is writer-artist Paul Grist's attempt to produce an authentically British superhero comic that works.
John Smith, salt-of-the-Earth builder and decorator of Castleford, Yorkshire, is really Jack Staff, Britain's greatest hero. Since World War II
, he's been defeating threats to the people of the islands, mostly by hitting them with a stick until they give up.
Much of the popularity of the series comes, however, from the range of weirdos surrounding Jack, including BECKY BURDOCK, VAMPIRE REPORTER
, the government Weird Shit Investigator Agency known only as Q, Inspector Maveryk, and Tom-Tom the Robot Man.
- Bandaged Face: "Mr Green"
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: Jack and Becky.
- Big Bad Friend: Sergeant Stripes
- Bilingual Backfire: The unfortunate end to the Brain Head / Capitan Krieg team-up.
- Captain Ersatz: After the Spider crisis, Grist turned to these instead of directly using older characters - General Tubbs is General Jumbo, Charles Raven is Janus Stark, Ben Kulmer is the Steel Claw (created by Ken Bulmer). The Eternal Warrior looks like Adam Eterno but is closer in concept to Michael Moorcock's Eternal Champion. Lord Nod is Dream from Sandman. Jack himself began as a Captain Ersatz for Marvel Comics' British character Union Jack.
- Captain Geographic
- Captain Patriotic: Jack Staff, Sergeant Stripes, and Kapitan Krieg.
- Clingy MacGuffin: The Steel Claw.
- Clock Roaches: The Time Leech
- Demonic Possession
- Due to the Dead: Jack burying Krieg under his civilian name.
- Dying as Yourself: Kapitan Krieg
- Even Evil Has Standards: Chinard is very upset that his wannabe gratuitously shot and killed someone.
- Everything's Better with Monkeys: Rocky Reality
- Evil Twin: The evil vampire Albert Bramble who survives the collapse of the Mirror Universe reality.
- Expy: Bramble and Son, Vampire Hunters are Expies of Steptoe And Son.
- Eye Beams: Kapitan Krieg when possessed.
- Fourth Wall Observer: The Druid.
- Hate Plague: The Hurricane situation.
- Heroes Want Redheads
- Heroic Sacrifice
- Heroic Second Wind
- Hulking Out: Hurricane
- Immortal Life Is Cheap: Helen Morgan. Not treated quite comically enough for They Killed Kenny, but approaching it.
- Jack the Ripoff: Chinard is lured out of retirement when a wannabe steals one of his old Spider-suits and starts committing crimes with it.
- Literal Split Personality: Molachi
- Magic Feather: General Tubbs's Super Wrist Gadget keyboard.
- The Men in Black: Q are the mostly-sympathetic version.
- Mirror Universe
- Mister Big: Brain Head or "Hässlicher Kleiner Mann".
- Mugging the Monster: The Claw in the jewellers' shop, with a twist (he ends up robbing the place himself and using the dumb robber as a patsy). Played straighter when a hoodie tries to mug the harmless old Mr. Chinard.
- My Country, Right or Wrong
- My Little Panzer: General Tubbs's toys.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Jack's dissipation of the Hurricane's power into the environment ends up causing a Hate Plague with several fatalities and a number of innocent people being turned into murderers.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Morlan the Mystic is an affectionate caricature of Alan Moore, while horror novelist Iain M Angel is an anagrammatic Shout-Out to Neil Gaiman. Lord Gilbert Pearce is a much less affectionate hybrid of Jeffrey Archer and Lord Lucan.
- Not-So-Imaginary Friend
- Older than They Look: John/Jack looks in his 30s at most, but has been fighting crime since the 1940s. (The strip can't begin earlier than 1991, given the registration plate on John's truck in the very first panel.)
- Old-Fashioned Copper: Inspector Maveryk
- Oop North
- Our Vampires Are Different
- Poisoned Chalice Switcheroo: Subverted. Both glasses were poisoned and it was the antidote that was ostentatiously added to one.
- Poke in the Third Eye
- Power Armour: Tom-Tom the Robot Man, the second Molachi, and less overtly Chinard's costume.
- Psycho Electro: Shock.
- Public Domain Character: Grist introduced an aging and semi-retired version of 1960s British comic supervillain the Spider to the second arc, in the belief that either he was out of copyright or nobody would care. The copyright owners did notice, but fortunately they liked what Grist had done with the character and allowed him to carry on using the Spider, as long as he was identified in future only by the civilian name Grist had given him, "Alfred Chinard".
- Required Secondary Powers: Lampshaded when Brain Head takes down Blazing Glory by turning off her ability not to get burned.
- Samus Is a Girl: Tom-Tom the Robot Man
- School For Scheming
- Significant Anagram: "A Chinard"="Arachnid"
- Simple Staff
- Sociopathic Soldier
- Superpowered Evil Side
- Unrobotic Reveal: Tom-Tom the Robot Man
- And later zig-zagged with a straight Robotic Reveal when a villain blows a hole through Tom-Tom and Jack mourns Patricia as dead, only to discover that she upgraded the robot to being fully remote-controlled rather than Power Armour.
- Vagueness Is Coming: The long-running Red Vs Green plot. Still not explained.
- Wearing a Flag on Your Head
- Who You Gonna Call?
- With Great Power Comes Great Insanity
- Worthy Opponent: Kapitan Krieg