Comic Book / Jack Staff

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Britain's Greatest Hero!

Jack Staff 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 Castletown, 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. To reflect this, Grist eventually renamed the book The Weird World Of Jack Staff.

Tropes

  • Bandaged Face: "Mr Green"
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Jack and Becky, right from the beginning.
  • Big Bad Friend: Sergeant Stripes is actually the Castletown Vampire.
  • 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 Patriotic: Jack Staff, Sergeant Stripes, and Kapitan Krieg.
  • Clingy MacGuffin: The Steel Claw, which Ben Kulmer can't remove.
  • 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.
  • 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 - in fact, it's practically his catchphrase, and usually manifests itself by getting in everyone else's way.
  • Oop North: Castletown is in Yorkshire.
  • Power Armour: Tom-Tom the Robot Man, the second Molachi, and less overtly Chinard's costume.
  • Public-Domain Character: Grist introduced an ageing 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".note 
  • 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 is actually disabled teenager Patricia Carthy in armour.
  • Significant Anagram: "A Chinard"="Arachnid"
  • Simple Staff: Sure, Jack's got some sort of energy manipulation power, but that mostly manifests itself in him hitting things with a stick until they stay down.

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