BOB THE HAMSTER
First appearance: AP44
Last appearance: AP55
It was just another day at the Sam Cruise Detective Agency (AP office) when Cam received a plaintive phone call from a reader with an ill pet. "My hamster is poorly. Please wish him well" came the peeping tones of one David Ripley.
As luck would have it, AP44 was in need of a spine line, and the suitably oblique and applaudably short BOB IS A HAMSTER was pressed into service.
Within a week, David had rung again, delightedly reporting that Bob had made a full recovery, possibly spurred on by his prestigious appearance on the cover in a similar manner to having a popular beat combo turning up by your oxygen tent and singing you out of a coma.
We were pleased.
Also, when we took Bob to the vet we discovered he is in fact a girl hamster," he added. "Bye."
We were surprised.
Not, however, as surprised as when, trapped into revealing the identity of Bob in Do the Write Thing, our story of a sexually-confused rodent unexpectedly overcoming a seemingly fatal illness gripped the fickle readers of AMIGA POWER and Bob became a celebrity.
For fully fifteen issues letters asking after Bob, telling us a new hamster had been named Bob in tribute, speculating on how good Bob would look in a lettucey bap, threatening Bob with the attentions of a sinister cat and inviting marriage shot through the AP letterbox like very thin, lost birds.
Sparky, who sought Bob's hand.
Tragically, however, Bob had died around the time of AP55.
But, like AMIGA POWER itself, in death Bob became mightier still. Uniquely honoured with a second spine line, BYE-BYE BOB. YOU WERE A GIRL HAMSTER, Bob passed into legend, as valid an AP star as Isabelle Rees or the menopausal woman who cleaned the telephones.
Soon, David had called to say he had purchased New Bob who was just jim-dandy, thanks for asking. Closely following that, AMIGA POWER and all involved with it were brutally slain.
Students of theology were intrigued not to find Bob in The Reckoning, although there is mention of "happy furry animals."
Was Bob part of The Ineffable Plan?
Perhaps the debate will rage among scholars for years.
Or perhaps not.
What do we care? We're dead.