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.

Friday, June 6, 2014


The saga of Stan Stilton began in MFC issue No. 20. Agent Stan Stilton was an employee of D.R.A.I.N. – Department for Removal of All Internal Nuisances. In the opening episode the daft agent believes he has captured a criminal mastermind, only to find out that his prisoner is in fact the Number One of D.R.A.I.N. Sick and tired of Stilton who is an idiot and a constant source of trouble, Chief decides to get rid of him by sending him on a mission to capture Gruesome Gannet Gunge and his gang of grisly midgets. The elusive World Enemy No. 1 strikes first by abducting Stilton and taking him to his gang’s secret hideout in Gungitrania. The abduction occurs in the middle of a ‘job interview’ for the position of Stilton’s assistant. Moments before Gannet Gunge drives Stan Stilton away in his Gungemobile, the trouble-prone agent hires a young assistant by the name of Charlie Cheddar who proves to be somewhat smarter and luckier than his boss...

This was the beginning of the 20-weeks long action-packed series of hairbreadth escapes and last-minute rescues for Stan Stilton as he repeatedly got in and out of Gannet Gunge’s clutches with the help of Charlie Cheddar and some other very strange aides. The plot developed at breakneck speed, in defiance of the laws of physics and logic, and was often jazzed up with Monty Python–like absurdity and mad intermissions which made S.O.S (Save Our Stan) stand out amongst traditional MFC strips.

Both opposing parties had friends and aides: Gannet Gunge and his midget menacing minions had Gunge’s Mumsy, Jorkins the torturer both of whom lived in Grisly Grange – the ancestral home of the Gunges, and a pack of Gungitranian monsters (croco-dorkles, the dreaded Boogly Woogie and others), while Stan Stilton and Charlie Cheddar had the undercover ally who was a master of disguise, the intrepid messenger parrot, a herd of patriotic British ferrets and last but not least – the readers of MFC. Every single episode of S.O.S (Save Our Stan) ended with a puzzle or a coded message which the readers were challenged to solve or decipher in order to help Stan get out of his weekly scrape. The readers were not expected to send their answers to MFC – the idea was that they solved the puzzles and imagined they were indeed helping the hero who would otherwise be doomed. In the beginning of each weekly instalment the scriptwriter pretended that readers’ essential help was received and well-appreciated, while the evil Gannet Gunge sometimes referred to readers of S.O.S (Save Our Stan) as meddlers.

The story ended when Stan’s young assistant disguised himself as a housemaid and laced the midgets’ tea with Gunge’s monster-making serum. The serum transformed them into monsters who then turned on their former master.

Let us not forget that the real reason why the chiefs of D.R.A.I.N. sent Stan Stilton on the mission was to get rid of the troublesome employee and they certainly didn’t expect the loopy agent to do away with the criminal mastermind. So when Stan phoned in with his "mission accomplished" report and requested transport back to D.R.A.I.N., No. 1 and No. 2 realised their plan had failed. They knocked up this last puzzle and hoped it would take Stan and Charlie years to work through, ‘unless those rotten readers’ helped them out.

Frankie Stein, the Honorary Editor of MFC, saw that Stan Stilton took a well-deserved holiday after MFC No. 39 which contained the finale of this interesting serial. IMHO the b/w two-pagers of S.O.S (Save Our Stan) with its wacky humour and weird puzzles were an excellent ingredient in the MFC package. The artist was Nick Baker who signed nearly all the sets. Starting from No. 28 the episodes of S.O.S (Save Our Stan) came with a double signature HITCH and Nick Baker:

Was Hitch the script writer? Mr. Baker included a few portraits of the artist, the writer and the editor in the strip. I don’t know if these are faithful caricatures or simply generic drawings of people in the professions, but here they are nonetheless:

I am sure I’ve seen the strip reprinted but I can’t remember where. I will update the post with the details when I come across those reprints again.


  1. I always liked Nick Baker's Smiler strip from Whoopee! but I'd never seen this one before, and from what you've shown it looks excellent. Wouldn't it be great if Egmont published 'The Collected S.O.S'? Thanks for posting.

  2. The jury’s still on this one with me. I’m not sure whether it was experimental, or overambitious. The humour’s certainly there, and with all the convoluted puzzles it COULD be considered a kind of precursor to Jack Olivier’s glorious lunacy not so many years ahead, but with perhaps too many words. Nick Baker probably gave up the strip to launch Smiler in March 1976 – they couldn’t ALL be like Reg Parlett and juggle several strips at once. Have to call up MF at British Library again to make a proper appraisal.

    1. I like the story although I do agree with you it's a bit too heavy on text.

  3. This wonderfully busy strip was a mindbending treat each week - and so much more interesting than Smiler! I'm always bemused by those who make out that IPC comics played safe and didn't experiment. Their comics embodied experimentalism, and this strip is one of the good examples.

    1. I completely agree with you, Raven. I am surprised how conservative and old-fashioned the Beano and the Dandy look in comparison with any IPC children’s comic of the mid-seventies!

    2. Yes, you see it in the kid characters, as well as IPC's more dynamic and fresh artwork and themes; their modern dress reflected the readers, whereas the Thomson comic kids still all tended to wear shorts and 1930s-1950s gear!

    3. Yep. I remember this from the 70's. Loved it and it was reprinted in the early 1990's in Buster comics. I loved the perils Stan faced each week. My favorites include him tied up next to a time bomb and later tied to a railway track facing the Grungotranian express.