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Random Turner

The villain from a Rick Random story, 1960s

Ronald Turner was born on 3 August 1922 in Norwich, and grew up in Southend-on-Sea. After leaving school at 14 he joined the graphics department of Odhams Press, where he contributed occasional illustrations to the Modern Wonder. He was greatly impressed by Alex Raymond's Flash Gordon strips which were being reprinted in the magazine at the time.

He was called up in 1940, serving in the Army in North Africa, Greece and Italy. After the war he returned to Odhams, but, like many staff artists, began taking freelance work on the side. In 1949 he wrote and drew a science fiction strip, "The Atomic Mole", for Scion's Big Atlantis comic. After a few more comic strips, he began painting science fiction paperback covers for Scion and other publishers. In 1953 he left Odhams and went freelance full-time.

He wrote and drew six 64-page monthly issues of Tit-Bits Science Fiction Comics for C. Arthur Pearson in 1953, and created "Space Ace" for Atlas' Lone Star magazine in 1954, which ran for the next seven years, written, drawn and lettered by Turner. The character got his own title in 1960, the same year as Turner started drawing the adventures of futuristic detective Rick Random for Super Detective Library. The character had been created by Ted Holmes and was initially drawn by Bill Lacey, but Turner soon became the definitive Rick Random artist. He also drew Jet-Ace Logan stories for Thriller Picture Library. He also drew war stories, including John Steel stories for Thriller Picture Library, "Scoop Donovan: War Cameraman" for Film Fun, and several issues of Air Ace Picture Library.

In the later 1960s and '70s he drew for TV21, including "Stingray" (1965), the Doctor Who spin-off "The Daleks" (1966-67), and "Star Trek" (1970) in full colour. He drew "The Robot Builders" for Lion, and various strips for Whizzer and Chips and Cor!!. He drew a handful of early Judge Dredd stories for 2000 AD in 1977, as well as a brief revival of Rick Random written by Steve Moore. He also drew "Spinball Slaves" for Action. In 1980 he drew "Journey to the Stars" and "Winner!" for Speed.

He returned to the war libraries in the early '80s, drawing for War Picture Library and Battle Picture Library, and in 1983-84 he drew toy tie-in Action Force for Battle Picture Weekly, but on doctor's orders gave up the pressure of weekly deadlines in 1984. The following year he created Nick Hazard: Interstellar Agent with writer Phil Harbottle, which was published in a series of three 32-page self-published booklets. A series was published by Harrier Comics in 1988, who also published Turner's adaptations of E. C. Tubb's Kalgan the Golden and John Russel Fearn's The Golden Amazon.

In the 1990s he painted covers for Gryphon Books' reprints of classic science fiction novels. In 1997 he painted a six-part Dalek story, "Return of the Elders", for Doctor Who Magazine. He began work on a sequel, "Deadline to Doomsday", but had only completed two pages when, on 19 December 1998, he died of a heart attack at his home in Berkshire.

ReferencesEdit

  • Norman Wright and David Ashford, Masters of Fun and Thrills: The British Comic Artists Vol 1, Norman Wright (pub.), 2008, pp. 181-196

Online referenceEdit

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