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 Artist self-portraits. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Artist self-portraits. Show all posts

Monday, July 28, 2014

SOME SKETCHES BY KEN REID ON EBAY


I will take a short break from Frankie Stein and Monster Fun Comic and show something else instead. It is not very often that one gets to see original Ken Reid artwork offered on eBay and last week fans had one of those rare opportunities, actually, two of them. Two pages of sketches were up for auction. I can recognise Big Head and Thick Head as well as Jonah’s sister Jinx in the first one, so it must be from 1963 or 1964. The page with artwork on both sides sold for £108.23:




Fudge the Elf is the centre-figure of the second page which was offered in a separate auction. I think I can also recongise a policeman and a thief from Ali-Ha-Ha and the 40 Thieves. I will take a guess that the page is from the early 60s before Ken had given up drawing Fudge the Elf for Manchester Evening News. There is also a possibility that the page is from a later period, perhaps 1963, after Ken recovered from his nervous breakdown. If that’s the case, the artist probably sketched Fudge the Elf for his own pleasure, reminiscing about the character that he had created and drawn for so many years. Oh, and isn’t that Ken Reid’s self-portrait on the other side? The page sold for £173.00:




Friday, June 6, 2014

A LOOK AT MONSTER FUN STRIPS: S.O.S. (SAVE OUR STAN)




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.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

ARTIST SELF-PORTRAITS (Part 11)


Today I have an assorted gallery of self-portraits from the pages of both major UK comics publishers.

First up is Tony Goffe in this episode of Loser from Whizzer and Chips cover-dated 11th November, 1973. Please, excuse the shadow along the left margin of the page – my copy of the issue is part of a bound volume.



This episode of Riddle Me Ray with Mike Lacey’s self-portrait is from SHIVER AND SHAKE No. 63 (18th May, 1974):


Nick Baker drew himself in the episode of Smiler in Whoopee! cover-dated 5th March, 1977:


The episode of Billy Whizz from THE BEANO issue No. 1942 (8th October, 1979) has a self-portrait of Malcolm Judge:


This episode of Mitey Joe with a self-portrait of John Geering is from NUTTY No. 27 (16th August, 1980):


In the last instalment of Cartoon Spot that appeared in the final issue of HOOT (N0. 53 cover-dated 25th October, 1986) L Plated Ella came up with an idea to draw the artist for a change. This makes it a self-portrait of Mr. Robert Nixon:


When I started this series a year ago and showed a number of Meet the Artists… pages from BUSTER, I somehow missed the feature on Keith Reynolds from the issue cover-dated 22nd October, 1991:



Last but not least is the self-portrait of Mr. Leo Baxendale. He drew himself from the back in the second Willy the Kid book published in 1977 by Gerald Duckworth & Co. Ltd..



Come back soon to view a rich gallery of Brian Walker’s self-portraits from the Dandy of the late 80s and the early 90s…