J.T. Edson, story writer for the Victor comic.

Note this is a work in progress page.

© Corgi Books.

Main picture above is of J.T. Edson, surrounded by some of his fictional characters from his books. Picture from the front cover of J.T. Edson's book entitled J.T.'s Hundredth. Artist not known. Copyright Corgi Books.

Story writer for the following Victor picture and text stories -

I must admit I never thought that I would ever write an article about Victor story series writers. Artists work are fairly easy to identify, whereas a writers style especially for a boys comic isn’t. Many of the Victor and Hornet stories were written by the editorial staff, but others were written by freelance writers. And it is this second group that I felt I would never find out any information about. But as so often happens, as in this case, the answers are sometimes out in the open, just waiting to be discovered. You just have to look for them. And that was the case with J.T. Edson. Edson, better known as a writer of western novels, also contributed many text and picture stories to the Victor comic in the 1960’s.

Luckily for comic fans, Edson, wrote briefly about his time writing for D.C. Thomson and about several of the short text and picture stories stories he wrote in his one hundredth book called J.T.'s One Hundredth. And this is where all of the information in this article is from.

Edson wrote, “In addition to producing a number of western novels, I was bringing out three or four short stories, or artist’s scripts each week to appear in the D.C. Thomson and Co. Ltd’s boys’ paper, Victor. Furthermore, I was one of the very few writers to have had three series running at one time in any of Thomson’s boys papers and quite often had two running concurrently in the Victor”. Some of these stories and ideas were later reworked for some of the western books he wrote. For example the Rockabye County series, which started life as a text story in the Victor. Interestingly, Edson, in his book, mentions several stories he wrote but were never published in any D.C. Thomson comic. Perhaps these stories lie in D.C. Thomson’s archives still waiting to be re-discovered and perhaps one day published.

Some of Edson’s characters also made guest appearances in another series character’s series apart from their own. For example, Dan Hollick appears briefly at the end of a Johnny Orchid picture story (issue 160) and Sandy Baines & Vic Tatum characters from the Catchem Company series appear in a Duke Farlow series story issue 289.

The Dan Hollick text stories

Edson served in the British Army for twelve and a half years as a dog trainer. He uses his experience and knowledge in writing the Dan Hollick series of text short stories. Stories tended to be 3,000 words long. These feature Sergeant Dan Hollick of the Royal Army Veterinary Corps. This was a successful text series and ran for five series.

Edson says, “the training methods and other aspects of working the dogs were based on genuine Army practices. I also covered other aspects of service life, including the black market which used to operate in Germany from the end of World War Two the early 1950’s.”

For the first series Hollick was based in Hong Kong with the No.5 Army Guard Dog Unit.

Note - each weekly text story is accompanied by one large piece of artwork, which appeared on the upper part of the first page of the story.

Artist Ted Rawlings. © D.C. Thomson Co. Ltd Artist Ted Rawlings. © D.C. Thomson Co. Ltd Artist Ted Rawlings. © D.C. Thomson Co. Ltd

Johnny Orchid – Big Game Hunter picture series

This was the first picture series that Edson wrote. He was asked by D.C. Thomson’s editor [James Halley, I would assume], if he was interested in writing picture scripts. Edson wrote, “I soon discovered producing artist’s scripts was a very specialized task. It was a different from writing 3,000 word Dan Hollick text episodes as creating them was from writing a fifty to sixty thousand word book. In a script, the plot had to be set down in thirty or forty separate frames, with not more than three ‘forties’ in a twelve episode series. There was a limit to how much written explanation was permissible. Speech was restricted to two or rarely three balloons per frame – and then only if not more than a couple of short words were involved. The action had to be kept flowing and the amount of people, or background detail, one could use was not great.”

”I further claim to fame is that I [Edson], contrived to introduce girls into the generally completely masculine preserves of the boys’ papers. Not only did Johnny Orchid havethe pretty receptionist, but in one episode of The Town Tamers, Calamity Jane – portrayed wonderfully by artist Macabich another of my favourites – took a very active part in the proceedings, although not in the kind of relationship she has with Mark Counter.”

Further series reviews will be added at a later date.


Edson, J.T. J.T.’s Hundredth.- London: Corgi, 1979.-

© Adrian Banfield, 2010.