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 Creature Teacher. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Creature Teacher. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 10, 2015


The fourth MF Annual was the first without Kid Kong on the cover; the big ape was replaced by Frankie Stein the friendly monster, drawn and signed by Robert Nixon. The book is 144 pages thick. My copy is price clipped, but looking at other Fleetway annuals released that year I think it will be safe to assume that the price was still £1.25.

Contents: Draculass (two 2-pagers in colour by Terry Bave, including one on front endpapers), Kid Kong (two 4-pagers by Bob Nixon, including one in colour), Hot Rod (6 reprints from Whizzer and Chips, including one in colour; artwork by Alf Saporito, Cyril Price and possibly someone else), Creature Teacher (two 3-pagers by Tom Williams), Teddy Scare (two 2-pagers),  The Little Monsters (two 2-pagers by Ed McHenry), Dough Nut and Rusty (two 4-pagers by Jim Crocker), George and his Magic Dragon (a 3-pager by Alan Rogers), Terror TV (two 3-pagers), A Christmas Phanto-Mime (a 4-pager, probably by  Mike Brown), Puzzles feature (a 2-pager), Art’s Gallery (a 2-pager by Terry Bave), Tom Thumbscrew (two 2-pagers), Frankie Stein (a 3-pager by John Geering and a 4-pager by Robert Nixon), Major Jump (a 4-pager), Badtime Bedtime Book – Second Showing – Robinson Gruesome (8 pages by Leo Baxendale, reprint of BBB No. 2 from MFC), Gums (two 3-pagers by Tom Williams and a 2-pager by Alf Saporito), Freaky Farm (two 3-pagers and a 4-pager, all by Jim Watson), Martha’s Monster Make-Up (two 2-pagers by Ken Reid), Brainy’s Monster Maker (two 2-pagers, including one in colour back endpapers),  King Arthur and his Frights of the Round Table (3 reprints from WHOOPEE!, artwork by Robert Nixon); Little Devil (a 2-pager by Tom Williams), Alfie’s Alphabet feature (2 pages by Mike Brown), Freaky Fairy Tales gags (1 page by Jack Clayton), Monster Maze puzzle (1 page), Animal Antics (2 pages of gags by Jack Clayton), The Haunted Wood (a 2pager by Les Barton), Dino-Sore spot the difference puzzle (by Cliff Brown), Dragon Fry! spot-the-difference puzzle (by Cliff Brown), X-mas Crossword (2 pages), Badtime Bedtime Story: Aladdin (8 pages by Mike Brown), X-Ray Specs (a 3-pager in colour by Mike Lacey).

Frankie Stein was the front cover star, so first let’s look at the two episodes of his adventures in this Annual. John Geering illustrated the one in which Prof Cube builds a robot programmed to destroy Frankie. “Robbie” serves his purpose and Frankie is smashed to bits. What Prof Cube hasn’t foreseen is that the robot will want to take Frankie’s place as Cube’s son. When the cruel scientist turns his back on him, the robot puts Frankie back together, brings him to life again and then self-destructs.

The gory sight of Frankie's body parts lying about

In the 4-pager by Bob Nixon Prof Cube gets an idea that perhaps if he persuaded Frankie he had double vision, the stupid lunk would go to hospital and Prof Cube could enjoy peace and quiet. Just as the plan is about to succeed, Frankie causes a traffic accident, Prof Cube suffers concussion and starts seeing double…

Kid Kong, the ousted cover star, features in two stories in this Annual, both drawn by Robert Nixon (although one is unsigned). In the first one Kid gets a Christmas job to earn some money to buy Gran a prezzy (just like last year, remember?).  He fails as a postman, then as a supermarket hand and finally as Santa in a department store but is rewarded in the end for giving presents to poor children rather than the rich ones who have plenty already.

In the second story Gran makes Kid Kong exercise because he is too heavy. Gran looses her temper in the end and Kid takes shelter in sauna baths for a few hours:

Tom Williams is an important contributor to this book. He illustrated two Creature Teacher tales. In the first one Teach’s temper is put to test during a craft lesson and he (or is Teach an “it”?) has to transform into a giant mole to restore order:

In the second episode Sir takes class 3X to look around a historic galleon and they resort to mutiny:

In the first of the two episodes of Gums illustrated by Tom Williams Bluey tricks Gums into swapping his old set of teeth for a new and shiny one made of rock. It melts in the shark’s mouth, the predator recovers his old gnashers and threatens to have Bluey for Christmas dinner but a little girl reminds them that Christmas is supposed to be the season of goodwill and suggests the two of them call a truce for the rest of the day:

In the second episode Gums pretends to have lost its teeth and holiday makers believe it is now safe to go out in the bay. This is one of those stories when Bluey prevails and the shark ends up toothless.

