The Cruel Hunt is an engrossing adventure, written by the late Norman Worker (at his best, in my opinion, creating stories about animals and their rights in unspoiled domains) and illustrated by Cesar Spadari.
To wrap up everything in a neat and semi-new package, the front cover is from the original art created by Sydney’s Glenn Ford. The Cruel Hunt first appeared in Frew No 999 and as many editions published around that time did not have wraparound art paper covers, Glenn was only required to produce the front cover.
The back cover used on No 999 (and this reprint) dates back to 1987 and could be the work of the late Sydney artist, Tommy Hughes. Tommy, who died in 1992, never signed any of his covers. (Unlike Glenn, who delighted in playing games with his fans and hiding his name in sometimes the most extraordinary places on his art!)
The Cruel Hunt stars Lee Falk’s 1963 animal creation Old Baldy, the gorilla who was turned into a comics cult figure by long-serving Phantom artist Sy Barry.Almost a half century after he first appeared, Baldy still has his fans and still appears! Considering the many hundreds of jungle creatures who hve appeared in so many Phantom adventures over the years, it is a mighty tribute to the creative powers of the Falk-Barry team, that enthusiasts constantly ask the mighty gorilla be written into more and more stories.
If you are a budding comics or commercial artist, I suggest you carefully study Cesar Spadari’s animal treatments in The Cruel Hunt. Away from gorillas, he depicts an impressive array of birds and animals of all ages, shapes and sizes—and captures them perfectly. Spadari is and always has been, a top flight professional. We dug back through the files to gather data about the general reaction to The Cruel Hunt story.
And—surprisingly, discovered that while it was generally well received, there was some criticism (mainly from parents) who considered the story both too brutal and too sad and likely to upset very young readers! Such criticism was answered by me with personal letters and at the time, I could fully understand their points. The Cruel Hunt, however, is about greed and inhumanity and those two elements always guarantee sadness.