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, January 28, 2020

THE MOONSTERS ON SPARKY BACK COVERS – PART 4



I recently acquired a copy of SPARKY No. 620 – the last issue that I needed for my complete set of this interesting title. I shared my joy on Twitter and on a few FB comics groups, and mentioned that I was after a complete copy of issue 110 because mine had its centre pages missing. Two fellow collectors responded to my appeal, and that elusive issue is now on its way to me from the UK!

I will celebrate this achievement by resuming my series of SPARKY back covers featuring the MOONSTERS by Bill Ritchie. A few years ago I did a string of galleries of all SPARKY front covers with the Moonsters (Nos. 35 – 139), and at the end of 2019 I did the first three galleries of the back covers (Nos. 2-34).

Here are the first 10 SPARKY back covers after the MOONSTERS were moved from the front cover to the back page once again starting from No. 140. Enjoy!











Images are © D.C.Thomson & Co. Ltd.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

WHOOPEE! PULL-OUTS AND GIFTS in 1976



In 1976 WHOOPEE! celebrated the New Year with a two-part Creepy Calendar in the vein of the comic’s World-Wide Weirdies pin-up series, printed in the first two issues of the year:


World-Wide Weirdies were normally drawn by Ken Reid, but worries over his divorce proceedings made Ken unable to work at the time, so the job was given to Robert Nixon:



Instructions to the readers were provided on the Letters page:


WHOOPEE! issue of 6th March, 1976 celebrated the 2nd birthday of the paper (it was issue No. 102). The occasion was marked with the introduction of a new logo, three new strips (Smiler, Gook the T.V. Spook and Werefilf) and – what’s relevant for this series – a sequence of nine special issues of the comic.

First came TV Quiz pull-out booklet. It started in the first new-logo issue and was published over four weeks:


The title of the pull-out was self-explanatory – it featured questions about popular TV personalities and shows. Below is a selection of pages to give you an idea what the booklet was like:





The issue of 27th March, 1976 (the one with the last part of the TV Quiz booklet and its assembly instructions) announced the free gift that was to come with the next edition:


Horror Gripper was a piece of green plastic imitating a monstrous claw, and was part of Smiths Foods ‘Horror Bags’ snacks promotion:


Below is the cover of the free-gift issue, followed by the image of the gift and Smiths Foods advert included in the comic:


That same issue announced the forthcoming Pop Super Poster:


The giant 4-part poster was printed on the centre pages of the four issues of 10th April – 1st May, 1976:






Assembly instructions were provided in the issue of 1st May, 1976:


When assembled, the ‘super pop wall-frieze’, drawn and signed by Alf Saporito, looked like this:


I believe Part 1 of the poster (the one on the left) showed Bay City Rollers; I am not sure who the other pop bands were…

The next WHOOPEE! pull-out treat came nearly two months later. Here is how it was advertised in the issue of 12th June, 1976:


The poster, drawn beautifully by Sid Burgon, was duly included in the next week’s issue (9th June, 1976), and was the only poster featuring WHOOPEE! characters in 1976:


Finally, the four issues of 14th August – 4th September, 1976 had the Pull-Out Playtime Book:


As usual, the booklet was advertised a week before, but this time it was a full-page announcement: 


As can be seen from the advert above, the issue containing Part 1 of the booklet came with a free gift. It was Free Scarey Sticker – another ‘Horror Bags’ freebie offered by Smiths Foods:



The booklet featured a lot of WHOOPEE! stars, and appears to have been drawn almost single-handedly by Cliff Brown (with a little help from Jim Crocker). It’s nice to see Cliff Brown draw the Innkeeper from Scream Inn which he was a regular scriptwriter of. Here’s a selection of pages and assembly instructions:











Characters are © Rebellion Publishing Ltd 

And while you’re here, I would like to remind you that my promotion for the POWER PACK OF KEN REID is still on. Get your copies of the books and BONUS FREE PRINTS on eBay or from my online shop HERE!



Friday, January 17, 2020

CASH PRIZES IN WHOOPEE! COMIC



Check out the caption at the top of the front page of WHOOPEE! above. Indeed, in 1975 (and later on) readers of the comic were rewarded with more than just a bundle of laughs – they could also win themselves quite a bit of cash!

I randomly picked the issue cover-dated 17th May, 1975 and checked how much prize money was up for grabs in a week.


£1 was offered for each letter published in the ‘Letters’ column:


£1 was paid for each joke used (readers were asked to send jokes in a variety of subjects (School, Animal, Spooky, All at Sea, Police, Historical, etc.):


A prize of £1 was paid to the sender of that week’s Knock Knock joke:


There was a prize of £1 for every good suggestion for a script of Scream Inn:


That’s in addition to the joy of seeing your name included in the strip, usually in the first panel:


Last but not least, a kingly reward of £2 was offered for each World Wide-Weirdies idea used (not to mention the extra bonus of seeing your name in print at the top of the page):


Theoretically, if a resourceful reader was successful on all 5 counts, he or she could collect £6 in a single week!

Moreover, the adventure strips included in WHOOPEE! at that time encouraged readers to take note of the various clues in the weekly episodes, and enter for a cash prize at the end of the story. They were asked to write the clues on a coupon provided, stick it on the back of a postcard and send it to IPC Magazines. Fifty senders of the first all-correct cards were rewarded with £1 each, and saw their names printed in the magazine! Here’s an example from Island of Suspicion, followed by the coupon included in the next week’s issue of WHOOPEE!:



Besides, WHOOPEE! had all kinds of goodness offered by its advertisers. Here’s what was advertised in the issue of 17th May, 1975:




IPC children’s comics of the 70s competed for the young readers’ pocket money with well-established DCT titles. The Beano and The Dandy were 20 pages thick and cost 3 p., they had a stellar lineup of strips such as The Bash Street Kids, Biffo the Bear, Dennis the Menace, Minnie the Minx, Little Plum, Desperate Dan, Black Bob,  Corporal Clot, Roger the Dodger, etc. – all fondly remembered by parents and grandparents who now bought comics for their kids and grandchildren. In this context, IPC had to make an extra effort.

In the case of WHOOPEE!, the price of 5 p. (2 p. more than The Beano or The Dandy) was a drawback, but the page count of 32 (12 pages more than The Beano or The Dandy), the excellent lineup of dynamic fresh-looking characters and strips (particularly those exploiting the hot new theme of horror humour – which DCT tended to completely avoid at the time), the quality of the art, the abundance of colour pull-out posters and fun booklets (hardly ever found in the rival comics) made WHOOPEE! a very appealing package. Involving the young readers into the process of creating the comic (by asking to send strip ideas, etc. and printing contributors’ names in the paper) was a particularly clever move of the editorial team, as was the generous cash-reward policy.

To put my findings into context, I checked my copies of that week’s issues of The Beano and The Dandy to see what their cash prize offering was. Somehow, I was not surprised to discover it was just £2 per week in The Beano (£1 for each letter printed, and £1 for each printed drawing of a reader’s pet): 



…and an unspecified cash prize for each ‘little funny story’ printed in The Dandy (the top story of the week received a Practical Joker’s Fool Outfit):



And while you’re here, I would like to remind you that although 2019 is over, my promotion for the POWER PACK OF KEN REID is not. Get your copies of the books and BONUS FREE PRINTS on eBay or from my online shop HERE!