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Alf Tupper wins
Alf Tupper wins.
Alf breaks the tape at the end of a race.
Alf, who was styled ‘The Tough Of The Track’, was the flagship character in The Victor comic, which ran from 1961 until the early 1990s. He actually started life in the all-text comic The Rover in the late 1950s, but transferred to the new picture-strip comic when it launched.
He was a hero to several generations of British middle-distance runners, including Ron Hill, Brendan Foster and Steve Cram.
Alf may have been from the wrong side of the tracks, but he was on the side of the angels and was indomitable – he embodied the virtues that the British liked to thing they embodied.
And of course he was a working-class hero – the phrase “The Tough of the Track” was a sort of pun – it referred to his humble background as much as his gritty determination in competition.
His other signature characteristics were that he worked as a welder and lived under railway arches. He would train by running along the canal towpath.
Each story would involve Alf battling against some kind of iniquity – often at the hands of posher grammar-school boys or public-school boys. They would cheat in some way, which would disadvantage Alf but he would always bounce back and win in the end. The phrase “I run ‘im,” would end many stories.
I had a subscription to The Victor – most weeks the comic had an Alf Tupper story, which would run for several weeks. Then there would be a gap of a few weeks before the next one started again. I was always a bit disappointed if there wasn’t an Alf Tupper story.
Handmade, limited edition screen print on cotton paper, mould-made at the St Cuthbert Mill in Wells, Somerset.
25cm x 19cm.
Signed and numbered in pencil by the printer, John Patrick Reynolds
© D.C. Thomson & Co., Ltd.