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.

Thursday, April 5, 2012


The Gasworks Gang was a traditional British classroom comedy strip. The Gang was six school-boys: Boss, Tub, Dozy, Nosey, Brains and Tich, who made their Teacher’s life a misery. The Teach (sometimes referred to as ‘Sir’ by the Gang) was a dangerous-looking bloke who lived with his Mum. Other recurring characters were Janitor, Headmaster and Teach’s Mum. The Teacher got the upper hand occasionally, but the Gang usually prevailed.

The Gasworks Gang from COR!! dated 27th February 1971 (No. 39)

Illustrated by Frank McDiarmid, the strip occupied two full pages in black and white from the first to the very last issue of COR!! The two pages usually told a complete story every week but there were also three “serials”. The first one began in the issue dated 29th July, 1972 (No. 113), coinciding with the point when the strip was moved from its usual slot on pages 4 and 5 to the back of the paper. This is also the time when the artist began drawing a new logo for each weekly episode (with a few exceptions).

The first serial was entitled “All at Sea” and told a summer holiday story about how the Gasworks Gang accidentally sent Teach on an ocean-going cruise in the belly of a whale and set off to save him. Their voyage took them to the Arctic Circle, then they found themselves stranded on a desert island, got rescued by a submarine that took them to an exotic coast where they fell into the hands of cannibals. Cortown Zoo finally sent an airplane and arranged their free passage back in return for a crocodile, just in time for the start of school. The serial ran in 5 issues from 29th July, 1972 until 26th August, 1972 (Nos. 113 – 117).

The Gasworks Gang on an educational tour of Britain
in COR!! dated 4th November, 1972 (No. 127)

In their second “epic tale” the Gasworks Gang cheated in a School Authorities Competition and won the First Prize of an educational tour of Britain. The tour lasted 16 weeks (from 30th September, 1972 until 13th January, 1973 (Nos. 122 – 137)). The Gasworks Gang and Teach visited the Tower of London, Stonehenge, the Lake District, the White Cliffs of Dover, Scotland and Loch Ness, an oil rig in Scotland, Hadrian’s Wall, Stoke and its famous potteries, Wales and finally Cambridge before making it safely back to Cortown. Christmas and New Year episodes were also incorporated into the story which was given a proper ending in the issue of 13th January, 1973 (No. 137) when President of the Education Committee came to have a few words with the Gang for cheating to get on the tour.

The Gasworks Gang tour the Common Market countries:
French vinyards in COR!! 18th August 1973 (No. 168)

During their visit in Germany the Gang go to a china factory
and make a life-size china model of Teach. They try
firing it on a bonfire with a volume of Mein Kampf
tossed on top of it. A question here: is burning books
not a Nazi thing to do?
(from COR!! dated 15h Sept., 1973 (No. 172))

The last serial began in the issue dated 4th August, 1973 (No. 166): British kids were worried that school holidays were coming and instead of being locked up in school the Gang would be on the loose all day. Police officer realized the menace and decided that the Gang should be deported. Kids started collection right away to fund the deportation and several days later the police officer presented Teach with a sack of lolly and a mini-bus so that he could take the Gang on a tour of the Common Market countries for their holidays. That’s how the Gasworks Gang’s tour of Europe began. It lasted 10 weeks and included antics in France, Belgium, Holland, Denmark, Germany, Italy and Ireland. The tour ended in issue 6th October, 1973 (No. 175) when the Gasworks Gang returned to the UK.

Mail in the Postbag section suggests that readers had different opinions about the strip – some thought it was boring while some wrote in to tell how much they liked it. My vote would have been very much with the yeas. I surely don’t find it boring and Frank McDiarmid’s excellent artwork really makes the strip shine. For me it is easily one of the best series in COR!! I would very much like to get hold of an original set of Gasworks Gang art for my collection :)

Trivia stuff: the episode in the issue of 12th June, 1971 (No. 54) was illustrated by Les Barton. The Gasworks Gang made two COR!! front page appearances on 8th September, 1973 and  23rd March, 1974 (Nos. 171 and 199). Towards the very end of the run the strip was in three-colours on centre pages. Issue of 30th March, 1974 (No. 200) had a nice ‘full colour’ episode. I find that particular episode interesting in a number of ways: I think that the concept of characters demanding full-colour treatment and doing something about it is quite clever, I also like the way the idea is presented; the episode has a couple of small fun details, like the guest-appearance of Tomboy – a character from another COR!! strip (episodic guest appearances were rather common in COR!! by the way), and showing the Editor’s face. If you take a close look you’ll notice that it’s actually a mask because Ed’s real face was supposedly too horrible to be uncovered. Finally, you can see Frank McDiarmid’s self-portrait in two panels at the bottom of the second page.

The only "colour" episode in COR!! dated 30th March, 1974 (No. 200)

The Gasworks Gang bid their
farewells in the last issue of COR!!

Here are details about appearances of The Gasworks Gang outside of COR!! weeklies. As this one my favourite strips and one of the highlights in COR!!, there is a good chance to find examples of the artwork in my blogposts dedicated to the particular Holiday Specials and Annuals.

1971 COR!! Holiday Special – 1 episode by Les Barton
1972 COR!! Comic Annual – 1 episode by Frank McDiarmid and 1 by Les Barton
1972 COR!! Holiday Special – 1 episode by Frank McDiarmid
1973 COR!! Comic Annual – 2 episodes by Frank McDiarmid
1973 COR!! Holiday Special – 1 episode by Frank McDiarmid
1974 COR!! Comic Annual – 2 episodes by Frank McDiarmid
1974 COR!! Holiday Special – 1 episode by Frank McDiarmid
1975 COR!! Comic Annual – 1 episode by Frank McDiarmid
1975 COR!! Holiday Special – first one ever signed by Frank McDiarmid
1976 COR!! Comic Annual – 3 episodes (two original and one reprint)
1976 COR!! Holiday Special – 1 reprint + 1 new episode by Frank McDiarmid
1977 COR!! Comic Annual – 2 new episodes by Frank McDiarmid
1977 COR!! Holiday Special – 1 new episode by Les Barton + 2 reprints
1978 COR!! Comic Annual – 1 new episode by Frank McDiarmid, signed
1978 COR!! Holiday Special – so far I haven’t been able to get hold of a copy and check for myself but this review confirms that Gasworks Gang was included in the 1978 Special. I will add details when I can.  
1979 COR!! Comic Annual – 4 episodes, all reprints
1979 COR!! Holiday Special – 3 reprints, one in full colour
1980 COR!! Comic Annual – 2 reprints
1980 COR!! Holiday Special – 3 reprints
1981 COR!! Comic Annual – 4 reprints
1981 COR!! Holiday Special – 2 reprints
1982 COR!! Comic Annual – 3 reprints + 1 new Frank McDiarmid signed
1982 COR!! Holiday Special – 1 new episode by Frank McDiarmid
1983 COR!! Comic Annual – 4 reprints
1983 COR!! Holiday Special – a new 4-pager by Frank McDiarmid + 1 reprint
1984 COR!! Comic Annual – new episode signed by Frank McDiarmid
1985 COR!! Comic Annual – 4 reprints
1986 COR!! Comic Annual – 2 new episodes signed by Frank McDiarmid


  1. Thanks for posting this. Lovely art by Frank.

  2. lots to read and I've learnt a lot..didn't realise there were long stories over weeks..and love the colour episode..

  3. Frank loved doing the Gaswork gang and in one Cheeky comic story sprayed on the wall it said Bring back the Gaswork gang!