Monday, 27 April 2009

Action Presents: Hook Jaw

The one serial that everybody remembers from Action, is of course, 'that really gory one about the shark', or to give it it's proper title: Hook Jaw!
Hook Jaw was, obviously, a rip-off of Jaws, but a peculiarly British rip-off. Here the shark was basically the hero, with every human character being completely vile and evil, and thoroughly deserving of their fate as the bloodthirsty shark's dinner. ( Except for Rick Mason, the one guy with brains enough to respect Hook Jaw and stay well away from him. Even though, in the end, that doesn't save him either. )
It was written by Ken Armstrong & Pat Mills, and drawn in the first instance by Ramon Sola, whose art had a real Pablo Marcos look about it.
Some fans have seen this strip as some kind of ecological horror story, with our fishy fiend representing nature fighting back against the exploitation of man. I prefer to see it as an extremely well-done black humour strip, where the fun is in anticipating the inevitable punchline of the bad guys' getting their just desserts, and ending up in Hook Jaw's stomach.
Mills & Wagner repeatedly returned to the idea of humanity as foodstuff, in 2000AD strips like Flesh, Shako and various episodes of Judge Dredd. But this is probably the purest example of their total gallows humour.
Here's the first three episodes. No! The Jaws.....AAARRGHH!!!

Tomorrow: Kids Rule OK!


  1. God, I love Hook Jaw. If only we could team up Hook Jaw and Lockjaw in a comic, my life would be slightly less empty...

  2. That's right, I remember being quite shocked when Rick Mason bought it in the story

  3. This is great, Pete! Brings back loads of memories of violent, gritty strips like Dredger, Kids Rule OK and, er, Look Out For Lefty. Any scans from Rollerball... I mean Spinball?

  4. There's a sequence in issue 8 that's possible my favourite in all of British comics in the 70s. An airliner, unfortunate enough to find itself flying in to a hurricane has the further bad luck to be struck by lightening. Misfortune follows misfortune as the plane plunges to the sea after crashing through the derrick of an oil rig.

    This enough would be bad enough and would have one checking the calender for Fridays and Thirteenths, but the ill-starred pilot, having presumably survived the proceeding set of terrors ends up with his head in Hook Jaw's mouth... And all that in one page and a further panel.

    Decompressed story tellers need not apply.

  5. Not all of Hookjaw's victims were evil and deserving their, fate, what of the crew and passengers of the doomed airliner in issue 8?