ACTIVE JIM

ACTIVE JIM

“Active Jim” first appears in Active Comics 3, as a kind of afterthought in the issue following the introduction of the “Active Club”. From the first story it is clear he was created to give the “Active Club a human face. The tie-in couldn’t be closer. He is Director of the “Active Club”. He will be answering the mail to “his” club, and he really wants to hear from members. In issue 4, the “Active Club” message becomes “Active Jim’s Monthly Message” a further tie-in.

He appears to have been a bit of an orphan with no creator claiming to be his parent. in his first appearance. Ross Saakle handles the next five episodes, then Edmond Good tries his hand at it for two. Adrian Dingle who also goes by the pseudonym “Darian” and is probably responsible for the unidentified interspacing the ones he claims, carries the bulk of the serial. Finally, Fred Kelly cartoons issues 22 to 27 which carries the last episode. Each episode is about three to four pages long reaching down to a single page episode by Ross and the last one done by Fred reaching seven pages.

“Active Jim” in his open neck shirt, sweater with a “A” on it and slacks is about as far from a costumed hero as you can get. He and his secretary/partner Joan Brian at least initially appear to be in their late teens probably intended to approximate the age of their readers. His moniker “active” is deserved as he participates in rugby, hockey and baseball. His teams are all called “Active”. He is clearly based in Toronto and when Ross is cartoonist “he seems more an employee of the company producing Active Comics than an action figure. Ross includes himself as another employee in the serial interacting with “Active Jim”. The episodes center around sports and thwarting petty criminals. There is a lightness to them and a complete absence of war themes.

This changes abruptly when Edmond Good takes over. The action remains in Canada but “Active Jim” and Joan are now fighting spies and saboteurs. These conflicts continue when Adrian Dingle takes over but the stories remain very much home front stories keeping the “Active Club” in the forefront. The Nazi are thwarted from stealing the money the “Active Club” has gathered for Victory Bonds. “Active Jim” thwarts a villain contaminating blood donations or another saboteur mixing crushed glass in with salt being spread on the road, or saboteur’s on his uncle Fred’s farm where he is working to help the war effort. One can follow the course of the war in these stories. As the war in Europe winds down and the war in the Pacific continues issue 18 tells a story of Japanese saboteurs. With issue 19, the war has disappeared, and the conflict is again with criminals. As well “Active Jim” has evolved into a more adult figure. By now the connection between “Active Jim” and the “Active Jim Club” has become tenuous. With issue 25 the “Active Jim Club” disappears.

 

Fred Kelly now had the job of giving “Active Jim”. At first he tried civilian adventures such as a fight in a roadhouse bar, but soon returned to crime stories. Among these is a seven page story which is among the best in the “Active Jim” serial.

 

MEDIUM:

PERIODICAL GRAPHIC ANTHOLOGY:

Published by Bell Features & Publishing Co. Colour cover. Black & white interior.

Content serial:

Active Comics 3, no date: “Active Jim.” Car., Unidentified: 12-14.

Active Comics… no date: “Active Jim.” Car., Ross Saakle.
4: 35-37. 5: 29-31. 6: 13-15. 7: 48-50. 8: 35-37.
Active Comics … no date: “Active Jim”. Car., Edmond Good: ….
9: 35-37. 10: 36-38.
Active Comics … no date: “Active Jim …”. Car., Adrian Dingle aka Darian probably also Unidentified.
11: “…”. Unidentified: 9-11.

12: “…”. Adrian Dingle: 10-13.

13: “…”. Adrian Dingle: 52-53.

14: “…”. Darian: 53-56.

15: “…”. Unidentified: 33-35.

16: “…”. Adrian Dingle: 9-11.

17: “…”. Unidentified: 30-33.

18: “…”. Adrian Dingle: 44-48.

19: “…and the Mystery of the Counterfeit Ten”. Darian: 51-55.

20: No Active Jim episode.

21: “Active Jim, Overcoat Racket”: Darian: 54-56

Active Comics… no date: “Active Jim.” Car., Fred Kelly.
22: 53-56. 23: 46-49. 24: 28-31. 25: 9-15. 26: 9-12. 27: 18-22. End.

GALLERY:

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Active Comics 3: 12.

A picture containing text, book

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Active Comics 3: 13.

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Active Comics 3: 14.