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, February 5, 2012


Cover of the first issue of COR!!

COR!! arrived on the newsstands in the early summer of 1970. Edited by Bob Paynter, it was the second weekly humour title after Whizzer and Chips published by IPC Magazines. The premiere issue had an eye-catching cover drawn by Mike Lacey and came with a sachet of fruit-flavoured lemonade powder for a free gift, enough to make 10 glasses.  “Have a drink on us!” read the sign beneath the screaming masthead. Check out these pictures of the free gift as it looked glued inside the paper. Thanks to Phil Shrimpton (a.k.a. phil-comics on eBay) for the images! A fine copy of COR!! No. 1 with the free gift fetched a whopping amount of £659.00 on eBay in April 2014!

In his excellent website Dez Skinn, the then sub-editor under Bob Paynter, explains that for IPC that was known for its strict “offend nobody” policy the choice of the title was quite controversial: the Cockney slang word “cor” – as in “cor, blimey!” – derives from “God, blind me” so, unbelievably, the puritanical and mighty IPC was actually launching a nationally distributed comic named GOD!! Dez Skinn recalls that they were so tickled by this that a private mock-up was produced with GOD!! as the title logo, the free lemonade powder cover mounted gift receiving the revised text of “Have a drink on God”.

Like Whizzer and Chips launched merely a few months before, Cor!! contained a mixture of traditional British children’s humour strips and some adventure stories with the former outweighing the latter considerably in terms of page count. The combination was common in other Fleetway/IPC comics of the period but titles like Smash! and Valiant presumably were aimed at a slightly older audience and had more adventure strips, while in Buster the ratio was approx. 50 : 50 at the time.

Story ideas of the majority of humour strips in Cor!! weren’t very original: Gasworks Gang exploited the well-familiar theme of a group of naughty school-boys and their teacher (talk about Bash Street Kids, The Tiddlers, etc.), Tomboy was a mischievous boyish girl who was a headache to her parents and pretty much everyone around her (sounds like Beryl the Peril or Minnie the Minx, doesn’t it?), Parallels can be drawn between Tricky Dicky and The Beano's Roger the Dodger.  Another large group of strips could be described as stories about kids with something special about them, be it their peculiar friends, talents, obsessions or hobbies; titles of the features spoke for themselves: Andy’s Ants, Chalky, Football Madd, Swopper Stan, Jelly Baby, Zoo Sue, Jack Pott, Jeanie and her Gennie, Val’s Vanishing Cream, Wally's Weirdies, etc. They must have been quite a strain on writers’ imaginations.  Hire-A-Horror was one of those horror-themed comic features that were so popular throughout the 70s; it was in more ways than one like Rent-A-Ghost in Buster. Ivor Lott and Tony Broke was a new concept in the sense that it exploited opposition between the rich and the poor. The theme later became a recurrent one in many IPC strips elsewhere. The Slimms was quite a clever parody of dieting. Jasper the Grasper was another fresh idea that hadn’t been used much before in UK humour comics. 

Adventure strips weren’t plentiful, but they surely were very appealing to the eye: Kid Chamaleon painted and printed in full colour occupied the centre pages for nearly two years; Rat-Trap was also popular with the readers and appeared in nearly 100 issues. Then there were The Goodies – a strip that is somewhat difficult to categorise: it was adapted from a popular TV comedy series and was another great addition to the package.

The team of artists who worked on Cor!! consisted of IPC's top talent including Terry Bave, Reg Parlett, Frank McDiarmid, Joe Colquhoun, Mike Lacey, Graham Allen, Trevor Metcalfe, Robert Nixon. etc. In many strips the quality of art and the level of detail was outstanding, and IMHO Cor!! must have been a very appealing package to the young reader back in the day. Listing through the pages and looking at all the fine artwork, I can’t help admiring the high regard that the editors and artists had for their audience of 10-or-so-year olds; IPC firmly upheld this attitude towards its junior readership throughout most of the 70s.

And now for some bare facts.
The first issue of Cor!! had a cover date of June 6th, 1970. A total of 211 unnumbered issues of the comic were published, the last one with the cover date of June 15th, 1974. The run wasn’t interrupted by industrial action that affected some other IPC titles during the period.
Cover price:
  • issues 1-18 (June 6th, 1970 – October 3rd, 1970) – 7D
  • issues 19-43 (October 10th, 1970 – March 27th, 1971) – 8D / 3½ new pence (double-priced issues)
  • issues 44-183 (April 3rd, 1971 – December 1st, 1973) – 3½ p
  • issues 184-211 (December 8th, 1973 – June 15th, 1974) – 4 p
Format: 20.5 x 29 cms; in other words the format was more like that of a DC Thomson comic rather than a traditional IPC publication.
  • Morrison & Gibb, Ltd. (Web offset division), Carlisle – issues 1-5 (June 6th, 1970 – July 4th, 1970)
  • Carlisle Web Offset, Ltd., Newton Ind. Estate, Carlisle – issues 6-135 (July 11th, 1970 – December 30th, 1972)
  • North Riding Publishing Co., Ltd., Middlesbrough, Teesside – issues 136 and 137 (January 6th and 13th, 1973)
  • WW Web Offset, Middlesborough, Teesside – issues 138-211 (January 20th, 1973 – June 15th, 1974)
Page count: 32 pages (except issue Nos: 15 (September 12th, 1970 – Score 'n' Roar ad pages), 20 (October 10th, 1970 – Thunder ad pages), 49 (May 8th, 1971 – Jet ad pages), 54 (June 12th, 1971 – Knockout ad pages), 145 (March 10th, 1973 – Shiver and Shake ad pages), 172 (September 15th, 1973 – Football Star No. 1 ad. Pages) and 177 (October 20th, 1973 – Goofy and Also Pluto No. 1 ad pages); all these 7 issues had 40 pages.
Glued: issues 1 – 122 (June 6th, 1970 – September 30th, 1972), 125-127 (October 21st, 1972 – November 4th, 1972), 129-135 (November 18th, 1972 – December 30th, 1972)
Stapled: issues 123 (October 7th, 1972), 124 (October 14th, 1972), 128 (November 11th, 1972), 136-211 (January 6th, 1973 – June 15th, 1974).

Merged into Buster. First Buster and Cor!! had a cover date of June 22nd, 1974 and the last one was  dated October 11th, 1975.
Cor!! Holiday Specials continued until 1983 (at least that’s the last one that I have)
Cor!! annuals continued until 1986.
Two Cor!! soft-cover books of gags were published, one in 1976, and the other one in 1977.

1 comment:

  1. Cor!! was a great comic, wasn't it? Shame it's not still around.