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.



Saturday, January 5, 2013

SHIVER AND SHAKE – 2 COMICS IN 1... DOUBLE THE FUN!



Shiver and Shake arrived on the newsstands nearly 40 years ago, the first issue had the cover date of 10th March, 1973. It joined the family of IPC children’s funnies of which there were four until then – COR!!, WHIZZER AND CHIPS, KNOCKOUT and BUSTER, the latter aimed at a slightly older age group. 

Front cover of the first issue

Shiver and Shake was an attempt to exploit two concepts that were going down well with the young buyer of comics in the UK at that time: horror comedy was becoming increasingly popular in IPC comics, and the Whizzer and Chips concept of two comics in one was proving a big success. The new comic was a combination of the two: it was a ‘two in one’ paper that had horror comedy as the dominant theme.

The name of the new publication must have rung a few bells to readers of COR!! because a strip with the same name appeared in the comic for half a year in 1972-73. You can read a review of the strip in one of my COR!! posts here. The review also attempts to explain the complicated mutations that led to Shake the comic strip spook becoming Shiver the cover star of the new paper and lending its original comic strip name to an elephant, his cover co-star in SHIVER AND SHAKE the comic. The section of SHIVER the spook represented the ‘main’ comic, while that of SHAKE the elephant was the ‘pull-out’ section. Unlike Sid and Shiner in WHIZZER AND CHIPS, both SHIVER AND SHAKE cover stars got along nicely and there was hardly any rivalry between them, so the whole two-comics-in-one gimmick was a bit fabricated.

Inside, the new paper offered a strong roster of strips and characters.  The editors saw the focus on horror comedy as a good excuse to revive several monster characters from the bygone days. First and foremost was Frankie Stein created by Ken Reid for WHAM! nearly a decade ago and last seen in 1967. The second was of course Grimly Feendish – another Odhams old-timer from WHAM! and later SMASH! The best-forgotten of the ‘oldies’ was probably Ghouldilocks that had enjoyed a brief appearance in the short-lived JAG comic in the late 6os. One great thing about the resurrections was that they were all new episodes rather than reprints of old material (with the odd exception). SHIVER AND SHAKE played the horror theme for all it was worth with a whole array of new strips such as Horrornation Street, The Duke’s Spook, The Hand and Soggy the Sea Monster. Two of the new horror comedy strips deserve a special mention because they were so successful that they continued elsewhere for years after SHIVER AND SHAKE folded. I am referring to The Scream Inn and Sweeny Toddler.  Ken Reid contributed Creepy Creations on the back page, warming-up to do the long-running series of World-Wide Weirdies pinups in WHOOPEE! later on.

The ‘scary’ stuff was mostly in the Shiver section of the comic. The Shake pull-out section was more in the traditional vein of IPC children’s funnies. Two of the strips stood out as really good: Lolly Pop and Match of the Week, the latter occupied the centre pages and was undoubtedly one of the highlights of the paper. The package was spiced-up with mystery adventure serials in the Shiver section, a total of 6 during the run of the comic.

Artwork was contributed by IPC’s top talent: Robert Nixon (SHIVER AND SHAKE is my personal favourite period of his work), Mike Lacey, Terry Bave,  Sid Burgon, Tom Paterson, Tom Williams, Ken Reid, Norman Mansbridge, Brian Walker and others.

All, in all, the comic was full of excellent strips and reviewing them here will be great fun. The comic may have been conceived as an imitation of Whizzer and Chips, but it was a lot more than that. To me, it stands out amongst its contemporaries because of the robust line-up of fresh characters. Whizzer and Chips had a much longer life than Shiver and Shake but looking at random issues of the two titles from 1973 or 1974, I can say that if I had to choose, I’d have certainly supported the latter with my pocket money.

Here are the bare facts:

Published every Monday by IPC Magazines Ltd., Fleetway House, Farrington Street, London EC4A 4AD

First issue: Monday 10th March, 1973
Last issue: Monday 5th October, 1974
The period covers 83 weeks but only 79 issues were published: none appeared in July 1974 due to strike action by certain printers that IPC were using at the time.

The issues weren’t numbered on the front cover, but Creepy Creations on the back were. Differently from the majority of other IPC comics, this offers the convenience of referring to individual issues by the number rather than the date.

Format: 22 x 28 cms (traditional IPC comics size).

Priced 4p
Printed by Fleetway Printers
Page count:
-          issue Nos. 1 to 43: 36 pages
-          issue Nos. 44 to 79: 32 pages

Free gifts and pull-outs:
Issue No. 1 – 10th March, 1973: Free Practical Joke - which one will YOU get? - Trick Stick of…Liquorice / Joke…Pencil / Joke Chocolate Biscuit / Trick…Tea Spoon
Issue No. 2 – 17th March, 1973: Super Spooky Screamer
Issue No. 3 – 24th March, 1973: Free Glow Fun Stickers
Issue No. 53 – 9th March, 1974: Frankie Stein's Mini Monster Comic Book Pt. 1
Issue No. 54 – 16th March, 1974: Frankie Stein's Mini Monster Comic Book Pt. 2
Issue No. 55 – 23rd March, 1974: Frankie Stein's Mini Monster Comic Book Pt. 3
Issue No. 56 – 30th March, 1974: Frankie Stein's Mini Monster Comic Book Pt. 4

Annuals: 13 editions from 1974 till 1986
Holiday Specials: 8 editions from 1973 till 1980

Merged into WHOOPEE! that became WHOOPEE! and SHIVER AND SHAKE on 12th October, 1974. The last combined issue of WHOOPEE! and SHIVER AND SHAKE had the cover date of 18th October, 1975 (No. 82).

6 comments:

  1. S&S was a great comic - I remember buying the first issue - and even the shop I brought it from. Live & Let Die was being shown in my local Cinema around the same time, and I went to see it a few days after S&S came out.

    I also remember buying the second issue, and the fun which came from hunting around the shops one Saturday with a friend so that he could get his own 'Spooky Screamer' (I've still got one, but it came from another IPC comic a good many years later.) When he eventually got one, we ran around a local graveyard, him blowing his screamer to his heart's content.

    In a way, at the age of just 14, I was reliving my childhood. British Marvel had just released MWOM at the end of the previous year, and I was re-reading stories I had first read as a 7 year old - now Frankie Stein and Grimly Feendish had also returned. What a magical time, and one I remember with great fondness.

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    1. Thanks for sharing your memories, Kid!

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  2. You've wetted my appetite let your Shiver and Shake blog posts begin..

    I love the covers of Shiver and shake so clever...

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  3. Smashing, looking forward to this lot. The annuals I've read have been fantastic, so I'll be getting a few of the comics this year hopefully.

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  4. I got this wrong But all of Sweeny Toddlers maybe some ghost artists were drawn by Leo Baxendale and not by Tom Paterson..Nigel P confirmed it for me when I did a blog post on it...
    just search for Sweeny Toddler..

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  5. Yes!! Shiver and Shake and Monster Fun might well be my favourite Fleetway titles. Them and Whoopee.
    I like the way Reg Parlett did a lot of those "horror" strips. His style is so buoyant and affable he seems like the last person you'd call for that job, but somehow it worked beautifully. I guess you do need a strong injection of chuckle-faced merriment to reinforce the fun factor and keep the kids from getting nightmares.
    Can't wait to see your next few posts. Cheers.

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