Frank described the strip as ‘the northern counterpart of the knights of the round table’. Sorry it’s so hard to decipher. The original was in full colour, but copies had to be black and white. Result: all colours become different shades of grey and the line work is difficult to make out. If any reader knows how to improve these images please click HERE to download a large tif file.

Martin Mere is set in the Dark Ages (500-850AD) in the wilds of Mercia, one of the Anglo-Saxon Midland kingdoms. Its centre was the valley of the River Trent. At a time of geburs, ceorls, thegns, and ealdorman, the Watch and Guide was fairly privileged but still in service to their Lord or Thane. Martin Mere leads the Watch.

The strip opens when Martin and his companions find two Moorish ‘travelling salesmen’ and their slaves stuck in a bog. Martin takes the party to his Thane, where Jink a tumbling juggler warns them of a very nasty secret imprisoned in the Moor’s box. We’ll never know what it was because the episode ends here.

Hampson planned for Martin to gather round him ‘four and twenty sworn men who pledge to keep the Merelands free from tyranny’.


Artist and Hampson fan Martin Baines has restored the story for us. Martin writes: “The frame (frame 7) took an evening to restore, using Photoshop 7. I work from the black and white copy, but since that’s taken from a colour original, it takes time to lighten the image until you can ‘read’ the line-work. Once the line work is strengthened, I restore the greys on a separate layer. The process was first developed when I worked on a Dan Dare story drawn by Keith Watson.”

We'd like to thank Martin Baines for the work he's done restoring Martin Mere. Over the course of several weeks he probably spent several days making the images this clear.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge