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S.N.O.R.K.E.L.

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Full Name: Jimmie Webb
Nationality: British
Organization: S.N.O.R.K.E.L.
Occupation Agent

Creator: Jose Ortiz
Time Span: 1970 - 1971

ABOUT THE SERIES

       Johnnie Webb is an agent with S.N.O.R.K.E.L.
       That unusually long acronym stands for "Section Nine, Ocean Research and Knowledge Establishment for Learning". The organization is under the direction of Professor Wilmslow, an older man sporting a van dyke beard. He describes S.N.O.R.K.E.L. to Webb as "just a vital part of Britain's defense and security network". Wilmslow explains the importance of the department by pointing out that "seventy-one per cent of the Earth's surface is covered by water - that makes the oceans the largest unexplored territory - and potentially the most dangerous".
       It has as its operational base a fort on stilts off the east coast of Britain, a building in some need of repair by the looks of it but maintained that way to "satisfy the busy-bodies who constantly try to interfere in our work". Taking an elevator down to 200 feet below the sea-bed will put you in the true headquarters, a very impressive and very large underground/underwater facility.
       Webb is, when we first meet him, considered a playboy by, well, everyone because he, again well, is one. He is working as a diving instructor for the 'Teach Dive' Aqua-Lung Training Company but he is growing restless in this latest gig. There was no lack of people to teach to explore and enjoy the oceans since his reputation as an expert wet-skin-man ensured him constant work in the social playgrounds of the world. But his stick-to-it-ness was less than laudable and he was ready to move on to other, more exciting things.
       Enter Wilmslow who has been secretly having Webb monitored for the past three months to confirm that he was "a man of exceptional qualities". There was no doubt that as an aquanaut he had no equal but it was observed to Webb that "you share the fault of all so-called adventurers - you're over-dramatic." The question was whether Webb would fit into the organization. That became moot when a situation arose and Wilmslow need Webb, ready or not.
       Webb is a very handsome blonde-haired man in his late 20s or very early 30s. He is in exceptional shape due to his getting constant exercise underwater. He obviously enjoys the finer things in life and is always on the lookout for excitement. He drives a "highly individual sports car" and he likes to go fast.

NOVELLAS AND SHORT STORIES

Number of Stories:1
First Appearance:1971
Last Appearance:1971

1 "Killer Seaweed"
Written by Unknown
Copyright: 1971

Published in TV21 (New Series) Annual 1972.
An undersea research probe operating more than 500 feet below the surface suddenly is engulfed by a huge black shadow and goes offline. A hundred miles away, Johnny (sic) Webb is testing S.N.O.R.K.E.L.'s latest vessel, the ultra-fast Manta. Webb, his partner Mizen, and the Manta will be used to investigate the trouble.
Click here to read the story.

COMIC BOOKS AND GRAPHIC NOVELS

Number of Stories:2
First Appearance:1970
Last Appearance:1970

     According to Wikipedia, "City Magazines was a British publisher of weekly comics and men's magazines that operated from the mid-1950s to the mid-1970s. The company's most notable publications were comics magazines based on licensed television properties, including TV Century 21 and Lady Penelope, both of which featured comics based on Gerry Anderson's Century 21 Productions Supermarionation shows."
     It was right near the end of its impressive run that sales fell drastically and a total switch was deemed vital to keep the company afloat. TV Century 21 was retooled and rebranded as TV21 and Joe90 and new characters and series were introduced.
     S.N.O.R.K.E.L. was one of those new series. It, like the other new series and those older ones that survived the move, were packaged as serials with pieces of the stories presented in each weekly issue.
     The first adventure lasted 15 weeks with 2 pages per. The second was much shorter at 4 weeks of 2 pages before the powers that be decided there would be no more of this series, except for one text adventure (shown above).

1 'The Return of the Rising Sun' 'The Return of the Rising Sun'
Published by City Magazines
Contributors: unknown
Copyright: 1970

Published in TV21 (New Series), #39 - #53, June 20 - September 26, 1970 - 15 issues of 2 pages each.
Johnnie Webb is approached by the Director of S.N.O.R.K.E.L. to work for that Intelligence group. His first mission is to understand how and why gigantic 'Crown of Thorn' starfish are attacking British ships in the Pacific. Webb and his new partner, Slim Mizen, will learn a cadre of dedicated Japanese warriors are determined to return Japan to its powerhouse state.
Click here to read the story.

2 'The Search For Atlantis' 'The Search For Atlantis'
Published by City Magazines
Contributors: unknown
Copyright: 1970

Published in TV21 (New Series), #54 - #57, October 3 - October 24, 1970 - 4 issues of 2 pages each.A former S.N.O.R.K.E.L. scientist had developed "atom-powered motor cells" which, when injected into a human, would allow the subject to work using only scuba equipment at a depth below 400 feet. Then the man disappeared. Johnnie Webb is so injected to go look for the man who was certain he could find the lost continent of Atlantis.
Click here to read the story.

MY COMMENTS

     I could easily see why this series came and went - there was so little to it. The writer started off giving the appearance of Webb as a playboy but then did nothing whatsoever with that. He was shown to be a hothead but then little came from that. Once he starts working for S.N.O.R.K.E.L. he was all business but he was more of a drone than a real person.
     I did get the impression that the second graphic adventure was scheduled to be a longer, more interesting story than it turned out to be. It ended so abruptly, I got the impression the editor told the writer, "You got one more two-pager to bring this adventure to a close".

GRADE

My Grade: C

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