Torkan is a heroic fantasy comic strip written and illustrated by Roger Fletcher. The strip debuted in June 1976 in the Sunday Telegraphand has appeared continuously in the paper to the present day, with over seventy stories having been published.
A comic strip is a sequence of drawings arranged in interrelated panels to display brief humor or form a narrative, often serialized, with text in balloons and captions. Traditionally, throughout the 20th century and into the 21st, these have been published in newspapers and magazines, with horizontal strips printed in black-and-white in daily newspapers, while Sunday newspapers offered longer sequences in special color comics sections. With the development of the internet, they began to appear online as webcomics. There were more than 200 different comic strips and daily cartoon panels in South Korea alone each day for most of the 20th century, for a total of at least 7,300,000 episodes.
Roger Fletcher is an award-winning Australian cartoonist and illustrator. His first comic strip, Torkan appeared in the Australian Sunday Telegraph in 1976 and his second comic strip, Staria, has appeared in the pages of the Australian Daily Telegraph since May 1980. Fletcher has taught children and adults the art of cartooning in the east coast of Australia and Ireland.
During the early 1970s, Fletcher began developing a comic strip about an Australian soldier-of-fortune, titled Nathan Cole—until he was introduced to the world of sword and sorcery by science-fiction writer Fritz Leiber that would have a profound impact on his future. In particular, the pair of characters called Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser influenced Fletcher greatly.
Fritz Reuter Leiber Jr. was an American writer of fantasy, horror, and science fiction. He was also a poet, actor in theater and films, playwright and chess expert. With writers such as Robert E. Howard and Michael Moorcock, Leiber can be regarded as one of the fathers of sword and sorcery fantasy, having coined the term.
Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser are two sword-and-sorcery heroes appearing in stories written by American author Fritz Leiber. They are the protagonists of what are probably Leiber's best-known stories. One of his motives in writing them was to have a couple of fantasy heroes closer to true human nature than the likes of Howard's Conan the Barbarian or Burroughs's Tarzan.
Fletcher worked on a fantasy comic strip called Orn the Eagle Warrior in 1974, but the strip received no attention from publishers. Fletcher subsequently started drawing Torkan.
Torkan continues to win new generations of readers; something which Fletcher believes is attributable to the character's enduring appeal. Fletcher claims; "the paradigm for heroic adventure was first written in the Bible, as David and Goliath. Whether it's in Arthurian legend or Harry Potter, the paradigm itself doesn't change much - but fashions do change."
Levels of violence in the stories have dropped since the strip's early years.
Torkan has ended on 3 March 2019, with the last strip published in the Sunday Telegraph after 43 years of continuous publication. Refer to Page 21 of the TV Guide section of Sunday Telegraph where the last strip appeared
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