Sunday, 18 January 2015


It's a brilliant concept when you think about it - being able to
go back in time and ascertain, one way or another, the veracity of
the events of legend.  Imagine being able to travel back to Biblical
times and see for yourself whether well-known religious tales actually
happened or not.  Or materialise the day before yesterday's Lotto
draw and mark the winning numbers on your entry form.  Now
you're talking!  (Although, if you could afford a time machine you
obviously wouldn't be short of a bob or two to start with.)

Anyway, back to reality (more or less).  Let's now revisit the
1960s to read again an adventure of THE LEGEND TESTERS
from the SMASH! Annual for 1968.  It's as close to time travel
as we're likely to get - in more ways than one!


Andrew May said...

Thanks for posting this and the previous one. I don't think I've seen either of them before, since as I said in an earlier comment I can't remember owning the 1967 or 68 Smash annuals. To be honest, I only ever used to read the Marvel reprints and the humorous stuff anyway - these "serious" British stories struck my ten-tear-old self as deadly dull, with 1950s-looking art and far too many words! But reading them now they're really not bad at all.

The "legend testers" is a great concept, particularly with my recently developed interest in British history. I'm not sure these two stories really live up to the full potential of the concept, though. Were there any more of them?

A couple of things struck me as a big contrast with American comics of the same period. One was the way the writing really flatters a young reader's intelligence - personally I wouldn't have had a clue what "quitted his cloister" or "weather gauge" meant when I was ten! Secondly there's a realistic (for the 13th century) level of sadistic violence, with things like the good guys slashing away with swords at temporarily blinded enemy sailors, and the beheading of a villain who is cowering and pleading for mercy. I doubt either would have got past the US Comics Code in 1968!

One odd thing about the second story is that it doesn't even attempt to make the scenes set in the 40th century look like the future - at least they were wearing vaguely futuristic fashions in the first story! The second panel, showing a chap with a moustache and pipe, is so iconically mid-20th century that it's almost comical!

Kid said...

There's a few more from the Annuals (if I remember correctly), Andrew, plus the series from the weekly, which I may one day get around to posting. The difficulty is, although I've got quite a number of loose issues, I don't have them all - and it's very difficult to open my bound volumes in order to scan the pages properly. Glad to know you've enjoyed seeing the ones I've shown so far.

John Pitt said...

Thanks from me too.

Kid said...

Nae bother, JP.

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