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.

Showing posts with label Andy Christine. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Andy Christine. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 29, 2014


The third Frankie Stein Holiday Special (the first one to be called a holiday special after two summer specials in 1975 and 1976) was the fifth Frankie Stein publication. It cost 30 p. and was 64 pages thick. The front cover artwork was by Robert Nixon whose only other contribution was the pull-out poster. Like in the first FS Special, the poster was actually a reprint of the drawing for the front cover of SHIVER AND SHAKE (28th September, 1974 – the penultimate issue of the paper):

There were 40 pages of Frankie Stein and 24 pages of other stuff. The central story was Frankie Stein in Jolly Holidays (Who’s Kidding Who?) consisting of 5 parts (4 pages each), spread across the paper. Frankie and Prof. Cube are off on holiday again but their flight to Spain is delayed. Frankie spends the time examining various stickers on his travel suitcase and reminiscing about their previous holidays which all turned out to be a disaster for poor Dad. 

The memories of the holidays past take up the first 4 parts until they are finally called to board their flight and arrive in sunny Spain:

In part 5 of the story Frankie wastes no time getting into trouble which prompts his desperate parent to make the only attempt to get rid of the ‘big oaf’ in this long 20-page story by signing him up as a matador for a bull-fight.

All 20 pages of the story were drawn by Andy Christine who had illustrated Grizzly Bearhug… Giant and a few early episodes of Tom Thumbscrew in MONSTER FUN COMIC in 1975. Unexpectedly, Andy Christine was the biggest contributor in this WHOOPEE! FRANKIE STEIN HOLIDAY SPECIAL 1977 – he also drew Odd Men Out (a puzzle) and a 2-page set of Ghoul Getters Ltd. which I will mention later on.

The 4-page episode of Monster Movie Makers was unusual in the sense that it featured the star of the paper – Frankie Stein! In this episode assistant director is having a hard time finding a suitable monster to shoot until he runs into Frankie. Illustrated by the artist who signed his work as Mr. Hill (the episode isn't signed though):

If I were to pick my personal highlight in this magazine, it would certainly have to be The Curse of Dr. Jackal by Mike Brown. The one-off story not only featured Frankie Stein as the presenter/story-teller but also the artist himself. I showed the whole set in Part 8 of my series of artist self-portraits some time ago, you can find it HERE (I highly recommend that you check it out!). 

Speaking of non-comic-strip Frankie Stein features, it is worthwhile mentioning Frankie’s Fun Break and Prof. Cube: Inventor – two sets of 2 pages filled with gags by the same artist who drew a few Frankie Stein stories in the earlier FS publications (including Robinson Frankie and Frankie Stein Super-Freak in the second FS annual). The artwork is rather poor but the artist identified himself by signing a couple of gags so I can now confirm him as a Doug Baker:

There were a few strips that were new to FS publications. In the mid-seventies Fun-Fear and Ghoul Getters Ltd. ran side-by-side with Frankie Stein in WHOOPEE! weeklies, so readers probably weren’t too surprised to see them in this WHOOPEE! FRANKIE STEIN HOLIDAY SPECIAL 1977 for the first time. As was often the case, other artists were invited to do the job for the regular ones. I am not sure who substituted Bob Nixon on Fun-Fear but the place of Trevor Metcalfe – the regular illustrator of Ghoul Getters Ltd. in the weeklies, was taken by Andy Christine – the champion of this Holiday Special in terms of the page count (23 all in all): 

Like the previous FS publications, this one included reprints of The Haunts of Headless Harry (5 episodes) and Ghost Ship (3 episodes):

The lineup of reprints was revised by dropping Crabbe's Crusaders and adding two 2-page sets of Barney’s Brainbox – a short-lived strip from COR!! comic, and two 4-pagers of Patch-Eye Hooker Terror of the Seas – a pirate tale from BUSTER of the late 60s (reprints of the strip can also be found in COR!! Holiday Specials and Annuals in 1978 – 1980).

A few years ago original cover artwork for this magazine was offered by Compal Comic Book Auctions. Here is how it was described (please, note that they got the date and the name of the publication wrong once again):  Frankie Stein original cover artwork (1980) drawn and signed by Robert Nixon for Monster Fun Annual 1980 Frankie's fright is menacingly magnified! Poster colour on board. 16 x 15 ins. The winner paid £280; here is the image of the front cover artwork taken from Compal Auctions website:

Images 2014 © Egmont UK Ltd.  All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014


This weird little strip was set in the dark Middle Ages and offered the readers of MONSTER FUN COMIC a weekly helping of dungeon humour. The main character was young Tom Thumbscrew who worked as a torturer in the King’s caste; the title of the strip tells us he was the torturer’s apprentice but actually he was the master of the dungeon and answered directly to the King.

Tom wasn’t much of a torturer: he tended to side with the prisoners and was generally on friendly terms with them. He spent more time playing cards with the captives than actually trying to make them ‘talk’ and tormenting them with his branding irons, stretching rack and iron maiden. Sometimes he even helped them escape. There were usually at least two or three prisoners chained to the wall of the dungeon but they seemed to be quite happy in Tom’s custody. The young torturer did his job only when the King imperatively commanded him to, and even then he preferred soft methods, such as feather tickling, telling lame jokes, making a dirty robber wash, telling the offender to eat both of the apples he has pinched or shaving off a guy’s hair and beard to dissuade him from escaping because he knew the guy preferred not to be seen like that in public.

The other regular character of the strip was the King (or Kingy). He was the one who was really violent and always eager to keep Tom busy. Kingy was often worried that Tom wasn’t torturing his prisoners properly so he liked to check on him in the dungeon. The King was a willing participant in the torture sessions and liked to experiment with new methods. The honey-on-buried-prisoner torture must have been his favourite - he tried it as many as four times. Besides, the King liked to entertain his noble guests by inviting them to do some torturing together or watch his prisoners being branded and stretched on the rack. Obviously, the King was the baddie in the strip and often found himself at the receiving end of the various torturing schemes gone wrong.

All this sounds worse than it looked in the strip which was in fact quite jolly and bright. Tom Thumbscrew ran in MFC issues 1 to 73 and missed issue Nos. 14, 24, 48, 51, 56, 58, 62, 70, 71 and 72. The regular artist was Norman Mansbridge who took charge of the strip starting from issue 12. The opening story in MFC No. 1 was by Trevor Metcalfe who would have made an excellent job as the illustrator of the entire run, on par with Norman Mansbridge:

The episodes in MFC Nos. 2 – 11 were by the less-excellent Andy Christine – the illustrator of another concurrent MFC strip Giant Bearhug… GIANT, who signed his sets of Tom Thumbscrew in issues 2 and 4. Here is an example from MFC No. 9: