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.



Sunday, May 17, 2015

TAMMY NOSTALGIA




Further to the previous post about my very limited exposure to UK comics as a kid, I thought I might also say a few words about the issue of TAMMY that I received together with that WHOOPEE! The scans used in this post are made from a replacement copy that I bought some time ago.

The impression that it made on me wasn’t as deep as that created by the other comic, but I distinctly recall being fascinated by two strips. I remember I was mighty impressed by the artwork on Babe at St. Woods that occupied the first three pages of the comic. I now know the illustrator’s name was Jose Casanovas and IMHO he was an outstanding artist – the quality of his artwork and the level of detail are quite extraordinary. I now know he illustrated numerous features in TAMMY throughout the 70s, also a few in JINTY and JUNE so he was predominantly a girls’ comics artist. Mr. Casanovas also did some sporadic Sci-Fi work in 2000AD and STARLORD and even one horror tale in the short-lived SCREAM!, but that’s another story. Here is the episode of Babe at St. Woods from TAMMY cover-dated 19th March 1977:




The other strip that stuck in my memory was The Dream House – a mystery tale about a family whose members somehow turned into dolls one-by one and were trapped in a huge dolls’ house. All those years later, I wouldn’t mind reading the whole story. Below is the three-pager from the issue that I had as a kid. I wonder who the artist was. Mike White, maybe?




For some reason I also found this adverts page very intriguing:


All Images 2015 © Egmont UK Ltd.  All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Friday, May 8, 2015

A CASE OF WHOOPEE! NOSTALGIA




Many if not all bloggers who write about British comics are driven by nostalgia. I happen to be an exception because as I say in the introduction to this blog above, I didn’t live in the UK as a kid and was almost completely ignorant of the bustling industry that existed in the 70s when I was of the comics reading age. Almost but not entirely because my pen friend Andrew from Shakespeare Middle School in Leeds once sent me two comics – an issue of WHOOPEE! AND SHIVER & SHAKE from 1975 and a TAMMY from 1977. The papers made quite an impression on my 10- or 11-year old self, particularly WHOOPEE! which was at its prime in the mid-70s. I found the idea of being able to follow the adventures of Scared-Stiff Sam, Bumpkin Billionaires, Frankie Stein, Lolly Pop, Ghoul Getters Ltd on a weekly basis mind-boggling, while the possibility to win cash prizes for Scream Inn story ideas or World-Wide Weirdies sketches seemed absolutely staggering to me.

I was on the wrong side of the iron curtain then and asking my parents for a regular subscription was out of question so my acquaintance with British comics was limited to those two examples. Nonetheless, they were partly responsible for my brief and successful career as a freelance humour comics artist 20 or so years down the line, and completely to blame for my UK comics collecting hobby which I took up some 8+ years ago.

I am determined to do a comprehensive and detailed overview of WHOOPEE! on my blog sometime in the future because in my opinion, the combination of the stellar lineup of artists and excellent characters/features objectively makes WHOOPEE! one of the best (if not the best) children’s  comic of the period, and as such it deserves proper coverage and tribute in internetland. A respectable eleven year run makes it quite an ambitious quest but a doable one.

In the meantime, here is the complete issue of WHOOPEE! AND SHIVER & SHAKE dated 22nd February, 1975 – the one that Andrew sent me when I was in school. The copy that I owned as a kid got completely worn because I read and re-read it countless times but I acquired a pristine one a few years ago. See if you can recognise all artists whose work appeared in the comic:

















Monday, April 27, 2015

MONSTER FUN ANNUAL 1985



The 9th and the last MONSTER FUN Annual had 96 pages and cost £2.75.

