Story File: Peter the Cat
Peter Swain showed little interest in playing football when his pal Joe Binks invited him to turn out for local boys’ team Chester Street Colts. He gave it a go though and, at the end of a disastrous spell playing outfield, leaped through the air to catch a goalbound shot. ‘Pity he’s not the goalkeeper! Ha, Ha, Ha!’, bayed the cruel supporters, prompting the real keeper to throw off his shirt and demand Peter go between the sticks to face the subsequent penalty kick. Dutifully, Peter stood in, and pulled off a superb double save. All of a sudden, the Colts realised they had discovered a goalkeeping prodigy, and the career of Peter the Cat began.
It soon transpired that there was a reason for Peter’s skills. His father was famous former England goalie John Swain, and Peter’s reluctance to get involved with a team had been because he wanted to concentrate his efforts on recovering Dad’s stolen collection of medals. He suspected the villain was millionaire industrialist Mr Hardinge, and tracked them down first to Hardinge’s mansion – where the businessman scared Peter off with a gun – and then to his luxury yacht. Peter recovered the medals from the boat, only for Hardinge to kidnap his father in revenge.
Interwoven with his adventures off the pitch, Peter was selected first for the Southern Counties boys team and then for the England youth team for an international match in Holland. His prowess in goal also helped Chester Street Colts to reach a national cup final, which the Colts won but only after Hardinge gave Peter a half-time bashing (shortly after being arrested in put away for good).
The pursuit of Peter’s father’s medals and the Colts’ cup run occupied the majority of episodes of Peter the Cat, which appeared in all 41 issues of Score ‘n’ Roar between September 1970 and June 1971, but did not cross over to Scorcher and Score when the two comics merged. It’s an unlikely tale, but not untypical of the derring-do that was common to boys’ comics at this time. The artwork of Tom Kerr is technically excellent and full of character, however, and makes the story well worth revisiting. After the stolen medals stories, John Swain has to go to South America on business so Peter is sent to boarding school, where he foils an art theft plotted by the Roger Delgado-a-like headmaster. Peter is then summoned to join his dad in the South American jungle, where he joins the local adult team and helps them to glory in their own competition. Peter the Cat had had quite a year.