The Guinea Pig
Real Name: Mike Lane
Identity/Class: Human, technology user and sometimes with powers granted by chemical means
Occupation: Invention tester
Affiliations: Professor Dee
Known Relatives: None
Base of Operations: Dartmoor Research Station
First Appearance: Eagle (1965)
Powers/Abilities: Varied, depending on the device or drug being tested. At various he times he drove unusual vehicles, had superstrength, was super fast, could see the future, became a werewolf, and so on.
History: Mike Lane had a hot temper and a habit of telling his bosses when he thought they were wrong. Since his only qualification was a taste for danger, he soon rendered himself almost unemployable. In 1990, out of work and out of options, he answered an ad from the government's Dartmoor Research Station asking for a guinea pig. He wasn't the only applicant, but he was the only one to pass scientist Professor Dee's test - put into a centrifuge and spun around to subject him to massive g-forces, he managed to partially scrawl his name with a pen and paper before passing out. Thus he became Professor Dee's invention tester, which meant working a number of bizarre devices and trying out unusual drugs which granted temporarily granted him superhuman powers. Mike soon learns that he's not Dee's first tester: when given a suit designed to repel gravity, he notes that the helmet is badly dented, and Dee informs him that the "last experimenter fell on his head from a height of two miles. Very sad. You should have seen the dents before we straightened them out."
Comments: Steve Winders provided the following information "'The Guinea Pig' was originally written by William Patterson, who wrote many of the best 'Jeff Hawke' stories for the Daily Express. Other writers to work on the strip were Tom Tully, David Motton, Robert Bartholomew, Frederick Smith and Alfred Wallace. The strip was first drawn by Colin Andrew, but Brian Lewis took over after a few installments. The longest serving artist on the strip was Gerald Haylock."
A handful of Guinea Pig strips were later reprinted in 2000AD Annuals 1979, 1980 and 1981, and Starlord Annual 1981.
The term "Guinea Pig" apparently has nothing to do with the animals of that name. Instead it dates back to when the U.K. used Guineas, a particular type of coin worth more than a Pound (£) as part of their currency. Rich and influential people would, as they still do now, be asked to lend their names to companies and products in order to make them more respectable - and their peers would derogatively note that since they didn't actually need the money, they were merely being greedy - Guinea Pigs. The term came to apply to anyone who was willing to do something distasteful or dangerous for cash, and eventually became associated with people who allowed medical experiments to be done to them for the money.
Any Additions/Corrections? Please let me know.
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