Tuesday, 12 May 2015


Here's kind of an oddity. Doug Wildey was known primarily as the co-creator of Jonny Quest, and in comics as a western artist ( with The Outlaw Kid & Rio, among others, under his belt ) when he sold this strip to the Chicago Tribune News Syndicate in 1972.
Ambler certainly is an unusual adventure strip hero, being a world famous musician, beloved of public and presidents alike, who takes to the road to discover the real America, righting wrongs and making friends like a combination Mary Worth and Green Lantern / Green Arrow.
This actually could've been a particularly whitebread TV show, like The Littlest Hobo or Highway To Heaven, with matching saccharine theme tune, and we'd all be really nostalgic about it now.
You could've easily whiled away a Sunday afternoon in The Bronze Age with an episode of Ambler, and the plots are completely in keeping with that kind of show. In one episode, our guitar-slinging hero even rescues some puppies from a flash flood.

Ambler didn't run very long in newspapers, and struggled to find it's audience, while the strip never seems to get much of a good press around the net. Sure, Ambler himself is kind of a passive hero, even a little bit smug, and the situations he gets into often get resolved extremely speedily, plus it is that old thing of a middle aged creator trying to get down with the kids, but I like this strip a lot, being a sucker for 'heroes on the road' serials. 

And as an artist, Wildey is on fire here. He got a lot of flak for using photo references throughout his career, but which artists haven't at one time or another, and some of his work on Ambler is amazing, especially the first page shown below.

No comments:

Post a Comment