Created by Darryl Hughes & Monique MacNaughton
— Lady Fiona
It’s Victoria-era England, and cane-wielding JEFFREY TIFFEN SMYTHE and his partner, the gender-bending, swash-buckling and wise-cracking LADY FIONA FIZIWIGG, don’t consider themselves private eyes. Or not really.
But maybe they are. It’s just that they have only one client, albeit a very special one. They’re working on the sly as personal investigators for Queen Victoria herself.
The story goes that Her Majesty, in the wake of the notorious Jack the Ripper murders, commissioned several ”agents,“ each an expert in criminology and law enforcement, who were dubbed ”Continental Operatives.“ These agents were were charged with working independently of official law enforcement channels, answering only to the Queen herself.
Smythe is a bit of a dandy, a sardonic aristocrat from a politically and socially well-connected clan living in the city of Mansfordshire. He carries a cane and walks with a slight limp, due to an old injury obtained while on a secret mission. Mind you, that cane is equipped with a sword, grappling hook, and cable, and he has other canes for more “special occasions.” Various canes can function as a spear gun, a poison dart gun; a Bo staff or a rifle, and the assorted handles can include everything from ninja throwing stars to a derringer. Meanwhile, his ever-present bowler is straight out of Ian Fleming’s Bond villain Odd Job in Goldfinger—when activated, several small curved blades extend from the brim of the hat.
Lady Fiona, meanwhile, came from the small Welsh fishing village of Swansea, the only girl in a “brood of brothers,” where she decided at an early age that “nothing much was expected of me in life. That society extended certain advantages to men that weren’t extended to we women. So, I decided then and there to become a man. Until it suited me otherwise, of course…” And so Fiona dresses as a man, and has no qualms about kicking ass.
My only question?
Where did the title “Lady” come from. The wise-cracking Fiona’s family were fish cleaners.
Smythe and Fiona appeared in The Continentals, a web comic which ran from ran from 2009-16, on Keenspace.com and, ahem, right here on Thrilling Detective, followed the adventures of two operatives (would it be wrong to refer to them as “Continental Ops”?) as they stalked the mean streets of Victorian England, hot on the trail of such miscreants as the perpetrator of a series of brutal “mangling” murders in Smythe’s hometown of Mansfordshire. But their real mission was to ensure that “in a world of mounting evil and unrest, that the good guys win, the bad guys lose, and as always–-England prevails!”
Of course…and God Save the Queen!
But the strip was more than a dour, flag-waving gloomfest —it was a real mash-up: an action-packed, often amusing, tongue-in-cheek stew of detective fiction, action/adventure, historical drama, gothic horror, science fiction, and even a little steampunk (just for spice), juggling influences as diverse as old EC horror comics, Fleming’s James Bond, Edgar Allan Poe and TV’s The Avengers (the show’s Emma Peel being the clear inspiration for Fiona).
And would you believe… Get Smart?
Yep, Jeffrey and Fiona’s Continental agent identification numbers were—I kid thee not—86 and 99, respectively.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Writer Darryl Hughes and Monique MacNaughton also created the 2007 Glyph Comic Award-nominated G.A.A.K: Groovy Ass Alien Kreatures, a modern re-imagining of the classic 19th century Sherlock Holmes “who done it” murder mystery, created for the 21st century webcomic fan.
- THE CONTINENTALS
Written by Darryl Hughes
Art by Monique MacNaughton
The strip also appeared on webcomics.com and The Thrilling Detective Web Site.
Currently you can catch it at theduckwebcomics.
- That Shape Am I (Book One): A Matter of Malice Aforethought (2018) | Buy the graphic novel | Kindle/ComiXology it!
- That Shape Am I: Book Two: The Cain To Your Abel (2020) | Kindle/ComiXology it!
- That Shape Am I: Book Three: The Fire Next Time (2020) | Kindle/ComiXology it!
- Thrilling Detective Web Comics!
The Magnificent Seven!
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.