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DIED - 30.03.85





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Tiger ran for 1555 issues before joining the Eagle in 1985. Prior to that it had also been teamed with "Comet" in 1959, "Hurricane" in 1965, "Jag" in 1969, "Scorcher" on 12th October 1974 and finally "Speed" in 1980.

A copy of Tiger #1 with the beginning of the Roy of the Rovers story would cost around £60 today.

In the early '80s, my brother used to read Speed and then he started reading Tiger when Speed merged with it. When I was seven, my brother had still kept most of the Tiger comics he had collected between '81 and '82. My favourite story was Death Wish. It was a pretty original concept for a story about a famous sportstar, hideously disfigured in an air crash, who now wore a protective mask and participated in dangerous stunts in the hope that he can die. Most of the time, though, he survived, although there were times when he was very, very close to his demise. Skid Solo and File of Fame were standard time-fillers, but I loved the football stories, especially the humorous adventures of loveable Scottish giant 'Hot-Shot' Hamish, Billy's Boots and Nipper. Johnny Cougar was a fine character as well, a somewhat stereotypical Red Indian wrestler who had an accomplice called Splash Gorton (?!). In one story, Johnny, feeling disillusioned! , threw away the rulebook while fighting 'Pretty Boy' Baker and he even stood on the guy's face. He then took it out on his crooked boss, Bill McLean and soon after, he and Splash were behind bars! I remember in early '82 when Tiger went through some sort of a re-vamp. Out went File of Fame and Skid Solo. The new stories brought in were The Tough Game, about a young rugger player called Duggie Batson, Sintek, a Six Million Dollar Man-type actioner and another story about a boxer. - Rajia Ahmad

I too was a Speed fan who only started to read Tiger after the two were amalgamated.

It was never my favourite comic but the final few episodes of Skid Solo are worth remembering as they were pretty shocking and decidedly downbeat in what was otherwise a pretty lighthearted sports comic.

If I remember right, first Skid's close pal is killed in a crash during a race, then Skid starts to see him standing at the side of the track while he is racing.

A few weeks later, the final episode ended with Skid seeing his dead pal again as he practiced for a race then he, too, crashed and was killed.

Shocked me at the time and seemed out of whack with the rest of the comic. On the other hand, it obviously made an impact and has stuck in my mind all these years, when all the other storylines were forgotten almost as soon as I'd read them. - Liam Cairney

I was recently given a wonderful present of two original story boards drawn by the artist Sandy James. Unfortunately Sandy died two years ago, but his art work is still with us, as he was the artist behind Johnny Cougar. These lovely gifts will be passed on to my sons and his work will be appreciated for years to come. - Lisanne

Quoted from the Tiger comics comments page:
"A few weeks later, the final episode ended with Skid seeing his dead pal again as he practiced for a race then he, too, crashed and was killed." As I remember it, Solo crashed but ended up in a wheelchair, being pushed away from the reader. You never saw his face after the crash, and with the benefit of hindsight I now wonder whether the artist got the sack and someone else drew the cars & figures for the last story (couldn't do the faces ;-) Only stirring! It was definitely a harrowing end to the series. Cheers - Simon

I’d just like to share a few memories I have of the Tiger comic. When I was a kid, I had a standing order with my local newsagent for what began for me as Tiger and Scorcher (later becoming Tiger and Speed) and like other people’s notes I’ve read at this site, I too remember Skid Solo, Hot Shot Hamish, Johnny Cougar. But does anyone remember “Nipper” the world’s fastest footballer? The time when Nipper went to play in the USA and was confused by some weird “blue line” rule which was different to the offside rule used in his native UK? Or could someone please verify that Johnny Cougar’s battle cry was “Hook-A-Hey”? And surely other people must remember “Simtek” – the story of a motor racing driver named Bruce Tollman (I think) who was badly injured (sounds a bit like poor Skid Solo) and had his body reconstructed using bionic parts, which made him excel at every sport he attempted. Who could forget his victory in a golf tournament in which using his computer brain he managed to complete the entire round taking only 18 strokes – a hole in one on every hole. I can tell you that I thought this comic was exceptional – the stories, although totally far-fetched, were ideal fodder for a growing boy. It’s a pity there’s no such thing available these days. - Chris Elliott Lancaster, UK

In the early sixties, I was a cub scout and we would have to spend one week in the year going to local people's houses and offering to do some odd job for a "bob", or shilling. It was an annual charity fund-raising activity familar to anyone over about 45 years of age, I guess. When you had finished, they received a small yellow sticker for the door marked with a tick and the words "Job Done" and were presumably left in peace.

I went with a friend to a house in our street occupied by a single man with, as I remember, a Dutch-sounding name. We offered to do a job and he said he had some cleaning work. His sitting room was piled high with comics, sketch pads, model aircraft and half-drawn comic strips. In the corner was a large drawing desk. He asked us to clear as much of it away as we could.

