"Time was when a man could commit various acts of evil and hide from justice forever in an expanding galaxy! Times have changed! Today is the day of the...Strontium Dog."

It was the year 2180, and following nuclear war the radiation from elements like Strontium 90 had caused widespread mutations amongst humanity. Victims of bigotry from the "norms", the mutants are segregated and denied the right to earn a living, being left to starve or beg. But there is still one profession left open to them - they can become bounty hunters, tracking down the hardest and most evil criminals known to man across the vast frontiers of space. Officially they are Search and Destroy agents, but the initials swiftly come to be called by another, more insulting name: Strontium Dogs.

The strip follows the cases of two of these agents. The mutant Johnny Alpha has eyes that can see through rock and metal, or into a man's soul. His partner is Wulf Sternhammer, one of the very few human SD Agents, and Johnny's closest friend. We first meet them as they come under fire from gunmen working for their current quarry, whom they make short work of. The hate-filled attitude of the local police, more concerned with Johnny's mutation than with the murderer he is hunting, sets the tone for the series to come. So too does Johnny's actions when he needs to get a lead on his prey. Lacking a living gunman to question, he uses a time drogue to simply bring one of the dead temporarily back to life, before interrogating him using his mutant eyes.

Johnny and Wulf soon catch up with their target, and by the end of the story one small bit of hope shines in the bitter future they live in. Their bounty tried to use two hostages, a mother and daughter, to escape from them, and while the mother shows little gratitude to her mutant saviour, the young girl at least is able to look past the prejudice she has grown up with.

The second story started with our heroes catching an interstellar ride. But Johnny, as a mutant, is forced to travel in the cargo hold, with Wulf showing solidarity and keeping him company. Attitudes are forced to change when pirates hijack the ship, leaving Johnny and Wulf, their weapons locked away for the flight, as the only hope for passengers and crew. This story also introduced the Gronk, a strange, timid alien who eats metal; his help would prove invaluable in the fight against the pirates, but the excitement caused his weak heart to give out. Nonetheless, his contribution to the Strontium Dog mythos was far from over.

The third story saw Johnny settling an old debt with the alien criminal who had killed his previous partner many years earlier, while the next saw Johnny and Wulf duped by an insane computer ruler of a dying planet into killing the last remaining survivors of the original inhabitants who built it. The two then got a well deserved break the next week (22nd July 1978), before embarking on their next case.

In their next tale Johnny took on Billy Joe, a vicious mutant with a face on either side of his head. Forced to battle him in single combat, Johnny stood no chance and was killed. His murderer then left his corpse for Wulf to dispose of. But as we discovered, Johnny had trained gain to control of all parts of his body, even his heart, and Wulf was able to bring him out of the deep coma he had used to fake his demise. Forced to seek urgent medical attention, they stumbled across a travelling carnival, where aid came in the unlikely shape of the Gronk! This proved to be the brother of their old ally. Working his way back to health, Johnny trained in the use of Billy Joe's favourite weapon, and the next encounter between the two mutants had a different outcome. As the bounty hunters left the carnival, their duo became a threesome - the Gronk accompanied them, offering his services as a medic to pay his way. He would remain their on-and-off companion thereafter, and indeed, would outlive both of them.

Johnny took another break in the 26th August issue of Starlord, before returning a week later with new artist Brendon McCarthy and then Ian Gibson taking over from Carlos Ezquerra, who had drawn all instalments of the strip up to this point. Johnny took his companions to meet his norm sister Ruth and her family, rightly fearing that Sadan the Demon-Maker, would target them to get back at the SD Agent. Four years earlier Johnny and Wulf had captured the deadly telekinetic alien, and now that he had escaped he was out for revenge. Needless to say Johnny prevailed, but his sister could not forgive him for the danger she felt he had exposed her daughter to, and she insisted he was to stay out of their lives thereafter.

After another week's break, Johnny took on another adventure in the last two issues of Starlord. When a gang led by a super-intelligent "brain" alien threatened to destroy a planet unless their ransom demands were met, the local government hired Johnny, Wulf and the Gronk to thwart the dastardly scheme. It would mark the end of their time in the pages of Starlord. Throughout it's run, the strip had been written by John Wagner, under the pseudonym T.B. Grover.

But if any one strip can be considered the legacy of Starlord, then it has to be Strontium Dog. It would withstand the cancellation of it's original title and a transfer to 2000A.D. It would continue to introduce a gallery of colourful characters and thrilling tales of Johnny and Wulf, and unleash several spin off series such as "Tales of the Doghouse", "Strontium Dogs", "Durham Red", "Stix" and "Middenface McNulty". It ran for hundreds of issues more in its new home and would even survive the death of both main characters, with the strip returning after several years absence, both in the comic and in professionally produced audio plays. Seems like there's life in the old Dog yet...


Johnny Alpha

Wulf Sternhammer

Middenface McNulty

Durham Red



Stix Brothers

Weerd Brothers

Kid Knee

Evans the Fist

Doc Death

Big Cynthia

Fly-Eyes Wagner

Frinton Fuzz


Armstrong Jones



Stretch Watson


Other Mutants

Billy Joe


Max Bubba

General Moon

Studs Boyce

Clacton Fuzz

General Armz

Alexander Brothers

Box Paton



Impetigo Jones

Brute Mosley


Lester Fester

Nev No-Neck

and the rest

The Gronk



Nelson Bunker Kreelman

Malak Brood


Unrighteous Brothers

Willy Blanko

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