This is a personal list and is not intended to be an indication of the best characters ever created in British comics, although many of those in my selection undoubtedly are.
I started reading comics in the 1970’s and stopped sometime during the mid 80’s.
Of course I would return to comic book reading and these days regularly read several titles.
However the top ten (in no particular order) that follows is heavily influenced by that first burst of
comic book reading and as such reflects the style of comics
that were my personal preference.
10- Dennis the Menace – the American Dennis the Menace was a slightly mischievous cute kid, the British one was a true hard bastard. I was only an occasional reader of the Beano but whenever I picked up a copy, this and the Bash Street Kids were my favourite stories. I can still read Dennis the Menace strips now, though the current version lacks the bite of the 1970’s version. Our Dennis used to kick softy arse and terrorise anyone over the age of twenty.
9 – Lord Peter Flint AKA Warlord. Of course Peter Flint was basically James Bond in a World War II setting, but the strip was always exciting. Of course the fact that Peter Flint was the president of the Warlord Secret Agent club of which you could join via a cut out coupon in the comic, made him seem all the more real. Lord Peter Flint was a dashing, tea drinking, English super spy with a penchant for the finer things in life.
8 – Walter the Wobot. The robot with a speech impediment was a favourite of mine. He initially provided comic relief in the brutal Judge Dredd Robot Wars storyline, but he spun off into occasional humorous solo strips in 2000AD. Walter was blindly loyal to Judge Dredd and as I stopped reading 2000AD many years ago, I don’t know what really happened to the character. He doesn’t seem to be around these days.
7 - Bill Savage - Easily my favourite character from classic 2000AD. Bill was a lorry driver who turned into a one man army when his family were killed during the Volgan invasion of Britain which occurred in 1999. Created by Pat Mills the first run of Invasion ran for 51 issues. I was devastated when Bill Savage vanished from the comic book and when he did return in a prequel set during a period where London was flooded by polar ice caps it just wasn't the same. Bill did return to form in the Savage storyline which started in 2004, though.
6- Roy Race - When I was reading the character he was the player/manager of Melchester Rovers and had his own comic, Roy of the Rovers. He was devastatingly handsome in a 1970's rock star kind of way and he had awesome skills on the footie pitch. I didn't know then that the character had a long history and had originally appeared in Tiger in the 1950's before getting his own comic.
5 - Dan Dare - each generation has their own hero and my Dan Dare was not the classic character but the revamp which appeared in 2000AD. In fact when 2000AD launched I don't think I was even aware of the original Dan Dare and the Eagle comic in which he appeared. I would only discover these later through reprints and the odd Eagle annual I picked up in secondhand shops. The first instalment of 2000AD's new Dan Dare was scripted by Ken Armstrong and Pat Mills, and saw the character revived from suspended animation after two hundred years to find himself in a different world. The Mekon had also survived but otherwise the cast was different, as was the tone of the strip (heavily influenced by the punk movement, as was much of 2000 AD) and the personality of the title character. Written by Kelvin Gosnell and then Steve Moore, the strip was initially illustrated by Massimo Bellardinelli, whose Dare owed nothing to the original apart from the wavy eyebrows.