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.



Tuesday, March 3, 2015

MONSTER FUN ANNUAL 1981 PART TWO



Two new features included in the Annual are signed by artists whose names say nothing to me. One is Ian Bennet whose style looks very rough and amateurish to me:


..and the other one is Arthur-with-an-illegible-surname, whose artwork has a more professional look about it but is rather simple. Can anyone decipher his surname for me please?


Grimly Feendish was a strip whose home comic was SHIVER AND SHAKE. How it ended up in a MONSTER FUN book is a bit of a mystery to me. The set in which the rottenest crook in the World is banned from the museum and disguises himself as an Egyptian mummy to get inside is illustrated by Paul Ailey:


Terry Dactyl Stone Age Detective looks like it has been drawn by Mike Brown but I am unsure if it is new material or a reprint; here are the first two pages:


Fun Wars occupied 10 pages and was the longest comedy strip in this Annual. Jasper Kreep loves making people miserable and wages a war on every kind of fun. His opponent is Tommy Titter, a TV Comic and a secret agent for the Ministry of Fun. In this action-packed tale Jasper Kreep interrupts a football match:


… and messes up a holiday camp:


… before Tommy Titter gets them:


Artwork is by Doug Baker who illustrated a few Frankie Stein stories in Frankie Stein Holiday Specials.

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

Monday, February 23, 2015

MONSTER FUN ANNUAL 1981, PART ONE



In comparison with the previous edition, the Annual lost 16 pages and cost 55 p more, i.e. £1.80.

Contents: Freaky Farm (a 2-pager on front endpapers in colour by Jim Watson), Hot Rod (3 reprints from WHIZZER AND CHIPS, artwork by Alf Saporito), Frankie Stein (a 3-pager in colour by Brian Walker), Tom Thumbscrew (a 3-pager), King Arthur and his Frights of the Round Table (4 reprints from WHOOPEE!, including one in colour; artwork by Robert Nixon), Spot the Space Changes puzzle (2 pages), The Castaways (reprint from Whizzer and Chips, artwork by Ron Turner, 23 pages), Gums (a 3-pager by John Geering and a 3-pager by Tom Williams), Fun Wars (10 pages by Doug Baker), Teddy Scare (2 pages), Martha’s Monster  Make-Up (a 2-pager by John Geering),  Terror TV (a 4-pager by Barrie Appleby), Brainy and His Monster Maker (a 2-pager by Tom Williams), Draculass (two 2-pagers by Terry Bave), X-Ray Specs (a 3-pager by John Geering and a 2-pager by Tom Williams), The Heat is On maze, Terry Dactyl Stone Age Detective (a 4-pager), Major Jump (a 3-pager), The Ghost Train (7 pages of reprints from WHOOPEE!, including two in colour on back end-papers; artwork by Brian Walker), Sir Twistalot maze (artwork by Cliff Brown), Jason and his Joggernaut (2 episodes), Monster Mind-Mixers (1 page signed by Ian Bennett), Mummy’s Boy (a 2-pager by Norman Mansbridge, possibly a reprint), Grimly Feendish (a 4-pager by Paul Ailey), Kid Kong (a 3-pager by Tom Williams), The Adventures of The Scarlet Pimply-Neddy (reprint of the BBB from MFC No. 50), Dough Nut and Rusty (a 3-pager by Jim Crocker), Creature Teacher (a 3-pager in colour by Tom Williams).

Frankie Stein consolidated his front cover position but I am unsure who the illustrator was. Inside, there is only one Frankie Stein story, drawn by Brian Walker and presented in colour. Prof Cube makes Fredastein - a girl monster, hoping she will annoy Frankie and drive him away. Of course, he miscalculates again – Fredastein proves to be as disaster-prone as Frankie; as a side-effect, Frankie comes to appreciate the company of girls:


Kid Kong also received only one strip this time. Trying to help Gran redecorate the house, Kid smashes a few holes in the walls and goes to get a brick-man to fix them. In a weird twist of circumstances, he catches two bank robbers and spends his reward on house repairs and – surprise surprise – ‘nanas. The artist is Tom Williams who did quite a lot of work for this edition, including an episode of Creature Teacher in which a photographer calls to take a class photo of 3X and ends up getting photographed himself:


