Wednesday, 18 April 2018

In Praise of… Comics Writer William (Willie) Patterson: @johnfreeman_DTT

'In Praise of… Comics Writer William (Willie) Patterson' by John Freeman on downthetubes.net 

Thanks to John for promoting my blog post 'in recognition of my Dad Willie Patterson; scriptwriter of Jeff Hawke; Daily Express & Titan Books' and adding more information about his 1960's comic strip writing which I didn't know about.

Here are some excerpts, additions to my post:

"Sydney Jordan is widely recognised as the creator of the critically-acclaimed “Jeff Hawke” newspaper strip first published in the Daily Express. However, it’s also generally felt that the strips written by William (Willie) Patterson through the 1960s – including those collected in the past by Titan Books (such as “Overlord” and “Wondrous Lamp”) as well as The Jeff Hawke Club and several Italian publishers – show the long-running series its best. 

Here, Willie’s daughter Chrys Muirhead pays tribute to her father, the man behind those acclaimed credits, revealing the family man behind those fondly-remembered stories.

We are grateful to her for letting us post this tribute to an author whose life has been little documented, but whose work played such a significant part in the development of a much-loved comic character worldwide…"


screenshot from downthetubes.net

"Some of father’s “Jeff Hawke” scripts have been republished twice by Titan Books. Originally working on the Children’s Encyclopedia for Amalgamated Press, according to strip creator Sydney Jordan, my Dad started as script writer with the Daily Express in 1956. Alongside his work on “Jeff Hawke” for the Express, he also wrote “Caroline Baker – Barrister at Law“, drawn by Jose Moya Ortiz.

He also wrote other stories for Fleetway Publications, including war stories, strips for Tiger and is credited as the writer of one Dan Dare story, “Mission to the Stars”, drawn by Don Harley, published in the Sunday People in 1964, collected in The Dan Dare Dossier, published by Hawk Books."

"Chrys would welcome memories of her father. Visit her blog for more about her own work and writing, most recently as a mental health writer, activist and human rights campaigner, whistleblowing about locked seclusion room abuses in Stratheden Hospital, NHS Fife, winning an Ombudsman complaint in September 2014 and a written apology from Fife Health Board"

Finally, screenshots and excerpts from downthetubes.net including new information about my Father's work which I wasn't aware of, very interesting to see it:


Jeff Hawke

Widely considered one of the most important science fiction comic strips ever published, Jeff Hawke is a benchmark in intelligent, adult-oriented storytelling and he is not your average space-hero. Focused on reasoning, diplomacy and moral virtues instead of brute force, he is frequently forced to be the ambassador – rather than the saviour – of mankind!

His universe is populated with alien species that meet humankind by accident or for commerce, but hardly ever for invasion. Willie Patterson’s subtle wit makes the strip’s plots and characters as fascinating as they are amusing, and Jordan’s highly expressive style fully captures the strangeness of the weird and wonderful aliens of Jeff’s universe!

The Jeff Hawke stories were published in the Daily Express, launching on 15th February 1955 and ending on 18th April 1974. There were a total of 69 stories, with an average of 94 daily strips in each story.

Willie Patterson began to contribute ideas for stories and co-wrote on an ad hoc basis from 1956 onwards but by 1960, he was a full-time scriptwriter for the feature, until 1969. Chrys outlines her understanding of his departure above.
Syd and Willie’s partnership developed an in-joke by creating two characters to introduce each story, taking on the shapes of Mephisto (Willie) and the Troll (Sydney).

“Jeff Hawke was a science-fiction strip designed to emphasise if not pacifism, then the most principled of restraint matched with the most rigorous of thought,” notes Colin Smith in article for Sequart in 2012. “And for all that Hawke might seem to the casual glance to be an entirely familiar fighting lead, he was actually the exact opposite to the breed. In that, he was the rarest of science-fiction types; the diplomat as hero, the peace-maker as protagonist, the man of ideals and science who really would rather rely upon his conscience and his mind before reaching for a conveniently big gun.”

The British Jeff Hawke Club began reprinting Jeff Hawke in its journal, Jeff Hawke’s Cosmos, in 2003. Each issue includes story notes on the science featured in the story, and commentary on the origins of the tales from creator Sydney Jordan. In addition to the regular magazine, several special editions have also been published.

Jeff Hawke Stories by Willie Patterson

• Sanctuary (co-writer)
Published – 1956-06-26 – 1956-10-27 Reprinted in Jeff Hawke’s Cosmos, Volume 2 Number 2

 • Unquiet Island
Published – 1956-10-29 – 1957-03-16 Reprinted in Jeff Hawke’s Cosmos,Volume 6 Number 1
 
• The Castaway
Published – 1957-03-18 – 1957-10-03 Reprinted in Jeff Hawke’s Cosmos,Volume 6 Number 2
 
• Poles Apart (co-writer)
Published – 1958-09-24 – 1959-03-13 Reprinted in Jeff Hawke’s Cosmos,Volume 3 Number 2

• Overlord
Published – 1960-02-10 – 1960-06-20 Reprinted in Titan Book 1, Jeff Hawke’s Cosmos,Volume 7 Number 3

• Survival
Published – 1960-06-21 – 1960-09-12 Reprinted in Titan Book 1, Jeff Hawke’s Cosmos,Volume 7 Number 1
 
• Wondrous Lamp
Published – 1960-09-13 – 1961-03-11 Reprinted in Titan Book 1, Jeff Hawke’s Cosmos,Volume 6 Number 2
 
• Counsel For The Defense
Published – 1961-03-13 – 1961-08-02 Reprinted in Titan Book 1, Jeff Hawke’s Cosmos,Volume 7 Number 2
 
