welcome and enjoy!

Hi and welcome to my blog about comics from other people’s childhood! It is dedicated primarily to British humour comics of the 60s and 70s. The reason they are not from my childhood is simply because I didn’t live in the UK back then (nor do I live there now). I knew next to nothing about them until fairly recently but since then I’ve developed a strong liking for the medium and amassed a large collection, including a number of complete or near complete sets. My intention is to use this blog as a channel for sharing my humble knowledge about different titles, favourite characters and creators as I slowly research my collection.

QUICK TIP: this blog is a sequence of posts covering one particular comic at a time. The sequence follows a certain logic, so for maximum results it is recommended that the blog is read from the oldest post up.

Copyright of all images and quotations used here is with their respective owners. Any such copyrighted material is used exclusively for educational purposes and will be removed at first notice. All other text copyright Irmantas P.



Wednesday, March 15, 2017

BANNED DARE-A-DAY DAVY EPISODE




The text of this post is part of Ken Reid biography that I wrote for a project that now seems to be dead, which I think is very sad...

“Dare-A-Day Davy” in POW!, illustrated by Ken Reid and written (mostly) by Walt Thorburn, featured a boy who couldn’t resist a dare. Dares were supplied by “POW!” fans who were offered a pound for every idea used. In the beginning of each episode Davy was torn between common sense and an irresistible urge to take on the dare, no matter how crazy or dangerous it was.

Vance Gledhill of Blackpool, Lancs., dared Davy to no less than dig up Frankenstein-monster’s remains and bring him back through the kiss of life. Davy had done lots of naughty and nasty things before but until then he’d never desecrated a grave or kissed a worm-infested fungus-covered skull, so Bart and Alf decided to spare the readers of “POW!” of the gory tale. 

Ken, however, wasn’t the only person responsible for its horridness: “Frankenstein” was drawn to Walt Thorburn’s script, so the writer was at least partly culpable

Odhams Press didn’t reject the episode or contact Ken about it. Ken received his check for the artwork and there is no evidence of his knowledge that the page was withheld from print. It was rescued by Steve Moore, then an Odhams Press’ employee, later a comics writer whose work featured in most of the major British comics, and printed in the first issue of “Weird Fantasy” comics fanzine published in the Winter of 1969 by David Britton – a British author and artist, later a co-founder of the publishing house “Savoy Books” that reprinted a couple of Ken's original Fudge books.

Contrary to what some people believe, “Frankenstein” was not the last episode of “Dare-A-Day Davy”. The reason which may have given rise to the belief was the number  “90” hand-written by Ken at the top left corner of the original “Frankenstein” artwork reprinted in “Weird Fantasy”, implying that this may have been the 90th episode of “Dare-A-Day Davy”, whereas only 86 issues of “POW!” had been published. “Frankenstein” was in fact the 64th episode of those drawn by Ken, while the “90” was the result of an error in Ken’s paybook when he turned a new page and started the numbering of his “Dare-A-Day Davy” episodes at 74 instead of 47, and carried on with it until the very end of the run.

Below is the cover of the fanzine that reprinted the Frankenstein episode, followed by the inside pages with the episode itself, the editor’s comment on Ken Reid and an artist’s take on Fudge, drawn in the style of American underground comix of the times (1969 or thereabouts).






Tuesday, March 7, 2017

NON-COMICS POST



Although this blog is supposed to be mostly about British comics, I’ll share something completely different this time. The other day I watched episode 4 of the first season of American TV series Magic City, and it ends with this absolutely brilliant version of Elvis’ “Don’t Be Cruel”. Courtesy of Google, it didn’t take me long to find out that the singer was an American chap Billy Swan who released the cover version in 1975. The preacher’s dance had me laughing out loud, but if you take the trouble to watch the video to the end, you’ll be gobsmacked by the political incorrectness of the final scenes! Comics-related service will (probably) resume soon :) 


