Just received my copy of Collected Hook Jaw Volume 1 from Spitfire Comics, 96 pages of blood-soaked, limb-severing shark attacks from the pages of Action. Having "given up" comics at the age of 13 when I switched from reading Valiant to getting Speed & Power, I was tempted back to them when the first issue of Action hit the shelves... although I guess I'd never really given them up because I was already buying Vulcan. Action really did live up to its name and, for a while, was the best comic on the market. There was an almost immediate backlash against its violent content, led by the tabloids and famously picked up by Nationwide where Frank Bough interviewed John Sanders.
Sales of the title were rising as word of mouth brought in new readers each week. And then... disaster. IPC cancelled the title and, ten weeks later, bought out a new, neutered version. I continued to read it but without the same level of enthusiasm. It obviously didn't hold my attention because I stopped buying it after a few weeks and the only strip I missed was 'Spinball'. By then there was another new title on the shelves and I thought I'd give that a try: 2000AD.
So it's great to see Hook Jaw given the collection treatment. The title page has a little note asking what readers would like to see reprinted next and I think I'd like either 'Dredger' or 'The Running Man'. I don't think the latter ever topped the Action popularity charts but I thought it was fantastic. Or 'Death Game 1999', the precursor to 'Spinball'.
(Hook Jaw © Egmont UK)