Jack O’Lantern was originally another name for the strange phenomenon of light hovering over peat bogs, also known as a Will o’the Wisp. Carved out pumpkins with faces are often called Jack O’ Lanterns. This old name provided an excellent title for George Beardmore’s popular Eagle strip about a boy’s adventures in the early nineteenth century, but Jack Yorke is not the only Jack O’ Lantern in comics. Both Marvel and D.C. Comics in America have used the name several times. Beginning in 1977, D.C. used the name for three superheroes who each took the name following the death of their predecessor. These ‘Jacks’ did not operate alone, but as members of super hero teams. Conversely, from 1981 Marvel featured four villains who took this name, with each one again replacing an earlier version in turn and providing enemies for Spiderman and Captain America.
This brings us nicely to Willo The Wisp, the 1981 B.B.C. TV cartoon series made by Nicholas Spargo, who may be recalled by Eagle readers as the creator of The Legend of the Lincoln Imp, which featured on the centre pages below the cutaway drawing, back in 1951. Soon after his work for Eagle, Nicholas worked for Halas and Bachelor on Britain’s first ever cartoon feature film Animal Farm. He also ran his own animation company which principally produced cartoon advertisements and educational films, sponsored by companies, but his main claim to fame is Willo The Wisp, a series of five minute films for children, featuring the voice of Kenneth Williams. The character of Willo actually originated in an educational film he made for British Gas in 1975.