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Here's another forgotten gem
from the Odhams comics of the 1960s. Tornado Jones was an adventure strip
that appeared in the early issues
of the Wham! weekly that was launched
in the summer of 1964.
In most British comics of the era,
adventure items were serials, running a couple of pages per issue
over several months. But complete
stories featuring the
same characters can be
found in the various comics' hardcover
annuals, often drawn by the regular
artist or someone with a similar style.
With its launch in June, Wham!
was too late to have an annual for 1965,
sincethe pattern was for the books
to appear around
September, dated for the following year
and aimed at the Christmas-present market.
Our Tornado Jones yarn comes from the Wham! Annual 1966. Prepared and printed during 1965, it would have gone on sale in the late summer when the weekly was just into its second year. The adventure fare in Its later issues would be reprints, in short instalments, of the American Marvel Comics' Fantastic Four. But at this early stage the adventure element, like the funnies, was home-grown, which meant British authors would supply the scripts, although European and South American artists were increasingly being commissioned for the artwork. Despite occasional hiccups in translation, their work was of reliable, often impressive quality, and the artists were able to live on less money in their home countries. The script for the annual's story of Tornado Jones was written by Keith Chapman. Unfortunately, he can't remember who the artist was, but he is able to send us, intriguingly, a scan of the cover page of his original typescript. From the inscription at the top (in Spanish?), it doesn't look like he was British. Keith says the stamped "1152" job number, which appears on each page, suggests to him the script might have gone to an artist working for F. Solano Lopez's studio in Argentina. The handwritten instructions, in English, ask for black and white linework only -- colour was added at a later stage in the reproduction process -- and refer the substitute artist to the weekly comic for stock character and "hardware" samples.