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 Frank McDiarmid. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Frank McDiarmid. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

MONSTER FUN ANNUAL 1982 PART TWO



The Annual contained a few nice surprises. I will start with the episode of Kid Kong by Frank McDiarmid. I can’t remember ever seeing another one by him before. The story isn’t particularly original: it’s almost Christmas and Kid has no money for Gran’s present so he takes a job with the post office. This is the third MF Annual with Kid Kong facing a cash problem before X-mas, and the second time he takes a postie’s job to solve it, but Mr. McDiarmid’s work really makes it shine:



After all the chaos and destruction, everybody’s happy in the end:


There are two episodes of Freaky Farm in this Annual, neither by the regular artist Jim Watson. In the first one Jousting Society hold a tournament on Farmer’s land. Artwork by Russel Brooke. Here is the first page:


The four-pager by Ian Knox is my favourite one:



And finally, here’s a set of The Little Monsters by Martin Baxendale who clearly took a few lessons from his Dad. There are two installments of the feature in this Annual and the other one is called The Little Monsters Down on the Farm! Make sure you click on the image below to enlarge it and have fun examining all the fine detail!




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

Saturday, August 23, 2014

WHOOPEE! FRANKIE STEIN HOLIDAY SPECIAL 1982




The last WHOOPEE! FRANKIE STEIN HOLIDAY SPECIAL came out for the summer holidays of 1982. It had 64 pages and cost 50 p.

The central story was Frankie Stein and Three Wishes – a 12-page, three-part tale illustrated by Frank McDiarmid. Driven into despair, Professor Cube is brewing another magic anti-Frankie potion, but Frankie causes an accident and some surprise chemical reaction summons a Genie who now has to grant Prof. Cube three wishes. Guess what the first one is:


The Genie turns out to be not a very smart one:


Dad realizes that now that he can’t see where his creation is, Frankie is likely to cause even more damage so he begs that the Genie takes the spell off Frankie. That’s one wish wasted. Dad is more careful when wording his second one:


Poor Dad fails to realize that he and Frankie are ‘tied up’ and when the Genie sends Frankie to Magic Land (that’s Genie’s idea of billions and billions of miles away), the big lunk drags the parent with him. In Magic Land they nearly fall under the spell of a cunning witch but her concoction causes Frankie to sneeze hard and the two make their escape. The blast of Frankie’s sneeze sends Prof. Cube flying on a carpet as though it were a magic one. Their next encounter is with the King of Magic Land and his daughter the whimsical princess who wants the magic carpet. Dad trades it for the King’s royal spell which makes Frankie vanish. That’s when the princess realizes that it is an ordinary carpet that won’t fly so both aristocrats set after Dad who finds a hiding place in the bushes. The princess spots a croaking frog which she kisses without hesitation hoping it will turn into a handsome prince (remember, this is Magic Land). The kiss breaks the spell and it turns out it was Frankie whom King had turned into a frog. Frankie accidentally gives Dad’s hideout away and the King gets his revenge by sending them both back to where they came from. That’s the second wish bungled.


Prof. Cube realizes that lots of his problems would disappear if Frankie was tiny, and that’s what he wishes for. The Genie can now retire to sleep for the next few hundred years. Dad locks Frankie in a small cage with a hamster wheel and takes him aboard a cruise ship as he goes on holiday. Frankie breaks loose and causes havoc on the ship. Check out the last two pages of the story:


Except for the front cover and two pages of Frankie Stein gags by artists whose names I don’t know, Frankie Stein and Three Wishes was the only new Frankie Stein material. 4 pages of Frankie’s Diary (probably by Jim Crocker) and two half-pagers of Ticklish Allsorts (by Les Barton) were reprinted from MONSTER FUN COMIC, while Freaky Frankie three-panel strips without speech balloons on the back page were the work of Sid Burgon for Shiver and SHAKE weeklies.  That’s a total of 21 pages of Frankie Stein.


There were two new 4-page episodes of Monster Movie Makers by Mr. Hill who signed his MMM sets for the first time. Carlo Monte is upset because his assistant Jock has sold all their films and they are now on TV with Director receiving no royalties.  Carlo Monte orders his assistant to come up with a fresh idea so that he can make money again. Jock suggests that a film featuring a monster frog would be sensational. The filming proves to be a disaster and what’s even worse, some TV cameramen capture everything on film. Carlo Monte is furious because telly boys are now going to make another fortune out of him!


In the second episode Jock is back from his holidays and Director laments to him about a series of failures which occurred in Jock’s absence because of their incompetent props team. Jock comes up with an idea of a film about a giant jelly-fish but with the entire props department now fired, he turns for help to canteen staff who make him a giant wobbling piece of strawberry jelly. The reaction that the filmmakers get from children during filming on the mock-up beach is nothing like they had expected because instead of getting terrified with the 'jelly-fish' the kids start feasting on it. Everything turns out well in the end for Monster Movie Makers because their new monster comedy is a trendsetter.


In a 4-page set by Alan Rogers Computer Cop deals with a gang of museum robbers led by a master crook who steals pictures for his collection and doesn’t know when to stop.


