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 Hire a Horror. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hire a Horror. Show all posts

Thursday, July 25, 2013

A LOOK AT SHIVER & SHAKE STRIPS: HIRE A HORROR



Hire A Horror was a strip that originated in COR!! and appeared there regularly throughout the run of the paper from 1970 until 1974, running up to 200+ episodes. Those of you who followed the COR!! series on this blog last year may very well remember the post that I did on the feature. If you didn’t follow the series, you may wish to check the post out because in addition to factual details and my babble, it also includes some nice examples from the hand of the original artist Reg Parlett and his successor Bob Nixon, and even some images of original artwork by Reg Parlett.  Click HERE for the old post.

When COR!! comic merged into BUSTER on June 22nd, 1974, Hire A Horror didn’t make it to the combined paper. However, a week after the merger the strip reappeared in SHIVER AND SHAKE No. 69 with the cover date of June 29th, 1974. The ‘spooky’ SHIVER section of the paper was a natural home to the strip that was an excellent example of the horror comedy genre. On the occasion of the transfer to SHIVER AND SHAKE, the strip was given a small face-lift with an excellent new logo by Robert Nixon.


Hire A Horror ran in SHIVER AND SHAKE for ten weeks until the penultimate issue. We’ll never know if the brief run in SHIVER AND SHAKE was part of a plan to transfer it to WHOPPEE! (if it was, the plan didn’t materialize in the end, although Hire A Horror did appear in WHOOPE AND SHIVER & SHAKE just one more time as part of the mini book in the issue dated October 26ht, 1974 ), or was it simply the case of artwork being submitted by the artist prior to the decision to put COR!! to rest. In any event, the last episodes of the series are a treat to the eye, as illustrated by the examples shown in this post. All but one were drawn by Bob Nixon and one (in No. 74) was by Tomboy artist (Mike Atwell?). Mr. Nixon proudly signed all of his sets.


For the sake of accuracy it has to be noted that on two occasions Hire a Horror made guest appearances in SHIVER AND SHAKE in the Star Guest from COR!! feature (issue No. 17 (June 30th, 1973) and issue No. 67 (June 15th, 1974)).  Both were nice sets by Bob Nixon; here is one: 


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A LOOK AT COR!! STRIPS: HIRE A HORROR



Hire a Horror was another long-running strip that continued throughout the entire run of COR!! Late 60s and early 70s saw the rise of comedy horror genre in British comics and Hire a Horror is a perfect example. The weekly one-pager was named after an agency that hired out all sorts of monsters to all kinds of clients who wanted them for various personal reasons. Customers’ schemes frequently backfired. The horrors occasionally fell victim to their own terror plots when things didn’t go as planned. Except for its services, the agency was a normal company in every respect: it had an office with a sign, a casual daily routine, a miserly boss and a gorgeous receptionist, a pool of secretaries, a cashier and a team of workers who sometimes grumbled about pay. The strip survived until the demise of COR!! and would have probably made it to the combined BUSTER AND COR!! but due to the similarity of the theme the editors had to choose between Hire a Horror and Rent A Ghost (an old-timer in BUSTER) and their decision was in favour of the latter.


Reg Parlett was the regular artist who worked on the strip until the issue of 8th April, 1972 (issue No. 97). All of his sets were in black and white. Starting from the issue dated 15th April, 1972 (No. 98) Reg Parlett was permanently replaced by Robert Nixon and Hire a Horror became a full-colour feature (with the odd b/w episode). In his interview in the Winter 1981 edition of GOLDEN FUN Robert Nixon recalls that Hire a Horror was his first IPC work after he quit DC Thomson and began to work for IPC exclusively. The first episode of the strip by Bob Nixon (in b/w) was in COR!! 29th January, 1972 (No. 87).


It’s interesting to note that as the comedy horror genre grew more popular, a number of ideas used in weekly Hire a Horror episodes were later developed into regular features for other IPC comics. Hideous Hole that appeared in COR!! issue of 17th October, 1970 (No. 20) later became ‘Orrible Hole in Whoopee! and Monster Hhand from COR!! dated 27th November, 1971 (No. 78) was developed into The Hand in Shiver and Shake. An attentive COR!! reader wrote in to tell the Editor that at the beginning of the tale the hand was a left hand, while in all other frames in was a right (I took the trouble to check and found out that it was actually the other way round – first right, then left…).

More trivia stuff: two horrors later appeared as Creepy Creations in Shiver and Shake. The one from COR!! issue of 11th July 1970 (No. 6) reappeared as The Chip Chomping Tater Terror of Tring (Creepy Creation No. 2) in Shiver and Shake dated 17th March, 1973 and Igor from COR!! issue of 7th August, 1971 (No. 62) re-emerged as The Cowley Cowdog (Creepy Creation No. 9) in Shiver and Shake dated 5th May, 1973.  



Hire a Horror made three front cover appearances in COR!! issues dated 21st April 1973, 25th August 1973 and 22nd December 1973 (Nos. 151, 169 and 186). Terry Bave, another IPC great, contributed three episodes towards the end of the run (issues 9th March 1974, 16th March 1974 and 23rd March, 1974 (Nos. 197, 198, 199)). Robert Nixon signed his Hire a Horror set in the issue dated 1st June, 1974 (No. 209) - it was one of the very few signed pages in COR!!

As I was preparing to start this blog, I accidentally bumped into a piece of Reg Parlett’s original Hire a Horror artwork on eBay and couldn’t resist bidding on it. In his interview for the Winter 1979 edition of Golden Fun Reg Parlett told Alan Clark that his favourite materials were half and half – a heavy fashion board. He said he preferred this kind of board for two reasons – the first being that it was easier to work on and allowed a lot of errors to be corrected easily, and secondly because it was easier for packing when he sent work to IPC. The two photos below show the artwork beside the printed page in the paper (the original is 4 times the size of the comic) and the back of one of the halves with the issue number and date marked. Note the hand-written text and corrections of the caption. I have also scanned a couple of frames so that you can appreciate the linework close-up. Marvellous!