The third Gums tale was illustrated by Alf Saporito who drew quite a few episodes in the weeklies towards the end of the run. In this one Gums has a bad dream in which Bluey is a giant:

Let’s get back to Tom Williams who also drew the double-pager of Little Devil. The character was borrowed from KNOCKOUT comic where it appeared regularly in the early 70s. Here is the episode from MF Annual 1980, followed by the first KNOCKOUT episode:

And while we are on the subject of revived KNOCKOUT strips, The Haunted Wood is also originally from the seldom remembered first “all-colour” Fleetway comic where it started in the first issue and was illustrated by Reg Parlett, succeeded by Sid Burgon. The new episode in this MFC Annual 1980 was drawn by Les Barton. Here it is in full, followed by the first episode in KNOCKOUT:

Both KNOCKOUT “phoenixes” (Little Devil and The Haunted Wood) appear to be new material created especially for this MF Annual 1980.

Freaky Farm is represented by as many as three episodes. The first one is about a pair of motor-bikers who trespass on Freaky Farm and encounter a giant sharp-fanged toad, a horde of monster mice and the unfriendly farmhouse. When they flee in terror, police officers can’t believe they are doing it on foot…

The second is about an unfortunate veterinarian from the Ministry of Nitteries who calls at Freaky Farm to vaccinate cows against the suspected strength-sapping animal flu and faces the consequences:

The third visitor is I.Studyem, the well-known botanist, who is looking for ‘wild’ flowers. He most certainly finds more than he’s looking for. Here are the last two pages:

Ken Reid contributed two episodes of Martha’s Monster Make-Up. In the first one Martha puts some of her make-up on the next door neighbour’s cat so that it wouldn’t be bullied by all the other cats in the neighborhood…

.. and in the second one she monstrifies her snowman and some snowballs to teach the rotten bully a lesson; the script is rather lazy because it hardly differs from Martha’s story in the previous MONSTER FUN annual.

Alan Rogers illustrated George ‘n his (Magic) Dragon which looks like a mutation of Rex strip from the previous MF Annual.  George and Cedric the magic dragon accept an offer to beat a carpet for 50 p. but Cedric accidentally burns a hole in it and turns it into a flying carpet so that they can fly off and get another one.

This is the first MF Annual with Jack Clayton art:

Ed McHenry drew two sets of The Little Monsters:

What I find disappointing about this annual is the 4-pager of Major Jump in which Major and Cosmo go to deepest Africa to catch the dreaded Stripey Buzzflap. For me, poor artwork spoils even the best of stories. I am sure I could do better when I was ten…

I will save the rest for the second half of the overview.

All Images 2015 © Egmont UK Ltd.  All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015


My previous post ended with a page-count of strips illustrated by Tom Williams and Barrie Appleby whom the editor kept really busy when preparing this 1979 MONSTER FUN Annual. Barrie Appleby was the unchallenged champion because out of the 19 pages by the runner up Tom Williams, two were most probably reprints (Ghost Town from WHIZZER AND CHIPS), and three formed part of 2-page spot-the-difference puzzles. Here is one pair, if you feel like playing the game (click on the image to enlarge):

Mr. Williams also drew both episodes of X-Ray Specs. In the first Ray is in the mood of playing dirty tricks on other kids and his X-ray specs come very handy until Mummy of the Mummy’s Boy strip puts an end to his antics. It is a nice example of characters from different strips crossing-over:

In the second episode Ray takes a boring job at the packing department of a big store during the Christmas rush. He amuses himself by using his X-ray specs to see what’s inside the parcels and exposes a fraudster who steals gifts from the boxes.

