Review: The Leopard from Lime Street

In this, the second book in Rebellion's Treasury of British Comics line, The Leopard From Lime Street reprints the weekly episodes that originally appeared in Buster from 12th March 1976 to 11th June 1977. 

This was during a period when I'd stopped buying most British comics so the strips are new to me. Well, not entirely true. I'd seen one or two episodes back then, and haughtily dismissed the strip as a rip-off of Spider-Man. On a very basic surface level, it certainly is, but The Leopard from Lime Street has a charm and excitement all its own, and the artwork is of the highest standard seen in British weeklies. 

The plot: young Billy Farmer is scratched by a radioactive leopard and gains the strength and agility of a jungle cat. He makes a costume and sets out to fight crime, whilst taking photos for his local paper. Yep, the similarities to Spider-Man are glaring, but the British working class setting and distinctive UK storylines raise it above being a mere Spidey copy. Tom Tully's lively, fast-paced scripts carry the reader along, making the book an exciting page turner. The art, by Mike Western and Eric Bradbury is crisp and detailed, giving the strips a toughness and streetwise quality. It was very unusual in British comics back then for two artists to work as a pencil/ink team but it really works. In later episodes I'm guessing Western may have only supplied layouts, as Bradbury's style becomes more evident, but it's all great. Two of the best British artists working together? What's not to like?

I know that The Leopard from Lime Street has long had a dedicated following in British comics and I've never really understood why... until now. The advantage of this collected edition is it gives the reader the opportunity to get into the storylines and put aside any concerns of the source that inspired it. 

The book has an introduction by Steve Holland, and in the back there's a preview of forthcoming books in the Treasury of British Comics line, including Marney the Fox and Faceache. It's all looking good, so I hope fans of UK comics who have been clamouring for a return to the "good old days" will support these books so the line can grow. 

  • CREATIVE TEAM:  Tom Tully (w) Eric Bradbury, Mike Western (a) 
  • REGIONS: UK, worldwide digital
  • RELEASE DATE: 13 July 2017
  • PAPERBACK - 162 pages
  • PRICE: £14.99 (UK)
  • ISBN: 9781781085974
  • DIAMOND: MAY171761
Available in print from: book stores, Amazon, and comic book stores via Diamond

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