(af Asger Pedersen)

When Walter Booth's adventure-strip Rob the Rover stopped on behalf of a shortage in paper with the British boy's magazine Puck in 1940, it was the end of the worlds first epic adventure comic. Starting in 1920, Rob the rover were earlier than the nearest American 'competitor': Roy Cranes Wash Tubbs, which by many (especially by Americans) is considered the first, and it was far earlier than great series like Flash Gordon, The Phantom, Tarzan and Prince Valiant.

But was it the end? Well, in Britain it was, but for most of its run Rob the Rover had been reprinted abroad, and especially in Scandinavia most of the comic's pages had been printed in weekly magazines: In the Danish Familie Journalen, the Swedish and the Norwegian Allers it was published under the title Willy på eventyr (The Adventures of Willy). When it stopped, Familie Journalen substituted it with the detective strip Curly Harper by Lyman Young, which was renamed Willy Harper, but this lasted only a few issues.

In # 41-1941 Willy på eventyr started a new, this time with a Danish artist named Harry Nielsen. Actually Nielsen was no newcomer to either comics, Familie Journalen or even Willy/Rob, for many years he had been illustrating articles and stories in the magazine, he had been drawing the Bamse og Dukke-Lise comic for young children since 1935, and 1936 he illustrated a novel: Willy i Arabien for Familie Journalen, when the comic for a time wasn't printed in the magazine.

Harry Nielsen wrote and illustrated the comic much in the style of Walter Booth, and he elaborated much on the flying submarine, Professor Seymours 'Submar-plane, The Flying Fish' from 1937, which in Denmark was called the SM3, eventually 1946 converting it into a jetplane. Nielsen even redrew an episode of Rob the Rover, the first one published in Denmark. 1947 the comic stopped again, this time substituted by the American Johnny Hazard by Frank Robbins, also renamed Willy.

But even this wasn't the end of the series. In # 11-1956 Willy på eventyr began its last stint drawn by the artist Tage Andersen and written by journalist Aage Grauballe, both newly started on the Familie Journalen, and this time it lasted more than 21 years. Starting in a style actually more like Booth's than Nielsens, Andy-Aags (their joint signature) comic evolved into first a very modern adventure story with the action centered around Willys flying saucer SM4, but later into a detailed and suspenseful science-fiction comic taking place on several strange planets both inside and outside our own solar-system. Andersens artwork became very fluid and dynamic, and the last years it was one of the best drawn comics in the world. It stopped with # 28-1977, and except for a 1966 book 'Rumpiraten' (The Space-pirate) with pages from 1963 to 65 it has never been reprinted.