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 Fudge and Speck. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Fudge and Speck. Show all posts

Monday, January 28, 2019

FUDGE AND THE MAGIC BOOK BY KEN REID - PART TWO



Part 1 of my account of Fudge and the Magic Book by Ken Reid ended at the point when the two elves completed their mission in Imaginatia and were ready to go back to the World of Reality. This is where Ken’s story turns even more surreal and absurd… 

First, the two elves had to cross the Darkness of Doubt:


… and pass to the threshold of the Barrier of Uncertainty. The gloomy Keeper of the Door to the Barrier of Uncertainty explained the basic rules:


Fudge and Speck stepped through the door and were faced with absolutely nothing, or, as the Keeper of the Door described it – the thought plasma… I like the sequence of panels below: 


The nothingness proved to be not so empty after all: there were all sorts of people traveling there by all kinds of means, but it turned out they all lacked confidence in their reality. The first one was a motorist who met an old skipper on a motor boat. The skipper mocked the motorist out of his conviction that he was driving on paved road, and this is when the true meaning of the warning issued by the Keeper of the Door revealed itself: as soon as the motorist got persuaded he was at sea, he sank together with his car! 


Moments later, the skipper ran into an airplane, and after a short discussion the pilot made him believe he might be ‘sailing’ at an altitude of 15,000 feet, and as a result, the skipper’s flying boat went into a sudden nose-dive. 


Droning on, the plane pilot bumped into a deep-sea diver who persuaded the pilot that he was flying his plane 20 fathoms underwater.


And finally, the deep-sea diver met an Austrian mountain climber who shook the diver’s conviction about being underwater, causing him to plunge down a 15,000 feet drop. 


Fudge and Speck witnessed all the disasters while trudging across the Barrier of Uncertainty and firmly hanging on to their convictions that they were walking on solid ground. It turned out the mountain climber was only half-convinced he was on top of a mountain, and, seeing the elves’ footprints, he took one step forward to test what he believed was thin air:


Fudge and Speck finally made it home to the Leafy Wood. They used the magical properties of the Two-toed Twale’s nail to whisk Hoppity and the old witch out of their Nonsense book and then walked to Hoppity’s house to attend to the final order of business – subdue the Nonsense characters that had taken possession of Hoppity’s residence.


The elves were confronted by two fierce defenders of the house – the Telephant: 


...and the Kobravak:


but Fudge prevailed and the tale reached its happy end.



The Book of Nonsense Rhymes and its weird characters remind me of Ken’s Creepy Creations collection by Rebellion. I deliberately included the names and images of all those weird creatures featured in the story to illustrate my point. It is also fun to see familiar face expressions and figures from Ken’s comics work of the late 50s and the early 60s (Jonah, Ali Ha Ha and the Fourty Thieves, etc.). Some panels even remind me of Queen of the Seas and The Nervs, which of course were still years ahead in the future at the time when Ken created Fudge and The Magic Book. The story itself is very good and I think it would make an excellent feature film!


Patrick has one more Fudge story that he will post to me in the near future. He doesn’t know the title, and I very much hope it is one of the later adventures, similar in style to the one covered in the last two posts here. 

And if you are a fan of Ken Reid, click on the POWER PACK banner in the right-hand column and get your copy of the POWER PACK OF KEN REID - the deluxe two-volume set of Ken’s strips in WHAM!, SMASH! and POW! comics of the ‘60s.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

FUDGE AND THE MAGIC BOOK BY KEN REID - PART ONE




Patrick sent me a few more adventures of Fudge that he found in his attic. I was particularly fascinated by the latest one I have seen so far – Fudge and the Magic Book. Adventure No. 26 is 678 panels long. It ran in The Manchester Evening News between Jan. 25th 1960 and Oct. 22nd 1960, so Ken drew it at the same time as Jonah for the Beano, and his style differs considerably from that of the early Fudge tales. The plot is also quite surreal and very Reid. I will try to cover it in this blogpost.

I’ll start with a few opening strips to give you an idea of the general premise, and to illustrate my point about Ken’s style:











The crowd of dreadful creatures made Hoppity’s house uninhabitable, so he confronted his Aunt demanding that she undid her spell. Being a blundering humbug, she said the wrong words, and instead of making the weirdies return into the book where they belonged, she turned herself and her nephew into illustrations. Moreover, her spell transformed Speck into an enormous egg!  Fudge was faced with a challenge of turning his friend back into a tree elf. A whisper coming from Aunt Wilhelmina’s magic cupboard prompted him to try incubation. This involved traveling to a place called Imaginatia.  