A Frightfully Funny Story… is by an artist whose name I don’t know but I find his style rather interesting. The 4-page story is about a tall and lean boy named Eric who is always hungry. He decides to enter for the monster fancy dress competition at the town hall and try to win the first prize – a hamper of grub. Eric is so broke he can’t afford a costume, so he uses the stuff he can find at the local junk-yard. His disguises get him into lots of trouble and when he finally makes it to the town hall, he doesn’t even need a costume to win the prize:


5 pages were filled with new non-comic strip material, such as puzzles, jokes and gags, nothing to write home about, really.  The game on the centerspread seems somewhat out of context to me:


As many as 18 pages were reprints of various first-class IPC strips: you can find three early episodes of Terror TV by Ian Knox (from MONSTER FUN COMIC), three two-pagers of Wizards Anonymous by Brian Walker (from SHIVER AND SHAKE), three pages of Rent-A-Ghost Ltd. by Reg Parlett (from BUSTER), two pages of Tom Thumbsrew by Norman Mansbridge (from MONSTER FUN COMIC) and two episodes of The Hand - one by Frank McDiarmid and the other one by I don’t know who (from SHIVER AND SHAKE).



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


This post closes the chapter of FRANKIE STEIN publications so it’s time to bid the friendly monster farewell for now and get back to MONSTER FUN COMIC. 


Friday, August 8, 2014

WHOOPEE! FRANKIE STEIN HOLIDAY SPECIAL 1979




Like the previous editions, the magazine had 64 pages but cost 40 p. They systematically kept increasing the price by 5 p. every year. Speaking of contents, to me it is definitely an improvement since the previous edition. They kept the share of reprints down and commissioned loads of new material – I estimate there were only 12 pages of reprints (Monkey Nuts by Graham Allen (from I don’t know where), Tell-Tale Tess by Joe McCaffrey (from COR!!) and Ghoul Guides by I don’t know who (from the IPC revamp of KNOCKOUT), 4 one-page episodes of each). Here are some examples:



26 pages of Frankie Stein – Time Traveller were by the excellent Brian Walker. Attentive readers will recall it is the second time that a story with this headline appears in a Frankie Stein publication – the first one, drawn by Rober Nixon, can be found in the first Frankie Stein Annual (1976). That time Frankie Stein visited the Wild West and then the age of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.  In this WHOOPEE! FRANKIE STEIN HOLIDAY SPECIAL 1979 Frankie Stein – Time Traveller was split into 4 parts spread across the paper (one 8-page and three 6-page sequences).


The story begins when Frankie disrupts Dad’s peaceful breakfast. The frustrated parent and inventor goes through his regular routine of failed attempts to do away with his offspring until Dr. Who TV programme gives him an idea to build a time machine and send ‘the big lunk’ away for good. Contrary to his plan, Dad accidentally becomes a companion in Frankie’s time travels:


Like in the earlier time travel story, their first stop is in the Wild West:


… then the sixteen-hundreds – the golden age of pirates:


… and finally prehistoric times:


Professor Cube goes through a lot of danger and suffering, but it all comes to nothing in the end, as always:


Disaster movies are out, so Monster Movie Makers decide to do one with good old-fashioned monsters. Assistant Director has some ideas but first their Rodney-the-Rhino-on-loan escapes into town disguised to look like a Triceratops, then the systems of two electronic giant monsters go haywire. With all the damage caused during shooting, it looks like this is the first major financial disaster for Carlo Monte and his crew… Artwork by Mr. Hill.


Computer Cop is on special duty, guarding the Ministry of Secret Plans. A gang of crafty villains is on a mission of stealing some plans... 


... but they underestimate Computer Cop who foils two of their sophisticated attempts in this 6-page episode. Drawn and signed by Alan Rogers:


Two 2-pagers of Gook TV Spook by Artie Jackson were presented in full colour.  I believe they were drawn especially for this Holiday Special. Here is one of the episodes in full:


There was a one-pager of The Ghost Train by Frank McDiarmid. The original run of the strip by Brian Walker in Whoopee! had expired  back in 1974, so it looks like the set was drawn especially for this Holiday Special but there is also a possibility that Mr. McDiarmid had drawn it for the Star Guest feature and it was printed in an IPC sister publications back in the mid-seventies (most probably WHIZZER AND CHIPS – I checked COR!! and SHIVER AND SHAKE but didn’t find it).


On the gags front, Jim Crocker drew and signed two pages of Freaky Funnies while Jack Clayton contributed 3 pages of Monster Mirth drawn in his instantly recognisable style:


For dessert, here is the pull-out poster from the centre pages of this WHOOPEE! FRANKIE STEIN HOLIDAY SPECIAL 1979. It is the only contribution by Robert Nixon in this magazine – you have probably noticed that the cover is by Mike Lacey.


For the sake of accuracy, I will also mention Bob Nixon’s drawing of Frankie used in the Frankie Twins puzzle in this Holiday Special. Mr. Nixon had drawn it for the front page of the Mini Monster Comic pull-out book in the first combined issue of WHOOPEE! AND SHIVER & SHAKE (October 12th, 1974).

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