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STEELHEAD SAM

steelhead_sam_cb_09 steelhead_sam_cb_12 steelhead_sam_cb_10 steelhead_sam_cb_05 steelhead_sam_cb_14 steelhead_sam_cb_04 steelhead_sam_cb_07 steelhead_sam_cb_03 steelhead_sam_cb_06 steelhead_sam_cb_11 steelhead_sam_cb_02 steelhead_sam_cb_13 steelhead_sam_cb_01 steelhead_sam_cb_08
 
Full Name: Sam Baxter
Nationality: British
Organization: British Intelligence
Occupation Agent

Creator: Denis McLoughlin
Time Span: 1980 - 1980

ABOUT THE SERIES

Sam Baxter, aka Steelhead Sam, is an agent with British Intelligence.

When we first meet him, he is very happily a sergeant in the vaunted Parachute Regiment of the British Army having made it his life's career and expecting to stay there for many more years as he is (likely) still in his late 20s. Then in that first recorded adventure, we witness his heroic and determined efforts to stop a terrorist attack against an incoming foreign ambassador. His quick action prevented the man's death but an RPG from the assaulters as they fled severely injured Baxter.

"The bones in your skull and face were so badly damaged that we had to completely rebuild you. The mask is made of a new type of titanium ... far lighter and stronger than any other metal." is what the doctor tells him after the operation to repair him. A look in a mirror lets Baxter know "you've left me looking like a blinking robot!" and he is correct with most of his cranium now a hairless shiny thin plate.

His CO tells him that he is on indefinite leave; i.e., they had no idea what to do with him since he was otherwise in remarkable shape. He has ideas, though, when he is told he is out of picture when it comes to tracking down the terrorists. He had gotten a good look at the leader and with a lot of time on his hand and one major burning anger inside him, he starts his own investigation. He successfully bullies his way to finding the group and smashing their cell, literally.

In doing so a couple of major things take place. He finds that though his appearance is bizarre and off-putting, he is able to shrug off a bullet to the head as well as use his noggin to smash through a door, giving him an impressive edge. And he finds that the cell was under surveillance by the SIS and though they are miffed he stepped in when he did, they saw a major use for him.

As the head of Special Operations for MI6, Colonel Trueman, puts it, with the use of face masks "made of a special rubber to give them a lifelike appearance", Baxter could be quite an operative for them, especially since there were "a dozen different ones" for him to use as needed.

That is when the single Baxter, self-named 'Steelhead', finds a new career.

COMIC BOOKS, GRAPHIC NOVELS, AND MANGA

Number of Stories:15
First Appearance:1980
Last Appearance:1980

The highly popular British weekly comicbook Victor, published by one of the main publishing houses, D.C. Thomson, had already been going quite strong for a lot of years when Steelhead Sam made his entrance and began his short but exciting time in that anthology periodical.

The magazine got its start in 1961 as The Victor and over the next 31 years entertained a lot of mostly male teens and young adults with some very thrilling series in a wide variety of genres.

While Steelhead Sam did not stay long, giving only his origin story followed by 13 other adventures, his tales were impressively written and drawn and contained a lot of action and excitement in four pages of artwork.

Who did the writing is not known. The artist, and the man I credited with creating the series since there was no other name associated with it, was Denis McLoughlin. His use of shading was terrific, giving the stories an excellent feel to them.

Note: none of the stories were given any titles so the ones shown here were created by me and I get the blame.


1 'The Tale of Steelhead Sam's Origin' 'The Tale of Steelhead Sam's Origin'
Published by D.C.Thomson
Contributors: Denis McLoughlin (artist)
Copyright: 1980

Published in Victor #1009, June 21, 1980 - 4 pages.
British Intelligence receives credible intel on an attack at Heathrow against "an important Foreign Ambassador" so they have the Parachute Regiment ringing the facility. This includes Sgt. Sam Baxter. He is able to stymy the assault but an RPG hits his vehicle, severely injuring him. He is now out to find the lead terrorist who fired it.
Click here to read the story.

