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Frank Robbins

ROBBINS, FRANK - Johnny Hazard Sunday 10/8 1944, from first few months of Sunday strips

Media Type: Pen and Ink
Art Type: Strip Art
Artists: Frank Robbins All

Johnny Hazard was an action-adventure comic strip created by cartoonist Frank Robbins for King Features Syndicate. It was published from 1944 until 1977 with separate storylines for the daily strip and the Sunday strip.

Day before D-Day After work in advertising, Robbins took over the daily strip Scorchy Smith from Noel Sickles in 1939 with a Sunday page added in 1940. King Features then asked Robbins to do Secret Agent X-9, but Robbins instead chose to devise an aviation comic for the syndicate, and Johnny Hazard was launched on Monday, June 5, 1944, one day before D-Day. While working on the strip during the 1940s, Robbins contributed illustrations to Life, look, The Saturday Evening Post and other magazines. Robbins stopped drawing Johnny Hazard in 1977 and retired to Mexico in order to devote himself to painting full time.

Characters and story The strip followed the globe-trotting adventures of aviator Johnny Hazard, initially as a member of the United States Army Air Corps in World War II, later as a Cold War secret agent. Comics historian Don Markstein described the transition: As the story opened, Johnny, like most American men of his generation, was fighting World War II. But his gig with the Army Air Corps didn't last long, as D-Day came when the strip was only a day old. But the only effect civilian life had on him was to enlarge the scope of his adventures—as a freelance pilot, Johnny ranged throughout the entire world. (An early focus, though, was China, putting him head-to-head with the rival Chicago Tribune Syndicate's Terry and the Pirates.) Johnny dealt with spies, beautiful women, smugglers, gorgeous dames, sci-fi style menaces, fabulous chicks and all the other kinds of folks a two-fisted adventurer of his calibre would be expected to deal with. As he did, unlike many fictional two-fisted adventurers, he matured—not as quickly as real people, but after a third of a century or so, he was quite gray at the temples.

And a third of a century was as long as the strip ran. It was popular enough at first, and ran far longer than most post-war adventure strips, but the times were against it. Newspaper editors were more interested in daily gags than continuous stories, and Johnny Hazard succumbed to the trend in 1977.

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