Janus Stark - Master of Illusion!
This iconic comic character appeared in issue one of the new Smash comic dated March 15 1969. A fantastic story telling how the name Janus Stark came to be born.
To understand why Janus Stark became a crime fighter we have to go back to early Victorian days and a young under-nourished boy living at Hemlock Hall, an orphan home, under brutal control of Simon Tragg.
The boy's name is Jonas Clarke. Jonas is constantly in trouble, punishment, being thrown into the cellar with only a small metal barred window for light. As he approaches his teenage years, Jonas is aware he can shape his bones into unbelievable positions. One day he is fed up of the bullying Simon Tragg, and with his powers he escapes though the bars of the cellar window.
But it is hard on the streets of London for young Jonas Clarke. He is living rough to survive, then one day a blind man called Largo takes pity on the young teenager. He shows Jonus how to survive, how to pick locks and light fingered trickery.
Jonas Clarke has grown into a strong young man. Jonas is aware of all his skills, they are immense and decides to use them to fight injustice and evil. He becomes an escapologist and master of illusion. He will use his great wealth to help the poor and under-privileged. Within a short time Jonas Clarke is the talk of the town in Victorian London. His fame will spread all round the globe. But it is to be under a new name and that name is Janus Stark.
Janus Stark is truly one of the greatest comic characters I have read. It would be the first story I read when I had my Smash comic. Was still going strong when Smash was incorporated with Valiant comic in 1971. And you would find Janus Stark in both yearly Annuals. Janus Stark was truly incredible.