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.



Wednesday, March 15, 2017

BANNED DARE-A-DAY DAVY EPISODE




The text of this post is part of Ken Reid biography that I wrote for a project that now seems to be dead, which I think is very sad...

“Dare-A-Day Davy” in POW!, illustrated by Ken Reid and written (mostly) by Walt Thorburn, featured a boy who couldn’t resist a dare. Dares were supplied by “POW!” fans who were offered a pound for every idea used. In the beginning of each episode Davy was torn between common sense and an irresistible urge to take on the dare, no matter how crazy or dangerous it was.

Vance Gledhill of Blackpool, Lancs., dared Davy to no less than dig up Frankenstein-monster’s remains and bring him back through the kiss of life. Davy had done lots of naughty and nasty things before but until then he’d never desecrated a grave or kissed a worm-infested fungus-covered skull, so Bart and Alf decided to spare the readers of “POW!” of the gory tale. 

Ken, however, wasn’t the only person responsible for its horridness: “Frankenstein” was drawn to Walt Thorburn’s script, so the writer was at least partly culpable

Odhams Press didn’t reject the episode or contact Ken about it. Ken received his check for the artwork and there is no evidence of his knowledge that the page was withheld from print. It was rescued by Steve Moore, then an Odhams Press’ employee, later a comics writer whose work featured in most of the major British comics, and printed in the first issue of “Weird Fantasy” comics fanzine published in the Winter of 1969 by David Britton – a British author and artist, later a co-founder of the publishing house “Savoy Books” that reprinted a couple of Ken's original Fudge books.

Contrary to what some people believe, “Frankenstein” was not the last episode of “Dare-A-Day Davy”. The reason which may have given rise to the belief was the number  “90” hand-written by Ken at the top left corner of the original “Frankenstein” artwork reprinted in “Weird Fantasy”, implying that this may have been the 90th episode of “Dare-A-Day Davy”, whereas only 86 issues of “POW!” had been published. “Frankenstein” was in fact the 64th episode of those drawn by Ken, while the “90” was the result of an error in Ken’s paybook when he turned a new page and started the numbering of his “Dare-A-Day Davy” episodes at 74 instead of 47, and carried on with it until the very end of the run.

Below is the cover of the fanzine that reprinted the Frankenstein episode, followed by the inside pages with the episode itself, the editor’s comment on Ken Reid and an artist’s take on Fudge, drawn in the style of American underground comix of the times (1969 or thereabouts).






13 comments:

  1. Fascinating stuff, Irmy. I saw this strip on another site some years ago, and it's my intention one day to re-letter it and make it more legible.

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  2. You can see why it was banned!!
    Another comic 2000ad would of worked better...

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  3. Apparently, Irmy, Pat Mills wanted a Ken Reid strip in 2000 A.D. I read somewhere it was about the hideously disfigured last human on Earth after a nuclear catastrophe, who continually tried (and failed) to commit suicide. This Davy strip WOULD HAVE been right up 2000 A.D.'s street

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    1. The character/strip was called “The Mutation”. Ken put the idea forward to the Editor of “Scorcher” in the end of 1969 when the only work he had left was one page of “Sub”, script and artwork. The Mutation wasn’t the last human on Earth. He was a former ambitious Ministry official who, through some kind of a slip-up involving radioactive substance, turned into something so horrid that committing suicide became his only ambition. Like Dare-A-Day Davy, the Mutation was a schizophrenic dual personality: every time he would attempt a suicide, his alter ego - a personified blue blob which blossomed suddenly from the Mutation’s head - sabotaged his attempt by re-shuffling the Mutation’s atoms to his own (alter-ego’s) advantage. Later Ken used the general idea in “Faceache” – minus the dual personality aspect.

      Although the Editor’s response is not documented, it is quite obvious that the idea was completely out of tune with the then Fleetway policy, so nothing became of it. Pat Mills may have loved the idea, but nothing I have seen in Ken’s archive suggests that Pat contacted Ken about it when “2000 A.D.” was launched in 1977.

      I could do detailed and illustrated post about “The Mutation” on my blog but I am not sure how much of the material that I have I can use (images, the letter with an IMPRESSIVELY detailed introduction, scripts and Ken’s own Xeroxed copies of the illustrations – it appears that Fleetway didn’t bother to return his originals)...

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    2. Correction to my previous comment - Fleetway did return the originals, so the scans of The Mutation that I have are those of Ken's original artwork :)

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    3. Irmy, you simply must do a post about it. It would be an exclusive, never before seen (as far as I know) scoop that would knock people's socks off.

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  4. I always thought that this strip was called "The Dummy" and he was the last person on Earth. But the info you have given is the most I have every read about the "Mutation" strip so I think my info was all just half heard snippets that wer enot quite correct. Like Kid I would also love to see a wee thread on this non strip with all your obvious knowledge of Kens work.

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    1. I would happily post a detailed article about the strip, especially since I wouldn’t have to do much work writing it – I have already covered everything in Ken’s biography. As I have mentioned it in my previous post, I was involved in a project that was supposed to culminate in thick and heavily illustrated hard-cover book celebrating the work and life of the British comic genius. Sadly, it looks like the project is coming to nothing, and although I have completed my part of the work (Ken’s life and work since his departure from DCT), I am not sure I can use my text and the materials that I have in scanned form. On the one hand, I still secretly hope that the book will be published and I don’t want to spill too much, on the other hand, the images of Ken’s unreleased artwork, letters, diaries, etc. aren’t mine to post publicly. So let’s be patient and see how things develop.

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    2. Couldn't you get permission from Ken's son to use just a few images, Irmy? It would help drum up even more interest in the proposed book, should it ever happen.

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    3. It would make sens if the book was about to be published but now I think it is better to wait and see what (if anything) happens in the next few months.

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  5. Oh sorry I didn't read that bit in full about your work on the Ken Reid book - fingers crossed though, it sounds brilliant.

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  6. John Ridgway has done some amazing colour work on "Fudge the Elf". Hopefully it will find a publisher at some point.

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  7. Great blog but so undeservedly obscure? I guess if it makes a difference to mention British comics in your blog name you would have done. I remember great fanzines like Golden Fun and British Comics World in the 80's which seemed so strange when this huge part of British popular culture had been instantly "forgotten" apart from the papers once-a-decade mention of Desperate Dan or Lord Snooty for whatever reason.

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