Story File: Time Trip
While the majority of IPC comics output fits neatly into one of three categories – girls’ adventure, boys’ adventure and humour – there’s a sub-division of adventure serials which ran as features in the humour comics. By their nature, these were aimed at a slightly younger age than the readers of, say, Tiger or Tammy, but can be seen as a stepping stone towards that next level of reading – a sort of preparation for the conventions of the serial adventure.
Jackpot published a single adventure strip as part of its line-up for most of its run, with Time Trip, drawn by Francesc Masip, appearing for twelve episodes in the autumn of 1980. The story begins – promisingly – ‘one Saturday afternoon in late summer’, as brothers Freddie and Danny Ross are cycling across moorland and seek shelter from a thunder storm in a lonely mansion. They are turned away at the door by the irascible Professor J. Doomsday – Doctor Emmett Brown in appearance, Doctor William Hartnell in temperament – but sneak in through a back window to discover the wild-haired inventor’s time machine.
In scenes that won’t seem unfamiliar to Doctor Who fans, the boys are unwittingly transported back in time with the Professor, only for the machine to become damaged, stranding them in the past. Freddie, Danny and Doomsday find themselves in Roman times, outside a city called Tireus in an unnamed country. Their capsule is stolen and – via gladiators in an amphitheatre and the kidnapping of a centurion from a Roman banquet – they seek not only to get back to the craft but to help a young village girl rescue her father. Our pals succeed in the end, of course, and return in the time machine to modern-day Britain, where it lands in a busy street and is smashed to pieces by a lorry.
Each of the first ten episodes of Time Trip ended with a question, asking readers to name a particular object or activity of Roman culture featured within the story. At the end of part eleven, they were invited to send in their answers to Jackpot for a chance to win a £3 postal order and a super Jackpot puzzle prize! The winners are listed below – is one of them you?