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TOM ARTO, SPECIAL AGENT

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Full Name: Tom Arto
Nationality: British
Organization: None
Occupation Freelance Agent

Creator: Unknown
Time Span: 1968 - 1968

ABOUT THE SERIES

Tom Arto is a freelance agent.

Make that a freelance special agent. The stories we have about his amazing activities go to great lengths to remind us repeatedly that he is very much a special operative.

In truth, the freelance part is only conjecture but it comes from there being no mention in any of the many recorded adventures I have found of his working for any particular organization. He is definitely British and he has his home office in London but there is no indication he is anything but independant.

He is obviously very well known as heads of state, be they elected or decreed, call upon him constantly to rush to their respective lands to either solve mysterious matters of state or head off impending invasions. How some of these national leaders got or kept their exalted positions considering how silly they seem at times is a mystery that I would think beyond even Tom Arto's ability to suss out.

From the one picture we have of him in each of his tales, Arto is a white man of apparent average height with black hair kept cut short. He is fond of wearing a hat outdoors, as was normal for the time period he is working in, and perpetually has a well-pressed suit and tie on. He is quite thin of build but he does have a pronounced jaw which would make him instantly recognizable.

Arto is either more than a little hard of hearing or the people he deals with mumble or he does not pay close enough attention - all possibilities to explain his constant misunderstanding statements. For example, when a king says he wants to talk "about my navy", Arto queries, "Your gravy?" Or when someone stated they had "an antidote", Arto heard they had "a nannygoat". It does complicate things here and there.

COMIC BOOKS, GRAPHIC NOVELS, AND MANGA

Number of Stories:27
First Appearance:1968
Last Appearance:1968

       Buster was one of  British publication company IPC's main magazines, running from May 1960 to January 2000 with 1902 weekly issues. 

       Each of those issues, designed for children (and young adults) was filled with a good number of largely humorous serials, characters who would return week after week with new antics to amuse the readership.
       Throughout its history it often absorbed other magazines, such as Big One and Jet and so on. Each time it would see its masthead changing to represent the newcomer. In January, 1960, it was Giggle who came onboard and for a while the magazine was Buster and Giggle.
       [I may be wrong here but ...] with this new name came a couple of new characters, one of which was the incomparable Tom Arto, Special Agent!
       Tom Arto's relatively short run would be largely sequential with each week having a story with the exception of a week or or there. But after the 27th story, he was gone for good.


Note: one reference to this strip says that the stories were originally printed in Wonder, another IPC magazine from a few years before. I have not found corroboration of that but then again, nothing to refute it, either.

1 Story 1 Story 1
Published by IPC Magazines
Contributors: Unknown (writer)
Copyright: 1968

Published in Buster and Giggles, 01/20/1968.
[plot unknown]

2 Story 2 Story 2
Published by IPC Magazines
Contributors: Unknown (writer)
Copyright: 1968

Published in Buster and Giggles, 01/27/1968.
[plot unknown]

3 Story 3 Story 3
Published by IPC Magazines
Contributors: Unknown (writer)
Copyright: 1968

Published in Buster and Giggles, 02/03/1968.
[plot unknown]

4 Story 4 Story 4
Published by IPC Magazines
Contributors: Unknown (writer)
Copyright: 1968

Published in Buster and Giggles, 02/10/1968.
[plot unknown]

5 The Floating Assets The Floating Assets
Published by IPC Magazines
Contributors: Unknown (writer)
Copyright: 1968

Published in Buster and Giggles, 02/17/1968.
The King of Eejit telephoned Tom Arto, Special Agent, to seek help. "The safety of the king's country depended on his navy and he was worried. Every time he got a new fleet together, it sank as soon as it put to sea."

6 The Disappearing Trick The Disappearing Trick
Published by IPC Magazines
Contributors: Unknown (writer)
Copyright: 1968

Published in Buster and Giggles, 03/02/1968.
"Invisibility tablets prove a bitter pill to enemies of Tom Arto!"
The spies of the country of Umbug had discovered that the neighboring country of Dribbel was able to make their soldiers vanish. It was through the use of invisibility tablets! Umbug needed the help of "Tom Arto, the famous special agent".

7 One Up For Tom One Up For Tom
Published by IPC Magazines
Contributors: Unknown (writer)
Copyright: 1968

Published in Buster and Giggles, 03/09/1968.
The country of Fizzaria sent a representative, Professor Izitisit, to Tom Arto to get his help. "We are a great chemical country. We make the most astounding chemicals in the world. We can turn anything into something else." Enemies of his country are trying to steal the methods they use for creating these chemicals. Arto's solution was a ticklish one.

8 Story 8 Story 8
Published by IPC Magazines
Contributors: Unknown (writer)
Copyright: 1968

Published in Buster and Giggles, 03/16/1968.
[plot unknown]

9 Beat Your Neighbour! Beat Your Neighbour!
Published by IPC Magazines
Contributors: Unknown (writer)
Copyright: 1968

Published in Buster and Giggles, 03/23/1968.
The nation of Kustud is very jealous of its neighbor, Guzgogs. It seems the latter had "a factory for making things that nobody wanted and as nearly everybody was a nobody, these goods sold very well". Poor Kustud had a factory "but nobody could think of anything to make and so they carried on manufacturing nothing. As nobody wanted any of this, they had a factory full of nothing and couldn't get rid of it".

10 Fired! Fired!
Published by IPC Magazines
Contributors: Unknown (writer)
Copyright: 1968

Published in Buster and Giggles, 03/30/1968.
"Tom Arto was suffering the penalties of his fame. Throughout the world he was known and his enemies were very active. Five hundred of these had reached London and were on his track." How does Arto handle so many out for his head? He starts with one but then goes after a whole boatload of them.

