Athletics Weekly, 2006
Many people believe Alf Tupper has retired, but not so. Athletics
Weekly can reveal that the Tough of the Track has recently escaped from
the pages of boys’ adventure comics to run riot on canvas.
Britain’s foremost comic publisher, Dundee-based DC Thomson, has given
artist John Reynolds permission to reproduce this icon of British
childhood on huge canvases up to four feet wide. The company has never
before given permission for its creations to be reproduced as art in
Reynolds says: “I’ve always loved Alf and I’m really happy to give him
new life as art. He was a hero of mine as a child and I styled myself
as him in the middle distance and cross country running I did as at
“He’s a very appealing character: he’s got integrity, guts, an
unorthodox running style and a terrific haircut. And he’s always
battling against bullies, cheats and snobs. What more could you want?
“Characters such as Alf occupy a place in the British public’s heart.
But people have never before had an opportunity to hang a canvas print
of him in their living room or office.
“People are familiar with the images of US comics hanging on the walls
of galleries, thanks to the likes of Roy Lichtenstein, and it’s time
the British comic style was appreciated too.
“Many of these artists are very accomplished and they belong to a
particularly British tradition that seems to have been overlooked.”
The first editions are of a trio of runners: Alf Tupper from the
Victor, The Beano’s Billy Whizz and Wilson of the Wizard. There are
plans for other Beano and Dandy favourites and stalwarts from DC
Thomson’s British boys’ and girls’ adventure comics.