Just released by audio drama creators Big Finish to complement their new, official The Avengers – Steed & Mrs Peel series starring Julian Wadham and Olivia Poulet is a collection of eight strips sourced from Diana comic in the 1960s.
The Avengers – Steed & Mrs Peel recreates in audio the comic strips from the 1960s, as well as reprinting the material itself as a new graphic novel.
Published in Diana Issues 199-224 in 1966/67, these are illustrated by Emilio Frejo (also known in the UK for his work on “Kit Carson” and “Kansas Kid”) with assistance by Juan Gonzalez Alacreu.
“Alacreu drew for the UK all through the 1960s,” David Roach, whose book Masters of Spanish Comic Book Art is released next year tells us, also working for titles such as Tiger, Buster, Air Ace,, Eagle, Look and Learn, June and Schoolfriend Picture Library.
“He’s one of the absolute best Spanish artists,” David says, “yet nobody knows his name.”
These stories, originally published as two-page episodes, are all pretty short, a maximum of four episodes each, but the artwork is lovely, very similar to that produced by such luminaries as Jose Ortiz and Luis Bermejo.
Big Finish are to be congratulated on bringing these stories to light.
70 glorious pages of strip, all for just £9.99? Treat yourself to an early Christmas present.
The Avengers: Steed and Mrs Peel Audio Adventures
Recreations of the comic strip adventures of Steed and Mrs Peel which appeared in Diana in 1966 and 1967.
1. “Return to Castle De’ath” by Simon Barnard and Paul Morris
Steed is left hanging, Emma pays the piper.
Steed and Peel return to the scene of an earlier adventure to find it much changed. Now a ski-resort, Castle De’ath is playing host to many new visitors – including a wealthy Prince targeted by assassins.
Assigned as bodyguards, the Avengers have to keep the Prince alive and discover which of the Castle’s guests are behind the murderous plot – before they succumb to it themselves.
2. “The Miser” by Simon Barnard and Paul Morris
Steed has a nasty scare, Emma has a pressing engagement
When the phrase ‘sleeper train’ takes on a very literal meaning, Steed and Peel witness the first action of The Miser, a terrifying extortionist.
The race is on to stop his ambitious scheme – but in this case, appearances can be deceptive.
3. “The Golden Dresses” by Paul Magrs
Emma hits the heights of fashion, Steed plumbs the very depths.
The ladies of society can’t get enough of Madame Zingara’s Golden Dresses. Especially now their husbands have gone missing.
Steed and Peel look into the world of haute couture to discover the dark secret of this latest craze. Can they pull it off with style?
4. “The Norse Code” by John Dorney
Steed has the horns of a dilemma, Emma milks her moment.
An agent has gone missing whilst holidaying in the Norfolk Broads. With an American nuclear bomb being stored in the region, Steed and Peel can’t take any risks.
But the last thing they expect to find on their boating trip is a Norse longboat. What are Vikings doing in East Anglia?
2.1 “Playtime is Over” by Robert Khan and Tom Salinsky
Steed gets toyed with, Emma has an admirer.
A series of impossible robberies have plagued London. Called in to investigate, Steed and Peel find themselves up against some very deadly children. Or do they?
2.2 “The Antagoniser” by Paul Morris and Simon Barnard
Steed catches a bite, Emma is a little cowed.
Several noted scientists have died in unusual circumstances, and Steed and Peel find themselves up against a deadly weapon. But who is behind it? Does an old TV broadcast hold the answer?
2.3: “The Mad Hatter” by Matt Fitton
Steed charms a princess, Emma buys a hat
When Princess Helga of Varania comes to England, all the nation is charmed. Well, nearly all. A dastardly assassination plot is being prepared and only Steed and Peel can stop it. Who wants to be a milliner?
2.4: “The Secret Six” by John Dorney
Steed hits a boundary, Emma shall go to the ball
When an invitation to a fancy dress party leads to murder, Steed and Peel face the fight of their lives. The world’s six deadliest criminals want them dead – and will stop at nothing to make sure of it!
This article is expanded from an item on the Boys Adventure Blog.
An earlier version of this article wrongly confused Juan Gonzalez Alacreu with Vampirella artist José (Pepe) González who drew an unrelated The Avengers newspaper strip for the UK market in the 1960s. We apologise for the mistake and thank David Roach for the correction