On this day, 31 March 1979: Tornado
You hear some far-fetched rumours in life, but few more ridiculous than that one doing the rounds about artistic legend and former comics laureate Dave Gibbons playing the part of Tornado's welly-wearing superhero editor, Big E. Some people don't read their editorial pages properly: the fourteenth page of the second issue or Tornado clearly reveals that the true identity of Big E was the office's resident 'physical and mental weakling' Percy Pilbeam. Look at that photo of Percy below (between feminist icon Samantha Stevens and attention deficit disordered Billy Preston): the resemblance is fairly obvious when you see it.
Not that being Big E really seemed to be that great a deal. He had the superhuman capacity to beat the London traffic on his daily commute, and, in the opinion of Tharg himself, to make Tornado a worthy companion to 2000AD. But he seems to have been defined less by what he could do than what he couldn't be arsed to: 'I won't tell you more here, since details appear later in this issue', 'Despite my super strength and amazing mental powers the task of producing Tornado is more than even I can manage', 'I wish I had time to fly around delivering Tornado to your door, but as I spend 24 hours a day producing your comic, it is best if you get your copy from the newsagent'. Well cheers, Big E! If only we knew that you were really occupied producing mind-blowing, seminal and utterly zarjaz artwork elsewhere, such as Dan Dare and Harlem Heroes for 2000AD and The Iron Legion for Doctor Who Weekly, we might have a little more respect for you today.
Still, Tornado was a pretty good comic regardless. Its heroes-themed stories included Victor Drago, The Mind of Wolfie Smith, Angry Planet, The Tale of Benkei, Wagner's Walk and Captain Klep - all seen below - and, in later issues, Storm, Black Hawk and The Lawless Touch.