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Sunday, 29 May 2011

The Archive's Sunday Comics - Any Ol' Iron!

This week's Sunday Comics comes from one of the most iconic British comics ever, or at least the 1967 annual of the said publication.

This particular Iron Man story was written by Keith Chapman, whom Archive readers will know best as western writer, Chap O'Keefe.


The Iron Man who appeared in British comics 
in the 1960s bore little relation to Marvel’s Iron Man. 
For a start, he looked human and only Tim Branton,
 the nephew of his creator, the late Professor 
Wentworth Farrad, knew he was a robot stronger than 
a hundred men and with a wonderful brain that 
could take in and process complex information. 
He was nothing like Lion comic’s long-running Robot Archie
 either,who was charmingly clunky in a 1950s 
The Iron Man made his debut in the short-lived Boys’ World 
weekly in 1963. When that comic was incorporated with its
 more famous stablemate, Eagle, in 1964, the Iron Man became a
 fixture there till Eagle itself was absorbed into Lion in the IPC  
rationalizations of 1969.
 The stories in Boys’ World and Eagle were of the British serial
 pattern typical of the times—an episode every week 
culminating in a cliffhanger.
 But for complete stories we can look to the annuals, where we
 find this four-page item from Eagle Annual 1967, drawn by
 the Iron Man’s usual artist, Martin Salvador, 
and published in late 1966. 
 Salvador’s early work had been for Chicos, a famous comic in 
his home country, Spain. 
His best-known achievement in that publication
was a western, Mendoza Colt. In 1956,
when barely
out of his teens,
 he began drawing for British comics, working through 
SI Artists, a Barcelona-headquartered agency. 
His work appeared in Amalgamated Press
(Fleetway) comics like Sun Comic,
Cowboy Picture Library (Buck Jones), and
 Thriller Picture Library (Robin Hood and Dick Daring).
After his stint on the Iron Man, Salvador’s work
popped up in the United States, in the 
Warren black-and-white horror comics, Creepy
(standalones) and Eerie (Curse of the Werewolf).
Later, he drew for European Saint and
James Bond comic-books published

in Sweden by Semic Press.
His style is recognized internationally
 by comics collectors whether the story 
is in the western, historical, war,
 horror, or techno-thriller genres.


Charles Gramlich said...

Great cover

Chap O'Keefe said...

The second paragraph there needs a little clarification. I wasn't the creator of the UK Iron Man (just one of several scriptwriters over the years, I believe) and my contributions were completes, not serials. They appeared solely in Eagle Annual.