12 August 2011

An Intrepid Reporter's Mysterious Disappearance



Fifty years ago today saw journalist Jeff Buchanon's last appearance in the pages of Montreal's Gazette. Handsome and fearless, he was in very many ways Canada's answer to Steve Roper. Buchanon's time at the Gazette was not a long one. When the reporter first appeared, in the 17 October 1960 edition, he'd only just returned from the Arctic and, with wife Julie, was soon flying off to Sydney, Nova Scotia. (Cliquez pour agrandir.)


Sadly, the couple's "MARITIME HOLIDAY" was disrupted by smugglers.


Truth be told, it wasn't much of a break. There was no relaxation to be had on the return to their Montreal home; within days Buchanon found himself entangled in a protection racket.


He was almost played by a dame.


A few more adventures ensued before Buchanon was assigned to investigate "small time robberies by kids." Dantin, the editor of his unnamed newspaper, cautioned that there might be dope involved – and was he ever right!

By extraordinary coincidence, Buchanon had only just begun work on the story when he witnessed a gas station robbery committed by those very same kids.


He tailed them.


He confronted them.


And then he disappeared, never to be seen again... at least in the pages of The Gazette. The panel above was his very last.

Did Buchanon turn to a life of crime? Was he offed by the kids? I suppose Julie cared. Not so the readers of the Gazette; the paper published no letters of concern.

Consider this a cold case... one I have every intention of solving after I've retired from the force.

4 comments:

  1. Very interesting - had never heard of the Canadian strip. I see from the "Punch in Canada" blog that the strip started on May 19, 1960 and also ran in the Toronto Telegram and the Winnipeg Free Press. There is a bio of the artist here:

    http://communications.uwo.ca/com/alumni_gazette/alumni_stories/it_happened_at_western_20090629444535/

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  2. My thanks for pointing out the embarrassment of riches at Punch in Canada. It would seem that Buchanon's sudden disappearance from the pages of the Gazette was not at all unusual.

    Interesting to see that the U of Western Ontario bio describes Jeff Buchanon as "an adventure strip about a Canadian spy". It's pretty clear in everything else I've read that the character is a reporter. That said, what reporter worthy of the title doesn't encounter a spy from time to time.

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  3. I wonder if Canada also had its own version of Brenda Starr, adventurous girl reporter? It was turned into a bad movie with Brooke Shields. I liked all these "reality" comics. I remember Gil Thorpe (a high school athlete), Steve Canyon (US Air Force vet turned adventurer), and the strange often incomprehensible Mary Worth, a busybody who supposedly helped people. Someone was always drinking too much in that strip. In the 70s it was as bleak and dour as a Ibsen play.

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  4. Ah, a Canadian answer to Brenda Starr... perhaps with Rachel McAdams in the film adaptation. Apart from Jim Buchanon, I'm not sure we had any other English reality strips. (I'm betting there were a couple in the French papers.)

    Mary Worth was carried by The Gazette. In fact, she was often sandwiched between Jim Buchanon and Mark Trail. (Sorry, couldn't resist.)

    I remember reading Mark Trail as a child, but Mary Worth held no interest. It was like The Edge of Night in print, but with much slower story lines.

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