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 Jim Crocker. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jim Crocker. Show all posts

Thursday, January 23, 2020


In 1976 WHOOPEE! celebrated the New Year with a two-part Creepy Calendar in the vein of the comic’s World-Wide Weirdies pin-up series, printed in the first two issues of the year:

World-Wide Weirdies were normally drawn by Ken Reid, but worries over his divorce proceedings made Ken unable to work at the time, so the job was given to Robert Nixon:

Instructions to the readers were provided on the Letters page:

WHOOPEE! issue of 6th March, 1976 celebrated the 2nd birthday of the paper (it was issue No. 102). The occasion was marked with the introduction of a new logo, three new strips (Smiler, Gook the T.V. Spook and Werefilf) and – what’s relevant for this series – a sequence of nine special issues of the comic.

First came TV Quiz pull-out booklet. It started in the first new-logo issue and was published over four weeks:

The title of the pull-out was self-explanatory – it featured questions about popular TV personalities and shows. Below is a selection of pages to give you an idea what the booklet was like:

The issue of 27th March, 1976 (the one with the last part of the TV Quiz booklet and its assembly instructions) announced the free gift that was to come with the next edition:

Horror Gripper was a piece of green plastic imitating a monstrous claw, and was part of Smiths Foods ‘Horror Bags’ snacks promotion:

Below is the cover of the free-gift issue, followed by the image of the gift and Smiths Foods advert included in the comic:

That same issue announced the forthcoming Pop Super Poster:

The giant 4-part poster was printed on the centre pages of the four issues of 10th April – 1st May, 1976:

Assembly instructions were provided in the issue of 1st May, 1976:

When assembled, the ‘super pop wall-frieze’, drawn and signed by Alf Saporito, looked like this:

I believe Part 1 of the poster (the one on the left) showed Bay City Rollers; I am not sure who the other pop bands were…

The next WHOOPEE! pull-out treat came nearly two months later. Here is how it was advertised in the issue of 12th June, 1976:

The poster, drawn beautifully by Sid Burgon, was duly included in the next week’s issue (9th June, 1976), and was the only poster featuring WHOOPEE! characters in 1976:

Finally, the four issues of 14th August – 4th September, 1976 had the Pull-Out Playtime Book:

As usual, the booklet was advertised a week before, but this time it was a full-page announcement: 

As can be seen from the advert above, the issue containing Part 1 of the booklet came with a free gift. It was Free Scarey Sticker – another ‘Horror Bags’ freebie offered by Smiths Foods:

The booklet featured a lot of WHOOPEE! stars, and appears to have been drawn almost single-handedly by Cliff Brown (with a little help from Jim Crocker). It’s nice to see Cliff Brown draw the Innkeeper from Scream Inn which he was a regular scriptwriter of. Here’s a selection of pages and assembly instructions:

Characters are © Rebellion Publishing Ltd 

And while you’re here, I would like to remind you that my promotion for the POWER PACK OF KEN REID is still on. Get your copies of the books and BONUS FREE PRINTS on eBay or from my online shop HERE!

Thursday, July 24, 2014


The second and the last Frankie Stein annual – WHOOPEE! BOOK OF FRANKIE STEIN 1977, was 128 pages thick and cost 85 p. – an increase of 10 p. since the previous year. The soft-cover volume had colour covers with the same drawing by Robert Nixon used on the front and the back, and was all b/w inside. 70 pages were filled with Frankie Stein material and 58 were non-Frankie Stein content.

The first story that one finds on opening the book is This is Your Life – Story! – a 10-page spoof of This is Your Life TV programme nicely drawn by Robert Nixon. Unexpectedly for himself, Frankie becomes a special guest of a TV show hosted by Raymond Andshake, the sneaky TV interviewer. The show is a mix of documentary footage about Frankie’s life and his surprise ‘live’ studio reunions with people from his past, such as the local electrician who has aged prematurely through having to work day and night trying to repair the damage caused by Frankie, his school football team mates some of whom are still suffering from the injuries they received playing with Frankie and finally his Dad who comes to regret being on the show because he gets bashed by other studio guests for creating Frankie. Mr. Nixon did a great job drawing the strip, and I have included it in full at the bottom of this post for you to enjoy and appreciate.

The covers and This is Your Life – Story! was the only new material that Mr. Nixon contributed to WHOOPEE! BOOK OF FRANKIE STEIN 1977.  As had become a tradition in those Frankie Stein publications, the editor re-used some of Mr. Nixon’s Frankie Stein artwork from Shiver and Shake weeklies, turning it into spot-the-difference puzzles (two of them in this book) and even putting it on the title page:

It seems that none of the better IPC artists were available to draw the other two new Frankie Stein stories, so the job was given to an illustrator whose name I don’t know and who IMHO wasn’t really up for the task. In Robinson Frankie (a 6-pager) Prof. Cube has an idea to get rid of Frankie by dumping him on a desert island and making him Robinson Crusoe. In Frankie Stein Super-Freak (an 8-pager featured on the front cover) we find out that Frankie is a fan of Superman TV programme and likes to play at being Superman. This gives Prof. Cube an idea to make him a Frankieman suit with a pair of rockets attached to his boots, so that with a bit of luck they would take him to another galaxy. As could be expected, the plan misfires and causes big trouble for Dad. The first panel of the first page shown below is the other illustrator’s poor sketch of the bright front cover artwork by Mr. Nixon.

