Entry updated 7 August 2023. Tagged: Comics, Publication.
UK Comic (1948-1953). T V Boardman & Co Ltd (see Tom Boardman). Nine issues, numbered #2, #4, #6, #9, #16, #30, #38, #50 and #52. Artwork by Denis McLoughlin; scripts by Colin McLoughlin and Denis McLoughlin. Most issues had one story per issue, and used limited colour printing; #2 mentions a second story on its cover, whilst #50 (titled "Swift Morgan Space Comic") and #52 (titled "Swift Morgan Spaceways Comic") each had two stories, with colour covers but black and white strips (none of the second stories involve Swift and probably are not sf). The unusual numbering is due to the comics being part of an untitled series whose issues were named after the main character. Many featured crime fighter Roy Carson; others were Westerns; some were reprints, e.g. #12 and #17 from Will Eisner's The Spirit.
The first comic, Swift Morgan in the Lost World (#2), has Swift and his fiancée, Silver, piloting a new Rocket ship that crash-lands on "unchartered [sic] territory" in the Pacific (see Lost Worlds), where they discover Dinosaurs. In the next, Swift Morgan and the Ancient Romans (#4) their plane is forced down into an "unchartered [sic] valley somewhere in Asia", home to a remnant state of the Roman Empire (see Lost Races). Swift Morgan and the Ancient Egyptians (#6) has the couple wandering off from a group of Scientists who are studying some Ancient Egyptian tombs; they get lost in a maze of underground passages, until they find a door: passing through, they encounter an ancient Egyptian civilization. Swift Morgan and the Feathered Serpent (#9) has the pair in the Yucatan Peninsula seeking a missing group of scientists, but end up in a lost Incan City, where Swift is mistaken for a god: "Many moons ago the wise men spoke of a white god coming out of the west" (see Clichés).
Swift Morgan in Atlantis (#16) has the couple exploring the sea floor near the Canary Isles for remnants of Atlantis; after carelessly wrecking their submarine they find an air-filled cave that leads to an Underground world inhabited by Atlanteans, who mistake them for Greeks. A local tyrant wants to invade an adjoining benevolently ruled kingdom, but Swift helps the latter defeat the despot. Confusingly, Atlantis seems to open out onto the Sahara. In Swift Morgan and the Flying Saucers (#30) the pair are testing a new super-jet aircraft at White Sands, New Mexico when they are surrounded by flying saucers (see UFOs); they parachute to the ground, with Silver landing first and immediately being abducted by small Aliens. Fortunately, the professor employing Swift has built a Spaceship, so they take it on a 250 day flight to Mars (which they have decided is the aliens' home planet) – fortunately the Martians have been listening to Earth's radio broadcasts and can speak English. It turns out "Saturnites" (see Outer Planets) are planning to invade Mars, so have had their agents distract the Martian Emperor by insisting it is Earth that is planning to invade (our atomic Weapons testing helping to convince him): thus the Martian's monitoring of our planet. Swift explains the true state of affairs and helps thwart the invasion from Saturn by flooding their landing site, as their troops cannot swim.
After Swift Morgan and the Greek Wars (#38), where the couple find themselves among Ancient Greeks, came "Swift Morgan on the Planet of Destiny", in Swift Morgan Space Comic (#50). We are told Swift and Silver are the captain and hostess on a space liner, though here they are journeying to Mars on holiday, only to be abducted by mind-reading (see Telepathy) aliens from a tyrant-ruled Jupiter. The tyrant has built an artificial planet (see World Ships) which can destroy worlds; with the help of a "Jupitan" soldier who has seen the error of his ways, Swift leads a revolt of the slave labour force and blows up the artificial planet. Swift Morgan Spaceways Comic (#52) contains "Beast from Outer Space": back in 1948 a light from the sky was seen plummeting towards a vast area of "uncharted" (finally using the correct word) African jungle: Swift and Silver are with the latest investigating expedition, but wander off, only to be pursued by an enormous Monster: they take refuge in a crashed spaceship. Nearby a local tribe are ruled by two aliens – a captain and a scientist – who explain they were on a zoological (see Zoo) expedition that captured the creature, a gawk, on the planet Maw; but then their ship crashed on Earth and the creature – initially a small youngster – escaped, over the years growing to its current size and preventing them from venturing out to repair their ship. As the white-skinned inhabitants of Maw sacrificed maidens to gawks the alien captain decides to sacrifice Silver, hoping it will give him time to fix their craft: the scientist protests and is murdered; Swift kills the captain and follows the monster, which is carrying Silver back to its den. This turns out to be in an active volcano: fortunately a passing helicopter lifts the couple to safety whilst the gawk, trying to reach them, falls into the volcano.
Swift Morgan would also appear in Adventure Annual (graph 1953) with "The Robot Empire", where the dictator of Saturn tries to form an alliance with the planet Mek through deception, intending to use their giant Robots to take over the Solar System – but after listening to Swift, the Mek Emperor uses a robot's truth Ray on the dictator. "Swift Morgan on the Isle of Giants" appeared as the second story in a Roy Carson comic (#54 of the aforementioned untitled series) (1954). There were two other original Swift Morgan stories: "Swift Morgan and the Menace of the Red Mists" and an illustrated text story "Swift Morgan and the Pirates of Space", both in New Spaceways Comic Annual #1 (graph 1954), but these were written by James Hart, with the artwork uncredited.
Though the artwork is good, the stories tend to be rushed, with nonsensical elements, doubtless a result of their comparative brevity (usually about 13 pages). Silver is fairly passive, often ending up captured or otherwise off stage (see Women in SF) as Swift gets on with the action. The best tale is "Planet of Destiny", though the extraterrestrial elements of "Flying Saucers" and "The Robot Empire" enable Denis McLoughlin's artwork to liven up the dull plots. [SP]
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