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OPERATION SHARK

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Full Name: Shark
Series Name: Operation Shark
Codename: Shark
Nationality: British
Organization: British Intelligence
Occupation Agent

Creator: Gerry Finley-Day
Time Span: 1976 - 1978

ABOUT THE SERIES

       Shark is an agent for British Intelligence.
       Obviously that solo identifier is just the codename for the actual operative.

       The activities of this agent take place in 1940 in the Channel Islands, an archipelago in the English Channel comprised of two large and several smaller islands which have been independent for centuries but which fall under the protectorate of the United Kingdom.        In June of that year, the British withdrew, certain that the German occupation was a foregone conclusion, and much of the islands fled as well. A good number remained, though, and thus fell under the control of the invading forces one month later.
       On one of the islands, likely one of the two larger ones, either Jersey or Guernsey though which one is never specifically mentioned, a school for boys operated. Most of the instructors and a good number of the students had left during the evacuation but one teacher and a handful of students remain. While that teacher is a die-hard, swastika-armband wearing German follower preaching adherance to the new order and happy to teach German to the boys, several of the students remain defiant.
       Four in particular play a major role in the activities of Shark against the occupiers. They are: Lenny Francis, Micky Greaves, Terry Trent, and Chipper Price. All are teenagers but none likely older that 14 or 15.
       As one of them mentions when they meet right after the Germans assumed control, "our fathers are all in the Services fighting the Germans and I reckon we should do the same!" They are certain they will be able to accomplish things because "we know this town far better than that slob [Kolonel] Kranz and his goons" and know how to move about the town without being spotted.
       When they make their first act of defiance, they will encounter a hooded figure who saves their bacon and then tells them that they can help him in his fight against the Germans but only if they act only when he tells them and does what he commands.
       Over the course of their adventures they will be saved by the Shark a couple of times and will in turn help him succeed. Shark is the operative in charge but the kids are really the stars.

COMIC BOOKS AND GRAPHIC NOVELS

Number of Stories:9
First Appearance:1976
Last Appearance:1978

       The British publisher IPC Magazines had a slew of different titles ongoing in the 60's and 70's. One of these was the very popular Battle Picture Weekly which, as the name implies, came out each week with an anthology of stories, some one-shot but most continuing series or serials. The quite active Mike Nelson, aka The Eagle, had a home in this magazine as well.

1 Meet The Shark! Meet The Shark!
Published by IPC Magazines
Contributors: Gerry Finley-Day (writer)
Copyright: 1976

Published in Battle Picture Weekly #76, Aug 14, 1976 with 3.5 black & white pages.
During World War II the German infiltrated the British Channel Island. Four teenage boys deliver bombs to a party for Nazis and end up getting saved by a masked British agent who identifies himself only as Shark.
Click here to read the story.

2 A Diversion & Strike! A Diversion & Strike!
Published by IPC Magazines
Contributors: Gerry Finley-Day (writer)
Copyright: 1976

Published in Battle Picture Weekly #77, Aug 21, 1976 with 3 black & white pages.
Shark sends a note to the boys that asked for a diversion so he can take out the radio station located on Moor Hill.
Click here to read the story.

3 Kidnapping A German V.I.P. Kidnapping A German V.I.P.
Published by IPC Magazines
Contributors: Gerry Finley-Day (writer)
Copyright: 1976

Published in Battle Picture Weekly #78 & #79, Aug 21 & Sep 4, 1976 with 6 black & white pages.
The boy must cause a distraction so Shark can nab an important German. Can they do it and will the Shark get his man?
Click here to read the story.

4 All Hell To Pay All Hell To Pay
Published by IPC Magazines
Contributors: Gerry Finley-Day (writer)
Copyright: 1976

Published in Battle Picture Weekly #80-#82, Sep 11-25, 1976 with 9 black & white pages.
The boys get code-signals from the Shark and also discover a secret German e-boats installation. Terry risks their lives when he doesn't follow the sign left by Shark. Then the Shark and the remaining boy have no choice but to destroy the place.
Click here to read the story.

5 The Top British Pilot The Top British Pilot
Published by IPC Magazines
Contributors: Gerry Finley-Day (writer)
Copyright: 1976

Published in Battle Picture Weekly #83, Oct 2, 1976 with 3 black & white pages.
Johnny 'Tiger' Mann is a top ace pilot for the British in a fight over the islands with three German planes, but he is shot down and taken hostage. Shark and the boys must find a way to free him.
Click here to read the story.

6 A Terrible Trap A Terrible Trap
Published by IPC Magazines
Contributors: Gerry Finley-Day (writer)
Copyright: 1976

Published in Battle Picture Weekly #84 & #85, Oct 9 & 16, 1976 with 6 black & white pages.
Shark and the boys plan to free Tiger Mann. Yet is it a trap for them all including the Shark and will they all get away?
Click here to read the story.

7 The Shark Strikes Again! The Shark Strikes Again!
Published by IPC Magazines
Contributors: Gerry Finley-Day (writer)
Copyright: 1978

Published in Battle Action (the merger of Battle Picture Weekly and Action) #176 - #178, July 15-29, 1978 with 9 black & white pages.
The Shark is back more deadly, more dangerous than before! With new Germans on the Islands he and the boys have another round of fighting in store.
Click here to read the story.

8 The Channel Islands Vs Germany The Channel Islands Vs Germany
Published by IPC Magazines
Contributors: Gerry Finley-Day (writer)
Copyright: 1978

Published in Battle Action #179 - #180, August 5-12, 1978 with 8 black & white pages.
[plot unknown]

9 The Mysterious Prisoners The Mysterious Prisoners
Published by IPC Magazines
Contributors: Gerry Finley-Day (writer)
Copyright: 1978

Published in Battle Action #181 - #182, August 19-26, 1978 with 8 black & white pages.
[plot unknown]

MY COMMENTS

       These adventures of the mysterious British operative known as the Shark are quite well-written stories told using what I feel is terrific artwork. The black & white used for these, so typical for the British magazines at the time, works terrifically to give a very dark and gritty feel to things, which considering how dire the life on the Channel Islands had to have been during WWII is just what the series needs.
       The biggest plus to the series, though, is the fact that the main star of the series is really the teenage boys that work together to aid the Shark. The Shark himself is not around very much letting the boys take center stage. For the teenage boys reading these stories, that must have been a hoot.

GRADE

My Grade: B

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