Check out this panel:


My readers probably know where I live, and we who come from small nations often get quite excited when we see our countries mentioned in an unexpected context, so I was chuffed by that in Ken’s tale!

A bookworm by the name of Wilberforce Wizdom explained to Fudge and Speck that Imaginatia existed only in the mind, and in order to get there, they simply had to imagine they were there. This did the trick… 


Their first quest in Imaginatia was to find a creature known as H.B.E.E. (Hard Boiled Egg Eater), use his incubator to hatch the egg and free Speck. Searching for H.B.E.E., they met a few inhabitants of Imaginatia, some of them helpful, others not so much, including an Imaginatian:


trees of the Nonsense Wood:


Brolly Bird: 


and H.B.E.E.’s manservant:


… until they finally made the acquaintance of H.B.E.E. himself:


There was a reason why Hard Boiled Egg Eater carried this name – his diet consisted solely of eggs. He had eaten all the eggs in the Nonsense Wood and was starving because there were no more birds left there. A servant named H.B.E.B. – Hard Boiled Egg Boiler, was about to boil Speck…


…but Fudge outsmarted the silly creatures:


When the egg hatched, H.B.E.E. realised that Speck was nothing like H.B.E.L. (Hard Boiled Egg Layer) and threatened to have the two elves steam-roasted and thrown to his cousin – the Bugle Nosed Beef-Eater who lived in Poppycock Canyon. The two ran for freedom into the Nonsense Wood and continued their journey in search for a Two-toed Twale. They needed to acquire his toenail to undo Aunt Wilhelmina’s spell. 


Following the directions given to them by Hippopotapuffer, another weird inhabitant of Imaginatia, they soon arrived at the house of the Two-toed Twale and were stopped by Twale’s personal bodyguard:


Private Pykan wasn’t much of a guard, and the elves quickly smoked the Two-toed Twale out of his bunker: 


The creature was mean and uncooperative. He refused to let them clip his toenail, turned himself invisible and ran off.


Fudge and Speck got some help from Bartholomew Blusterblast who lent Fudge his magical spectacles which allowed to see invisible things, such as wind or the two-toed Twale turned invisible. 

Following in the creature’s footsteps, they ran into Manx Pussypillar, another crazy Imaginatian, who was in the process of growing a Grow-fasticus Lofticus – a Cream and Kipper Tree for his lunch: 


Fudge saw Twale from the top of the freshly grown giant tree and the elves finally got what they wanted from the daft creature who though he was being smart. They clipped his golden toe nail without him even realising:


The mission was completed, and it was time for the elves to leave Imaginatia. After running into trouble with a nasty wind:


…they made a brief stop at Bartholomew Blusterblast’s Wind Observatory to return his magic spectacles. Finally they were ready to go home, but finding their way back to the World of Reality turned out to be very challenging indeed.

This is where Ken’s story turns even more surreal and absurd but I will take a break here because this post is far too long as it is... Part two will follow soon.

And if you are a fan of Ken Reid, click on the POWER PACK banner in the right-hand column and get your copy of the POWER PACK OF KEN REID - the deluxe two-volume set of Ken’s strips in WHAM!, SMASH! and POW! comics of the ‘60s.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

FUDGE AND SPECK STORIES BY KEN REID



An additional benefit of being the publisher of the Power Pack of Ken Reid is that people are contacting me with details of Reid-related items in their collections. Some time ago I received an email from Patrick Herman who found photocopies of a few complete Fudge and Speck stories printed in the Manchester Evening News.

I have all the Fudge annuals published in the ‘40s and ‘50s by University of London Press as well as both Savoy reprint books published in 1981. The stories that Patrick has found while cleaning his attic are Fudge and the Micromen, Speck’s Inventions, Fudge and the Enchanted Island, Speck’s Fossil Hunt, plus two untitled adventures of Fudge, and none are included in the collected editions, so it’s great to see those forgotten fantasy tales from the early years of Ken’s career that appear to have been hugely popular back in the day.

Below are images of four beautiful covers of the annuals from University of London Press, followed by scans of a few pages with clippings of Fudge and the Micromen that Patrick has posted to me. 












Click on the POWER PACK banner in the right-hand column and get your copy of the POWER PACK OF KEN REID - the deluxe two-volume set of Ken’s strips in WHAM!, SMASH! and POW! comics of the ‘60s. 
Remember that all buyers who order their books by the end of 2018 will receive free prints of Ken’s original Frankie Stein artwork – 2 prints (one complete episode) per book, or 4 prints (2 complete episodes) per two-volume set.