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 Graham Allen. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Graham Allen. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A LOOK AT COR!! STRIPS: FIENDS AND NEIGHBOURS


The appearance of Fiends and Neighbours in COR!! issue dated 24th November, 1973 (No. 182) was probably the last good thing that happened to COR!!  Alfred Jones and his wife (whose name I haven’t found mentioned in the strip), a childless mid-aged traditional couple, got new neighbours Mr. and Mrs. Really-Ghastlies and their two kids – daughter Bella and son ‘Orrid (who had tiny horns and slept hanging down from the curtain rail). Later in the series the Joneses discovered that their neighbours also had a giant baby who used to go missing for weeks on end hiding in the bushes. Mister Really-Grastly’s name was Igor and the Mrs. was never addressed by name (as far as I can tell)

In the opening episode the nosey Mrs. Jones is eager to meet their new neighbours so she pops round and pretends she wants to borrow a cup of flour. The lady is in for a series of shocks at the peculiar looks and ways of the new neighbours as she makes their acquaintance:

First episode in COR!! issue dated 24th November, 1973 (No. 182)

The Really-Ghastlies were a strange lot indeed, without any doubt they were close relatives of the famous Adams Family in America (no direct references were made in the strip though) and they also had family in Transylvania (we know that Bella’s grandmother lived there). The chambers of their crumbling mansion were decorated with coffins, skulls and old family portraits of witches, devils and fiends. The family’s favourite pet was a monster-octopus by the name of Cyril who appeared in many episodes. Little ‘Orrid had a pet vampire bat Grockle. Other pets included meat-eating fish and a jelly-monster by the name of Fido who fed on ant eggs. Besides, the Really-Ghastlies had a baby dragon and a vulture named Vernon, not to mention a whole swarm of other small creepy creatures that inhabited the mansion and the hideous man-eating plants that grew in the garden. Over the weeks the unfortunate Joneses also got to know their neighbours’ visiting relatives such as gnome cousins from the haunted wood and the giant cousin Boris. To make things even more exciting, in the last COR!! episode ‘Orrid made himself a Frankenstein friend by the name of Clunk-Click.

The comedy of the strip was created by “cultural differences” between the neighbours who never ceased to shock and surprise each other. There is probably no need to say which family always fell victim to the ‘shocks’ part of the bizarre neighbourly relationship. The Really Ghastlies, however, were also puzzled at the ways of the Jonses who they thought were a couple of very weird neighbours...

From COR!! issue dated 8th December, 1973 (No. 184)
The feature was beautifully illustrated by Graham Allen who drew all but one of the 30 episodes in COR!! weeklies (the episode in the issue with the cover date of 18th May, 1974 (No. 207) was by another artist). During the short run of the strip the Really Ghastlies appeared on two front covers of COR!! issues dated 1st December, 1973 and 2nd March, 1974 (Nos. 183 and 196). They also led the crowd of COR!! characters on the front cover of the last issue of COR!! marching to join the lineup of BUSTER. 

The feature survived merger with BUSTER and continued there until 22nd November, 1975. Ray Moore’s BUSTER index says that the script writer was Les Lilley, so I believe it is safe to assume that the same writer also contributed scripts for the COR!! episodes. 

I saw some Fiends and Neighbours reprints in the short-lived SCREAM horror comic of the 80s.

From COR!! issue dated 11th May, 1974 (No. 206)


Here are details about appearances of Fiends and Neighbours outside of COR!! weeklies. As this is one my favourite strips and a highlight in COR!!, there is a good chance to find examples of the artwork in my blogposts dedicated to the particular Holiday Specials and Annuals.

1974 Special – 2 episodes by an artist whose name I don’t know
1975 Annual – 1 episode by an artist whose name I don’t know
1976 Annual – 1 episode by an artist whose name I don’t know
1977 Annual – 1 episode signed by Tom Paterson
1978 Annual – 1 new episode by Graham Allen
1979 Annual – 2 episodes by Les Barton (one signed) + 1 reprint
1980 Annual – 2 episodes by Les Barton
1981 Annual – 2 episodes by Les Barton
1981 Special – 1 episode by Les Barton
1982 Annual – 2 new episodes, one by Les Barton and one by an artist whose name I don’t know
1982 Special – 1 episode by Nigel Edwards
1983 Annual – 1 episode Les Barton
1983 Special – 1 new episode by an artist whose name I don’t know
1984 Annual – 1 new episode by Les Barton
1985 Annual – 1 new episode by Les Barton
1986 Annual – 1 new episode by Nigel Edwards

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A LOOK AT COR!! STRIPS: MY FAVOURITE ENTRIES IN THE COR-MEDY CHOICE FEATURE


In response to Peter’s request, below are full versions of my personal favourite entries in the first series of COR-medy Choice competition. 

As I have written in my reply to Peter's comment, had I had an opportunity to cast my vote, I would have been in the minority: I’d have been interested to see more of Sheik Oleg. I find the absurdity of this first episode quite amusing and wonder what would have followed. IMHO, Professor Potty, Fun-Time Machine and Snappy Sam were quite robust ideas with development potential. 

Of course, this is all from my current perspective as an adult; kids probably saw things differently. Seeing that Val’s Vanishing Cream and The Pipes of Stan got the majority of the votes, I find it a bit surprising how children wanted to see more of “kids-with-gimmicks” – type strips, despite having so many of them already in the pages of COR!! as well as other companion and rival comics.





Monday, July 23, 2012

A LOOK AT COR! STRIPS: COR-MEDY CHOICE, FIRST SERIES


COR-Medy Choice feature was introduced in the issue dated 21st April, 1973 (No. 151) to give readers an opportunity of selecting a new fun-series from ten brand new comedy ideas presented over a period of ten weeks. Here is how the idea was packaged in the header and the footer of the weekly instalments:



Here are brief synopses and the opening panels of all ten entries:

The Fun-Time Machine, 2 pages, 21st April, 1973, issue No. 151: Boy and girl use a Fun-Time Machine invented by their Grandfather. They travel to Roman times and find themselves in the middle of a Roman arena facing a gladiator. They cause mayhem in the arena and return home safely. Illustrated by by Les Barton:


Scarey Crow, 2 pages, 28th April, 1973, issue No. 152: A crow is sick and tired of people trying to scare his kind with scarecrows, etc., so he decides to give humans a taste of their own medicine. His first attempt fails but he declares he is not done scaring humans yet... Illustrated by Terry Bave:


Seymore Son of Tarzan, 2 pages, 5th May, 1973, issue No. 153: Seymore who is a fat bald kid tries to build a new do-it-yourself tree house together with his assistants – a dumb-looking ape Cyril and an exotic animal that most probably is a wild boar; the effort involves a series of accidents and ends in destruction of the tree house and the tree. Illustrated by Stan McMurtry:


Val's Vanishing Cream, 2 pages, 12th May, 1973 , issue No. 154: Val finds a jar of vanishing cream in the bag of old cosmetics that her Mom asks her to pop in the bin. Val uses it well: she makes the teacher’s cane vanish and class is over without a single caning. Illustrated by Mike Lacey:


Snappy Sam and Flash Harry, 2 pages, 19th May, 1973, issue No. 155:  Snappy Sammy and Flash Harry are cameramen working for two competing papers – Morning Piffle and Daily Bilge. Sammy is a bespectacled kid and Harry is an evil grown-up who plays tricks on his rival and interferes with his job; in this episode they both have an assignment to take some pictures of a famous football player. Illustrated by Graham Allen:


Sheik Oleg, 2 pages, 26th May, 1973, issue No. 156: Sheik Oleg is a fat and short bloke who walks around with a pet – a strange rodent. He buys an old camel from Cyril Swindle (used camels salesman who looks a lot like Grimly Feendish) so that he can ride home in style; the camel immediately goes missing  and Sheik Oleg goes looking for it in a rubbish dump. He then takes the ponging camel to a camel wash but gets scrubbed himself instead. Illustrated by Stan McMurtry:


My Old Man's A Junkman, 2 pages, 2nd June, 1973, issue No. 157: Dusty Binn, Rag and Bone merchant, and his son Rusty live at the end of the posh Ritzy Avenue and run a scrap business to the great dissatisfaction of their wealthy neighbours. I don't know who the illustrator was. Any suggestions, please?


Professor Potty and Son, 2 pages, 9th June, 1973, issue No. 158: Professor Potty is a crazy scientist (who looks a lot like an older and bald version of Valiant’s Billy Bunter) tries to prove that well-accepted theories are wrong. In this episode he challenges two theories: the one that elephants don’t forget, and the one that sound vibrations can shatter things. Illustrated by Les Barton:


Doctor Quackpot, 1 page, 16th June, 1973, issue No. 159: A tale about a daft doctor who receives weird patients. In this episode the patient is a guy with a cowboy hat only he is not a cowboy. He uses the hat to cover his hair because he suffers from multiple dandruff. The whole room gets filled up with dandruff in a few moments and Dr. Quackpot calls his mate Vet for assistance. The Vet who appears to be just as daft brings penguins along so that they can enjoy themselves in the “snow”… Illustrated by Tony Goffe:


