Jack McGraw

2011 collector card by Brian Beardsley & Todd Downing

“Captain Stratosphere” Jack McGraw is equal parts Flash Gordon, Indiana Jones, Cliff Secord, and Rick O’Connell. Inspired by actor Gary Cooper and the Flash Gordon and Jungle Jim comic strips of Alex Raymond, the tall, square-jawed pilot was named after Downing’s grandfather Jack Brown, who served in the Pacific Theater of World War 2.

Jack McGraw is a daring pilot and competent team leader, who knows when to defer to expert advice from his crew. Having kicked the smoking habit while training on British airships early in the Great War, Jack favors Black Jack licorice chewing gum, which helps keep his ears equalized during drastic changes in air pressure.

He is an expert tactician and fearless combatant, whether with fists, his trusty twin Colts, or the control stick of an aircraft. He will do anything in support of his crew, whom he considers as much family as any blood relation. No sacrifice is too great, especially in defense of the greater good, and/or his partner Doc and daughter Ellen.

Jack and Doc’s relationship is one of equal partners raising a daughter amid world-ending crises, modeled on some of the great pulp partnerships: Buck & Wilma, Flash & Dale, Nick & Nora, Indy & Marion, Cliff & Jenny, Rick & Evie… Jack & Doc.