Streamline (comics)

Streamline is a British Golden Age superhero comic, which appeared in the short-lived magazine Streamline Comics (1947), which only ran for four issues. The character was co-created by Denis Gifford and Bob Monkhouse, and later appeared as a character in the 2000 AD strip Zenith and the independent title Black Tower Comics Group Adventures.

Cover to Streamline Comics #1
Art by Denis Gifford.
Publication information
PublisherCardal Publishing
First appearanceStreamline Comics #1 (1947)
Created byDenis Gifford
Bob Monkhouse
In-story information
Alter egoKeenan King
AbilitiesSuperhuman speed
Regenerative healing factor
Force field generation

Publication history

Streamline was co-created by Denis Gifford and Bob Monkhouse, first appearing in Streamline Comics #1 (1947) published by Cardal Publishing. The comic ran for four issues, black and white throughout inside,[1] with Streamline the main feature. The Streamline strip was drawn in #1 by Denis Gifford, and in #2-4 by science-fiction writer Bryan Berry.[2]

In Streamline's debut appearance, The Adventure of the Flaming Fiends, scientist Keenan King is suspicious when he witnesses a fire at the 21st National Bank, returning to his laboratory to experiment on himself with the mysterious Elixir X. Obtaining a suitable costume, he encounters another bank on fire and discovers robbers in asbestos suits but is beaten back by the heat and forced to leave in order to a rescue the bank security guard. By the time of the next bank fire, he has formulated a liquid that dissolves asbestos. Splashing it over the robbers who are then vulnerable to the heat and flames, and hits them out of the bank to the awaiting police.

Streamline Comics #4 promised more adventures of "Britain's Superman"[3] in Streamline Comics #5 but this was never published.

A reimagined Streamline made a guest appearance in the 2000 AD strip Zenith,[4] along with other vintage British superheroes, debuting in 2000 AD Prog 629 (cover date 3 June 1989). The Zenith strip was written by Grant Morrison and drawn by Steve Yeowell. Zenith's Streamline became a traitor serving the evil alien race the Lloigor and was killed in Prog 660 (cover date 6 January 1990) when super-hero DJ Chill makes the temperature drop severely within Streamline's force field.

Since 1986, the original run of Streamline Comics has been reprinted along with several other out-of-print Golden Age superheroes by British independent comics publisher Black Tower Comics Group, collected in Black Tower Gold Collection . In 2005, the online comic Starscape[5] published Streamline to begin its selection of British Golden Age strips, shown in Comic Display reader format. Since the 1980s, Streamline has appeared in Black Tower Comics Group Adventures, also published by Black Tower Comics Group, drawn by creator/publisher Terry Hooper.[2]

Powers and abilities

Having injected himself with the experimental formula Elixir X, scientist Keenan King becomes "the fastest fighter in the world", gaining super speed,[6] and can rapidly regenerate from even serious, life-threatening injuries. As a character in Zenith, Streamline also had a protective force field.


Streamline's costume in the original 1940s run was yellow with a lightning-bolt 'S' in the middle of the chest, and included a yellow mask, with blue boots, gloves, belt and cape. When he was revived in Zenith, his costume no longer included a cape, and the 'S' was in a circle and had moved to the left breast, while the boots and gloves were flush with the rest of the costume. The Zenith run was printed in black and white.


Streamline superhero Steve Yeowell
Streamline drawn by Steve Yeowell in 1989, as he appeared in the 2000AD strip Zenith.
  • Streamline; Streamline Comics; #1: The Adventure of the Flaming Fiends (1947)
  • Streamline; Streamline Comics; #2 (1947)
  • Streamline; Streamline Comics; #3 (1947)
  • Streamline; Streamline Comics; #4 (1947)[3]
  • Zenith Phase 3; Chapter 3: A Separate Reality; 2000AD; Prog 629 (3 June 1989).
  • Zenith Phase 3; Chapter 4: Facts and Figures; 2000AD; Prog 630 (10 June 1989).
  • Zenith Phase 3; Chapter 6: Letters from the Underworld; 2000AD; Prog 631 (17 June 1989).
  • Zenith Phase 3; Chapter 7: Born Again; 2000AD; Prog 632 (23 June 1989).
  • Zenith Phase 3; Chapter 8: Marching as to War; 2000AD; Prog 633 (30 June 1989).
  • Zenith Phase 3; Chapter 14: Fire and Brimstone; 2000AD; Prog 655 (2 December 1989).
  • Zenith Phase 3; Chapter 15: Seeing the Light; 2000AD; Prog 656 (9 December 1989).
  • Zenith Phase 3; Chapter 16: Judgment Day; 2000AD; Prog 657 (16 December 1989).
  • Zenith Phase 3; Chapter 17: News from Nowhere; 2000AD; Prog 658 (23 December 1989).
  • Zenith Phase 3; Chapter 18: Wolf in the Fold; 2000AD; Prog 659 (30 December 1989).
  • Zenith Phase 3; Chapter 19: Shaming the Devil; 2000AD; Prog 660 (6 January 1990).
  • Black Tower Comics Group Adventures; various issues (1990s).
  • Black Tower British Gold Collection 1 (reprints Streamline Comics #1-4)
  • Black Tower Gold: The Ultimate British Comics Gold Collection (reprints Streamline Comics #1-4)