The Pipes of Stan, 1 page, 23rd June, 1973, issue No. 160: Stan has a pipe which turns people to stone while the second blow brings them back to their selves and so forth any number of times. This again looks like the work of Tony Goffe to me:


Voting coupon was included in COR!! issue dated 30th June, 1973 (No. 161), alongside with a recap of all 10 competition entries:


Results of the vote and the winner were announced in COR!! issue dated 18th August, 1973 (No. 168): 


Thursday, July 19, 2012

A LOOK AT COR!! STRIPS: 5 MINUTE WANDA


5 Minute Wanda was a strip about a loopy lass who could do things for only 5 minutes because she got bored very quickly. It was illustrated by Graham Allen and had a very short run of just 15 weeks from 6th January, 1973 until 14th April, 1973 (Nos. 136 – 150).

First episode
From COR!! issue dated 24th February, 1973 (No. 143)

Saturday, June 30, 2012

A LOOK AT COR!! STRIPS: CHIP


Chip was another reprint strip in COR!! about a mischievous naughty little kid desperate to have some fun in his life. The feature was drawn by Graham Allen and originally appeared under the name of Kicks in POW! some five years prior. COR!! reprints started in the issue with the cover date of 15th April, 1972 (No. 98). A total of 22 episodes of the original series were reprinted with some long intervals, the last one appearing in the issue of 15th September, 1973 (No. 172)

From COR!! issue dated 14th July, 1973 (No. 163)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A LOOK AT COR!! STRIPS: SPOILSPORT


Spoilsport was about an evil-minded fellow who never played the game. Nobody’s gonna have any fun while he’s around: he derives his pleasure from spoiling things, sports and games for other people but always suffers in the end. It was illustrated by Graham Allen who contributed quite a few strips during COR’s!! 4-year run. Spoilsport continued from the first issue until 22nd July, 1972 (No. 112) with a few gaps towards the end of its run. It missed the following dates: 26th February, 1972 – 25th March, 1972 (Nos. 92 – 95), 8th and 15th April, 1972 (Nos. 97 and 98), 20th and 27th May, 1972 (Nos. 103 and 104) and 8th July, 1972 (No. 110).

From COR!! issue dated 25th July, 1970 (No. 8)

From COR!! issue dated 7th November, 1970 (No. 23)


Friday, March 30, 2012

A LOOK AT COR!! STRIPS: EDDIE and WHACKY


Now it’s time to take a look at all the strips in COR!! – nearly 70 of them all in all. I plan to cover them in the order in which they appeared in the weeklies so I’ll start with Eddie and Whacky that occupied pages two and three of the first issue.

EDDIE

Eddie – Yawn! I’m bored! (later Eddie – He’s Always Bored). The subtitle explains it all – Eddie was a kid who was always looking for ways to keep himself from being bored.  Usually his attempts resulted in trouble for him or his unfortunate parent. Illustrated beautifully by Graham Allen who contributed a lot of strips in COR!!, Eddie enjoyed a healthy run of 137 episodes from the first issue to issue dated 13th January, 1973 (Nos. 1 – 137).

The page on the right was the last episode of Eddie in COR!! weeklies

 WHACKY

Whacky – He’s Always Getting Whacked! Little to add here – the subtitle says it all once again. But for poor Whacky punishment wasn’t limited to just the old slipper or cane from his sadistic teacher Mr. Thwackery. The boy also suffered from a whole arsenal of mechanical gadgets: he got it from a spinning turnstile at the stadium entrance and from tennis balls fired from a tennis-ball cannon; he was whacked with windshield wipers while being stuck between car grill and bumper. There were more exotic ways of whacking too – like getting it from an elephant while being stuck in a kangaroo’s sack with only his arse sticking out... Teacher Thwackery also got a fair share of whacking from the headmaster, the odd bloke or even Whacky himself.

The episode on the left is the first full-page set from issue
dated 12th September, 1970 (No. 15)

Whacky’s sufferings continued from the first issue until 29th September, 1973 (Nos. 1 – 174). At first the strip occupied 2/3 of a page. Starting from the issue of 12th September, 1970 (No. 15) it was promoted to a full-page feature. Several episodes were in full colour and there was one front-page appearance in the issue dated 30th June, 1973. The series was given a proper ending of sorts: Mr. Thwackery announced his retirement. The class presented him with an inscribed cane and Whacky thought his misery was over but he immediately got into trouble with his new neighbour who proved to be no one other than old Mr. Thwackery… Illustrated by Mike Lacey.