We fetched a cart from my house and packed it with Tigers and Valiants. On the drawing board and scattered around were many, larger, sheets with half-finished Roy of the Rovers strips which he was working on. We took these too as he didn't want them and spent many hours reading them all. He seemed to be the regular "Roy" artist of the time to judge from his drawing style but I don't remember his name. - Richard

How can you possibly do a feature on 'Tiger' and not mention its most exciting character-series? The future-exploits of RAF Space Command pilot Jet-Ace Logan and his pal Plumduff Charteris, with commanding officer Cobby. Originally created in 'Comet', illustrated by John Gillatt and scripted by David Motton he transferred to 'Tiger' with the merger, Frank Pepper took over script duties soon after with adventures such at 'The Invaders From Space', 'The Planet Of Vanishing Men' and 'Sabotage On Ceres'. The strip also produced a spin-off series of 'Thriller Picture Library' monthly graphic-novel editions including 'Time Slip', 'Death Lay Deep', and 'Times Five'. After an add-on sequence of 'Space Cop' stories Jet-Ace returned for a long reprint series. - Andrew Darlington

Does any one remember Rockfist Rogan and Freelance squadron who flew in WW II also Biff Bailey the Boxer with his coach Barney. - Paul Hyder

My favourite stories in Tiger were SKID SOLO, BILLYS BOOTS and NIPPER. Not being morbid about it BUT Skids last grand prix was at Imola in 1982 as was Gilles Villeneuves. Tragic coincidence I know but.....
Nipper I thought was very realistic and of course like all 10/12 year olds I yearned for a pair of boots like Dead shot Keen - Neil Farrell

I have all the Tiger comics in their different guises from 1980 to the final Tiger before it merged in 1985. As I advised in an earlier mail, my favourite stories were SKID SOLO, NIPPER and BILLYS BOOTS closely followed by THE TOUGH GAME. Nipper I thought was very realistic and the storylines I remember with particular fondness was when he played for the Florida Phantoms in 1980. Their owner Colonel Ike Brodie was intercepting his mail and Nipper thought that everyone in Blackport was ignoring him hence an outburst on television.

On Nippers return, he apoligised to Andy Stewart and explained the reason for the incident. Nipper played for the reserves the following week against Melford Rangers, after which there was another row and Nipper left the ground on his own but was given a lift back to Blackport by Brian Temple, the manager of Blackports rivals Burndean along with Brians daughter Sharon, who made a favourable impression on Nipper !!!

Nipper was invited to the Burndean players Christmas party much to the chagrin of his girlfriend Kerry Carter. What followed was “comical” (no pun intended) as Stumpy, his pet dog ran riot at the party. The party was to be a sweetener for Nipper as Temple tried to persuade Nipper to leave Blackport. Nipper was severely chastised by Temples wife and daughter and as he was leaving, Brian said to him “Nipper, where are you going ?” “What about the contract? “. To which Nipper replied, “Since when have you started signing hooligans Brian? “

Other players who were prominent in the club were : Mike Bateson ; Alan Hardwick ; Nicky Dyson ; Freddie Leach ; Terry Leach ; Ray Jarvis ; Tony Conway ; Danny Marsh ; Dale Edwards ; Phil Carter ; Wilf Tucker ; Alan Hardwick ; Barry Day.

Ahhhh, memories - Neil Farrell

Greetings: Sorry I don't have any information to add, but I wanted to ask if you know who the artist was who drew the Tiger logo on the cover? It is one of ten World of Comics stamps issued by Great Britain on March 20, 2012. - Marci Jarvis

I seem to remember that the first issue of "The Tiger" contained a cardboard / paper "Toy with a string that when pulled made a Tiger roaring sound .. or was it "The Lion" ...no I am sure it was the tiger ;-)... - Alan R Barr

The editor of LION and TIGER was Dave Gregory, who created Roy of the Rovers. I worked for both as a freelance and as an editor I helped produce some of the Annuals. I wrote Zip Nolan, Skid Solo and a bunch of others. I'd got the Solo strip by saying I knew a lot more about motor racing than I did. I almost lost the job when I had Skid going around Brooklands race track the wrong way! I also wrote a long non-fiction series for TIGER called African Safari and did sports features like Great Moments in Sport. I also wrote Kit Carson, Dick Daring and others for Thriller Picture Library and a number of others, including Karl the Viking and Olac the Gladiator. This was all a little earlier than most correspondents here. Len Matthews handed the comics to Dave Gregory when he, Len, was promoted. Len loved historical settings and brought Dick Turpin and others in to the comics. 1959 to about 1964, latest, was my time on those comics. They were produced in the shadow of EAGLE's phenomenal success. In the days when 100,000 copies was the circulation below which you dare not fall! Changing times! All best - Mike M

Was researching Skid Solo as part of my Tiger research. Have to correct you - he didn't die. He was left paralysed.

At the time, I was shocked - being 13 or 14 at the time - and never had a hero end on a low note (even if perfectly reasonable probability). There are DVDs with pdfs of may issues. And I have a pretty much continuous of actual comics from Jan 1976 through to its end in 1985? Great article though :-) Best - Paul Turk

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