When Walter Booth's adventure-strip Rob the Rover stopped on behalf
of a shortage in paper with the British boy's magazine Puck in 1940,
it was the end of the worlds first epic adventure comic. Starting
in 1920, Rob the rover were earlier than the nearest American 'competitor':
Roy Cranes Wash Tubbs, which by many (especially by Americans) is
considered the first, and it was far earlier than great series like
Flash Gordon, The Phantom, Tarzan and Prince Valiant.
But was it the end? Well, in Britain it was, but for most of its run
Rob the Rover had been reprinted abroad, and especially in Scandinavia
most of the comic's pages had been printed in weekly magazines: In
the Danish Familie Journalen, the Swedish and the Norwegian Allers
it was published under the title Willy på eventyr (The Adventures
of Willy). When it stopped, Familie Journalen substituted it with
the detective strip Curly Harper by Lyman Young, which was renamed
Willy Harper, but this lasted only a few issues.
In # 41-1941 Willy på eventyr started a new, this time with a Danish
artist named Harry Nielsen. Actually Nielsen was no newcomer to either
comics, Familie Journalen or even Willy/Rob, for many years he had
been illustrating articles and stories in the magazine, he had been
drawing the Bamse og Dukke-Lise comic for young children since 1935,
and 1936 he illustrated a novel: Willy i Arabien for Familie Journalen,
when the comic for a time wasn't printed in the magazine.
Harry Nielsen wrote and illustrated the comic much in the style of
Walter Booth, and he elaborated much on the flying submarine, Professor
Seymours 'Submar-plane, The Flying Fish' from 1937, which in Denmark
was called the SM3, eventually 1946 converting it into a jetplane.
Nielsen even redrew an episode of Rob the Rover, the first one published
in Denmark. 1947 the comic stopped again, this time substituted by
the American Johnny Hazard by Frank Robbins, also renamed Willy.
But even this wasn't the end of the series. In # 11-1956 Willy på
eventyr began its last stint drawn by the artist Tage Andersen and
written by journalist Aage Grauballe, both newly started on the Familie
Journalen, and this time it lasted more than 21 years. Starting in
a style actually more like Booth's than Nielsens, Andy-Aags (their
joint signature) comic evolved into first a very modern adventure
story with the action centered around Willys flying saucer SM4, but
later into a detailed and suspenseful science-fiction comic taking
place on several strange planets both inside and outside our own solar-system.
Andersens artwork became very fluid and dynamic, and the last years
it was one of the best drawn comics in the world. It stopped with
# 28-1977, and except for a 1966 book 'Rumpiraten' (The Space-pirate)
with pages from 1963 to 65 it has never been reprinted.