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, December 23, 2012


FACEACHE was Ken Reid’s longest-running creation that premiered in the first issue of JET in 1971 and found itself in BUSTER after the titles merged later that year. Since then it appeared regularly (more or less) in BUSTER until Mr. Reid’s death in the beginning of 1987. 

In the first episode Faceache was introduced as Ricky Rubberneck ­– ‘lad born with a bendable bonce’. Later his real name was forgotten and he became known as Faceache - ‘the boy with a thousand faces’. Ken Reid took it easy at first and Faceache’s talent was limited to pulling scary faces, but quite soon the character developed the ability to change his whole body into any form and size. This was called ‘scrunging’ – the term was first used more than a year after Faceache started.

Let’s take a look at Faceache Christmases and see how the character developed over the 17 years of its run.

JET comic didn’t last until Christmas of 1971 so the first Faceache Christmas episode was in the pages of BUSTER. One might get an impression that Faceache’s Dad was the second main character of the strip in the early years but in fact he was not. He first appeared almost three months after strip was launched and showed up from time to time during 1971, 1972 and most of 1973 before becoming a regular. We don’t meet him in this first Christmas episode:

And here’s how Faceache celebrated Christmas in 1972, 1973, 1974 and 1975:

An unthinkable development took place in 1976: when Monster Fun was merged into Buster, Faceache was dropped and replaced by Ken Reid’s Martha’s Monster Make-Up. The strip was similar to Faceache but had a girl as the main character. Faceache didn’t appear for nearly 4 months but returned in February 1977 by popular demand. This explains why there is no Christmas episode in 1976.

Let's see Martha celebrate her 1976 Christmas. Theres is something wrong with Ken Reid's artwork in this one:

The Christmas of 1977 was the last that Faceache spent at home in the company of his bad-tempered Dad (who sometimes looked a bit more cheery and emotional in those Christmas episodes):


  1. I have to be honest and say that, as big a Ken Reid fan as I am, in later years I actually wondered whether he might be using a ghost artist to pencil his strips, which he then inked in his distinctive style. Although it's perhaps not evident in the examples you posted, his later strips seemed incredibly stilted and static-looking, compared to the anarchic, frenzied mayhem inherent in his early work. Perhaps it was simply down to him getting old of course, but his later work couldn't hold a candle to his earlier stuff, in my opinion.

    1. I completely agree with you that Ken Reid’s style took a plunge towards the end of his career but I am quite sure he drew his artwork all by himself and any changes had to do with him geting old. Sometime in the eighties he seems to have developed a new style that I find quite appealing in its own way, as long as you don’t compare it with his work of the 6os and the 70s. I hope later Christmas episodes that I’ll show soon will illustrate my point.

      As for the involvement of other artists, a few episodes in the 70s were indeed drawn by a mystery ghost artist (with possible involvement of Ken Reid) and I suspect they might be the ones you are referring to in your comment. Of course, Frank McDiarmid frequently stepped in as the substitute Faceache artist from the early 80s onwards.

    2. At Peter’s request I have now added the 1976 episode of Martha’s Monster Make-up. It looks like Ken Reid did have some outside assistance on this one.

  2. the secoond one made me laugh out loud..
    love the bit that he has put him in his will!!lol

    What a great idea for a post..

  3. Maybe if you have time it would be fun to see that Martha Christmas one..

    the faceaches are just brilliant!!

    1. I see what you mean...it has a feel of Ken But not Ken...maybe a very good ghost artist?

      Thanks for showing it..

      You really must do a book on Ken Reid...;0)
      But these blog posts on Ken are brilliant and are like a book...

  4. Noticed that a number of Buster strips such as Faceache on 26/1/74 ended with truncated lines like “more funny faces with our fiendish friend” (not verbatim), omitting the words “next week”. Were there concerns that there wouldn’t BE a next week, in terms of publishing? These were the strike-infested ‘70s after all. Buster in ’74 had some ugly gaps in the run that make even Faceache seem pretty! Worse, Whoopee in ’78 lacked issues for 9th, 16th and 23rd December, so no Christmas edition – criminal!!

    1. Indeed, due to industrial action, 1974 was a very short year for Buster – it came out only every second week in the period from Jan 19th and March 30th, 1974 and missed four consecutive weeks of July 1974. Buster had no Christmas issue in 1970 because printers’ strike prevented it from being published from Nov 21st, 1970 until Jan 30th 1971 inclusive. As for Whoopee!, the same reasons prevented publication of what would have been its first Christmas number in 1974 (Dec 28th, 1974).

  5. One wonders if Uncle Percy’s Christmas present to Faceache in 1977 was the origin of Boxatricks; they’re certainly very similar. True, Boxatricks didn’t start for another 20 months (18/8/79), but it makes you wonder – at least it does in my case…