© D.C. Thompson & Co. Ltd.

See The Hornet issue 419 (18th September 1971) to issue 428 (20th November 1971).

Writer:- The Hornet editorial team? Artist:- Edmundo Fernandez, also known as Ripoll.

Main cast:- Will Morgan and his younger brother, Glyn and Jet the sheepdog.

Time period:- A remote part of Wales in the latter half of the 20th Century.

This sci-fi horror story (horror, because most people don't like wasps and the thought of giant wasps strong enough to lift a full grown human being is horrifying), is set in deepest, darkest, mystical Wales. Will Morgan (who wears tank tops, a sleeveless woollen knitwear sweater that was popular in the 1970's in the UK), finds strange events occuring. Two of his sheep have gone missing and the wasps appear to be acting strangely. The search for their lost sheep takes the Morgan brothers and Jet the dog to a neighbouring farm run by Owen Preece. There they find a couple of sheep rustlers loading several of Owen's sheep into the back of their van. A session of fisticuffs ensues with the Morgan brothers and Jet gaining the upper hand. As one of the sheep rustlers makes a break for it, a giant wasp makes its first appearance and carries the man off.

It appears that Preece has been spraying his crops using a new insecticide, but instead of killing the wasps it has caused them to grow. The wasps attack any humans they find and stinging them, fly them to their nest. Eventually, Will discovers the wasps nest and crawls inside to discover that the humans each occupy a honeycomb cell with a wasp egg. When the wasps hatch they will feed on the paralysed humans!

Further adventures and skirmishs occur, as the two brothers battle to alert the authorities to the danger and try to prevent the wasps from spreading. Will discovers that the juice of Rowan berries when rubbed onto the skin protects the wearer from the wasps. The last two episodes are a race against time to free the paralysed humans from the wasps nest before the army destorys it with a flame throwing tank. But worse is to come, Will's brother, Glyn has been captured! Can Will save them and his brother before the army goes into action?

Giant animals and insects have always been a staple ingrediant of boys stories and The Victor and The Hornet have had more than their fair share. The English countryside have over various issues been terrorised by a giant hedgehog, eagle, sabre cat to name but a few. Snakes, spiders, dinosaurs and animals in general have caused havoc around world. There was even one story about a giant Kangeroo on the loose in the Australian outback in the story The Big Boomer which appeared in The Hornet!

Interesting facts about wasps

Only the female wasps sting and they don't die after they have stung you! Unlike bees which do. (I didn't know this, I thought all wasps could sting).

There are approximately 300 species of wasps in the British Isles alone, with thousands of other species worldwide.

One nest may be home to up to 2,000 wasps.

The length of wasps seen in the UK are up to 19mm long, (the wasp queens can be slightly larger).

As far as most humans are concerned wasps are nothing but a nuisance, but these insects are essential to the biocontrol, with predatory wasps eating other insects.

The world's largest wasp is the Asian giant Hornet (also known as the Japanese hornet), which can grow to 50.8mm (2 inches) in length. The Queen can be longer in length. It's sting kills between twenty and forty people a year in Japan. Apparently, the larvae and pupae of these hornets are valued as a delicacy in some mountain villages in Japan and can be eaten after being deep fried!

The episode below is from The Hornet issue 423.

Artist - Edmundo Fernandez, also known as Ripoll.
 © D.C. Thomson Co. Ltd Artist - Edmundo Fernandez, also known as Ripoll.
 © D.C. Thomson Co. Ltd Artist - Edmundo Fernandez, also known as Ripoll.
 © D.C. Thomson Co. Ltd

© Adrian Banfield, 2008.