SPY 13

Full Name: David Roland Willoughby Doughty
Codename: Spy 13
Nationality: British
Organization: British Military Intelligence
Occupation Agent

Creator: Graham Coton
Time Span: 1958 - 1967


       David Doughty is an agent with British Military Intelligence.
       His activities, which are impressively many, take place during the Second World War. As the opening to one of his recorded adventures declare, while Britain "owed her continued existence to the selfless heroism of her sons in khaki, navy and air force blue ... there were other heroes, unknown and unsung, who gave themselves just a unsparingly to their beloved country. These were the secret agents who gambled with death behind the enemy lines. Men like David Doughty - Spy Thirteen."
       For someone with so many exploits available, we really know very little about the man. His name, of course. And his codename. But not much else, as would befit a man who would, when a mission was complete, "slip back, unnoticed, into obscurity until his country had need of him again".
       We know his approximate age is 30 based only on his appearance when he is not in disguise. He is blond-haired and rather square-jawed with a handsome but rugged look. Athletic but not particularly large which allows him to move about without attracting attention. When not in character, he does assume a bit of a swagger but it seems to come more from just having a good time taking on impossible odds and coming out on top. He definitely has a wry sense of humor which he loves to share with his opponents.
       The fact that he is able to assume so many roles in so many places in Europe and North Africa, we have to assume his command of languages is impressive, certainly German and Italian and likely Arabic as well. Japanese might also be one as he does spend time, though not that much, in the Far East.
       He is a practiced paratrooper as well as an underwater expert. He is very good with his fists and is a lethal shot with hand guns, rifles, and machine guns, as his enemies see frequently.


Number of Stories:50
First Appearance:1958
Last Appearance:1967

       IPC, a part of Fleetway Publications, came out with a new line of comics in digest form with a color cover and black and white comics inside in November of 1951. The title of the comic was Thriller Comics. 64 pages in length, each issue depicted some amazing and thrilling adventure, sometimes taken from a novel and sometimes from a movie but all dealing with excitement and derring-do.
       The Three Musketeers were a frequent visitor to these pages with different tales regaled in pretty impressive artwork. Dick Turpin, the notorious British highwayman had quite a few escapades recounted. This list of different stories and genres that would come forth was impressive.
       Issue #41, in 1953, saw the name change to Thriller Comics Library but the nature of the digest did not change. A good number of Westerns vied for time with stories of Robin Hood and swashbucklers out of the pages of Rafael Sabatini as well as other tales stretching as far back in time as the Roman conquests.
       Yet another name change would take place in 1957 when starting with #163, it became Thrilling Picture Library. Newer content began to appear, mixed with the old favorites of Robin Hood and the Three Musketeers. Battler Britton would be a very frequent visitor. And so would Spy 13.
       The format of the stories for all the magazines were the same in that there were two large panels per page. Shading was king in these cels. The story did not linger long in any place or time. The adventures were always impressive in their breadth but that meant moving the plot along quickly.

       Four issues were released each month. When Spy 13 first showed up in issue #242 in September 1958, he was immediately added to the rotation but only every other month so he would star in every 8th issue. That would change in the early months of 1960, #306, when the gap between adventures was reduced to once a month.
       This would last for another three years and the end of the magazine, with the exception of #444 which should have been a Spy 13 story but was not. The last Spy 13 adventure would be in issue #448 and the digest itself would end with #450.

       Three years would then pass. Fleetway, in 1966, came out with a 4-pack of stories about the "top secret agent of World War II". I do not have any information on this publication other than that so it is possible these were reprints but it is also possible they were stories left unpublished.
       The next year, it would do the same thing with a Secret Agent Picture Library Summer Special which again had 4 stories, 1 or 2 of which are likely Spy 13 tales.


       I know of around 4 dozen adventures of this operative and yet, having gotten a chance to peruse but one, I do not know that awfully much about the quality of the stories. The one that I have shows the story to be pretty extensive, which is impressive, moving through several locations and containing a good deal of action and dialogue. The artwork is good but looks hurried to me (a non-expert so what do I really know). Black and white, which I like, but many pieces appearing 2/3 done.
       I will be on the lookout for more, though, because I liked the character's sense of humor and his derring-do.


My Grade: B


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