Saturday, February 11, 2017

KEN REID – BOAT OWNER




Ken Reid was a devoted boating fan. He bought his boat, MISS BASSETT, in the summer of 1967 with the extra money that he earned working for Odhams. Ken once wrote that he purchased it, in complete ignorance, “second hand and immaculate”, “at a giveaway price due to emigration” from a genial young “Johnnie” who neglected to mention that the boat had a few major faults, such as an unpredictable outboard motor that often stopped in an enigmatic manner and nothing, not even a marine engineer, could induce it to start again until it had simmered down to “cold starting”. The seller, “who made the supreme sacrifice as favour” also omitted to explain that the generator didn’t work, so Ken’s navigation lights consisted of two candles, each placed in a jam jar... :)

Ken spent a lot of his time aboard Miss Bassett moored at Lymm village moorings in Cheshire, and used it as residence and studio in the warm months.

As a boater, Ken was a regular reader of Practical Boat Owner – a specialized magazine dedicated to all things boating. In April 1969 he came across a culinary article about preservation of cockles, written by a Mrs. Gillian Hibbs from Havant, Hants. Ken was a fan of mussels, so he contacted Mrs. Hibbs via the magazine and asked her to write a similar article on his favourite sea food. Mrs. Hibbs obliged, and her article was printed in the May issue of the magazine. Mrs. Hibbs liked Ken’s humorous and vivid writing style so she sent him a letter in reply, and the two corresponded for a while. Ken assured Mrs. Hibbs that the moment “mussel mania” sweeps the country once again in the late autumn, he shall get cracking with bottles, pepper and vinegar with rapturous abandon along the lines suggested by her. He continued by saying that:


Mrs. Hibbs suggested that Ken got in touch with the editor of Practical Boat Owner who she thought might possibly be interested in his writing style. Ken sent the Editor a humorous article on one of his many boating experiences and an illustration showing him proceeding through a mile long tunnel like a billiard ball, cannoning from one wall to the other. 

The magazine replied that, unfortunately, the story wasn’t for them because their material had to be essentially practical, useful, helpful and instructive. They said the illustration was too horrific for them – they were for a gentler humour, “which will make Mother laugh but not make her resist Father’s persuasive attempts to make the family take up boating”.

Ken was never short of ideas, so he immediately approached the magazine with another illustrated letter which the magazine accepted and printed in the readers’ letters page of their December 1969 issue, paying Ken a fiver for his contribution. Here is the cover of the magazine:


… and here is Ken’s letter:



In December 1969 Ken sent another letter to Practical Boat Owner with an article and an illustration of “Mini-derrick” (in pen and wash). Ken’s notes say that the magazine accepted the article and the illustration, and sent him a check for his contribution. If that was the case, it should have been printed in one of the issues in the beginning of 1970 but the dealer who sold me the number with 'Noah' article couldn’t find anything resembling a mini derrick in any of the issues, and he said he looked very closely; maybe the editor of Practical Boat Owner decided not to print it after all…

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

WORLD’S NICEST COMPLETE COLLECTION OF THE DANDY AND THE BEANO FROM 1970 - 1988


Some time ago I wrote about my ambition to collect THE BEANO and THE DANDY from the first issues of 1970 till the last newsprint numbers of 1988, and have them bound in half-year hard-cover volumes. Well, the mission has been accomplished and I am now the proud owner of the World’s most nicely packaged complete collection of the two comics from the period :)  

I went for the best condition I could lay my hands on. Many of the comics are in pristine condition and have their pink flyers or free gifts intact, and the bound volume packaging ensures they will remain that way for many years to come. I prefer half-year format to complete years because in the thinner volumes the centre pages of the comics open flat and one can fully appreciate the beauty of strips like The Bash Street Kids and Corporal Clott.

The books have white covers with reproduction of the first issue of the volume on the front and that of the last one on the back. Spines are made of artificial leather. Each volume comes with a dustjacket with reproductions and text on the front, the back and the spine. They look great on the shelf and I can conveniently find any issue that I want in a matter of seconds! 

In the process of collecting these long runs of the two titles, I also picked up a beautifully preserved complete set of HOOT and the first two years of NUTTY, so I had them bound in the same format. 

I will now wait until I have the time to read them all, or until someone reads this post and offers me a lot of money for this massive and unique collection. Don’t be shy to contact me if you have serious thoughts :)