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SPYWATCHER

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Full Name: Spywatcher
Codename: Ever-Watching Eye, Man of a Thousand Faces
Nationality: British
Organization: British Secret Service
Occupation Agent

Creator: Unknown
Time Span: 1961 - 1964

ABOUT THE SERIES

       Spywatcher is an agent with the British Secret Service.
       Sir Giles Prendergast is the head of the Secret Service that Spywatcher works for and it is from his lips we get an explanation, of sorts, as to why the codename of "Spywatcher" is mentioned above and not a first and last name. Sir Giles remarks, "Spywatcher has no name. No face either. Or, if you like, a thousand faces. Perhaps I've met him - and did not know it. Perhaps he lives next door to you. He is the most valuable counter-espionage agent in the country today - and I don't even know what he looks like!"
       Communications with Spywatcher happens though a series of post office boxes with Spywatcher phoning from a call box, to avoid tracing the call, periodically to change the location of the post office. That said, on more than one occasion, Spywatcher actually talked via the telephone with Sir Giles so while the boss man's claim of not knowing what he looked like is likely valid, he had definitely heard his voice (and nothing was said about voice disguise).
       Spywatcher often drives a family saloon (station wagon to us Yanks) which "looked just like a hundred thousand other rather dusty, slightly dented" other vehicles but only the man's service mechanic "knew what lay under the bonnet of the rather dull little car. Packed in, was a high-powered racing car engine of the latest design, with gear-box and transmission to match!"
       We learn nothing about his life outside his career. We do not know if he has a family to go home to or what kind of abode that home might be. All we know is that Spywatcher is a dedicated pursuer of spies and leakers and other types of traitors.
       The biggest facet of Spywatcher's repertoire, besides his incredible patience to sit and watch a suspect for hours on end, is his terrific abilities with disguises. The man is really quite adept at changing his appearance to assume a wide range of roles, each one going unchallenged. He uses the odd prosthetic such as nose builders and cheek plugs but he also achieves his anonymity through an impressive acting ability coupled with good use of dialects and mannerisms. He becomes who he want to be and makes the others see that person.
       Spywatcher is human, a factor that makes him more entertaining and believable. He can get tired and frustrated when the hours and days of monitoring go by without a clue. He can make an assumption and be legitimately surprised when proven wrong. And some times his impersonations get him up close and personal with those he is stalking, actions which can and do put his life in peril.

NOVELLAS AND SHORT STORIES

Number of Stories:12
First Appearance:1961
Last Appearance:1964

1 The Man Who Spies On Spies The Man Who Spies On Spies
Written by Unknown
Copyright: 08/26/1961

From The Victor #27 published by D.C.Thomson. Sir Giles gives Spywatcher the mission to go after a group that has been stealing secrets, yet only the one taking them is known. That is until Spywatcher catches the others and solves the whole thing.

2 The Disappearing N.A.T.O. Secrets The Disappearing N.A.T.O. Secrets
Written by Unknown
Copyright: 09/02/1961

From The Victor #28 published by D.C.Thomson. The base known as Burnside Camp is a secret N.A.T.O. HQ that has had secrets stolen. Spywatcher is sent to keep his eyes on the place. He poses as a tramp named John Smith to catch those stealing the secrets.

3 The Clue Of The Dentist's Drill The Clue Of The Dentist's Drill
Written by Unknown
Copyright: 09/09/1961

From The Victor #29 published by D.C.Thomson. There is vital information getting into the hands of an international spy ring and it is Spywatcher's mission to find out how. Could it have something to do with false teeth and a dentist drill?

4 The Case of the Fake Professor The Case of the Fake Professor
Written by Unknown
Copyright: 09/16/1961

From The Victor #30 published by D.C.Thomson. Posing as John Crowther the Spwatcher goes after his quarry a Professor Brent. But is there another person pretending to be the professor and what about Brent himself?

5 The Riddle of the Dead Stranger The Riddle of the Dead Stranger
Written by Unknown
Copyright: 09/23/1961

From The Victor #31 published by D.C.Thomson. In the South Down an agent named Harry Burdett was found dead. He was a stranger to the people there but not to Sir Giles. Spywatcher is asked to find out the reason for his death.

6 The Case of the Million Pound Ransom The Case of the Million Pound Ransom
Written by Unknown
Copyright: 09/30/1961

From The Victor #32 published by D.C.Thomson. An older man plans on destroying London with a homemade atomic bomb if his terms are not met and Spywatcher takes it upon himself to stop the guy.

7 The Case of the False Saboteur The Case of the False Saboteur
Written by Unknown
Copyright: 10/07/1961

From The Victor #33 published by D.C.Thomson. The Spywatcheer posing as Rupert Fledwick goes to Paris to uncover one of the biggest rings of international saboteurs in Europe.

8 The Case of the Phantom Photos The Case of the Phantom Photos
Written by Unknown
Copyright: 10/14/1961

From The Victor #34 published by D.C.Thomson. The Sirius Missiles project has been compromised by the taking and selling of photos. It becomes Spywatcher's mission to stop those responsible.

9 The Case of the Secret Signals The Case of the Secret Signals
Written by Unknown
Copyright: 10/21/1961

From The Victor #35 published by D.C.Thomson. The British Missile program is doomed unless Spywatcher can discover the link between a spy and a submarine.

10 The Case of the Too Perfect Professor The Case of the Too Perfect Professor
Written by Unknown
Copyright: 10/28/1961

From The Victor #36 published by D.C.Thomson. A flawless routine by a scientist is the problem for Spywatcher. Can he smash a spy ring that no other agent was able to do?

11 He Spies On Spies! He Spies On Spies!
Written by Unknown
Copyright: 09/1963

From The Victor Book For Boys '64 published by D.C.Thomson. The Spywatch befriended a clock make name Ambrose Medlar, then receives a mission to watch over the Chief, Sir Giles. Yet there is a bomb meant for one of them!

12 The Puzzle of Grimblett's Face The Puzzle of Grimblett's Face
Written by Unknown
Copyright: 09/1964

From The Victor Book For Boys '65 published by D.C.Thomson. While on holiday in Pallingport Spywatcher sees a man that should be dead 10 year befores. Was Grimblett, the Mass Poisoner, dead or alive? Could a waxworks hold the key to this mystery?

MY COMMENTS

       These short stories were surprisingly well written and quite entertaining. I guess my use of the word "surprisingly" is unfair because while often the text stories in comic books were less than noteworthy, sometimes they were worth the time spent reading them and Spywatcher is an example of the latter.
       Keep in mind that the magazines these stories were in were devoted to young-ish readers and so the stories were drafted to work with that audience but the writer(s) made it a good point to never write down to the audience. The stories also never slowed any, a major plus for them.
       One thing it showed to me was that much of a counter-espionage field work is comprised of waiting and watching (hence the name) and even a dedicated fellow like Spywatcher succumbs to boredom and frustration. Still, he perseveres and if the reader does as well, Spywatcher eventually gets his man and the reader gets a fun set of stories.

GRADE

My Grade: B+

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