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, June 26, 2012

A LOOK AT COR!! STRIPS: JASPER THE GRASPER


The original Jasper The Grasper was drawn by Ken Reid and appeared in WHAM! where it occupied  two pages and had a very short run in issues 42-47 (3rd April, 1965 – 8th May, 1965). It’s hard to tell why a brilliant feature like that was dropped so quickly but my guess would be that the artist had enough work as it were drawing weekly installments of Frankie Stein. The whole original Ken Reid series was reprinted in the first COR!! annual (1972) and served as a nice introduction to the sequel in COR!! that premiered in the first issue of 1972 dated January 1st (No. 83 ). 

The opening episode of the reprint of the original series in COR!! 1972 annual

The setting was different to that of all the other COR!! strips and offered a look at Cortown as it was in the Victorian times. The first episode tells us that many many years ago there lived a man of means who was a meanie of a man. His name was J.McGrab but those who knew him called him Jasper the Grasper. The new version of Jasper was similar to the WHAM! original: the looks and habits of the tight-fisted old skinflint remained unchanged and his talent to hear the “jingle” of a fallen coin from far away was as strong as ever. Jasper was obsessed with saving and hoarding and he wouldn’t spend a penny unless he absolutely had to. Jasper never got tired of devising new and crafty money saving ideas and putting them into practice with predictably unsatisfactory results. 

Occasionally he got himself a companion: nephew Silas came to stay with Jasper starting from 20th May, 1972 (issue No. 103) but said his good-byes 10 weeks later.  In the issue dated 7th July, 1973 (No. 162) a gypsy who was retiring because his rich uncle had left him a fortune gave Jasper his monkey as a present. For a short while Jasper acquired a new partner that caused him a lot of trouble but also inspired some fresh money-making ideas.

From COR!! issue dated 17th June, 1972 (No. 107), featuring nephew Silas

Toonhound.com has an excellent profile of Jasper the Grasper with lots of trivia here. When you read it, please, be aware that it has one major error: none of the episodes in COR!! weeklies were drawn by Ken Reid, nor there were any Ken Reid reprints in the weeklies. Trevor Metcalfe who was the artist of the second series in COR!! was in charge of the feature from the very start until the last installment in the penultimate issue of COR!! with the cover date of 8th June, 1974 (No. 210), signed by the artist.

From COR!! issue dated 10th November, 1973 (No. 180)
  
Jasper the Grasper started off as a one-pager and was promoted to 1 ½ pages from the issue dated 30th December, 1972 (No. 135). It made four front cover appearances in COR!! issues dated 21st July 1973, 15th September 1973, 12th January 1974 and 4th May 1974 (issue Nos. 164, 173, 189 and 205).

From COR!! issue dated 23rd March, 1974 (No. 199)



Here are details about appearances of Jasper the Grasper 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.
 
1972 COR!! Comic Annual – reprint of the full original Ken Reid series from Wham!
1972 COR!! Holiday Special – 1 episode by Trevor Metcalfe
1973 COR!! Comic Annual – 1 episode by Trevor Metcalfe
1973 COR!! Holiday Special – 1 episode by Trevor Metcalfe
1974 COR!! Comic Annual – 2 episode by Trevor Metcalfe
1974 COR!! Holiday Special – 1 episode by Trevor Metcalfe
1975 COR!! Comic Annual – 1 episode by an artist whose name I don’t know
1976 COR!! Comic Annual – 2 episodes, one by Trevor Metcalfe and one by Alf Saporito
1977 COR!! Comic Annual – 1 episode by Alf Saporito
1978 COR!! Comic Annual – 1 new episode in full colour by an artist whose name I don’t know
1978 COR!! Holiday Special – 1 new episode in b/w by Les Barton
1979 COR!! Comic Annual – 1 episode by Les Barton + 1 episode by John Geering
1980 COR!! Comic Annual – 2 episodes John Geering
1981 COR!! Comic Annual – one new episode by Trevor Metcalfe + one new episode by John Geering
1981 COR!! Holiday Special – 1 reprint
1982 COR!! Comic Annual – one new episode by Frank McDiarmid + one new episode by Trevor Metcalfe
1982 COR!! Holiday Special – 3 reprints + a new episode by Trevor Metcalfe
1983 COR!! Comic Annual – one new episode by Trevor Metcalfe
1983 COR!! Holiday Special – a new episode by Les Barton,
1984 COR!! Comic Annual – a new episode by Les Barton
1985 COR!! Comic Annual – a new episode by Les Barton
1986 COR!! Comic Annual – a new episode signed by Francis Boyle




8 comments:

  1. I must look out for the Cor!! annual 1972 thanks for the heads up.also Trevor Metcalfe did a very good job!!

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  2. The 1972 Cor!! Annual was the only one I ever got. Just after it was released I emigrated with my family to Australia where the comic didn't exist. The Ken Reid version is the only one I ever knew.

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    1. Nice as Trevor Metcalfe’s version of Jasper the Grasper was, it was no match to that of Ken Reid’s.

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  3. I totally agree with Irmantas. But it was a wonderful experience that I and my good friend Robert Nixon passed through, helping us both to develop our later styles. No wonder we finished up drawing in a similar way, in fact I 'ghosted' Robert many times when he became ill. Trevor Metcalfe

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    1. Thanks for you comment, Trevor, it is very nice to hear from one of the greats! I love your seventies IPC work, particularly Ghoul Getters Ltd. If you read this, I would really like to hear your memories about creating and drawing the strip.

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    2. I was well served with scripts and I just did my level best to mimic the great Ken Reid. I enjoyed doing the strips and woked on Sweet-tooth in Whizzer and Chips at the same time. However, I like to look forward to new challenges, so if you're interested, take a look at my other stuff on my website.
      Best wishes to you and all the comic fans who might read this.
      Trevor

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    3. Wow! What an utter delight your blog is! I grew up on both 'COR!!' and 'Whizzer and Chips', & while I later swapped them for anything published by Marvel Comics, I only (occasionally) regret trading my older brother's 'COR!!' collection, which I inherited after he'd outgrown them. As with just about ANYFGING produced by Ken Reid, "Jasper" gave me nightmares, tho I ADORED his work, & like a creepy clown-car car crash, simply couldn't look away. THnk you so much for sharing all these gems! :-)

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  4. this was my fav strip as a kid along with the gasworks gas works gang and jonah.

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