On this day, 10 July 1976: Action
On this day, 10 July 1976 … Is that Tony Blair on the cover of this forty-year-old issue of Action? Fortunately not, but it does look a lot like him and he wouldn’t be totally out of place Action, the comic of utter bastards. Look at them all: Private Jimmy Green of Green’s Grudge War, the self-obsessed commando with a massive chip on his shoulder; hard-boiled DI6 agent Dredger (‘When he wants something, he’s ruthless.’); Al Rico, the reanimated spinball-playing cyborg of Death Game 1999; cocky schoolboy football star Kenny Lampton of Look Out for Lefty; and of course the ultimate bastard, the great white shark with a lust for blood and a punctured chin, Hook Jaw. Action knew what sold, and to be fair, as we open our eyes to the balance of power and public opinion in our society even today, we do seem to love a wrong ‘un.
They’re not all bastards. Blind boxer Jack ‘Blackjack’ Barron is a victim of circumstance, this week framed for the murder of his agent. Hellman of the Afrika Korps is a German tank commander of honour and valour. Truck drivers Danny Kuziak and Steve Manning are on the run from a secret US government agency in Hell’s Highway. And ‘Action Man’ Steve MacManus always comes across as an especially nice guy, here reporting on his scrumpy-guzzling holiday adventures in Somerset.
Finally, I must give a special mention to one of the most mouth-watering adverts for something I never had: Palitoy Planet of the Apes and Star Trek figures! I. Can’t. Even.