On this day, 4 November 1988: Wildcat
On this day, 4 November 1988 … Wildcat was an imaginative new launch, and unusual for the late 1980s in that it was a comic that attempted to build an entire new raft of characters from scratch, with no toy range, film or TV series to tie into, nor even any connection to any other comics. All the stories in Wildcat were connected, and based around the crew of a deep-space exploratory ship (named Wildcat) carrying the lone survivors of a planet Earth destroyed by meteors and radiation. The ship settles into orbit around a new planet which offers all the right conditions for humanity to build a new home … and teems with all manner of hostile alien life. Four survey shuttles are launched from Wildcat, each to explore a different sector of the planet, and each led by one of the new comic’s heroes: dashing skipper Turbo Jones, hard-bitten warrior Kitten Magee, anti-social Lionel Ritchie lookalike Loner, and mysterious alien Joe Alien, whose brain power was ‘so immense that he was fitted with an external brain pack, at birth’.
The on-planet adventures of Jones, Magee, Loner and Alien are each serialised in fortnightly instalments, and this is where the comic’s real strength – its artists – become evident. In Ian Kennedy, Jose Ortiz, Massimo Belardinelli and David Pugh, Wildcat boasts a sterling line-up of four of the top illustrators working in British comics at this time. Each is skilled in both action sequences and the creation of some wonderful alien creatures and environments. Wildcat lasted only five months before being merged into Eagle, but it’s a beautiful and entertaining comic to read if you can track down some back issues from its 12-issue run.