With the purchase of comic archives, Rebellion is planning to re-use collections of long-lost British comic classics, including the fondly-remembered ‘Leopard from Lime Street‘ strip…
Though ‘The Leopard from Lime Street‘ won’t mean a lot to our international readers, older fans of British comics will remember the character with a degree of fondness.
Appearing in the comics Buster & Monster Fun in the 1970s and 1980s, the character was strikingly similar to Spider-man. A comic-strip that was more ‘realistic’ than the other contents of the cartoon-led title, it told the story of Billy Farmer, a bullied school-boy living in the (fictional) town of Selbridge and who was injured by Sheba, a leopard at the local school but who had been exposed to radiation… Billy subsequently discovered he’d gained special abilities, but the snarky editor of the local newspaper saw him as a menace and Billy’s secret costumed crime-fighting ‘Leopard-Boy’ persona as being a dangerous vigilante or villain. Billy lived with his beloved but frail Aunt Judy and her less than scrupulous husband ‘Uncle Charlie’ and had to balance hiiding his secret crime-fighting activities with normal school-work.
The character’s final appearance was in the Buster Annual in 1987, though 2000 AD ‘borrowed’ a very familiar looking version of the character for an alternate-reality series hero line-up in their Zenith story.
However Rebellion Publishing, owners of 2000 AD, has now formally purchased the rights to the archive of material from Fleetway and IPC Youth group and has said it intends to re-release trade paperback collections of various characters and strips from that era through Simon & Schuster. As well as The Leopard from Lime Street, due in July, we’re likely to see collected editions of One-Eyed Jack, (described as part Dirty Harry, part Judge Dredd) which was created by John Wagner and John Cooper and first published in 1975. That is due for a June release. The likes of Marney the Fox, Misty and Faceache are due before year’s end.
The titles will be as seen in their original presentation, though rescanning and cleaning-up the original artwork has enabled a potential rise in quality.
It isn’t known at this point whether the company might be interested in reviving and reworking The Leopard from Lime Street concept as an ongoing concern with new material in the future.