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THE SEEKERS

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Full Name: Susanne Dove and Jacob Benedick
Nationality: British
Organization: The Seekers
Occupation Agent

Creator: Les Lilley
Time Span: 1966 - 2014

ABOUT THE SERIES

Susanne Dove and Jacob Benedick are agents of The Seekers.

That is the name of the private company run by, and likely founded by, Una Frost, a somewhat prickly mature woman who is friendly with but still reservedly distant from her employees so as to allow her to assign them difficult (read deadly) problems to be solved and then watch them walk off to carry out her instructions or lose their lives in the process. The impression is given that the organization has a number of operative working for it but the two that are followed throughout all the adventures are Dove and Benedick.

The Seekers seems to be a cross between a private investigations firm and a private intelligence organization. It is said on several blogs that this company, while available for a variety of assignments, specializes in "finding missing persons". This could be anywhere from a runaway spouse to an embellisher fleeing with stolen loot to government turncoats who defect to the other side. Their rates must be impressive as Frost thinks nothing of dispatching them to wherever in the world their target might have headed or been taken and since the irascible Frost is not one to waste a penny, it is a safe bet that she charges a pretty one for their services.

Benedick is the senior of the two; a blond-haired man likely in his mid 30s still with an occasional spring in his step but with enough gravitas to come across as capable and competent as needed.

Dove is a dark-haired beauty with a stunning figure and no qualms about letting that be known, though she does not blatantly flaunt it. She is probably in her mid-to-late 20s and despite her put-on airy ways at times, she is quite clever and inventive and has crafted at least one handy little gadget to help on a mission.

Both Benedick and Dove are single and neither show any inclination to change that; i.e., no steady relationships though Dove does meet a man she gets interested in part way through the series. That does not mean neither of them are adverse to dalliances on occasion. There is no romantic feelings between these two whatsoever; they are friendly work partners whose attitudes come across at times as a sibling rivalry with the older more serious Benedick occasionally annoyed with the near-carefree airs of Dove. On the job, though, they work well as a team.

COMIC BOOKS, GRAPHIC NOVELS, AND MANGA

Number of Stories:2
First Appearance:2013
Last Appearance:2014

       In 2013 a comicbook company called Lucky Comix "painstakingly cleaned up the original dailies and reformatted them into a graphic novelette" for two of the story arcs.

       I am not sure why they felt the need to change the format, making some panels bigger and others smaller to create the comic book versus comic strip differences. I would have preferred the original but to give them their deserved credit, they did a fine job and people reading these two tales without knowing the strip origins would not have been disappointed.

1 Murder In The Boneyard Murder In The Boneyard
Published by Lucky Comix
Contributors: John M. Burns (writer), Les Lilley (artist)
Copyright: 2013

Comic book treatment of the 1st comic strip story arc of the same name.
A young woman is invited by a new male friend to go to a private night club, the Boneyard. While there she witnesses him have an altercation with other patrons and when she tries to intervene, she is assaulted and ejected. Then she is the victim of a  hit and run. In the hospital, her story is finally believed by a doctor who calls The Seekers. They will learn of a large gang of criminals specializing in all sorts of crimes who use the night club as their base.

2 The Man Who Died Twice The Man Who Died Twice
Published by Lucky Comix
Contributors: John M. Burns (writer), Phillip Douglas (artist)
Copyright: 2014

Comic book treatment of the 17th comic strip story arc of the same name.
The headmaster at a prestigious boys school has died and had a lovely funeral. Then a young student witnesses the man crawling from his unfilled grave. When another student later reports to the headmaster's matronly sister that she too saw the man after his burial, that sister contacts her old friend, Una, for help. Una puts Susanne Dove and Jacob Benedick on the case of locating a man seen the week before near a beach four months after he was buried!

COMIC STRIPS

Number of Arcs:27
Number of Strips:1864
First Appearance:1966
Last Appearance:1971

       In May of 1966 in the pages of the British periodical, The Daily Sketch, an adventure strip began appearing in comics section. It was conceived by comic artist John Burns. He chose as the scribe for the tales to be told Les Lilley. The demise of the publication brought an end also to the strip and the Burns would go on to do even more amazing things.
       Now to the question as to why this pair of investigators are in this compendium of spies. These adventures began to be shown to the daily newspapers in 1966, three years after another pair of adventurers consisting of a beautiful, alluring, and oh-so-capable young woman and a ruggedly handsome physically impressive man started their run in London's Evening Standard. The earlier couple were the awesome Modesty Blaise and her friend and sidekick Willy Garvin.
       The similarities were obvious. Both ladies were dark-haired and gorgeous. Both gentlemen were good looking and light-haired. And both pairs traveled to exotic places and dealt with some pretty nasty adversaries.
       The differences were also quite apparent. Both Modesty and Willy were more than capable of taking care of themselves but it was obvious that Modesty was the smarter and deadlier of the two. In the Susanne and Jacob pair, he was the one to deal with first. And the writer for The Seekers made sure that the adventures his pair had to deal with did not duplicate what the earlier duo faced.
       But there is no doubt in my mind that the genesis for the existence of The Seekers was brought about by the popularity that Modesty Blaise was enjoying in that rival publication. It is curious as to how long The Seekers might have lasted had its newspaper vessel not gone away.


Note: at the time of this writing, I have been able to get hold of the first 11 story arcs, just a strip or two of the 12th, and the plot behind the 17th. I am still searching for the others.


Note: All records I can find has the publication, The Daily Sketch,  going out of business in 1971 and with it the daily run of The Seekers. However, there are sources which list the number of strips that each writer/artist pair created and placing one strip per day, six days a week, the last publication date would be in early 1972. That obviously is wrong so do not trust my dates below until I have gotten more intel.
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MY COMMENTS

I state right up front that I know this is not really a spy series but ... 

The very few times (and there really have only been a couple) that I have seen this comic strip series mentioned, it was in comparison with two series which most definitely belong: 'John Steed and Emma Peel aka The Avengers' and 'Modesty Blaise and Willie Garvin'. As a result, it is tagged as a spy series by others.

In truth the Seekers are a private investigation company specializing in finding missing persons. More than once, though, that puts them up against either foreign spies or would-be world conquerors. Maybe not enough to qualify them on their own but certainly enough to make them a hoot to read.

The two main characters in this series, while compared to those mentioned just above, are very much their own people and not trying to pretend to be someone else, IMHO.

GRADE

My Grade: B+

Your Average Grade:   A+

YOUR OPINIONS

richardnjones A+ 2023-02-09

i just started reading the arcs yesterday and now it has vanished! A revamp?


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