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 20, 2012


52 issues of the comic (Nos. 31 – 82) were published in 1971.

Important issues in 1971:

2nd January 1971 (No. 31) – New Year issue
3rd April 1971 (No. 44) – first issue with the new pence price only
10th April, 1971 (No. 45) – Easter issue
8th May, 1971 (No. 49) – bumper issue, 40 pages, JET adverts
12th June, 1971 (No. 54) – bumper issue, 40 pages, KNOCKOUT adverts
6th November 1971 (No. 75) – Firework issue
25th December 1971 (No. 82) – Christmas issue

Line-up of the first issue of 1971 (2nd January 1971 (No. 31)):
Gus Gorilla – front cover
Editor’s page (includes POSTBAG, PROBLEM QUICKIES and PICTURE YOURSELF features)
The Gasworks Gang (2 pages)
Hire a Horror
Nobby’s Hobbies
Football Madd
Tell-Tale Tess
Ivor Lott and Tony Broke
Sporting Sue and her Trainer Prue
Tease Break! feature
Swopper Stan
Kid Chameleon (centrespread in full colour)
Percy Puffer
Tricky Dicky
Andy’s Ants
Donovan’s Dad
Barney’s Brainbox (2 pages)
Little Geyser
Freddie Fang
Cor!! Nutty Noticeboard feature
Jack Pott
Robby Hood and his One Man Band (2 pages)
Teacher’s Pet (in colour on back cover)

Was this cover story an inspiration for the
long-running Scream Inn series in
Shiver and Shake and Whoopee!
comics later in the 70s?

Editorials were getting shorter (and in some issues weren’t included at all) to allow more space for the increasingly popular POSTBAG, PICTURE YOURSELF and PROBLEM QUICKIES participation features, now all crammed on one page (page 3). One interesting plug in the first two issues of the year were advertisements of A CAVALCADE OF BRITISH COMICS – the first ever exhibition of weekly children’s comics at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London (1/4 page advertisement in the issue dated 9th January, 1971 (No. 32)). An interesting sign of the times is reflected in the Editor’s comments in the issues dated 27th March, 1971 (No. 43) and 3rd April, 1971 (No. 44) where he tells that at the time of writing the editorial, the readers’ entries to POSTBAG and NUTTY NOTICE board were being held up owing to postal difficulties – a hint that postal workers were on strike then.

1971 was the year when Cor!! started getting more advertising – it wasn’t unusual for as many as 3 pages to be devoted to full-page or half-page ads of sweets, chocks, pops, competitions, car and aircraft models, toys, post-stamps and other IPC comics. Kodak cameras, Fruity Pops and Super Mousse (the latter illustrated by Peter Ford) were advertised in comic format.

Super Mousse adverts in comic format, drawn by Peter Ford
Fruity Pops and Kodak adverts. Kodak illustrated by Eric Bradbury

Acting on a reader’s suggestion, in the issue dated 6th March, 1971 (No. 40) the Editor modified the voting coupon by providing space for the feature readers disliked the most. Apparently this worked well and the change became permanent from the issue dated 1st May, 1971 (No. 48). Readers did not restrict themselves to the voting coupon to voice their dislikes. The first “hate” mail was printed in the issue dated 7th August, 1971 (No. 62) (the complaint was about Tricky Dicky) and soon became quite common in the POSTBAG section. The Chumpions received the biggest share of it by far. Other sets that readers wrote in to complain about were Kid Chameleon and The Gasworks Gang, but quite a few letters also spoke strongly in their favour, so there was a kind of discussion going on. Another ongoing discussion was between readers who wanted more football features and those who thought the idea was terrible.

1971 Firework number
The editorial in the issue dated 31st July, 1971 (No. 61) was quite unusual in the sense that some attention was paid to the artists. A reader enquired whether she was right in thinking that some Cor!! artists were also working on Knockout. The editor confirmed it was perfectly true and explained that star writers and comic artists from companion comics Whizzer and Chips and Cor!! had between them created a whole host of new characters and Knockout had proved a smash hit in true Cor!! and Whizzer and Chips style. Of course, the Editor remained faithful to the early IPC rules and no artists’ names were mentioned. There’s probably no need to say that artists never signed their art in Cor!! but for truth’s sake it has to be noted that Joe Colquhoun initialled a panel of his Kid Chameleon set in the issue dated 24th April, 1971 (No. 47), and towards the end of the comic’s life Robert Nixon signed an episode of Hire a Horror in the issue dated 1st June, 1974 (No. 209), while Trevor Metcalfe signed a few last episodes of his long-running Jasper the Grasper (from the issue dated 13th April, 1974 (No. 202) until the issue dated 8th June, 1974 (No. 210)). That’s all I managed to spot in the entire run, but maybe I missed a signature or two…

Example of the Editor's page with the
Starting from the issue dated 25th September, 1971 (No. 69) Problem Quickies was replaced with Holiday Fun feature – another one in the line-up of Cor!! reader participation features where readers shared their holiday experiences and collected 25p for every letter published. Incidentally, a reader observed that Cor!! was very generous with its prize money – they very rarely gave less than £8.50 away in each issue.
1971 Christmas issue

All in all 1971 was a year when Cor!! was steadily going strong with no big changes taking place, although a number of new comedy strips such as The Chumpions weren’t very successful, and new adventure serials, particularly the revival of Four Alone, were rather weak IMHO. The strongest addition to the line-up that proved to be a big success in the long run was Chalky – it outlived Cor!! and successfully migrated into Buster where it continued to appear for many years to come. Another notable positive development was the increase of the page count of the comic’s most popular feature Ivor Lott and Tony Broke to 2 full pages.

