Thursday, 17 July 2014

Super Spook and his Surprisingly Well-Defined Buttocks

Britain does not have a great history of Superheroes. There are copies like Marvelman, parodies like Bananaman and deconstructions like Zenith. It's almost like we are embarrassed at the notion of doing superheroes sincerely.
Which is not to say creators have not tried. But for every one that hit, like say, Billy the Cat, there were, I would guess, a billion failures.
Which brings us to Super Spook.
Super Spook appeared in the Cor! Annual 1976 and as far as I can tell, nowhere else. Comment if you no different True Believers! I'll e-mail you a no-prize!
Cor! was a comic that was published from 1970-1974 before being merged with Buster, although, as was common then, the annuals continued (I say "then" but we still got a Dandy Annual last year). Cover star was Gus the Gorilla (see above) and among the strips contained within were Ivor Lott and Tony Broke (one of many class war strips from the period), Tomboy, Tricky Dicky (not to be confused with the one from Topper who lives on in today's Beano), Val's Vanishing Cream and even the comic adventures of The Goodies!
However, in 1975 it was dead, an ex-comic, it had ceased to be. Except for annuals. And this one has million-dollar debut of Super Spook!

Now read on....
The strip starts with this mildly alarming image of Super Spook himself, clad in a very, erm, snug onesie. With a hood. Seriously, that all-in-one outfit really clings to his manly form, doesn't it?

Also, the black "flash" behind him seems to indicate that he has maybe burst through from another dimension? He is Super Spook so he's a ghost? Maybe he escaped from Hell?
Our story begins with some children playing on a charmingly-70s blatant death-trap. Maybe the creative team remember their youths spent playing on the bombsites around their home town and assumed kids still did that. West Wyton clearly has a severe lack of parks. Someone call Leslie Knope.
And so we (nearly) meet our protagonists; the "Dirty Hands Gang". Who are apparently planning a bike trip but without deciding where they are going.
So the "Mighty-Muscled Avenger (tm Marvel Comics)" decides to fly down and watch some kids. Dressed like that. It was the 70s.
So no-one can see or hear Super Spook. I can't decide if that makes it less creepy or more... Just a little time to taunt the fat kid before we travel off to a superhero origin story..... (harp strings)
Revelation No 1. Super Spook is... Canadian? Odd choice, carry on. It turns out a lightning bolt strikes the mine and only "gentle giant" Jeremiah has the strength to hold up the roof to allow his friends to escape.
So his origin is... he died? Nobly, I suppose but you'd think it would take more than that. They could made something up about the lightning. And where did that *ahem* form-fitting onesie come from? All this and less will be answered!
And introducing our baddies! They drop their aitches. Baddies fer sure.
THAT'S TRASH TALK WHERE I COME FROM! Sorry, I mean from where I come.
Wait is Captain Pornstache a goody (no I mean not a baddie, not a Goody)? Is he trying to clean up this one-horse town one juvenile "gang" at a time?
Yeah! Yank that stache! Super Spook chuckles.
Stop talking like that! It's creepy!
So Super Spook's power is telekinesis? I guess?
A needlessly phallic object is "jerked" at them. Thanks, Nearby Gardener!
Waitaminnit... These ne'erdowells is up to summink!
Oh, he's so old timey! Does that mean he jumped from 1880s to 1970s? Or is he just only now bothering to listen to people?
So Super Spook watches them... And... that onesie is so... tight.... I mean it almost looks like he's wearing nothing at all...
...nothing at all...
....nothing at all....
Stupid sexy Super Spook!

Bank robbery! Call the Sweeney!
So he can move like lightning too? With a lightning bolt-like "Flash (tm DC Comics)"?
I have to admit that's an awesome drawing of a 70s sports car.
Oh no! Face first into a bag of white powder! Just like (insert name of celebrity with coke habit here).
Yes "flying bird thing". You really have not been paying attention, have you?
However he figures out the principles pretty fast! Well done Super Spook! Also: actually impressive use of your ill-defined superpowers.
Again: I like this stuff!
Ha! Tying the propellers is a pretty baller move. Hats off!
And then we get this amazing scaredy-face reaction from Tim Brooke-Taylor. Doing the traditional "Casper" reaction. Nice work!
Take that, scoundrels! Eff yeah!
Oh, so it's like the Invisible Man then? Weird, but okay.
Ooh, plot development!
Some nice 70s details in this panel. However our hero needs to stop having flour on him, as that is disturbing.
Ha! Casual, one-panel background characters I love you! Really, you can imagine that family's entire lives on that one simple exchange. Dad saw the "thing" but he won't say. He'll allow his child to be blamed for it as the alternative is giving up to the unknown. And that way madness lies. The child shall be punished to establish the status quo. And none of us will speak of this again.
That's it Super Spook! Abduct a child! That'll prove you're not crazy!
Aha! So that's why they were scaring the kids away! So they could use their hideout! Shame they didn't go full Scooby Doo and scare them with masks n that but w'evs.
A plot is hatched to Home Alone the first guy to try to pick up the loot. Hee hee. Loot.
Silly Super Spook, we don't have sheriffs! Except for Nottingham. They do. I've met him. Nice guy.
Hoorah! Good will out! But how were crooks trapped? How did they explain that mangled helicopter?
Oh look! that chap with the Rolls Royce and the top hat is concerned. That is cartoonishly "rich man" even for a cartoon!
Butch later went mad trying to figure out what happened that day. He is currently heavily sedated in a care home but occasionally cries out about a "flour man".
If he comes near my kids... I swear I'll do time!

Bonus Strip!

Also in the Cor! Annual is a character called Jelly Baby.
She/he (I genuinely don't know) is, well, a baby made of jelly. Or at least is fantastically rubbery. She's a baby version of Mr Fantastic, essentially.

She can stretch her neck:
Or her limbs:
And one story starts with her (yeah I've decided she's female) complaining of bullying.

1 comment:

  1. Genuine LOL. Best yet. That gardener's hose is as deliberate as rainbow's unbroadcast balls.