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.



Saturday, August 23, 2014

WHOOPEE! FRANKIE STEIN HOLIDAY SPECIAL 1982




The last WHOOPEE! FRANKIE STEIN HOLIDAY SPECIAL came out for the summer holidays of 1982. It had 64 pages and came with a price tag of 50 p.

The central story was Frankie Stein and Three Wishes – a 12-page, three-part tale illustrated by Frank McDiarmid. Driven into despair, Professor Cube is brewing another magic anti-Frankie potion, but Frankie causes and accident and some surprise chemical reaction summons a Genie who now has to grant Prof. Cube three wishes. Guess what the first one is:


The Genie turns out to be not a very smart one:


Dad realizes that now that he can’t see where his creation is, Frankie is likely to cause even more damage so he begs that the Genie takes the spell off Frankie. That’s one wish wasted. Dad is more careful when wording his second one:


Poor Dad fails to realize that he and Frankie are ‘tied up’ and when the Genie sends Frankie to Magic Land (that’s Genie’s idea of billions and billions of miles away), the big lunk drags the parent with him. In Magic Land they nearly fall under the spell of a cunning witch but her concoction causes Frankie to sneeze hard and the two make their escape. The blast of Frankie’s sneeze sends Prof. Cube flying on a carpet as though it were a magic one. Their next encounter is with the King of Magic Land and his daughter the whimsical princess who wants the magic carpet. Dad trades it for the King’s royal spell which makes Frankie vanish. That’s when the princess realizes that it is an ordinary carpet that won’t fly so both aristocrats set after Dad who finds a hiding place in the bushes. The princess spots a croaking frog which she kisses without hesitation hoping it will turn into a handsome prince (remember, this is Magic Land). The kiss breaks the spell and it turns out it was Frankie whom King had turned into a frog. Frankie accidentally gives Dad’s hideout away and the King gets his revenge by sending them both back to where they came from. That’s the second wish bungled.


Prof. Cube realizes that lots of his problems would disappear if Frankie was tiny, and that’s what he wishes for. The Genie can now retire to sleep for the next few hundred years. Dad locks Frankie in a small cage with a hamster wheel and takes him aboard a cruise ship as he goes on holiday. Frankie breaks loose and causes havoc on the ship. Check out the last two pages of the story:


Except for the front cover and two pages of Frankie Stein gags by artists whose names I don’t know, Frankie Stein and Three Wishes was the only new Frankie Stein material. 4 pages of Frankie’s Diary (probably by Jim Crocker) and two half-pagers of Ticklish Allsorts (by Les Barton) were reprinted from MONSTER FUN COMIC, while Freaky Frankie three-panel strips without speech balloons on the back page were the work of Sid Burgon for Shiver and SHAKE weeklies.  That’s a total of 21 pages of Frankie Stein.


There were two new 4-page episodes of Monster Movie Makers by Mr. Hill who signed his MMM sets for the first time. Carlo Monte is upset because his assistant Jock has sold all their films and they are now on TV with Director receiving no royalties.  Carlo Monte orders his assistant to come up with a fresh idea so that he can make money again. Jock suggests that a film featuring a monster frog would be sensational. The filming proves to be a disaster and what’s even worse, some TV cameramen capture everything on film. Carlo Monte is furious because telly boys are now going to make another fortune out of him!


In the second episode Jock is back from his holidays and Director laments to him about a series of failures which occurred in Jock’s absence because of their incompetent props team. Jock comes up with an idea of a film about a giant jelly-fish but with the entire props department now fired, he turns for help to canteen staff who make him a giant wobbling piece of strawberry jelly. The reaction that the filmmakers get from children during filming on the mock-up beach is nothing like they had expected because instead of getting terrified with the 'jelly-fish' the kids start feasting on it. Everything turns out well in the end for Monster Movie Makers because their new monster comedy is a trendsetter.


In a 4-page set by Alan Rogers Computer Cop deals with a gang of museum robbers led by a master crook who steals pictures for his collection and doesn’t know when to stop.


