The Eagle

My favourite Eagle strip was Luck of the Legion.

Luck looked remarkably similar to Dan Dare- with the same very long face and enormous jaw. He was a British sergeant in the French Foreign Legion- and had two sidekicks, one a Belgian called Trenet who was handsome in a Gallic sort of a way and a second called Bimberg who was fat, wore silly little sticky-up moustaches and was always talking about food. How someone as unfit as Bimberg got into the Legion or stood the discipline was never explained. 

Their opponents were brown men with hooky noses and evil teeth- much given to gloating and sneering. 

The whole thing was ineluctably racist. 

What did I see in it?

I think I liked the kepis. I rigged up something similar for myself- using a plastic helmet and a tea towel. With that on my head and a curtain round my shoulders I became something along the lines of a Knight Templar (only I'd never heard of the Templars). 

The Eagle was a rum do. Founded by a C of E parson called Marcus Morris, it had superior art work, pages in full colour and a mission to improve and educate. In some ways it was old-fashioned even for its era, running true-life strips featuring heroes of empire like Clive of India, David Livingstone the missionary-explorer, Gordon of Khartoum and Montgomery of Alamein- all of them very peculiar people in actuality- but flattened out into gallant Christian gentlemen by Morris's steamroller. I was particularly gripped by a serial called something like Last of the Saxons which portrayed Harold Godwinsson as a yellow-haired chap with a big jaw and William of Normandy as your typical, sneery foreign type.

You wonder why the Pythons (but not only the Pythons) had an obsession with chaps in solar topis and all that sort of thing? They were trying to sweat The Eagle out of their systems.


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