Writers:- The Victor editorial team. Artists:- text story - not known; picture story - Matias Alonso.
Main cast:- Shiwa Sands; Tipu, a native guide and Shiwa's friend.
Many of the early picture stories published in The Victor and The Hornet had already been published as text stories in earlier D. C. Thomson comics such as Rover and Wizard, Adventure and so on. (For further information about these comics please visit British Comics, Vic Whittle’s website).
The text stories were three, four or more pages in length and had the space to expand a story to include characterisation and background information. It was this part of the story that tended to be left out of the picture strips, due to pressure of space. What the stories did concentrate on was the plot and the telling of a well crafted tale with minimum characterisation. As the editor of The Victor, James Halley said in his interview 'text tales had to be simplified, keeping only the skeletons of the stories but being careful to retain their essence. There is not so much scope for digression, however interesting, in a picture-story.'
Not all of the stories published in both comics were adaptations of previously published text stories. The Victor did publish new stories for example, The Rafferty Plan, Charlie and the Bossman, Force Five, Steelhead Sam and many other stories.
The picture version moves at a fast pace concentrating on plot and ignoring any in depth characterisation of the main players. One of the pieces of information we lose in the picture story is the fact that Shiwa’s father Saul died on the horn of a Rhinoceros. The text story concentrates a fair bit on Jacobus the policeman providing an extensive background on him and his methods of working at the diamond mine. All of which is described briefly in the picture story.
Shiwa’s age in both stories is different too. In the text story he is sixteen, in the picture story he is fourteen. Matias the artist, sticks quite closely to the description of the main characters, as described in the text story. Jacobus for example in the text story is described as a tall man over six feet tall and this is how he appears in the picture story. Tipu though appears younger in the picture story, but I was surprised to learn that in the text story he is described as being, 'an elderly and hideously ugly little black bushman clad in a loincloth and some curious tattooing.'
Below are two versions of the same Shiwa Sands, the boy hunter story. The original text story is from the Rover and Wizard issue 279 and then below that is the same story published as a picture story in The Victor 1969 Summer Special. Please bear in mind when reading the text story, that it was written in a different era and some words used widely then, are now unacceptable today.
(My thanks to Vic Whittle for the scans of the Shiwa Sands text story).