Garth – Story 29 – The Fantastic Doctor Quyn

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The Fantastic Doctor Quyn
Story Number: 29
Writer: Peter O’Donnell
Artist: Steve Dowling/ John Allard
Published: 26th January 1956 – 2nd July 1956 (P22 – P156)
Number of Episodes: 135

Garth and Lumiere are sought out by a frightened young girl who works as a servant for the mysterious Quyn. She has surreptitiously witnessed fantastic feats of strength from him, and he is never seen to eat or sleep.

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Investigating, Garth and Lumiere discover that Quyn is a shape-changing alien who is an advance observer from a superior interstellar civilisation that rules the galaxy. Earth is being assessed for a possible takeover. Both Garth and Lumiere perform great feats of sacrificial heroism, trying to destroy Quyn at risk of their own lives. Quyn, who is virtually indestructible, observes that they are possessed of the ‘X-Factor’, a mysterious element in human nature that prompts man to fight against impossible odds – and that has prompted man to advance from a stone-age culture to early atomic at treble the speed of any other race in the galaxy.

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The alien gradually realises that mankind has great potential. The X-Factor, if welded into a racial unity, will enable mankind to one day rule the galaxy. Impressed, Quyn decides to let mankind continue to evolve in his own way. But he adds a warning that if mankind fails to live up to its destiny, it will be destroyed by his race who will be monitoring progress from space. Quyn wipes all memories of their struggles from the minds of Garth, Lumiere and the girl, and as a parting gift to Garth he electronically increases his already great strength.

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The core idea of the story – of mankind’s galactic destiny and potential – was possibly inspired by Arthur C. Clarke’s story ‘Rescue Party’ (Astounding Science Fiction magazine, 1946) and the warning to mankind that he was being watched and judged echoes the warning given by Michael Rennie in the famous science fiction movie The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951).

• Previous: The Stone of Solomon | Next: The Hand of Attila

Synopsis by Philip Harbottle

• Garth: An Introduction

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

A Tribute to Garth Artist and Editor John Allard by Philip Harbottle

In a feature encompassing the entire history of the much-loved strip, Garth writer Philip Harbottle pays tribute to artist and editor John Allard, who worked at the Mirror for over 50 years, outlining his huge contribution to Garth‘s enduring success

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

Garth © REACH/ Daily Mirror