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Thursday, November 01, 2007

Comic Firsts: Jim Holdaway

Like the strip from Joe Colquhoun yesterday, this story isn't the first tale from the pen of Jim Holdaway, but it is an early one drawn in his first year as a comic strip artist. Like Colquhoun, Holdaway started in the independent comics that were published in the decade after the end of the Second World War before the big two -- Amalgamated Press and D C Thomson -- began launching new titles regularly. Some of the better artists, Colquhoun and Holdaway amongst them, quickly left the independents for the better pay of A.P. but left behind a number of early strips where you can see their talents beginning to emerge.

Jim Holdaway will hopefully need no introduction. He went on to have a successful career drawing for comics and newspaper strips, tragically cut short by his early death in 1970 when he was still in his early forties. His fame rests on his seven years as the artist of Modesty Blaise which was, from 1963 to 1970, one of the best comic strips published in the UK -- a perfect synthesis of writing and artistry that happens all too rarely.

All of the Modesty strips drawn by Jim are in print thanks to Titan Books and all are available with a 30-40% discount on Amazon. (And I'm starting to sound like a salesman.) Jim Holdaway's contributions are contained in the first six volumes and all six are highly recommended.
Our story for tonight is, however, from an earlier decade -- almost exactly a decade, in fact -- when Holdaway was drawing for the independents. This strip appeared in Spaceman no. 7 (1953) published by Gould-Light and edited by Norman Light. The quality of the scans is a bit patchy, especially the final page, which was printed in blue ink, as this was scanned from a photocopy of the comic.

The story is simplistic but has a certain charm -- and fans of Dan Dare will quickly recognise some of the spacesuit designs.

1 comment:

  1. Is it just me or does Prof Brodie in the first frame look like Joe Colquhoun? :-)

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