A Frightfully Funny Story… is by an artist whose name I don’t know but I find his style rather interesting. The 4-page story is about a tall and lean boy named Eric who is always hungry. He decides to enter for the monster fancy dress competition at the town hall and try to win the first prize – a hamper of grub. Eric is so broke he can’t afford a costume, so he uses the stuff he can find at the local junk-yard. His disguises get him into lots of trouble and when he finally makes it to the town hall, he doesn’t even need a costume to win the prize:


5 pages were filled with new non-comic strip material, such as puzzles, jokes and gags, nothing to write home about, really.  The game on the centerspread seems somewhat out of context to me:


As many as 18 pages were reprints of various first-class IPC strips: you can find three early episodes of Terror TV by Ian Know (from MONSTER FUN COMIC), three two-pagers of Wizards Anonymous by Brian Walker (from SHIVER AND SHAKE), three pages of Rent-A-Ghost Ltd. by Reg Parlett (from BUSTER), two pages of Tom Thumbsrew by Norman Mansbridge (from MONSTER FUN COMIC) and two episodes of The Hand - one by Frank McDiarmid and the other one by I don’t know who (from SHIVER AND SHAKE).



All Images 2014 © Egmont UK Ltd.  All rights reserved. Used with permission.


This post closes the chapter of FRANKIE STEIN publications so it’s time to bid the friendly monster farewell for now and get back to MONSTER FUN COMIC. 


Monday, August 18, 2014

WHOOPEE! FRANKIE STEIN HOLIDAY SPECIAL 1981



The penultimate edition of Frankie Stein Holiday Special came out in the Summer of 1981, it had 64 pages and cost 45 p.

There were 26 pages of Frankie Stein in it, mostly new material. It was the second year in a row that John Geering drew the main story for the magazine. Frankie Stein in ‘No Holds Barred’ consisted of 3 parts and occupied 18 pages. Crackpot inventor Professor Cube has an idea that putting his lab-manufactured son behind bars might be a great way to get rid of him so he writes a letter to the local Zoo telling them about a new and very rare animal Frankius Stupidius. A team of Zoo keepers set off after Frankie who senses foul play and runs as if his life depended on it. The mindless pursuit causes lots of damage in destroyed buildings and smashed vehicles. Owners have little doubt as to who should pick the bills and the poor inventor ends up as a Zoo exhibit:


After enough people have paid to look at Prof. Cube to pay for all the damage, he is released from the Zoo and realizes that Zoo was the wrong kind of bars that he wanted Frankie put behind, and that prison was the answer. He tries a series of ploys to get Frankie in trouble with the law but ends up on the wrong side of the bars himself, again.


Upon his release, Professor Cube has an idea that if he can’t put Frankie behind bars in Britain, he should try somewhere else. He tells Frankie he has found him a job as a secret agent and that his first mission as Double-O-Nothing is to throw a stink bomb at the chief of a secret rocket base at Bugrolia. Frankie does well, is decorated by the real British Secret Service and gets more assignments in exotic countries which he carries out brilliantly, albeit always by accident rather than design. Oh, and his plotting Dad gets himself locked up once again.


The Holiday Special also contains a two-page set of Frankie Stein by Robert Nixon which is a reprint from WHOOPEE!  Besides, Frankie’s name can be found on two reprint pages of Ticklish Allsorts by Les Barton from MONSTER FUN COMIC.

Frankie Stein's portrait by Nigel Edwards

Nigel Edwards contributed one page of Frankie Postcards and two pages of Freakie Frankie Jokes! The editor of this Holiday Special kept Nigel Edwards busy: in addition to the three Frankie Stein pages, he also drew two pages of Creepy Cartoons and Monster Hits! gags, as well as Escape – a puzzles game on the centrespread, all in full colour (this is the first Frankie Stein Holiday Special without a poster of Frankie Stein). I really like his style, here are some examples:



Mr. Hill illustrated two episodes of Monster Movie Makers. In the first one Carlo Monte realises that their titles are too way out and they need to do something more down to Earth. The idea of a film ‘It Came from the Cabbage Patch’ about a mutant caterpillar comes to his mind. It has to be the biggest, best and most expensive monster movie ever made so they hire all Britain’s top names to play the giant caterpillar:


Things don’t go quite as planned but the film turns out a massive success and they win more Oscars than they can carry:


In the second story Carlo Monte and his crew are about to film their new blockbuster ‘The Abominable Snowman Strikes’ but it is the middle of summer and they need snow for the setting. They try salt, shaving foam and finally soap flakes. The result is not a horror movie but a Monster Comedy…


Let’s see what Computer Cop had on his hands in this Holiday Special. Well, he is in the bank vaults getting ready to transport the World’s biggest diamond to the museum. The crafty crooks come well-prepared once again but stand no chance against the super robo-cop. Too bad his chief is a clumsy old geezer:


There is also a rushed episode of Gook the TV Spook by Artie Jackson, and that’s it as far as new material goes. The rest of the pages are reprints: there are 3 pages of Reg Parlett’s Freddie Fang from COR!! and the whole run of Grizzly Bearhug… Giant by Andy Christine from MONSTER FUN COMIC. Both have been covered in their dedicated posts on KAZOOP!, you can revisit the posts HERE and HERE.


