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 Freaky farm. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Freaky farm. Show all posts

Thursday, March 26, 2015


The hardcover book came with a poorly drawn cover that had nothing to do with the Frankie Stein story inside; it was 112 pages thick and cost £2.25.

Contents: The Abominable Ho-Ho Man (gags in full colour on front endpapers by Artie Jackson), Draculass (3 two-pagers by Terry Bave, including one in colour), Freaky Farm (2 three-pagers by Russel Brooke, including one in colour), King Arthur and His Frights of the Round Table (a three-pager and 2 two-pagers, reprints from WHOOPEE!, two by Robert Nixon and one by a ghost artist), The Little Monsters (three sets by Martin Baxendale: at The Zoo; at the Sports Day; at the Garden Centre), Kid Kong (a four-pager and a three-pager (reprint) by Robert Nixon), Art’s Gallery (2 two-pagers by Mike Lacey, probably reprints), Brainy and His Monster Maker (a two-pager by Tom Williams and 2 two-pagers by someone else), Mummy’s Boy (2 two-pagers by Norman Mansbridge), Hot Rod (2 two-pagers of reprints from WHIZZER AND CHIPS, artwork by Alf Saporito), Major Jump (a two-pager and a one-pager, both reprints from MFC weeklies, artwork by Ian Knox), The Ghost Train (2 three-pagers reprinted from WHOOPEE, artwork by Brian Walker), Frankie Stein (a 6-pager by Robert Nixon), X-Ray Specs (3 three-pagers, all reprints, artwork by Mike Lacey), Terror TV (a 4-pager and a 3-pager, artwork by Barrie Appleby), Monster Mirth (1 page of gags by Artie Jackson and 1 page of gags in colour by Tom Paterson (reprints)), Badtime Bedtime Story: One Billion Years B.C. (an 8-page set by Mike Brown); Frankie’s Fun Pages (2 two-pagers of puzzles), Ronnie’s Robot (a 2-pager by Mike Brown), Gums (a 2-pager by Robert Nixon); Tom Thumbscrew (a 2-pager by Norman Mansbridge), Strong Silent Type (Frankie Stein strip cartoons by Sid Burgon, reprints from Shiver and Shake), Dough Nut and Rusty (a 3-pager in colour by Jim Crocker), Teddy Scare (a 3-pager in colour by Barrie Appleby).

Russel Broke was put in charge of Freaky Farm for the second year in a row. In the first episode two treasure seekers visit Freaky Farm armed with their metal detectors and run into a giant worm with a machine gun, a speaking tree, a monster queen bee and a freaky tractor:

In the second episode the army pick Freaky Farm for their exercise:

In Kid Kong Gran’s uncle Bert comes to visit from Australia:

Robert Nixon’s other contribution was a new 6-page episode of Frankie Stein. In it Prof. Cube tries to get rid of the ‘gormless goon’ by building a swing with rubber ropes and using it to catapult Frankie out of his life, but ends up with more repair and damage bills. He becomes a street artist and musician to raise money. Frankie decides to help him and proves to be so good at it that a record company offers him a big contract:

In one of her three stories in this Annual Draculass finds her chamber of horrors in a French restaurant:

The two shows featured in the double-helping of Terror TV in this Annual were The Ghoul Old Days and Some Monsters Do ‘ave ‘em. Both were drawn by Barrie Appleby who also illustrated the episode of Teddy Scare:

It’s good to see a new Badtime Bedtime Story after a two-year break. In One Billion Years. B.C. school boy Terry shares a story of how he went back in time. Here are the opening two pages:

This was the last Badtime Bedtime Story ever but it wasn’t Mike Brown’s only work in this Annual:

Mike Brown isn’t the only disciple of Leo Baxendale whose work features in this book - Martin Baxendale provided three panoramas of the Little Monsters and here’s one:

There are two more MFC Annuals  remaining …

Tuesday, March 17, 2015


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.

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.