Contents: The Little Monsters (in colour on front endpapers by Martin Baxendale + 3 pages of reprints by Sid Burgon), Draculass (two 2-pagers by Terry Bave, including one in colour), X-Ray Specs (two 3-pagers by Paul Ailey, including one in colour), Frankie’s Diary (two one-page sets by Jim Crocker), Tom Thumbscrew (two 2-pagers by Norman Mansbridge, reprints), Teddy Scare (two 2-pagers by Barrie Appleby), Dough Nut and Rusty (two 2-pagers by Trevor Metcalfe, reprints), Terror TV (two 3-pagers by Barrie Appleby, including one in colour), Horror Alphabet feature (3 pages by Jim Crocker), Eric Intrepid Dinosaur Hunter (4-pager by Mike Green), Creature Teacher (two 2-pagers by Tom Williams, reprints), Freaky Fotos feature (3 pages of b/w photos), Frankie Stein (a 6-pager by Ken Reid), Martha’s Monster Make-Up (two 2-pagers, probably by Keith Robson), Art’s Gallery (a 3-pager by Mike Lacey, reprint),  Gums (a 6-pager by Ian Knox), Brainy and His Monster Maker (two 2-pagers), Major Jump Horror Hunter (a 2-pager (reprint) and a 4-pager (new) by Ian Knox), Holiday Heroes (a 4-pager, probably by Chas Sinclair), Kid Kong (a 6-pager by Ian Knox), Puzzles (2 pages by Cliff Brown), Doctor Ericstein Monster Maker (a 4-pager by Mike Green, in colour).

The book begins with another cheerful panoramic set of the Little Monsters by Martin Baxendale, his only one in this book:


There are a couple of previously unseen fun features, such as Freaky Fotos:


… and Horror Alphabet – a three-page set by Jim Crocker. Here’s a sample page:


Paul Ailey provided two sets of X-Ray Specs. In one, Ray stops a raid on the bank, and in the other one he helps land a plane at New York airport in thick fog:


Mike Green contributed two stories of Eric – the lad who creates things from the junk found in Dad’s scrap-yard. In Eric Intrepid Dinosaur Hunter Eric gets an idea to make some money by selling a fake dinosaur to the city museum:


… and in Doctor Ericstein Monster Maker he tries to become rich and famous by creating his version of the Frankenstein monster:


Ken Reid illustrated a new story of Frankie Stein. Ken’s style had become rather uninspired and monotonous by then but the 6-page set, drawn with meticulous precision, is quite remarkable because it was Ken’s first Frankie Stein in nearly two decades since he stopped drawing it in WHAM! comic in 1967. In this episode Prof. Cube takes Frankie to audition for the leading role in the re-make of Frankenstein film:


The Annual has two helpings of Martha’s Monster Make-Up – the feature that Ken Reid used to draw in Monster Fun Comic weeklies. Both sets were illustrated by someone else who had studied Ken’s style and tried to imitate it to the best of his ability. I will take a guess that the artist was a one-time BUSTER sub Keith Robson who occasionally stepped in for Ken Reid on Faceache and other strips in the seventies. Here is a sample page from the Annual:


Barrie Appleby drew both Terror TV episodes. One is a western story of Alias Smith and Bones, while the second one features TV at Midnight – the show that makes the late night horror movie look like cartoon-time:


It was the second year in a row that Major Jump Horror Hunter was presented in the form of puzzles; here are the first two pages:


I am unsure who illustrated it but I think it may have been Ian Knox who also provided two surprise sets of strips that were usually given to other artists to draw. In Gums, the cunning Captain Mayhem swindles Gums out of his false teeth and sends them off to space tied to a US rocket. Cap’n Mayhem’s fiendish plan is to starve Gums into becoming his pet performer for food.  The US space shot finally shakes off Gum’s false teeth and they zonk straight back into the shark’s mouth. Gums wastes no time switching places with his tormentor:


The other surprise set by Ian Knox is this 6-pager of Kid Kong in which the gorilla is sent on a mission to save the world from the evil Doctor Bananas. Here it is in full:


This post marks the end of my Monster Fun Comic series in which I covered the developments in the life of the comic, provided an account of each strip that appeared during its relatively short run, and reviewed all MFC Holiday Specials and Annuals. MONSTER FUN COMIC is the third comic after COR!! and SHIVER AND SHAKE covered in this fashion on this blog. I have no plans to undertake another project like this in the immediate future but will add the odd blogpost until I have more time and enthusiasm to resume regular blogging.

All Images 2015 © Egmont UK Ltd.  All rights reserved. Used with permission.