Who found these unpublished strips?
And how did they arrive here?
During my research for The Man Who Drew Tomorrow, Frank Hampson’s biography (some might say hagiography) I met the great man five times. Not once did he mention these new strips. But his loyal assistant, research-aide and colourist Joan Porter, let it be known that Frank tried hard to get work in 1961, and created at least six strips, with storylines. He also suggested other feature ideas, including a ‘How to’ series on sports, which (presumably) he would draw. I determined to try and find these strips but for many years drew a blank.
In the late 1980’s I was told about Milton Finesilver, a staffer at the Eagle offices in the mid 1960’s, and a comic enthusiast. Milton told me he had copies of the strips, which he would gladly copy again, and send to me. This he duly did.
During his time at Fleetway Milton had free access to the art vaults, and
one day his attention was caught by what he describes as a large
paisley-pattern portfolio, tied with ribbon. This, he found, contained the original scamps
for Frank's new ideas. Enthused by his discovery Milton let the cat out of
the bag, only to be told he must return the portfolio to its shelf. He was,
however, given permission to photocopy the work.
You will remember, in the 1960’s photocopying meant making a negative from
the original, then making a positive from the negative. Result, less than
satisfactory. So by the time Milton’s copies of copies reached me, they were in a
dire state. An art colleague of mine, Tony Evershed, spent many painful hours
restoring them to what you see here. Milton told me that just a few days
after he had replaced Frank’s portfolio where he found it,
it disappeared for good.
How did the strips arrive here? I sent them to friend and enthusiast
Wakefield Carter who suggested he could post them on the Internet, and together we agreed to set up this