Previewing ‘The Astounding Jason Hyde’: Prose Adventure Sci-Fi Of A Strange British Hero
by Richard Bruton
From the pages of the British comic Valiant comes a series of amazing short prose stories of a very particularly British kind of hero.
Written by influential sci-fi writer Barrington J. Bayley and with incredible artwork from the legendary Eric Bradbury, The Astounding Jason Hyde reprints the earliest adventures of a very peculiarly British sort of hero.
They’re not comics, but these four short prose works, Slaves of the Spider, Journey to Infernis, The Space Seeds from Planet Sigma, and The Man-Eating Mushroom have all the excitement and adventure of the best of both comics and sci-fi prose, featuring the mystery man, Jason Hyde.
As a result of radiation, scientist Jason Hyde’s colourless eyes have the ability to see through solid objects and read the thoughts of animals and humans. With this newfound power, Hyde has now dedicated his life to investigating strange phenomena and protecting the world from all manner of unearthly threats.
Bayley created these text tales for Valiant, along with Bartok and his Brothers for Champion in the 1960s. Working alongside the likes of Michael Moorcock and JG Ballard, his sci-fi tales, both in these shorts and his novels, including The Star Virus, were all hugely influential on a generation of sci-fi writers, including M. John Harrison, Bruce Sterling, and Iain M. Banks.
Bayley died in 2008 – you can read Moorcock’s obituary for him here at The Guardian.
In the pages of The Astounding Jason Hyde, you’ll read a series of strange and wonderful sci-fi-infused tales of giant spiders, mysterious metal eggs and alien races, robot messengers, and planet-threatening asteroids, all in Bayley’s boy’s-own adventure style that mixed excitement and space opera elements.
And through them all, you get to just ooh and ahhh at the accompanying illustrations by the legendary Eric Bradbury. The dark lines, the styles, the confidence, it’s Bradbury at his finest.
The Astonishing Jason Hyde
Written by Barrington J. Bayley, art by Eric Bradbury. Cover by Jimmy Broxton.
Originally serialised in Valiant from 15 May 1965 to 18 December 1965 and Valiant Annual 1968
Collection published by Rebellion and the Treasury of British Comics on 1st September 2022
Now, a slightly unusual preview, but one that may well fire your interest in a lost great of British sci-fi… the first chapter of Barrington J Bayley‘s Jason Hyde tale, Slaves of the Spider, with illustrations from Eric Bradbury…