On this day, 2 June 1979: Tornado
On this day, 2 June 1979 … Tornado’s super-powered editor Big E, proudly represented on earth by Dave Gibbons, was a straight-up, clean-cut brand of hero who encouraged readers to form ‘Tornado Team’ gangs to protect old ladies and small children. Most of the heroes whose tales were told within the pages of Tornado didn’t quite fit the same mould, however. Black Hawk fought for the all-conquering Roman Empire (arriving, in the picture below, on the shores of Britain to take on the pesky upstart druids. The map in the top-left corner has a mark on it that makes it look as if Black Hawk’s legion made a sensible detour around a certain small Gaulish village en route); Wolfie, of The Mind of Wolfie Smith, and wild mountain boy Storm were both loners on the run from the authorities; The Angry Planet’s Matt Markham was a violent revolutionary; and Major Kurt Wagner of Wagner’s Walk was German POW fleeing captivity.
Thankfully, this was a line-up of heroes more complex than one would have thought Big E would have approved, but none more so than Johnny Lawless who made his debut in this, Tornado’s eleventh issue. Johnny, of The Lawless Touch, was the comic’s first proper anti-hero – a talented thief conscripted by an elite force of black-op Euro-cops fighting corruption in the pesky Common Market. ‘Oh, we need men like you, Monsieur, men who know how to break the rules,’ Johnny is told by his new boss, ‘Mother’. ‘We have to exist outside the law! So every top operator is chosen from the ranks of Europe’s top criminals!’ All sounds a bit Brexit.
Look out for the letter from Calum Pearson of Skipton. I’m jealous of Calum – it sounds as though he and his mates had a great time with their gangs and their hut and rumbles with the ‘Warlord Wolves’ (who presumably hailed from the shadier DC Thomson side of town).