When men were men and women simply didn’t exist

Schoolboy heroes
Schoolboy heroes
jpns-19-08-17 retro Aug 2017

Vicky - Vicky Sawyer, a one-year-old born without legs and only one arm

THIS WEEK IN 1980: One of the richest babies at Leigh Park

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Back in the days when boys wore short trousers until they were 14, their fictional heroes were mostly found in comics, or ‘story papers’ to give them their proper title. Just like those pictured here.

These papers consisted of six or eight written serial stories illustrated with a heading picture, all published weekly.

Those we have loved

Those we have loved

The stories usually invoked the virtues of grit and determination, bravery and patriotism. Females were a non-existent species.

Regular contributor Eddy Amey, from Fareham, supplied today’s illustrations as well as a few memories.

He says: ‘Among the characters I recall were Cannon-ball Kidd a virtual goal-scoring machine, who practiced shooting by kicking a football from all angles into a barrel.

‘There was Wonderman, aka HK Rodd,one of twins raised by a scientist using the most futuristic methods to produce the perfect male. Rodd developed the most amazing intellectual and physical abilities. After being introduced to cricket, he could hit the stumps every time throwing from the boundary. Within a month he was opening for England in the Ashes and went on to become the world`s best cricketer and best racing car driver.’

Eddy continues: ‘Alf Tupper ‘working class hero’, worked all day, lived in an old railway shed and trained on bread and dripping and fish and chips. He always wore his work boots for training to save his only pair of running shoes for competitions. He seldom lost a race when representing his athletic club.

‘Another was Rockfist Rogan RAF, fighter ace and boxing champion. He once arranged a truce with a Luftwaffe airfield so he could challenge the German boxing champion. He landed his Spitfire, fought and won by a KO, took off and shot down a couple of Messerschmits on the way home.

‘Most intriguing of all was Wilson the black-costumed mystery athlete.

He lived in a cave on the Yorkshire moors, subsisting on only fresh natural food gathered on the moors and an ancient elixir that an old hermit had given him.

He trained on the moors and would appear from the crowd at premier events and run or jump uninvited.

He was never beaten, could run a three-minute mile and do a seven-foot high jump.

After winning he would disappear into the crowd as suddenly as he appeared,’ adds Eddy. Ah, happy times.