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, March 23, 2014


It appears that creators of Monster Fun Comic wanted as many as possible of their strips and features to have titles starting with the letter ‘M’ (to go with the title of the comic and the monster theme in general). It may be just a coincidence but IMHO Martha’s Monster Make-Up, March of the Mighty Ones, Major Jump, Brainy and his Monster Maker, Master Ugly Mug and Miss Funny Face, not to mention Monster Hits and Invisible Monster, make a lot of M's for a comic with a relatively small number of strips.

Martha’s Monster Make-up was a strip about a girl whose Dad was a caretaker at Mallet Horror Films Studios. He gave her a jar of make-up that he found sweeping one of the dressing rooms. Martha soon realised it was a special “monster” make-up that transformed people’s faces, hair and limbs into something monstrous. Luckily, the effect of the make-up was only temporary and didn’t take long to wear-off. The illustrator of the strip was the excellent Ken Reid who was also drawing Faceache in Buster at the same time. Initially Martha’s face –pulling antics were a lot like Faceache’s in the sister publication. Differently from Faceache whose ‘scrunging’ didn't go beyond his own face and body, Martha’s cream worked on other people too.

Whoever was the writer of Martha’s Monster Make-up, he soon realised that the two features were becoming very similar so he left humans alone and gave the strip a new twist by focusing on objects. A few weeks into the run Martha started using her cream to ‘monstrify’ all kinds of things, including a sculpture, a bicycle, a X-mas tree, a brick wall, a car, an umbrella, a mirror, a piano, a grandfather clock – the list goes on and on. Some of the weirder things she transformed included wallpaper, scaffolding, golf course green and even a sea wave. The reason she did this was to teach meanies and bullies a lesson and have some fun at their expense. Drawing those sour-faced unpleasant types with a bad attitude was one of Ken Reid’s specialties so it was good for Martha that her small jar contained a never-ending supply of the cream. 

Martha’s Monster Make-up started in the first issue and didn’t miss a single week. As I mentioned it before, the illustrator was Ken Reid (who is known to have disliked drawing female characters). Frank McDiarmid stepped in on three occasions in issues 26, 30 and 62, and the episode in No. 15 was drawn by a ghost artist whose name I don’t know but he also substituted Mr. Reid on Faceache in Buster a few times around the same time. The strip was a one-pager and had a prime slot on page 4 and later page 6.

Surprisingly, Martha’s Monster Make-up survived merger with BUSTER. I say surprisingly not because it was a poor strip but because the transfer was at the expense of Faceache that IMHO was better, but was rested nontheless starting from the first combined issue of BUSTER AND MONSTER FUN. Martha’s Monster Make-up continued in the combined paper for nearly 4 months but justice was restored starting from issue dated Feb. 19th, 1977 when Faceache returned by popular demand (as confirmed by the caption under the last episode of Martha's Monster Make-up the week before).


  1. With all due respect to Mr Reid, I wasn’t particularly sorry to see Martha dropped in Buster so Faceache could come back in early ’77. That doesn’t mean I didn’t like the artwork – far from it – but the boy with a thousand (or a hundred) faces was always a favourite of mine. Possibly drawing both would have been too much for Reid, who was nearly 58 at the time of the Buster/Monster Fun merger, but space considerations seem more likely.

    1. I also prefer Faceache to Martha. I think both strips were still very much alike so there was no way how they could have run side-by-side in one comic, even if Ken were able to draw them every week. Let us not forget that in 1977 he was also drawing weekly instalments of World-Wide Weirdies for Whoopee! so time was probably also a factor.

  2. You know, I think that MF cover might be by Frank McDiarmid. See what others think.

  3. A great post. A have all of these and so might treat self to a reading festival of Martha this weekend. I love Ken's stuff and try to buy comics with his strips in whenever I can.