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DC THOMSON

DIED - 07.02.75


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The Hornet issue 1 came out with a balsa wood "Kestral Glider". A copy of this with the free gift is worth around 50 today.

In February 1975 The Hornet joined with The Hotspur.

The Hornet - bibliography

For more The Hornet Titles click here

I never really followed the DC Thomson adventure weeklies much. Too much emphasis on the British Empire and bloomin' sport for my liking. Thomsons must have been aware of the dated look of their comics themselves, as I remember they tried to make The Hornet "trendy" for a while in the seventies, with features on pop stars of the day. A fine idea for Look-In, which was a girl's and boy's comic, but not for the macho Hornet! Photos of Elton John and Freddie Mercury? Getouttahere! - Lew Stringer

We had the Hornet every Sunday from the newsagents.

Regulars were:

Captain Hornet in his peculiar black and yellow flying machine. Always on the front cover in colour.

Bernard Briggs the unbeatable goalie and scrap metal merchant who drove a motor bike and sidecar in which the sidecar was fashioned from a bathtub. I can never remember him letting in any goals unless he was distracted or ill or fell foul of some cheating by the opposition team. Bernard was all man and shunned socks as a poncey affectation. As well as being a brilliant footballer he also won Wimbledon (playing with a home made square tennis raquet)was an accomplished rugby league player, runner and pole vaulter. I also remember one series in which he took the job of delivering a vintage car to California and drove across the USA taking part in various American sports on the way. He continued to appear after the merger/takeover with Hotspur.

Wilson
(Who I think originally appeared in The Wizard). All-round wonder athlete who was at least 200-years- old. Wore a strange one-piece black underwear outfit. Lived on nuts and berries on the moors. Died on WWII in his Fairey Battle plane. Also dabbled in cricket in one series, in which he captained a victorious English team in the Ashes, skittling the Aussies with his super fast bowling.

Its Goals That Count.
Football story (a la Roy of the Rovers) featuring Nick Smith and a team whose name ecapes me. Among his fellow players was the rough Arnold Tabbs whose boyhood was portrayed in another story called The Blitz Kid.

The Balancing Boy
Story about a young trapeze artist.I seem to recall he wore some kind of grass skirt - don't know why.

The Big Palooka.
A bowler hat wearing Scotland Yard detective assigned to work with a US police force.

The Coonskin Grenadier
A crackshot hillbilly who through some ancient birthright came to hold a commission in a stuffy British regiment.

The Swamp Rat.
Set somewhere in South East Asia during WWII featuring a hero covered in a camouflaged bodypaint (or tattoos ??) waging a one man war against the Japanese. Always accompanied by a mongoose. He was very good at swimming and often eluded the enemy by hiding under water in the swamps while breathing through the hollow stem of a reed. - Andrew Ross

The Hornet - Character

For more The Hornet Characters
click here

William Wilson - First came across him in the Hornet (or was Hotspur). What a story and what a boyhood hero. Many of the comic strip storylines were compiled in a paperback ( by W.S.K. Webb published for the Red Lion Library by DC Thomson & Co Ltd and John Leng & Co Ltd); no date given) which I saw on sale for 2/6 at my local newsagents. Imagine my delight at being able to read and re-read about his exploits from suddenly appearing at a national athletic meeting somewhere in the north of England in a black homespun single-piece outfit to beat the pants/shorts of the nominal opposition before collapsing in a coma; to be mentored( ?) by Frank Duckworth, Athletics Official (Duckworth-Lewis method??); then getting the Arabs on-side before WWII by leaping over a pit of hot coals and refusing to accept the bejwelled horse as a prize, thereby gaining the admiration of the Arab leader because Wilson had only done it because the challenge was there and been achieved before by an Arab legend!; then beating various US opponents in bare-knuckle boxing and sprinting despite gypsy threats and gangster intimidation (sorted by support from North American Indians who offered him personal protection because he threw a totem pole further than their brawny champion); etc, etc, .... The paperback was shared with select school friends in the 60's and is occasionally recalled by them even now.

I am looking forward to my two boys discovering Wilson. However books are not their thing - yet. At 14yrs and 16yrs I am still hopeful that they too will appreciate the delights of the Truth about Wilson. P.S.

The Red Lion Library also printed and published
BRADDOCK AND THE FLYING TIGERS by George Bourne,
KILLER SLADE OF THE PONY EXPRESS by Matt Carson,
THE GOALMAKER by Jimmy Baker (all about Pickford, the master footballer with a spine-chilling secret!)

I would welcome a read of the first and last above, but there was much more to Matt Braddock than just his exploits with the Tigers. What about his feats in Lancasters - weaving between telegraph wires to upset the aim of German fighters and leading a squadron of Meteors to attack the final stronghold of die-hard Nazis in their Bavarian or Austrian redoubt.

Much has been written about Limp-along Leslie and Nick Smith. My personal favourite was when Smith took over a backwater lower division side which included Arthur Anvil and Len(?) Bone as full backs. He brought on and in some new talent to reach some success - remember a goal-keeper called English who would only dive for shots he could save but didn't bother with ones he couldn't? I could go on - and have done. - Time to get back to reality I suppose ... Bill Ennis

Another football hero was Bernard Briggs who only ever let in one goal. I think he was a scarp dealer who rode a motorcycle combination with a bath as a side car. Think he sometime played on the same time a Limp along Lesley. - Paul Hyder

The Hornet was my weekly comic fix in the early 70's.
Wilson was "The Man" and to make sure he's never forgotten, I've built a tribute website at theamazingwilson.com.
It's not a money making web site, its just somewhere old men can remind themselves how innocent life used to be.
Your great website actually got me started as I wanted to relife all those adventures. Thanks very much. - Ali Simmons

If you have any other information on The Hornet please drop us a line. Drop us a line.

   
 

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