Tuesday, 21 April 2009

The Leopard From Lime St.

The Leopard From Lime St. was british comics' answer to Spider-Man, running in Buster from 1976 to 1985, and was more or less a complete rip off of everybody's favourite wall-crawler. But was he cool? Oh, hell yeah.

The Leopard ( also known variously as The Leopardman, Leopardboy & The Beast Of Selbridge ) was Billy Farmer, a schoolkid and part-time photographer who, whilst covering mad old Professor Jarman's experimental zoo for the school paper, is accidentally scratched by a radioactive leopard:

Guess what happens next?

Meanwhile, Selbridge is being plagued by a mysterious cat-burglar called The Cat-Man. Spotting a job opportunity, Billy steals a costume from last years school panto ( ! ) and The Leopard From Lime St. is born!
Intending just to get a photo of The Cat-Man to sell to local paper The Selbridge Sun, Billy ( who, up until this point has been the school punch bag ) kicks seven shades of catnip outta the guy, possibly enjoying his new powers a little too much. Designing a claw climbing rope and various other gadgets, his crime-fighting career is soon underway.

Billy's main adversary is his editor, Thaddeus Clegg, who's determined to catch the dreaded Beast Of Selbridge while trying to figure out how this punk kid keeps managing to get all those great shots.

Thanks to Thaddeus, the good people of Selbridge are soon in fear of their lives, expecting to be mauled to death by The Beast every time they pop out for a pint of milk. Giving rise to Billy's legendary war-cry: Catch me if you can...Hunt me if you dare!
So yeah, it was a Spidey rip-off. That's why I bought it. In fact, I remember being allowed 3 comics a week by my parents in lieu of pocket money. At one point, it came down to Spidey OR The Leopard, and I chose The Leopard! ( Forgive me, Stan! )
The strip was written by Tom Tully and brilliantly drawn by Mike Western, and was just so downtrodden & british, you just couldn't help but love it.

Plus, as time went on, it got steadily weirder, as Billy became more & more animalistic.

I'd say, of all the heroes that appeared in British weeklies throughout the '70's, The Leopard From Lime St. is probably the one most fondly remembered. He was our Spidey, dammit! Somebody seriously needs to reprint this...if they dare!


  1. Wow! Never heard of him! How did this guy get left out of Alan Moore's Albion?

  2. Never heard of him either. Love the art. It has a flavour of Jim Colquhoun in places.
    This is making me randomly remember 'Billy the Cat and Katie(?)' - remember that having great art.

  3. It was similar to Billy The Cat, though Billy was more of a '40's /'50's public school type world. The Leopard was very definately a poor, working class, '70's character.
    As for why he isn't in 'Albion', that's what I'd like to know!
    But then neither was tomorrow's post...

  4. He did make a brief unnamed appearance ;-)

    Cap'n Storm

  5. Shall seek that out, cap'n. Really didn't like Albion at all, but at least some of those characters were given proper space.
    Apologies for liberating those scans for the Adam Eterno post without asking by the way, I'm not usually that remiss!

  6. No problem Pete!The more exposure old Adam gets the better.A link to my site is more than sufficient payment ;-)

    The Cap

  7. love leopard from lime st this is why i went into graphic novels .thanyou for the insperation .

  8. I remember reading this weekly as a kid, and being a spider man fan also - loved it.
    The art work is as great as I remember it.
    It is a story that should really be reprinted as collection.

  9. Is there a book with all comic adventures of Billy Farmer The Leopard from Lime St???

  10. @Corey:I agree that this story should be reprinted.Hm,a"The Leopard From Lime St.Classics" tpb.

  11. Belatedly @ Booksteve - he got left out of Albion because the rights to this character didn't get sold to Time Warner alongside most of the other IPC characters.