The 8 pages of Frankie Stein by Ken Reid reprinted in the annual are taken from WHAM! issues 50, 72, 83, 84, 109, 31, 152 and 53 (listed here in the order of their appearance in the book). It was nice of them not to tamper with the artwork or the text, although they had to extend a few rows of panels to fill the pages. They also used a drawing of Prof. Cube’s head by Ken Reid from the episode of Frankie Stein in WHAM! No. 76 and turned it into this puzzle:

Original drawing in WHAM!

The book has 9 pages filled with themed Frankie Stein gags by Jim Crocker: Frankie’s Fun Spots (signed), Frankie at Work, Frankie in Uniform, Frankie Stein Film Star and Frankie Abroad (all unsigned).  

Two pages of Professor Cube – Inventor! gags (also illustrated by Crocker, I believe) shared the title with Professor Cube – Inventor! ‘Relatively Speaking’ - a nice 6-pager drawn for this book by the excellent Frank McDiarmid. The brand new story introduced us to some of Prof. Cube’s relatives from around the World. I showed the strip in full not so long ago, you can view it HERE.

The book also offers a selection of nice Frankie Stein fun features, such as three 2–pagers of Frankie Puzzles by Les Barton that look very much like Ticklish Allsorts in MONSTER FUN COMIC:

… a 4-page Frankie’s calendar by Sid Burgon, here are the first 6 months:

The Frankie Stein Book of Knowledge (a 2-pager) by the artist whose name I don’t know but I believe he also illustrated Mum’s the Word in the early issues of Whoopee!:

… and Frankie Job References:

Frank McDiarmid was responsible for most of new non-Frankie Stein content. He drew two instalments of Monster Movie Makers, 4 pages long each. In the first story Carlo Monte, the head of the now famous film-studios, decides to make ‘The Ghost of Cleopatra’ and uses some real ghosts who volunteer to join his cast. The film turns out so scary that it frightens off all the customers and the ghosts are the only ones enjoying it in the empty theatre during the premiere… In the second story Carlo Monte and his crew go to the Himalayan Mountains in Tibet to make a documentary film of the abominable snowman but after many hours of searching the project ends in fiasco because of Carlo Monte’s idiot assistants.

Frank McDiarmid also contributed a 4-page episode of Weird Wolf in which the howling ghost wolf is so sick and tired of being an outcast from society that he decides to stop himself from howling at the moon. Easier said than done…

Together with 6 pages of Professor Cube – Inventor! ‘Relatively Speaking’ which was mentioned before, the contribution of Mr. McDiarmid to WHOOPEE! BOOK OF FRANKIE STEIN 1977 amounted to 18 pages.

Draculass (a two-pager) by Terry Bave and Creepy Car (a two-pager) by I’m not sure who but definitely not by Reg Parlett who at the time was the regular artist of the strip in WHOOPEE!, were included in a Frankie Stein publication for the first time and may very well be new material.

The House on Hangman’ s Heath was another new addition to the package. It was a 12-page one-off chilling mystery yarn about an orphaned boy named Roddy Mason who inherited an old deserted mansion from his deceased uncle and went to inspect the property without listening to his lawyer Jabez Kane who advised against going there. While exploring the mansion, the boy and his new friend Nick Damon from the local newspaper experience a series of strange life-threatening events and encounter a hooded ghost figure that is determined to send them to their death. The two think the villain is Jebez Kane, the solicitor, but in the end it turns out to be Roddy Mason’s uncle who hadn’t died but pretended that he had to escape his problems with the law. Why the uncle wanted to kill the boy and the journalist both of whom he had never seen before remains a mystery unsolved, so it’s a case of suspense for the sake of suspense – not a very rare thing in comics. The story looks like new materia. Reader of this blog Briony C says the artist was Tony Coleman (also known as George Anthony). Thanks, Briony!

The House on Hangman’ s Heath was not the only adventure strip in WHOOPEE! BOOK OF FRANKIE STEIN 1977 – there were also two 6-page episodes of Crabbe’s Crusaders, both reprinted from BUSTER where it ran in 1969. Like in the previous three Frankie Stein publications, there were also some reprints of The Haunts of the Headless Harry and Ghost Ship from SMASH! (3 original one-page episodes of each strip have been converted into two-pagers).  One two-page episode of Harry’s Haunted House by Reg Parlett was included for the first time; the caption at the top of the page said it was ‘a freaky Friend of Frankie from Whizzer and Chips’.

Ghost Ship crew

And now, as promised, here is THIS IS YOUR LIFE – Story! in full. I’ve said it once and I will say it again – wouldn’t it be great if Egmont put together a collected edition of Robert Nixon’s Frankie Stein from the seventies before the artist adopted a simplified drawing style! 

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