• Pastmaster
Published – 1961-08-03 – 1961-10-18 Reprinted in Titan Book 2, Jeff Hawke’s Cosmos: Lunar 10
 
• Immortal Toys
Published – 1961-10-19 – 1962-04-05 Reprinted in Titan Book 2, Jeff Hawke’s Cosmos,Volume 7 Number 3

• The Ambassadors
Published – 1962-04-06 – 1962-07-13 Reprinted in Titan Book 2, Jeff Hawke’s Cosmos,Volume 7 Number 3
 
• The Gamesman
Published – 1962-07-14 – 1962-09-23 Reprinted in Titan Book 2, Jeff Hawke’s Cosmos,Volume 3 Number 3
 
• A Test Case
Published – 1962-09-24 – 1963-01-02 Reprinted in Titan Book 2, Jeff Hawke’s Cosmos,Volume 4 Number 1


• Find out more at www.jeffhawkeclub.com

Titan Books published two collections, firstly in 1985, plans for a third dropped due to disappointing sales. The collections were republished in 2008.

Jeff Hawke: Overlord 
Jeff Hawke: Overlord
 

Author: Willie Patterson
Artist: Sydney Jordan
Cover: Brian Bolland
Publisher: Titan Books, 2008
ISBN: 9781845765972

Collects “Overlord”, “Survival”, “Wondrous Lamp” and “Counsel for the Defence”

“Willie Patterson [joins] artist Sydney Jordan for some remarkably inventive and clever tales of alien law and morality. The art’s a downright treat.” – Hipster Dad

Jeff Hawke: The Ambassadors 
Jeff Hawke: The Ambassadors
 
Author: Willie Patterson
Artist: Sydney Jordan
Cover: Brian Bolland
Publisher: Titan Books, 2008
ISBN: 9781845765989

Collects “The Ambassadors”, “Pastmaster”, “The Immortal Toys”, “The Gamesman” and “A Test Case”

“Patterson and Jordan’s solutions to the very unusual challenges are reasoned and rational, with very little violence or wild action, leading to very entertaining stories with unexpected resolutions. Jordan’s artwork is gorgeously detailed, with a believable and consistent design for the far-flung future of the 1990s.” – Hipster Dad 

The 1986 Jeff Hawke Book One 1986 featured “Overlord”, “Survival” and Wondrous Lamp and the 1987 Jeff Hawke Book Two featured “Counsel For The Defence”, “Pastmaster” and “Immortal Toys”)

There’s a complete list of “Jeff Hawke” strips including writer credits on Wikipedia


 Phantom Patrol

“Phantom Patrol” was first published in Swift, companion paper to Eagle, between the issues cover dated 3rd February – 14th July 1963. Written by Willie Patterson and drawn by Gerry Embleton, it was reprinted several times, including in WHAM! (as “Ghost Patrol”) and 2000AD and Starlord annuals.




The story told the adventures of Sergeant Joe Trimm and his platoon who discover a crashed UFO on the island of Crete in 1941. Pinned down by the Nazis, they escape by means of a time-travel device purloined from the flying saucer. With a tank, a landing craft, a handful of guns and a captured Nazi, the British infantry unit find themselves in the midst of the Trojan Wars – and a series of further bizarre adventures, joined by robot dog Fergus and future cop Cornelius Kerrigan along the way.

Sadly, this strip has never been collected, although Steve Holland did nearly manage it back in 2009, commissioning a stunning cover by Chris Weston.


Boy’s World

Launched by Odhams Press in January 1963, Willie Patterson was one of the writers for this title, alongside Harry Harrison, Michael Moorcock and Tom Tully. Artists included Frank Bellamy, Luis Bermejo, Harry Bishop, John M. Burns, Ron and his brother Gerry Embleton, Gerald Haylock, Frank Langford and Brian Lewis.

Willie’s known credits are as follows…

“What Would You Do” cover feature issues V1N1 – V1N6 + V1N10 (Jan to Mar 1963) with art by Brian Lewis, Gerry Embleton & Harry Winslade

“Mini Mystery” feature issue V1N7 (Mar 1963) with art by Harry Lindfield

“What’s In A Name / Do You Know Your Name” feature issues V1N1 – V1N6 (Jan to Mar 1963) with art by James McConnell

“John Brody” (strip) issues V1N1-V1N23 “What Is Exhibit X?” full 1st story (Jan – June 1963) with art by Colin Andrew

“Wrath Of The Gods” (strip) all issues V1N1 to V2N40 Jan 1963 to Oct 1964) with art by Ron Embleton and John M Burns

“What Is My Name?” (strip) issues V2N22 to V2N40 (May – Oct 1964)  with art by Colin Andrew

• Steve Holland has told the story of Boy’s World in the thoroughly recommended book Boy’s World – Ticket to Adventure!

 Examples of “Caroline Baker – Barrister at Law”, written by Willie Patterson, drawn by Jose Ortiz. Via Bear Alley © Daily Express

Caroline Baker, Barrister at Law

Published in the Daily Express from 1962, Steve Holland has featured a number of “Caroline Baker, Barrister at Law”, written by Willie Patterson and drawn by Jose Ortiz on Bear Alley.


“Mission to the Stars”, a Dan Dare strip written by Willie Patterson, drawn by Don Harley for the Sunday People. Via the Jeff Hawke Club

Dan Dare

Willie wrote one Dan Dare story, “Mission to the Stars”, drawn by Don Harley, published in the Sunday People in 1964, collected in The Dan Dare Dossier, published by Hawk Books.


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