It is good to see the return of Creature Teacher after a break in the previous MF Annual.  In this story Class3X give Teach some nasty Christmas presents. He gets his own back on them by treating Class3X to cardboard sandwiches, plaster cakes and wax fruits from the drama cupboard before inviting them for a real Christmas meal in the dining room:

Barrie Appleby’s contribution (which amounted to whopping 20 pages of new material) was two episodes of Brainy and His Monster Maker:

… an episode of Teddy Scare:

… an episode of Major Jump in which Major Jump and Cosmo scheme to catch the Wild Jorkonorkus. What they don’t realise is that the mission hardly calls for human cunning because the monster is all in for mince pies, jellies and telly that they offer at the monster menagerie but his eagerness to fall into the various traps set by Major Jump and his assistant backfire on the pair. The 4-page story is a sequence of four short episodes, the last one ending with the willing captive getting happily captured. Here is one:

Barrie Appleby was also the man behind the episode of Terror TV which proudly presented everybody’s favourite talent-show Horror-Tunity Shocks starring Hughie Goran. In the first part of the show the first two sponsors introduce the Wobbles and the Baskervilles, and here is Part Two:

Last but not least of Mr. Appleby’s contributions in this 1979 MONSTER FUN Annual is this 6-page story of Tom Thumbscrew (or rather two 3-page stories presented in a sequence):

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

Sunday, December 21, 2014


The publication of MFC weeklies began in the second half of June 1975 and IPC didn’t have time to produce a book for 1976 so Monster Fun Comic Annual 1977 was the title’s first. It came out early in the Autumn of 1976 – the first advertisement can be found in MFC No. 66 (Sept 11th, 1976). At that time the weekly was already counting its last days and was absorbed by Buster a few weeks later. The book was 144 pages thick and cost a pound.

Here is an account of the contents: Little Monsters (in colour on the front endpapers and one page in b/w inside, by Sid Burgon), Brainy and His Monster Maker (three 2-pagers, including one in colour), Dough Nut and Rusty (three episodes by Trevor Metcalfe: 2 three-pagers including one in colour, and a four-pager), Monster Fun Puzzle Page (2 pages), X-Ray Specs (2 two-pagers and 2 three-pagers including one in colour by Mike Lacey), The Robot Maker (5 reprints from COR!! weeklies, artwork by Frank McDiarmid), Frankie Stein Ticklish All-Sport (2 pages of gags by Jim Crocker), Art’s Gallery (2 episodes – a three-pager and a two-pager), Draculass (2 two pagers by Terry Bave), Stoneage Brit Ancient Nit (4 reprints from COR!! weekly comics, artwork by Tony Goffe), The Ice Monster’s Coming! (adventure thriller on 6 pages), Tom Thumbscrew – The Torturer’s Apprentice (2 two-pagers by Norman Mansbridge, including one in colour), Freaky Farm (a 4-pager), Sam’s Spook (4 reprints from SMASH! comic, artwork by Leo Baxendale), Mummy’s Boy (3 two-pagers by Norman Mansbridge, including one in colour on back endpapers), Movie Monsters feature (2 two-pagers), Teddy Scare (a two-pager), Martha’s Monster Make-Up (a two-pager), Gums (a three-pager by Tery Bave), Kid Kong (an eight-pager by Robert Nixon), Terry and the ‘Dactyl (an 8-pages adventure thriller), Creature Teacher (a six-pager by Tom Williams), Monster Mystery (spot the difference puzzle on two pages), Major Jump - Horror Hunter (a two-pager by Ian Knox), Monster Mirth (2 pages of gags by Jim Crocker), Crafty Cat (a two-pager), Film Funny feature (1 page), Ye Badtime Bedtime Worsery Rhymes (6 pages by Terry Bave), Survive All (a two-pager), The Day of the Apples Starring the Earthies (a four-pager by Mike Green).

Advertisement in MFC No. 66 (Sept 11th, 1976)

It is appropriate to start the review from the beginning and here are the hilarious front endpapers with The Little Monsters by Sid Burgon:

Unlike in the first Summer Special, all reprints (Robot Maker, Sam’s Spook and Stoneage Brit) were re-arranged to fill two pages. Also, differently from the Summer Special, the Annual had as many as two adventure thrillers. The first was the six-page story The Ice Monster’s Coming! An ice patrol boat is clearing the shipping lanes by blasting away icebergs with a gun. One shot does more than shatter an iceberg – it also releases a prehistoric monster that was trapped inside. Instead of showing gratitude to his liberators, the creature vents its frustration on the ship and its unfortunate crew. The boat sinks and it looks like it’s the end for the crew but they get rescued by another ice patrol ship. Here are the last two pages of the story:

