General Jumbo (called Admiral Jumbo for a brief period in the early 1970s) was a fictional character in a comic strip in the UK comic The Beano, originally drawn by Paddy Brennan and, subsequently, by Sandy Calder.
Alfie "Jumbo" Johnson was a 12 year old boy who served as "general" to a remote control model army, navy and air force created by scientist Professor Carter. He also appeared in Nutty and Buddy in the early 1980s. The Buddy version called him Jimmy instead of Alfie.
Storylines involved crime-fighting and/or rescue missions. Jumbo made his first appearance in issue 583, dated 19 September 1953, and the strip continued intermittently until issue 1734, dated 11 October 1975, at which point it was the last adventure story in The Beano. However, he continued to appear in The Beano Book until 1979, and then every year from 1990-2008 (except 2007), and made a one-off appearance in the 60th birthday issue (2924, dated 1 August 1998).
- Official Beano website: http://www.beano.com/retro-beano/general-jumbo
He briefly turned evil during The Beano Annual 2008 in the 3-part Billy the Cat story "The General" written by Kev F Sutherland and drawn by Nigel Dobbyn. However, in part 2 it is revealed that he was under mind-control. His controller was Private Pike, one of Jumbo's soldiers who has gained sentience through a learning chip à la Small Soldiers, turned evil, and built an electronic mind-control device into his controller unit. Billy used the device against Pike who was seemingly killed when the device fed back on him. Jumbo made him safe by stamping on him, after which Billy suggested they could have just taken his batteries out. Pike survived however as his eyes are seen glowing red once more in the last panel.
In the 2009 Annual Private Pike returned in a General Jumbo story that was not a crossover, again written by Sutherland. He was now housed in the body of a teddy bear and leading a revolution of broken and discarded toys, also equipped with copies of Pike's "learning chip". Jumbo was better prepared this time and successfully disabled his captors before they could carry out their plot to discredit him in the eyes of the public at a fete. He unmasked Pike by alertly spotting that every other toy in the creche was being played with, and put paid to the nuisance for what should prove to be the last time.
General Jumbo was the inspiration of several other characters in British comics, including:
- Colonel Tusker, killed by the Fury in Alan Moore's Captain Britain series during the Jaspers Warp storyline.
- An unnamed character killed by the Lloigor in Zenith.
- General Tubbs in Jack Staff.
- General Jumbo at the International Catalogue of Superheroes
- Tribute website http://www.generaljumbo.co.uk