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Wilson of the Wizard

Updated on September 21, 2009

Wilson of the Wizard was a boys comic strip about the adventures of William Wilson. It was initially published in DC Thomson's Wizard but went on to appear in the Hornet and Hotspur comics.

The first story was published in 1943 and was called "The Truth about Wilson" and ran for 16 episodes in issues 1029 to 1044. Later in the 1960s a book was released that compiled most of the Wilson stories together and was again called "The Truth about Wilson".

The stories revolved around Wilson's adventures that usually involved him performing unprobable events such as jumping out of the crowd to complete a four-minute mile or being the first person to climb Mount Everest.

All about Wilson

Wilson was apparently born in 1795 and lived on Axmoor in Devon/Somerset, although originally from Yorkshire, he lived in a cave on a diet of nuts and berries and bathed in fresh stream water every morning. At some stage he had met a hermit who gave him the secret of eternal life which seemed to involve a potion made from herbs. This also gives him great athletic strength and capabilities.

Wilson was a product of wartime Britain when people were looking for super-human heores that exemplified British grit and the stiff upper lip.

Wilson's characteristic running outfit was an all-over body suit which must have looked odd during the years his stories were published, but which seems much less strange in the era of Cathy Freeman's Nike running suit. Wilson always ran barefooted; this doesn't seem to have caught on in the same way.

In 1846 he came to prominence by establishing `Wilson's Climb' in Cumberland, a death-defying ascent that has rarely been repeated and exactly 100 years later he again scaled the vertical rock wall in three minutes to equal his personal best in front of the assembled media.As an athlete his finest moment was defeating arch- rival American Gino Finn in the US decathlon championships in Philadelphia, winning all 10 events.

When the England cricket team were tragically killed in a plane crash en route to Australia he was flown out to captain the side and led them to a famous Ashes triumph, and when a German team threatened to be the first to scale Everest he rushed to the Himalayas and raced up the mountain at incredible speed, without oxygen or pretective clothing, to claim the honour for Britain. Later he got involved in a bare-knuckled boxing challenge and had to beat the US champion and thwart the Mafia before he could return home safely. He also climbed the Great Pyramid of Cheops in eight minutes and vaulted over a 20 foot prison wall using only a flagpole.

He was apparently killed, aged 124, when shot down in a Spitfire during the Battle of Britain in 1940 but he swam 30 miles to the Dutch side of the English Channel where he found the clothes of a dead RAF officer – Corporal Green – on the beach and thereafter assumed his identity to avoid what he considered unnecessary press intrusion into his life.

Wilson of the Wizard Stories

The Truth about Wilson 16 episodes appeared in The Wizard issues 1029 - 1044 - this introduced Wilson as a supreme athlete who climbs over the trackside wall to join the 12-man field and, running barefoot in his "home-spun black woollen costume" manages to run four laps of 57 seconds to win in 3min 48.00sec and record the first four minute mile before collapsing in a brief coma on the infield grass. First published on July 24, 1943.

The Further Truth about Wilson 25 episodes appeared in The Wizard issues 1049 - 1073

Has Wilson come Back? 19 episodes appeared in The Wizard issues 1081 - 1099

The Great Wilson – The Champion of Champions 11 episodes appeared in The Wizard issues 1102 - 1113

Wilson – Seeker of Champions 32 episodes appeared in The Wizard issues 1114 - 1145. In this story Wilson defeats his arch- rival American Gino Finn in the US decathlon championships in Philadelphia by winning all 10 events.

It’s Wilson Again 12 episodes appeared in The Wizard issues 1146 - 1157

The Black Olympic Games 17 episodes appeared in The Wizard issues 1169 - 1185. This story involves Wilson going down to South Africa to compete and win many events at the Olympic games for the glory of Britain.

The Truth about The Ship of Shivers – Revealed by Wilson 11 episodes appeared in The Wizard issues 1314 - 1324

Wilson – The 1952 Exploits of the Ageless Super Athlete 9 episodes appeared in The Wizard issues 1373 - 1381

The Year of the Shattered Stumps 15 episodes appeared in The Wizard issues 1421 - 1435. This story involved most of the England test team being killed in an air crash on the way to Australia and Wilson taking over a ragbag of nonentities and making them into a team which eventually wins the Ashes. His thunderous fast bowling is the main feature, shattering stumps and sightscreens.

I Met the Barefoot Stranger 2 episodes appeared in The Wizard issues 1459 - 1460

The Barefoot Stranger was Wilson 7 episodes appeared in The Wizard issues 1461 - 1467

Wilson did It 17 episodes appeared in The Wizard issues 1491 - 1517

The Man from Camp 90 19 episodes (Reprint of ‘Has Wilson Come Back?’) appeared inThe Wizard issues 1565 - 1583

Wilson – Trainer of Champions 29 episodes appeared in The Wizard issues 1625 – 1653


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      James Willix 

      7 years ago

      Hi Guys

      I am a 70year old originally from N Ireland but now in NZ. As a boy I faithfully had the wizard and adventure, hotspur and rover delivered every week, read them from cover to cover and could not wait until the next weeks copies came out. I am sure these comics helped give me the love I have, now as an elder statesman, for reading. I would love to be able to buy some of these comics if available, just for old times sake. If anyone can tell me where to get them please let me know.

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      Robert Williams 

      8 years ago

      I remember Wilson, and I also remember Alf Tupper, the miler who trained on fish and chips! Maybe I'm in the wrong comic here but does anybody remember Bernard Briggs, the goalie who only ever let in one goal?, he used to drive a motor-bike with a bath as a side-car. The goal he conceded was scored by 'Limp-Along Leslie' a fantastic footballer who, because he limped, never made it as an international player. As well as these, theere was also Braddock, the Mosquito bomber pilot, whos exploits were recorded by Nick, his co-pilot and navigator, the V for Vengeance Men, who dressed in grey, wore grey masks and were committed to the destruction of the Third Reich? All these were in four comics I would read as a boy. The Wizard, the Rover, The Adventure and the Hotspur, whatever happened to them?


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