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Monday, October 27, 2008

One-Eyed Jack

A comic first: the debut episode of "One-Eyed Jack" from the pages of Valiant's 20 December 1975 issue, where two other new stories, a 'Valiant's Bag o' Tricks' fold-out supplement' and the chance to win one of five Chopper bikes or 60 "super pocket-money prizes" was also on offer. To all intents and purposes, Valiant was being relaunched: new strips, new attitude. A hard-hitting new war series, "Death Wish" and a new style football strip, "The Lout That Ruled The Rovers", debuted in the same issue. The editor was John Wagner, recently involved in the launch of Battle Picture Weekly, which he helped put together with Pat Mills. Mills went off to create Action and Wagner was offered the editorship of Valiant, having previously held editorial posts only on girls' titles.

Wagner took over the title shortly after a new batch of strips had just begun so it took some months before he was able to stamp his mark on the title (and then not for long as he quit not long after). Of the new strips, "One-Eyed Jack" is probably the most Wagner-ian: violent with occasional doses of black humour. It predated Action's "Dredger" by a few months which also used Clint Eastwood's Dirty Harry as a role-model.

As I happen to have the issue to hand and the scanner's free, here's the opening episode. The artwork is by John Cooper who was to rise to greater heights in the pages of Battle when he took over the artwork on "Johnny Red".

(* One-Eyed Jack © IPC Media.)

5 comments:

ARCHAVIST said...

One Eyed Jack has often been called a forerunner to Judge Dredd but I've always seen Dredger as Dredd's father. Mayeb OEJ is Dredd's grandfather.

I used to love this strip all those years ago. Thanks for the memories.

Ken Davidson said...

You can just hear the wokka-wokka electric guitar soundtrack! Top stuff.

crow said...

I can see a definate Frank Bellamy influence in John Cooper's art in those pages.
Any info about him? He's still around isn't he? I think he has a web page out there. I remember an illustration in an Eagle annual late 50s, early 60's(?) with an illustration by a John Cooper. Same guy? Style was quite different sketchier/looser... Although, I only seem to think his work started appearing regularly in the early 70s.

Robbie Moubert said...

I remember John Cooper working on One Eyed Jack but this example looks to me like a mix of Cooper and John Richardson.

Beardo said...

I remember John Cooper working in TV21 - he did the post-Mysterons Captain Scarlet stories at the end, didn't he. He also worked on 2000 AD.

I always liked his style - it gave the impression of a lot of energy.