2 'The Tale of the Visiting Prince' 'The Tale of the Visiting Prince'
Published by D.C.Thomson
Contributors: Denis McLoughlin (artist)
Copyright: 1980

Published in Victor #1010, June 28, 1980 - 4 pages.
Prince Kasim-al-Rashid is visiting Britain and Steelhead Sam is assigned personal protection detail. Sporting a thick blond wig, he is miffed when the handgun he had been assigned failed to have the power needed to penetrate a vehicle used by a group of assailants. He upgrades. He also finds an interesting way to entice the would-be assassins to make another attempt.
Click here to read the story.

3 'The Tale of the 'Mad Major'' 'The Tale of the 'Mad Major''
Published by D.C.Thomson
Contributors: Denis McLoughlin (artist)
Copyright: 1980

Published in Victor #1011, July 5, 1980 - 4 pages.
Steelhead Sam is tasked with working with Special Branch to keep an eye on an ex-army mercenary dubbed the 'Mad Major' who has come to England along with an East German named Kruger. Their goal is a shipment of diamonds but they need some firepower to get it.
Click here to read the story.

4 'The Tale of the Arms Smuggler' 'The Tale of the Arms Smuggler'
Published by D.C.Thomson
Contributors: Denis McLoughlin (artist)
Copyright: 1980

Published in Victor #1012, July 12, 1980 - 4 pages.
Using the facemask of a small-time gyn runner named Bishop, Steelhead Sam goes undercover to infiltrate and break up an arms smuggling operation by Ernst Beck, former Gestapo agent and now runner of a South American shipping operation.
Click here to read the story.

5 'The Tale of the Deadly Bacteria' 'The Tale of the Deadly Bacteria'
Published by D.C.Thomson
Contributors: Denis McLoughlin (artist)
Copyright: 1980

Published in Victor #1013, July 19, 1980 - 3 pages.
Some deadly bacteria stolen a few months prior is being used by a terror cell during an unusual break-in at a prison. The cell is demanding the release of three of their teammates incarcerated in that facility. Once again Steelhead Sam will use his head to stop them.
Click here to read the story.

6 'The Tale of the Guided Attack System' 'The Tale of the Guided Attack System'
Published by D.C.Thomson
Contributors: Denis McLoughlin (artist)
Copyright: 1980

Published in Victor #1014, July 26, 1980 - 3 pages.
Steelhead Sam Baxter and his boss, Colonel Trueman, have been asked to check internal security at a new British Military establishment. That location houses a top secret project creating a new guided attack system which can detect terrorists or enemy soldiers and go after them with an automatic rifle, a grenade launcher, and even a deadly laser beam. Foreign agents have infiltrated the base to steal the device by turning it on its creators.
Click here to read the story.

7 'The Tale of the Deadly Stasi Operative' 'The Tale of the Deadly Stasi Operative'
Published by D.C.Thomson
Contributors: Denis McLoughlin (artist)
Copyright: 1980

Published in Victor #1015, August 2, 1980 - 4 pages.
In Berlin to meet a contact from the East with important information, Steelhead Sam Baxter watches the man approach only to see a car speed up and a passenger shoots the contact. His dying words were that "Meinz is going to ...". Baxter must now figure out the former Stasi officer and now deadly freelancer, Carl Meinz, is about to do.
Click here to read the story.

8 'The Tale of the Lost Radar Guidance System' 'The Tale of the Lost Radar Guidance System'
Published by D.C.Thomson
Contributors: Denis McLoughlin (artist)
Copyright: 1980

Published in Victor #1016, August 9, 1980 - 4 pages.
Steelhead Sam Baxter and his boss, Colonel Trueman, fly to a British frigate in the Med. In the Balkans, a British fighter "carrying a top secret radar guidance system has crashed in hostile territory" and it will fall to Baxter to sneak into a communist country to get it back.
Click here to read the story.

