lies Nefri, beloved wife and Queen of a Pharaoh who was no God, but married her as a man.” When Garth looks inside the sarcophagus, curious to see the face of the Queen, he is astonished to find instead the body of a man.

Garth - The Phantom Pharaoh - K184He hears voices outside – Ptah is telling two servants that he is now satisfied that his brother had not been poisoned. He bids them to wait whilst he recites a prayer over the Queen whilst he is here. When he enters the tomb, Garth invisibly lifts him up bodily and flies him back to his bedroom in the villa. Disguising his voice he tells the terrified Ptah to repent for disturbing the Queen’s eternal sleep. Ptah calls out to Horus, convinced he has been bewitched. Garth – his flying kit removed – emerges from an adjoining chamber. He scoffs at Ptah’s story – that he had been carried off by Osiris, the Prince of Darkness – and tells him he must have been dreaming.

Next morning Garth and Ptah resume their audience with the pharaoh. Ptah makes three requests: a state funeral for his brother, acceptance of his claim to the temple of Ammon-Raa, and the rank of Grand Vizier which goes with it. The pharaoh refuses all three requests, and reaffirms that the worship of ancient Gods is ended, and that his loyal former slave Pepi is now his Grand Vizier. He instructs Ptah to return to Memphis, whilst he has a private audience with his companion.

After Ptah leaves, Garth makes himself invisible. The pharaoh instructs the guards to search for him, and leaves the court. Garth follow the pharaoh to a boudoir, and waits for him to show his face as he disrobes. To his astonishment, the pharaoh stands revealed as the girl he had seen in the pyramid – Queen Nefri!

Garth - The Phantom Pharaoh - K193Garth materialises and questions the Queen as to why her husband was in the tomb in her place. Nefri explains that her elderly husband had died before their marriage was consummated. Fearing that the priests would install the nefarious Harmhab on the throne and further oppress the people, she had become the Phantom Pharaoh and made out that it was the Queen who had died. Nefri is determined to carry on her late husband’s policies to break the power of the priests.

With the benefit of history, Garth realises that despite her bravery, Nefri’s reforms cannot succeed. But he pledges to help her, and to return the next day.

Garth flies to the villa to check on what Ptah is doing. Ptah is relieved to see him, and Garth informs him that the pharaoh is set on his reforms, and plays for time when Ptah presses him to lead the revolt, saying he will only make up his mind after his next audience with the pharaoh. Ptah loses patience and sends a messenger to Harmhab instructing him to advance with his army on Thebes. He expects Garth to help him by denouncing the pharaoh in the temple of Ammon-Ra.

Garth flies invisibly to the palace and materialises in the Queen’s chamber where she has prepared herself alluringly for his coming. He warns her of the coming attack and Nefri vows to fight the attackers and appeal to the people to support her. Garth again expresses doubts that the people will listen whilst she wears the mask, so Nefri appeals to him to protect her with his god-like powers. Meanwhile, Ptah has bribed the palace guards to let him slip into the chamber to eavesdrop on Garth’s audience. He overhears Garth admitting that his powers are only due to the helmet and cloak.

As Nefri declares that she is enamoured of Garth and embraces him, Ptah reaches out from his concealment behind a curtain and snatches the space-time kit. Making his escape from the palace, he has superstitious misgivings about meddling with the helmet and cloak. He leaves it at the foot of a statue of Ammon-Ra in the temple, before calling on the guards to follow him to the tombs to see for themselves who really lies there.

Garth - The Phantom Pharaoh - K218Garth realises that Ptah may be about to reveal the Queen’s secret, so he summons the palace guards and she removes her mask. Just as Garth is making a speech to justify her actions, a crowd storms the palace shouting their belief – planted by Ptah – that the Queen had murdered the true pharaoh, and that Garth is no god. However, his mighty strength is sufficient to scatter the crowd, and to allow him to escape from the palace with Pepi and Nefri, via a water gate, and escape down the river in her private canoe that has been kept provisioned for a hunting trip.

After hiding in papyrus reeds until it is safe to emerge, they reach the opposite bank of the river. Garth tells the Queen and Pepi that he has a plan, and leads them on a trek across the rocky desert.

After three days their supplies are exhausted, and Garth calls a halt. He then sets a fire blazing, using dead palm trees. As he had hoped, the huge palls of smoke act as a signal that is seen by Prince Mahmud and his Bedawin forces. Garth introduces the young Prince to the Queen, and – as he had shrewdly anticipated – they are mutually attracted to each other.

"The Phantom Pharaoh" was one of Garth strips reprinted in the Portuguese series Antologia Bd Classica, published by Editorial Futura between 1982 and 1988, alongside the likes of Flash Gordon and Mandrake the Magician in this issue (No.7)
“The Phantom Pharaoh” was one of Garth strips reprinted in the Portuguese series Antologia Bd Classica, published by Editorial Futura between 1982 and 1988, alongside the likes of Flash Gordon and Mandrake the Magician in this issue (No.7)

Mahmud’s forces, led by Garth, lay an ambush in a rocky defile for Harmhab and his advancing army. Arrows rein down on the unsuspecting army, and their rout is completed by a cavalry charge. Nefri is distraught at the slaughter, and unwisely emerges from concealment to make an appeal to stop the fighting.