The other thriller feature was an 8-pager called Terry and the ‘Dactyl. The narrative panel of the first frame creates an impression that this is not the first episode of the story:

Terry senses foul play and escapes into the jungle where he has to hide from hostile natives. Climbing some rocks, he finds a baby pterodactyl and starts looking after it. Terry’s wanderings take him and his new “pet” to an ancient ruined city of gold somewhere in the mountains where he stays for ten months raising and training the reptile until it grows into a giant flying creature. A plane crash near the ruined city and the death of the pilot make Terry return back to civilization and settle scores with the corrupt local police chief Gomez who would stop at nothing to find the lost city of gold. This is quite a violent story with as many as five deaths:  first Gomez’ sidekicks take care of Terry’s companion – the old prospector, then the airplane pilot dies of poison, then both of Gomez’ cronies meet their fate at the hands of their evil master and finally the rogue policeman himself falls from sky high into the river never to be seen again…

Both stories are drawn by the same artist whose name I don’t know but he was the illustrator of the long-running and successful Rat Trap feature in COR!! comic. I think I’ve seen his (her?) artwork in girls’ comics. Does anyone know the name?

Readers were treated to two new comedy strips. Crafty Cat was drawn by either Martin Baxendale or Tom Paterson. I would put my money on Martin Baxendale but I wonder if he wasn’t too young to contribute at that time:

Survive All pretended to be a weekly strip (or perhaps TV show). I am not sure about the name of the artist but I am finding the style similar to that of the illustrator who drew the Forest Legion in SHIVER AND SHAKE annuals and signed one episode Mazza. Here is the strip in full:  

This was a nice book with lots of quality artwork by top IPC talent so let’s take a quick look at some of the highlights. 

In Freaky Farm the farmer and his horrors do what they do best – scarring intruders off the farm. In this case it is a team of road builders. I am not sure if this set was drawn by the regular Freaky Farm artist Jim Watson – it looks like Elphin who drew a couple of early episodes in the weeklies was responsible for it:

In Martha’s Monster Make-Up Martha gets into trouble for wickedly using her cream on some people who did her no harm. The artist tried imitating Ken Reid and he is also the one who occasionally stepped in for Ken on Faceache in BUSTER comic. I don’t know his name, unfortunately:

In Gums the shark finds being toothless very embarrassing and goes to the swordfish for help. The sword-fish makes him a set of teeth from the wooden hull of a sunken ship but the shark still boobs in the end:

In Kid Kong the loveable giant gorilla decides to earn some money and make it up to Gran for having such a big appetite. A gang of crooks take advantage of the innocent mind and Kid helps them rob the high street bank. Kid and Gran find themselves behind bars where Kid realises that the crooks made a monkey out of him. Furious, he breaks out of prison and stops the robbers from escaping the country. His cash reward is quickly converted into ‘nanas.

Kid and Gran fantasizing about how they will spend the cash 
that Kid brought home after the bank robbery

In Major Jump – the first one signed by Ian Knox that I can remember seeing, the horror hunter and his assistant answer an S.O.S. signal and find themselves in an awkward situation when they realise it was them who the tiny people got so terrified with:

Ye Badtime Bedtime Worsery Rhymes by Terry Bave implies a connection with Badtime Bedtime Books which appeared in MFC weeklies, but it doesn’t fit the definition of a classic BBB because it isn’t a strip and is only 6 pages long (as opposed to 8 which was the standard). Here are the first two pages:

In Creature Teacher Class X are invited to put that year’s Christmas play and are thrilled about the opportunity, less so about Creature Teacher being the producer. A series of failed plots to get rid of him later, comes the day of their Cinderella performance, and Class X have saved all their mischief-making for the night:

Needless to say that Creature Teacher intervenes and saves the day:

It is the second time after the MFC Summer Special 1975 that we meet those strange creatures called the Earthies. The full title of the story is The Day of the Apples, featuring the Earthies and the illustrator is Mike Green – thanks, Lew and Raven, for identifying the artist in your comments to my previous post. Here is the story in full:

It is that special time of the year, so I will round up this post with this festive episode of The Little Monsters by Sid Burgon. More MFC-unrelated X-mas goodness to come soon!

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