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
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