Friday, 3 March 2017
Much like Captain Scarlet, you wouldn't think there'd be much in the way of excitement or story opportunities to be drawn from a hero who's indestructible. But that's not the case with Kelly's Eye, one of Smash and Valiant's longest running and popular series.
Tim Kelly is left to die in a South American jungle by fortune hunters, when he comes across a lost temple, and an idol containing The Eye Of Zoltec, a mystical gem that confers upon it's wearer invulnerability, immortality, super strength, super speed, super eyesight, and just about anything else the writer's can think of to get him out of any tricky situation. In fact he's so impervious to harm that in one episode, he literally becomes the man who fell to earth, a stunt even Supes might think twice about.
Being a decent sort of cove, our hero immediately vows to travel the world, using The Eye to fight evil. With great power etc etc.
Though, being a British superhero, he doesn't immediately start sewing himself a costume, but rather invests in a warehouse full of black polo necks, in order to better show off The Eye.
Throughout his adventures, Kelly is constantly shot at, set fire to and blown up, all drawn wonderfully by Francisco Solano Lopez, particularly the cataclysmic explosions, and of course, to keep things interesting, he regularly loses The Eye at the worst possible moment, usually by someone cutting the strap it hangs round his neck on. Geez, Tim, keep it in your pocket or something...
Another fun recurring theme is his direct way of handling problems. As for example here, where he and a pal are chasing a villain over the Amazon, and realise there's no place to land:
The early strips could almost be described as lightly political. Lopez was Argentinian, and in fact had to flee to Spain in the '50's to evade arrest for his anti-government sci-fi strip El Eternauta ( look it up, some of the imagery is breathtaking ), and Kelly often finds himself fighting dictators in small republics in South America, always on the side of the poor and oppressed.
This subsequently changed when Tim got involved with dotty Dr. Diamond and his time machine, and went off on many adventures through time, space and alternate universes. It was still a lot of fun, but somehow not quite as interesting or gritty as before.
Here's Tim before he went time-travelling, with a brief trip to Argentina to show the natives what for. And how very British that one of our superheroes was called Tim.