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The Valiant Janus Stark makes a smashing return

If you are in the mood for a bit of gothic adventure, a pre-steam punk superhero, then Rebellion have just the thing coming your way later this month. Victorian escapologist Janus Stark is slipping the archive shackles and returning to the printed page. Created by Tom Tully and drawn by Francisco Solano Lopez, this comic serial thrilled British readers across several comic weeklies from 1969 to the mid-Seventies.

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Rubber-boned Janus Stark (Jonas Clarke) is a renowned escapologist, illusionist, double jointed, expert pickpocket and lock-picker, who when he isn’t performing in music halls or theatres fights injustice on the grimy streets of Victorian London. (Grant Morrison ripped him off was inspired by the character when creating Sebastian O for Vertigo).

I’ve mentioned Power Comics in the past. Odhams anarchic humour titles morphed into a popular line of Marvel reprints. This came to an abrupt end when parent company IPC revamped the last mag standing, Smash!, into something more akin to Valiant or Lion.

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The Amazing Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, Nervs, et al swung into history. Marvel reprints were replaced with Buster reprints and we were offered a new assortment of sporty and adventure serials. It didn’t really grab me by the Cossacks and short of digging out my copy of the new look issue, I couldn’t really tell you what was in that issue. The Codemaster Cards were fun. At least I thought so when I was six. But tucked away in these pages were the adventures of Janus Stark and that keep me interested for a month or so longer. The pointy chin bugged the hell out of me though.

The character survived the merger with Valiant and popped up in sundry Fleetway annuals and reprint mags such as Vulcan.

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