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Thursday, 19 August 2010

Yesterday's papers - Valiant

I vaguely remember this title - it was successful for a great many years but then it eventually folded, it was merged into Battle Picture Weekly which I read every week, so I can remember Battle/Valiant if not the original comic. A great many of the title's characters though became iconic and lived on in one form or another after the comics demise - Captain Hurricane, Mytek the Mighty and the Steel Claw being only three.

Captain Hurricane was, for instance, supposedly the editor of Battle Picture Weekly and it was his mug on the letters page but back in the days of Valiant the character was one of the most popular. His adventure in this particular issue stretches to a massive five pages.

The strips were well written and aimed at the early teenage marker which meant that the subject matter was often more daring than those found in comics aimed at younger children.

In the history of British comics Valiant is most certainly an important title and it's influence can be felt even today - Valiant characters were used by Alan Moore and Alan Davies for their Captain Britain strip and the Steel Claw was updated by Quality Comics - the Steel Claw, along with several other Valiant characters, also appeared in 2000AD'S Zenith series.

Another popular character that out-lived the original comic was Billy Bunter who would often pop up in boy's comics through the years. The character was already of a fine vintage when Valiant first appeared, having made his first showing in The Magnet way back in 1908.

Billed as, The Fat Owl of the Remove, Bunter would these days have the PC brigade up in arms. Charles Hamilton invented the character for an unpublished story in the late 1890s. He claimed Bunter was derived from three persons: a corpulent editor, a short-sighted relative, and another relative who was perpetually trying to raise a loan on the strength of the anticipated arrival of a cheque. The name Bunter was in common use at the time, due to the popularity of a patent medicine known as Bunter's Nervine Tonic. It also meant a low vulgar woman. Bunter has appeared in novels, on the radio, on television and even as a stage play.

Eventually though styles changed and Valiant became increasingly old fashioned - as previously mentioned it merged with Battle Picture Weekly before the Valiant name was dropped altogether.

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