Front cover artwork for this FS Holiday Special was offered by Compal in their Autumn 2010 auctions. Here is how it was described: Frankie Stein Special original front cover colour artwork (1981) drawn and signed by Robert Nixon with Whoopee Frankie Stein page 1 original artwork (1981) also drawn and signed by Robert Nixon Special: Poster colour on board. 13 x 9 ins; Page 1: Indian ink on cartridge paper. 18 x 14 ins. They got the date of the front cover art right this time, but the b/w page was actually first used for the front cover of SHIVER AND SHAKE dated 21st September, 1974). The winner paid £181.

Images 2014 © Egmont UK Ltd.  All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

WHOOPEE! FRANKIE STEIN HOLIDAY SPECIAL 1980




WHOOPEE! FRANKIE STEIN HOLIDAY SPECIAL 1980 had 64 pages and cost 45 p. Frankie Stein was given 20 pages, including the front cover and the pull-out poster by Robert Nixon whose style had changed dramatically for the worse since the first FS publications. The poster is nice, though:


John Geering drew 2 Frankie Stein stories – an 8-pager and a 6-pager. 1980 was the year of Moscow Summer Olympics which was boycotted by many countries because of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. British athletes competed under the Olympic flag and it looks like Frankie Stein nearly made it to Moscow as part of Team UK. I showed the story in its entirety in the series of London Olympics blogposts a couple of years ago, you can view it HERE.

In the second Frankie Stein story Professor Cube realises that nasty accidents happen to mountaineers so he takes Frankie to conquer some peaks. Sure enough, a series of accidents does occur and Dad is at the receiving end once again. Frankie meets a Yeti and his family but Prof. Cube causes an avalanche which brings the Yeti hut down, alongside with a village at the foot of the mountain. Now Dad has to share Mildew Manor with four monsters instead of just one:


This is the first FS Holiday Special with Nigel Edwards as part of the roster of artists. He drew three pages of Freaky Frankie and two pages of Monster Mirth, all in full colour; two pages of Mind-Bender Mansion puzzles in b/w are also by him. Here is some of Freaky Frankie:


There were four non-Frankie Stein strips that weren’t reprints:  Monster Movie Makers (4 pages by Mr. Hill), Computer Cop (4 pages by Alan Rogers) and Gook-TV Spook (2 pages by Artie Jackson) were familiar to readers from previous FS books and magazines, while Animal Olympics (5 pages by Martin Baxendale) was new to them. 


Monster Movie Makers manufacture a live dummy Bigfoot and travel to the USA to film on location in Timber Country. All is well until they upset the real Bigfoot:


Computer Cop is on duty outside the secret inventions laboratory but a gang of crafty crooks outsmart him and steal a super-magnet which attracts anything the operator wants. The crooks are off to do some “window-shopping” with the jewellers but Computer Cop prevails in the end.


In Animal Olympics Mr. Frost the Head Zookeeper is off to watch the Olympics on the telly leaving all his chores to Fred the Assistant Zookeeper. A sports enthusiast that he is, young Fred organises his ‘alternative’ Olympics with Zoo animals as athletes. The style of Martin Baxendale strongly reminds that of his Father’s, perhaps he got some advice and assistance from Leo Baxendale when drawing the set.


As far as reprints are concerned, WHOOPEE! FRANKIE STEIN HOLIDAY SPECIAL 1980 has 2 pages of Ghoul Guides (from KNOCKOUT), 3 pages of Monkey Nuts (from I don’t know where) and 1 page of Tell-Tale Tess (from COR!!) – all seen in previous FS publications. The one that wasn’t was The Ghostly Galleon – the longest story in the magazine, spanning 18 pages. The story appeared in Shiver and Shake weeklies No. 71 – 79 and is reprinted in full, except that readers of SH&SH who followed the serial had an opportunity to win some cash which wasn't offered to readers of the Holiday Special. I reviewed the story in my series of SHIVER AND SHAKE strips, you can check the article out HERE (frankly, it is not exactly the best SHIVER AND SHAKE adventure strip).  

Images 2014 © Egmont UK Ltd.  All rights reserved. Used with permission.