Strips that ended in 1971:
Barney's Brain Box – 2nd January, 1971 (No. 31)
Robby Hood and His One Man Band – 24th April, 1974 (No. 47) (ended by reaching its natural conclusion)
Sporting Sue and her Trainer Prue – 8th May, 1971 (No. 49)
Nobby's Hobbies – 17th July, 1971 (No. 59)
Little Geyser – 21st August, 1971 (No. 64)
Four Alone Fight Formula X – 18th September, 1970 (No. 68) (ended by reaching its natural conclusion)
Percy Puffer – 2nd October, 1971 (No. 70)
The Chumpions – 25th December, 1971 (No. 82)

Strips that started in 1971
The Chumpions – 9th January, 1971 (No. 32)
Four Alone Fight Formula X – 1st May, 1971 (No. 48)
Danger Mouse – 8th May, 1971 (No. 49)
Chalky – 24th July, 1971 (No. 60)
Nippy Nibbs – 28th August, 1971 (No. 65)
The Adventures of Sonny Storm – 25th September, 1971 (No. 69)

The launch of COR!! in the summer of 1970 left no time to prepare a holiday special or an annual, therefore the first editions were produced only a year later when the comic was already going strong.

Front page of COR!! 1971 Summer Special
COR!! 1971 Summer Special was the first in the series of holiday specials that continued at least until 1983. The first advert of COR!! 1971 Summer Special appeared in the weekly issue dated 3rd July, 1971 (No. 57). The mgazine cost 15p and was 96 pages thick. Here is the line-up of strips: Whacky, Ug and Tug the Peace Makers, Gus Gorilla, Nutty Noticeboard feature, Teacher’s Pet, School for Spacemen, Eddie, Danger Mouse, The Chumpions, Andy’s Ants, Freddie Fang, Donovan’s Dad, Hire A Horror, Nobby’s Hobbies, Ivor Lott and Tony Broke (in full colour on the centre spread), Tell-Tale Tess, Spoilsport, Football Madd, The Gasworks Gang, Little Geyser, Jack Pott, Swopper Stan, Percy Puffer, Shiver and Shake, Tricky Dicky, Tomboy, Tease Break! feature and Willie’s Worms.  As can be seen from the list, all but three were regular features from the weekly but in the Summer Special many of the sets were drawn by substitute artists and looked rushed. The three unfamiliar features were Ug and Tug the Peace Makers, School for Spacemen and Willie’s Worms. Ug and Tug the Peace Makers was a comedy strip drawn by Nadal about an Indian kid and a settler kid. It was a reprint from Buster where it enjoyed a short run in 1965. School for Spacemen was an adventure serial. It was a heavily edited reprint of a series with the same name in the short-lived Champion from 1966. Willie’s Worms looked like new material. Perhaps it was one if the ideas that the Editor considered in the planning stages of COR!! but decided in favour of Andy’s Ants.

School For Spacemen from COR!! 1971 Summer Special

Willie's Worms from COR!! 1971 Summer Special

Front cover of COR!! 1972 Annual
COR!! Annual 1972 was the first in the series that lasted until 1986; the first advertisement of the 1972 Annual appeared in the weekly issue dated 4th September, 1971 (No. 66). The book had 160 pages and cost 60p. The annual had all the popular weekly strips; quite a few of the features – Dogsbodies Academy, Stone Age Brit Ancient Nit, Barney's Brain Box, Nobby’s Hobbies, Sporting Sue and her Trainer Prue, Little Geyser, Four Alone, Percy Puffer and The Chumpions, had already been dropped by the end of 1971. As was common in many IPC annuals and holiday specials, many strips were drawn by substitute artists and the art came nowhere close to the quality and detail of that in the weeklies. Here is the line-up of the annual: Gus Gorilla (front cover and inside, some pages in colour), Teacher’s Pet (some pages in colour), Swopper Stan (some pages in colour), Danger Mouse, Dogsbodies Academy, Ug and Tug the Peace Makers, Tease Break feature, Nutty Noticeboard feature, Ivor Lott and Tony Broke, Four Alone in the Castle of Fear, Tricky Dicky, Freddie Fang, Jack Pott, Eddie, Football Madd, Nobby’s Hobbies, Donvan’s Dad, Whacky, Jasper the Grasper, Percy Puffer, Little Geyser, Sporting Sue and her Trainer Prue, Tell-Tale Tess, Andy’s Ants, Tomboy, Hire A Horror, Barney’s Brain Box, Space Jinx, The Gasworks Gang, The Chumpions, Stoneage Brit Ancient Nit, Spoilsport, Kid Chameleon (in colour). 
Although there isn’t much to say about the comic’s regular characters in the annual, there are a few points that deserve to be mentioned. The annual had two adventure tales – Four Alone in the Castle of Fear (by the strip’s regular artist) and Kid Chameleon (drawn by an artist other than Kid’s regular Joe Colquhoun). Both were new stories and will be covered in their own posts later on.

Space Jinx from COR!! 1972 Annual

There were three stories that were not familiar to readers of the weeklies. Space Jinx was a version of the infamous Jonah from the Beano. The feature was a reprint of the complete original series from the pen of Brian Lewis that appeared in the first issues of Odham’s Power Comic Smash! Jasper the Grasper was about a Victorian penny-pinching miser and was a reprint of the complete original series from another Odham’s Power Comic Wham! drawn by the legendary Ken Reid. The character was subsequently given a second life in the weekly: Jasper the Grasper was introduced as a regular feature in COR!! issue dated 1st January, 1972 (No. 83). It was drawn by Trevor Metcalfe and continued until the end of the comic’s life in 1974. The third unfamiliar tale was Ug and Tug the Peace Makers – a reprint of the comedy feature from 1965 Buster weeklies about an Indian boy and a settler kid whom the readers had already seen in the 1971 Summer Special.

Ug and Tug the Peace Makers from COR!! 1972 Annual

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