… an episode of Brainy and His Monster Maker in which Brainy monsterizes a mushroom:


… an episode of X-Ray Specs:


… and an episode of Gums in which the shark is eager to be allowed into the annual water carnival and demonstrates his talents as a clown and a performing seal. This time no one tries to take away his false teeth for a change:


Like Tom Williams, John Geering also illustrated one episode of Gums in which the shark wants to scare some divers who are after giant clams but finds himself in trouble with others of his own species:


… and an episode of X-Ray Specs in which Ray annoys other kids by winning all the games at a X-mas party but becomes popular again in the end:


Besides these two strips, John Geering contributed a double-pager of Martha’s Monster Make-Up in which Martha visits a new hair salon in town:


Jim Watson drew one episode of Freaky Farm in which the Farmer receives two wiseguys who’ve come to rob him:


Terry Bave’s contribution was two episodes of Draculass. Here is one:


The episode of Terror TV is by Barrie Appleby:



Major Jump is by the same ‘artist’ who drew it in the previous edition:


Those who put this Annual together probably thought one poorly draw strip wasn’t enough so they brought in more ‘talent’ to draw the episode of Tom Thumbscrew:


…and the episode of Teddy Scare:


54 pages of this book are definitely reprints, including Hot Rod, King Arthur and his Frights of the Round Table and Ghost Train which had already appeared in previous editions of MF Annuals. There are two new and welcome additions to the reprints package. One is The Adventures of The Scarlet Pimply-Neddy – the Badtime Bedtime Story from MFC No. 50. Pages of the reprint are twice the size of the original pull-out booklet – a perfect way to appreciate quality artwork by Mike Brown. I prefer the black and white version of the reprint to the cluttered colour presentation in the original BBB:


The other reprint is 23 pages of The Castaways by the excellent Ron Turner. The strip is originally from WHIZZER AND CHIPS where it ran from the first issue of 1972. Here are two sample pages:


In part two of my look at MONSTER FUN ANNUAL 1981 I will cover all the new strips featured in this book, including Fun Wars and Jason and his Joggernaut, and mention one or two artists who are new to me.


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

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

MONSTER FUN ANNUAL 1980, PART TWO



I may be mistaken, but it seems to me that Barrie Appleby was not available to contribute to MONSTER FUN Annual 1980 and the strips which would have been drawn by him were given to another artist (or other artists) to illustrate. I can’t decide whether it was Joe McCaffrey or Reg Parlett, or maybe both of them on different strips. Or perhaps it was Barrie Appleby all along, imitating Reg Parlett?

They include both sets of Terror TV. The first one featured The Multi-Horror Swap Shock! show and the other one – All Creatures Big and Small. Here it is in full:



Two episodes of Teddy Scare also fall within the category:

  


… as do both episodes of Tom Thumbscrew:



… as does Brainy and His Monster Maker. One of the two episodes is called Brainy’s Monster Maker. I can see traces of Barrie Appleby, Reg Parlett/Joe McCaffrey and even Frank McDiarmid in this one, here it is in full:


So, who do you think illustrated these?

The Annual contains a fair share or reprints, including the second Badtime Bedtime Book (Robinson Gruesome by Leo Baxendale) from the second issue of Monster Fun Comic weekly. The reprint is twice the size of the original BBB and is printed in b/w:


Now for the highlights, which, for me, are the strips from the hand of Mike Brown. I believe he was responsible for three in this Annual, although none were signed. A Christmas Phanto-Mime is first in line and the only one I have some doubts about regarding artwork credits. I tend to think it is by Mike Brown, but drawn a few years earlier when he was just starting to work on Badtime Bedtime Books in MONSTER FUN COMIC. See for yourselves and let me know what you think:



Alfie’s Alphabet is a hilarious one-off:


And finally, here is the indispensable new Badtime Bedtime StoryAladdin - a mad combination of the oriental tale, Star Wars and whatnot. There's even the artist's self-portrait on page two. Enjoy!






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