After my first article about the use of real people in stories, who should I be chatting to but comic artist Mike Dorey, who was kind enough to point out two examples of his work where he used the likeness of a couple of actors for his look…
The first one is “Victor Drago“, the short-lived detective series that featured in Tornado, one of the many “Hatch, Match and Dispatch” comics launched by Fleetway to see if it would last or just merged into another comic to boost their sales.
Victor Drago is a character that always amuses me when I come across him, as the name was added at the 11th hour. The character was supposed to be a Sexton Blake retread, but it was found out at the last minute, Fleetway no longer owned the publishing rights, after a rights agreement between them and IPC, now of course void as Rebellion own both company’s titles and characters.
Re-named Victor Drago, Mike confirmed that he based the look on the actor David Farrar. Many will never have heard of him, but when you find out he played Sexton Blake in two movies in the 1940s, it makes sense that Mike used him as the model for his look.
While I was looking at images to use for this article, I did find a little Easter Egg in Tornado Issue Two, added by writer Bill Henry. Many may look at this picture and wondering what on earth I am on about, but if you know your comics historians then you will know that William Lofts and Derek Adley are two of the giants of British comics, responsible for many great reference books. If you don’t have any of their books, get out there and find some.Mike also mentioned another character that he was responsible for – “Hellman of Hammer Force” who first appeared in Action. While I never got Action as a kid, I did cast envious eyes over anyone that had copies when I was dragged to visit various relatives and family friends.
Hellman was a great example of the “Good German” war comics genre and he was one of the first in British comics, when you still had Germans being killed by the score. So to have a German as a hero was sailing pretty close to the edge, but to have him in a Waffen SS uniform was really kicking it up a gear.
I should have guessed myself that Hellman’s look was based on actor Robert Shaw and his role as Colonel Hessler in the movie, The Battle Of The Bulge, but as I watched the movie, reading Action was a distant and future memory.I am going to finish up this article – there is more yet to come – with one last picture, from from Air Ace Issue 95 – “Death Takes Wing’. It features an artist who decided he fancied being aircrew with bomber jacket and all.
Now his hair may be grey, but there was nothing wrong with his eyesight as he pointed out his cameo, without blinking. I wonder who it could be…
A life-long comic fan, specialising mainly in UK adventure comics, Colin did his very best to support his passion for the comics of his youth, Commandos (still going!) and any small press that interested him. Sadly, Colin passed in March 2021, an invaluable downthetubes team member, much missed by us all