Streamline Publications

Gifford and Monkhouse, the co-creators of Streamline, went on to found the publishing company Streamline Publications[7] circa 1949, which reprinted titles from US publishers such as Atlas and Harvey, including other Golden Age superheroes Captain Might[8] and Master Man, as well as titles in other genres such as the Western Flash Streamline Comics and crime title Spectacular Stories magazine.


  1. ^ Medway, Jim. "Streamline No. 4, Cardal Publishing". Paw Quality Comics. Retrieved 2 April 2013.
  2. ^ a b Hooper, Terry. "Streamline Comics". Retrieved 26 July 2012.
  3. ^ a b "Streamline #4". Retrieved 26 July 2012.
  4. ^ Morrison, Grant; Yeowell, Steve (1989–90). "Zenith, Phase III". 2000 AD (626–634, 650-662 & 667-670).
  5. ^ "Starscape Online". spitfirecomics. Retrieved 20 July 2012.
  6. ^ Streamline Comics #1. Manchester: Cardal Publishing.
  7. ^ "Bob Monkhouse". Comic Vine. Retrieved 18 April 2013.
  8. ^ "Captain Might entry". Retrieved 29 July 2012.

External links

Cardal Publishing

Cardal Publishing was a British magazine and comic book publisher active during the Golden Age of comics, based in Manchester, England.

The company's publications included erotic fiction and Western novellas, as well as comics.

According to comic historian and critic Steve Holland, cash flow problems caused by obscenity fines forced the firm out of business before the end of the 1940s. The company was liquidated in 1951.The indicia to Streamline Comics notes that the comic was printed by The Assurance Agents Press, 132-4 Great Ancoats St, which was one street over from Cardal's Ducie Street offices.

Comics art and writing of Denis Gifford

Denis Gifford was a prolific comic artist and writer, most active in the 1940s, 50s and 60s. Gifford's work was largely for humour strips in British comics, often for L. Miller & Son. He was a highly influential comics historian, particularly of British comics from the 19th century to the 1940s.

Gifford was also a committed comic collector of British and US comics, and owned what has been called the "world's largest collection of British comics."

Denis Gifford

Denis Gifford (26 December 1927 – 18 May 2000) was a British writer, broadcaster, journalist, comic artist and historian of film, comics, television and radio. In his lengthy career, he wrote and drew for British comics; wrote more than fifty books on the creators, performers, characters and history of popular media; devised, compiled and contributed to popular programmes for radio and television; and directed several short films. Gifford was also a major comics collector, owning what was perhaps the largest collection of British comics in the world.Gifford's work in the history of film and comics, particularly in Britain, provided an account of the work in those media of previously unattempted scope, discovering countless lost films and titles and identifying numerous uncredited creators. He was particularly interested in the early stages in film and comics history, for which records were scarce and unreliable, and his own vast collection was an invaluable source. Gifford produced detailed filmographies of every traceable fiction, non-fiction and animated film ever released in the UK, and of early animated films in the US.

He compiled the first comics catalogue attempting to list every comic ever published in the UK, as well as the first price guide for British comics. His research into the early development of comics and cinema laid the groundwork for their academic study, and his reference works remain key texts in the fields.

Gifford was also a cartoonist and comic artist who worked for numerous titles, mostly for British comics in the 1940s, 50s and 60s. Although these were largely humour strips, he worked in a range of genres including superhero, Western, science fiction and adventure.

Published work on cinema by Denis Gifford

In addition to published work on cinema, this article also includes Denis Gifford's film credits.

Denis Gifford provided one of the earliest researched archives of early cinema, with The British Film Catalogue, 1895–1970, and produced numerous authoritative works on previously uncatalogued films from the UK and the US. Gifford had a particular interest in early horror and science fiction, and early comedy including Laurel and Hardy.


Streamline may refer to:

Operation Streamline

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