9 'The Tale of the Revenge-Minded Soldier' 'The Tale of the Revenge-Minded Soldier'
Published by D.C.Thomson
Contributors: Denis McLoughlin (artist)
Copyright: 1980

Published in Victor #1017, August 16, 1980 - 4 pages.
When Steelhead Sam Baxter joins his boss, Colonel Trueman, on a visit to Trueman's old SAS unit, he notices there is a bit of tension towards Trueman from one of the soldiers. Things go badly from there.
Click here to read the story.

10 'The Tale of the Threatened Toboggan Team' 'The Tale of the Threatened Toboggan Team'
Published by D.C.Thomson
Contributors: Denis McLoughlin (artist)
Copyright: 1980

Published in Victor #1018, August 23, 1980 - 4 pages.
In the Austrian Alps, Steelhead Sam Baxter is on hand to provide protection to the training British toboggan team which has received threats from terrorists. He soon learns they mean business when they go after the athletes, and Baxter, with an RPG.
Click here to read the story.

11 'The Tale of the Gigantic Shark' 'The Tale of the Gigantic Shark'
Published by D.C.Thomson
Contributors: Denis McLoughlin (artist)
Copyright: 1980

Published in Victor #1019, August 30, 1980 - 4 pages.
Steelhead Sam Baxter will have one heckuva fish tale when he is sent to the North Sea where two sunken treasure hunters report a gigantic shark in waters no shark would normally be. It is in an area where a new submarine detector device is set up. Trueman suspects there is a connection. Baxter makes an interesting use of his titanium hear.
Click here to read the story.

12 'The Tale of the Power-Hungry Billionaire' 'The Tale of the Power-Hungry Billionaire'
Published by D.C.Thomson
Contributors: Denis McLoughlin (artist)
Copyright: 1980

Published in Victor #1020-1021, September 6 and 13, 1980 - 8 pages.
In a secret hideout built into a mountain in Virginia, billionaire Hiram J. Weston is starting a crazy plan to make America become the most powerful, and the most feared, nation in the world. He is doing so by taking computer control of any missile in the country.
Click here to read the story.

13 'The Tale of the Hunted Asylum Seeker' 'The Tale of the Hunted Asylum Seeker'
Published by D.C.Thomson
Contributors: Denis McLoughlin (artist)
Copyright: 1980

Published in Victor #1022, September 20, 1980 - 4 pages.
Steelhead Sam Baxter has been assigned to guard Andrevich Potchenko, an Iron Curtain bigwig who has sought political asylum in Britain. A bullet to Baxter's head as he tries to move the man in the farmland of Sussex lets him know the threat is rea.
Click here to read the story.

14 'The Tale of the Kidnapped MP' 'The Tale of the Kidnapped MP'
Published by D.C.Thomson
Contributors: Denis McLoughlin (artist)
Copyright: 1980

Published in Victor #1023, September 27, 1980 - 4 pages.
Taking an unusual cover as a female flower seller to set a trap for the people picking up a ransom after kidnapping a Member of Parliament, Steelhead Sam Baxter presents an interesting picture when he commandeers a motorcycle to give chase - an old granny on wheels!
Click here to read the story.

MY COMMENTS

"Aagh! They're onto us!" That is what Steelhead Sam shouts as a bullet fired from a passing car ricochets off his scalp. Doesn't knock him down, or hurt him that much, or slow him down any, or even muss-up his hair. I think if it were I, my reaction would have been different.

I mention this scene from the next-to-last adventure because it really sums up the series as a whole. Kinda fun and really kinda silly and really unbelievable.

I would have loved to have sat in whatever meeting there might have been when this series' idea was first mentioned. Did anyone in that supposed meeting ask, "Um, say what!? Run that by me one more time!"

GRADE

My Grade: C+

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