11 Story 11 Story 11
Published by IPC Magazines
Contributors: Unknown (writer)
Copyright: 1968

Published in Buster and Giggles, 04/06/1968.
[plot unknown]

12 Tom's Holiday Adventure Tom's Holiday Adventure
Published by IPC Magazines
Contributors: Unknown (writer)
Copyright: 1968

Published in Buster and Giggles, 04/13/1968.
Tom Arto was in need of a rest after "getting himself and other people out of trouble". At random he picked an island he thought was named Corkscrew Island but was actually "Crusoe Island". He wanted relaxation but he found a ship totally lost and he decided to help in his own unique way.

13 Neptune's Warning! Neptune's Warning!
Published by IPC Magazines
Contributors: Unknown (writer)
Copyright: 1968

Published in Buster and Giggles, 04/20/1968.
Tom Arto is taking another short rest, this time a quick trip to the beach to "fill his lungs with air and his socks with sand". He is not at all surprised to be greeted by a fish who tells him he is needed on the bed of the ocean to help solve a problem. It seems Neptune is concerned about a new Spanish Armada causing trouble to England.

14 The President's Twin The President's Twin
Published by IPC Magazines
Contributors: Unknown (writer)
Copyright: 1968

Published in Buster and Giggles, 04/27/1968.
The President of Lumbago needs the assistance of Tom Arto, Special Agent. The man has an identical twin and is embarrassed that the twin is a burglar who also spends a lot of time impersonating his brother the leader.

15 Story 15 Story 15
Published by IPC Magazines
Contributors: Unknown (writer)
Copyright: 1968

Published in Buster and Giggles, 05/04/1968.
[plot unknown]

16 Who's Zoo? Who's Zoo?
Published by IPC Magazines
Contributors: Unknown (writer)
Copyright: 1968

Published in Buster and Giggles, 05/11/1968.
The War Lords of Eyzjx (pronounced Difficult) have an issue to fix. The country of Gerrof has an army whose soldiers the first country has yet to be able to defeat. It is so bad that the Gerrof army does not bother to sound a siren when attacked - they just blow a raspberry. They have a plan. The King of Gerrof has Tom Arto!

17 Team Work! Team Work!
Published by IPC Magazines
Contributors: Unknown (writer)
Copyright: 1968

Published in Buster and Giggles, 05/18/1968.
Foreign Minister Pickle received a message from someone in the rival country of Taptap saying that he had a new sponge which he wanted "to use it to wipe somebody off the fact of the Earth and it might as well be" him. Concerned, he contacts Tom Arto.

18 Story 18 Story 18
Published by IPC Magazines
Contributors: Unknown (writer)
Copyright: 1968

Published in Buster and Giggles, 05/25/1968.
[plot unknown]

19 The Soccer Plotter Rotter The Soccer Plotter Rotter
Published by IPC Magazines
Contributors: Unknown (writer)
Copyright: 1968

Published in Buster and Giggles, 06/01/1968.
After receiving a letter from the King of Blessumall, Tom Arto heads to that nation to lend a hand. The monarch wants to improve relations with three other countries and has set up a soccer tournament to do so but he is worried that one or more of the others will cause trouble and wants Arto there to save any day that needs saving.

20 The Dancing Soldiers The Dancing Soldiers
Published by IPC Magazines
Contributors: Unknown (writer)
Copyright: 1968

Published in Buster and Giggles, 06/08/1968.
The nations of Frantik and Dopeland have been at war with each other for hundreds of years and where always trying out new surprise weaponry on the other. The Prime Minister of Frantik was, well, frantic that the other side had come up with something extra surprising so it asked Tom Arto for help.

21 Surprising the Spooks Surprising the Spooks
Published by IPC Magazines
Contributors: Unknown (writer)
Copyright: 1968

Published in Buster and Giggles, 06/15/1968.
The Prime Minster of Flutter calls Tom Arto, Special Agent, for help. His house was haunted. "Busy spectres, spooks, ghosts. All night long they haunt me." The culprits are spies trying to scare the PM out of the house at night so they can break into his safe and steal the formula for making invisible invisibility tablets.

22 Story 22 Story 22
Published by IPC Magazines
Contributors: Unknown (writer)
Copyright: 1968

Published in Buster and Giggles, 06/22/1968.
[plot unknown]

23 Story 23 Story 23
Published by IPC Magazines
Contributors: Unknown (writer)
Copyright: 1968

Published in Buster and Giggles, 06/29/1968.
[plot unknown]

24 Story 24 Story 24
Published by IPC Magazines
Contributors: Unknown (writer)
Copyright: 1968

Published in Buster and Giggles, 07/06/1968.
[plot unknown]

25 Story 25 Story 25
Published by IPC Magazines
Contributors: Unknown (writer)
Copyright: 1968

Published in Buster and Giggles, 07/27/1968.
[plot unknown]

26 Story 26 Story 26
Published by IPC Magazines
Contributors: Unknown (writer)
Copyright: 1968

Published in Buster and Giggles, 08/03/1968.
[plot unknown]

27 Story 27 Story 27
Published by IPC Magazines
Contributors: Unknown (writer)
Copyright: 1968

Published in Buster and Giggles, 08/10/1968.
[plot unknown]

MY COMMENTS

This is a silly, silly series designed from the get-go to be so. There is a ton of satiric comment in them so that adults might at least smile when reading them but they were designed for younger audiences.

Regarding the satire, it is interesting that the message that could come across to the kids reading these is that governments are by and large incompetent or immature or power-hungry or easily frightened. What kind of message was this to teach the youngsters? Pretty accurate, I would say.

GRADE

My Grade: C

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