Harmhab, thrown from his carriage and cowering nearby, seizes his chance to grab the Queen as a hostage. Garth, meanwhile, is directing the Bedawins, and calls on Mahmud to hold back his men as he calls on the Egyptians to surrender to their Queen.

Pepi hears his Queen’s cries for help as she struggles with the obese Harmhab, and the valiant dwarf goes to her rescue. However, the great bulk of Harmhab soon overwhelms him, and the Queen covers her eyes as the loyal Pepi is killed. Snatching up Pepi’s small sword, Harmhab advances on the Queen, intent on her death. But Mahmud arrives in his chariot and thrusts his spear clean through Harmhab’s back, killing him and saving Nefri.

With Harmhab dead, his army yields. Alongside Garth and the Queen, Mahmud leads his triumphant forces back to Thebes, where the Queen is hailed by the fickle populace. As Mahmud escorts Nefri to her palace, Garth follows Ptah-Hotep, who has fled into the temple. Garth recovers and dons his space-time kit as the abject Ptah cowers before him and begs for his life. Surprisingly, Garth orders him to accompany him back to the palace to pay homage to the Queen.

The magnanimous Nefri spares his life when the High Priest promises to work with her for the good of the people. Garth observes that Egypt is not ready for sudden religious reform, but tells the Queen that with Mahmud by her side, she can bring about social change.

Garth orders a second throne to be placed alongside the Queen’s, and tells the Prince: “It’s all yours, Mahmud – Good luck… and good-bye.” And with that he vanishes and flies towards the nearest pyramid…!

Wings of the Night
Writer: Don Freeman
Artist: Steve Dowling/John Allard
Published: 8/10/51 – 17/3/52 (K240 – L65)
Number of Episodes: 136

Space Time Rivals
Writer: Don Freeman
Artist: Steve Dowling/John Allard
Published: 18/3/52 – 5/7/52 (L66 – L159)
Number of Episodes: 94

Flight into the Future
Writer: Don Freeman
Artist: Steve Dowling/John Allard
Published: 7/7/52 – 25/10/52 (L160 – L255)
Number of Episodes: 96

Invasion from Space
Writer: Hugh McClelland
Artist: Steve Dowling/John Allard
Published: 27/10/52 – 14/2/53 L256 – M39
Number of Episodes: 94

Warriors of Krull
Writer: Peter O’Donnell
Artist: Steve Dowling/John Allard
Published: 16/2/53 – 13/6/53 (M40 – M140)
Number of Episodes: 101

In Hollywood
Writer: Peter O’Donnell
Artist: Steve Dowling/John Allard
Published: 15/6/53 – 14/11/53 (M141 – M272)
Number of Episodes: 132

The Return of Malveno
Writer: Peter O’Donnell
Artist: Steve Dowling/John Allard
Published: 16/11/53 – 5/5/54 (M273 – N106)
Number of Episodes: 144

Note on strip codes / serial numbers, etc:

Each code letter (running A to Z, excluding the letter I) represents a year’s worth of Mondays to Saturdays, the days on which The (Daily) Mirror newspaper of London is published Thus in any given year there will be a maximum of 314 numbers assigned to a serial code Figures in brackets denote number of days the newspaper appeared that year Pre 1982 it was not published Sunday, Good Friday, Christmas Day, and Boxing Day From 1982 it was published every day except Sunday and Christmas Day Stories 163, 164 and 165 appeared only in
the Mirror’s Northern Ireland edition. Thick writing = leap years

1943 = B (310)
1944 = C (310)
1945 = D (308)
1946 = E (309)
1947 = F (310)
1948 = G (311)
1949 = H (310)
1950 = J (309)
1951 = K (310)
1952 = L (310)
1953 = M (310)
1954 = N (310)
1955 = O (308)
1956 = P (310)
1957 = Q (310)
1958 = R (310)
1959 = S (310)
1960 = T (311)
1961 = U (309)
1962 = V (310)
1963 = W (310)
1964 = X (311)
1965 = Y (310)
1966 = Z (311)
1967 = A (309)
1968 = B (311)
1969 = C (309)
1970 = D (305)
1971 = E (304)
1972 = F (307)
1973 = G (309)
1974 = H (306)
1975 = J (307)
1976 = K (310)
1977 = L (310)
1978 = M (307)
1979 = N (309)
1980 = O (307)
1981 = P (309)
1982 = Q (309)

1983 = R (311)
1984 = S (313)
1985 = T (307)
1986 = U (310)
1987 = V (311)
1988 = W (314)
1989 = X (311)
1990 = Y (312)
1991 = Z (312)
1992 = A (313)
1993 = B (312)
1994 = C (313)
1995 = D (311)
1996 = E (312)
1997 = F (312)

See Also: Garth: An Introduction

• Garth – Strip Checklist – Part One | Two | Three | Four | Five | Six | Seven | Eight (Reprints)

Garth © Daily Mirror