2000AD creator and writer of the 1980s Eagle Dan Dare stories, Pat Mills to re-launch the Bovril Brigade in a limited edition print comic celebrating Britain’s greatest tales of adventure and human endurance – which you can also read online.
The original ‘Bovril Brigade’ were a crew of problem-solving characters, last printed in the original Eagle 50 years ago, an ongoing advertising campaign considered quite revolutionary. The new special edition offers a combination of original Eagle contributors work alongside new strips drawn by top Doctor Who artist Mike Collins, Andrew Chiu (artist on the first issues of ROK Comics Team M.O.B.I.L.E.), “Judge Dredd” artist Patrick Goddard and student of the Eagle comic co-founder Frank Hampson, Nick Spender, some lettered by Annie Parkhouse, telling the stories of British adventure past and present.
Pat penned most of the strips in the special anniversary comic. ” Everyone has done a great job,” he told downthetubes.
The brainchild of Mischief PR, the comic – which is helping to mark the brand’s 130th anniversary – reveals how integral Bovril has been to the success of some of Britain’s greatest feats and explorations and features real-life heroes such as Captain Webb, the first man to swim the channel in 1875 and the great explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton’s tale of being marooned on Antarctic’s Elephant Island in 1916.
Also regaled in Bovril Brigade 2015 is Nottingham Forest’s FA Cup Win of 1898 that saw half-time oranges replaced with Bovril, and how Lewis Pugh swam his way to the world’s best job title: United Nations Patron of the Oceans. Mollie Hughes’ hair-raising Mount Everest summits are also included, alongside the formation of the Lake District Ski Club and the tale of the great, Bovril-glugging strongman, Thomas Inch.
“The original Bovril Brigade solved fictional problems over 50 years ago,’ notes Pat, who, among his many credits, revived Eagle‘s top character Dan Dare for 2000AD in the 1970s and also penned some Dare adventures for the 1980s Eagle comic, “but in this case the truth is more epic than fiction. Bovril is a British institution, and when you look at its role within some of these great, British moments you can see why. To re-tell the tales of the likes of Captain Webb and Sir Ernest Shackleton in comic form is a brilliant way of bring them to life.”
Jonathan Roberts, Assistant Brand Manager for Bovril UK said: “We are a brand steeped in history, and have been keeping Britain’s chin-up for over 130 years, which is why we wanted to celebrate those truly great moments in history that Bovril has been a part of. What better way than in a timeless comic book that fans of all ages can enjoy.”
The Adventures of the Bovril Brigade ran in various titles as well as Eagle, including TV Comic, Princess and the Children’s Newspaper two drawn by Frank Hampson and the rest by Richard Jennings. Steve Holland has published a number of these on his Bear Alley site after a lot of research.
There are some wonderful Bovril promotional images in the comic alongside the new strip material. Well worth a click through!
• For more of Frank Hampson’s work visit his official web site, curated by his son, Peter: www.frankhampsonartwork.co.uk
• As well as Steve Holland’s Bear Alley, The Lost Characters of Frank Hampson also features some of the Bovril Brigade advertisments
The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. He is currently editor of Star Trek Explorer, published by Titan – his third tour of duty on the title originally titled Star Trek Magazine.
Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Babylon 5 Magazine, and more. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War” and “Dan Dare”.
He’s the writer of “Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies” for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.