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 John Geering. Show all posts
Showing posts with label John Geering. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

MONSTER FUN ANNUAL 1984



This one had 96 pages and cost £2.50. I think I can identify Mike Lacey as the front cover artist; again, the cover illustration wasn’t connected to the Frankie Stein story inside.

Contents (reprints are marked in blue): Out and About with the Little Monsters (two sets in colour (…In the Park and …On a Sightseeing Trip) + one set in black and white (…At the Fair), artwork by Martin Baxendale), X-Ray Specs (a 2-pager in colour by Mike Lacey and a 2-pager by someone else), Draculass (two 2-pagers by Terry Bave, including one in colour), Frankie’s Diary (four single-page sets, including one in colour, artwork by Sid Burgon), Gums (3-pager and a 6-pager by John Geering), Tom Thumbscrew (three 2-pagers by Norman Mansbridge, including one in colour), Gorgon Zola the Witch Girl (three 2-pagers), Frankie Stein (two 2-pagers by Robert Nixon, 4-pager by John Geering (new story)), Kid Kong (three 2-pagers, including one in colour, and a 6-pager (new story), all by Robert Nixon), The Return of Eric Superwimp (4-pager by Mike Green), Art’s Gallery (two 2-pagers by Mike Lacey), Teddy Scare (two 2-pagers by Barrie Appleby), Dough Nut and Rusty (three 2-pagers by Trevor Metcalfe), Monster Puzzles (two 2-page sets of puzzles), Major Jump (5-page puzzle story by Barrie Appleby), Holiday Heroes (5-page story), Monster Movies (two single-page sets of gags by Artie Jackson, including one in colour), Spot the Changes (one-page puzzle).

The Little Monsters by Martin Baxendale were in bright full colour on front and back endpapers, so I will use them as a “frame” for this blogpost:


Let’s start with the star characters identified in text on the front cover. In the only new Frankie Stein story Prof. Cube has an idea to make a presentation on Frankie at the Inventors’ World Conference in Tibet, and hopes to leave him there. Frankie accidentally exits through the emergency door during their flight to Tibet, lands in the snow-covered Himalayas and meets Yeti. He brings one specimen to the conference and steals Prof Cube’s glory by winning the special medal for his great discovery.

The story was provided by John Geering who also illustrated both new episodes of Gums in this Annual. In the first one Gums sits down to write his memoirs but Captain Mayhem interferes and gets the shark’s false teeth. Gums recovers them with the help of his mate Olly the octopus and the noted beauty Pamela Eelvenson.



In the second tale Gums and Olly stumble across a magic machine that grants wishes and Gums takes the opportunity to get real teeth again. The re-acquired self-confidence and ruthlessness get him into trouble, first with a school of piranha, then with a submarine, until a daft dentist pulls all his teeth out. The two pals turn to the magic machine once again, only this time Gums wishes he had his false teeth back. 


Olly looks like Gums’ regular companion in the strip but I don’t recall seeing him in MFC weeklies, so he must have been introduced later on sometime during the run in BUSTER.


In the only new Kid Kong tale included in his Annual Gran and Kid go to Banana Republic to visit Gran’s nephew Dan:


The story reaches its climax when Gran is kidnapped by the “slippery ones” who take her to the lost city of Eldabanana, and Kid comes to her rescue:


All is well that ends well:


The Annual has a generous helping of new strips. There are three episodes of Gorgon Zola the Witch Girl about a Mother and a daughter who are both witches. Mom is a nasty witch who enjoys making people miserable, while the daughter believes it is nice to be nice. Her gimmick is magic hair that she uses to save people from her Mother’s nasty tricks. The strip may be reprinted but if it is, I don’t know where from or who the illustrator was:


Holiday Heroes is a contribution by yet another artist whose name I don’t know. It is a weird tale about a lad named Tony who is on holidays in Greece with his parents and is very bored until he meets Mercury – messenger of the Gods. The new pal takes Tony to Mount Olympus – home of the Gods, and introduces him to Neptune. Then he meets a pair of footballing Centaur forwards and finally makes the acquaintance of Hercules who helps him during an athletics session in school. There’s a good chance Holiday Heroes is also a reprint but if it is, the source remains to be identified.


The 4-page story The Return of Eric Superwimp is about a lad named Eric who is short of money to buy food so he gets a superhero outfit in the scrap yard and sets out to patrol the city first as Leapfrogman, then as Balloonman and finally as Rubber-Tyreman to capture the notorious Roller Skate Thief and claim the reward of £1,000. A series of accidents later he becomes Bandageman and accidentally catches the villain. As far as I know, this is the second story of Eric (hence The Return of... in the title) - the first one was in Frankie Stein Holiday Special 1982. There is something about the simplicity of Mike Green's style that makes it quite appealing:



What I like about the Annual is these Monster Puzzles:



… and especially the five-page Puzzle Story of Major Jump. It reminds me a bit of the hilarious Save Our Stan feature in Monster Fun Comic weeklies. I should get a clean copy of the Annual some day because the original owner of the one that I have had some fun with it:





I will round up this post with another panorama featuring The Little Monsters that graces the back endpapers of this book:



All Images 2015 © Egmont UK Ltd.  All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

MONSTER FUN ANNUAL 1982 PART ONE



In comparison with the previous Annual, the page count shrunk even further from 128 to 112 and the price came up to £1.95.

CONTENTS: Martha’s Monster Make-Up (two 2-pagers by Ken Reid, including one in colour), Kid Kong (a 4-pager in full colour by Frank McDiarmid), Monster Mirths (2 pages of gag cartoons by Artie Jackson, one in colour), The Ghost Train (8 pages of reprints from WHOOPEE!, artwork by Brian Walker),  Hot Rod (6 pages of reprints from WHIZZER AND CHIPS, artwork by Alf Saporito), Gums (two 2-pagers by John Geering), Tom Thumbscrew (two 2-pagers by Barrie Appleby), Freaky Farm (a 3-pager by Russel Brooke and a 4-pager by Ian Knox), Fiery Fun (1 page of gags by Artie Jackson), Creature Teacher (two 3-pagers by Tom Williams), Major Jump Horror Hunter (2 reprints from MFC comic, artwork by Barrie Appleby), Draculass (two 2-pagers by Terry Bave, including one in colour), Mummy’s Boy (a 2-pager and one reprint from MFC, both by Norman Mansbridge), Frankie Stein (three 2-pagers reprinted from WHOOPEE!, artwork by Robert Nixon), Ghostly Giggles (1 page of gags by Artie Jackson), King Arthur and His Frights of the Round Table (three 3-pagers reprinted from WHOOPEE!, artwork by Robert Nixon), X-Ray Specs (two 2-pagers by Mike Lacey and a 3-pager by Paul Ailey), Doug Nut and Rusty (a 3-pager and a 2-pager in colour on back endpapers, both by Jim Crocker), Brainy and His Monster Maker (two 2-pagers by Tom Williams), George ‘n his Magic Dragon (a 4-pager by Alan Rogers), Frankie’s Monster Mountain Game (reprint from MFC), Art’s Gallery (a 3-pager), Little Monsters (two 2-page sets by Martin Baxendale), Monster Mind (2 pages of puzzles), Terror TV (a 4-pager by Barrie Appleby), Teddy Scare (a 2-pager by Barrie Appleby).

As had become a custom in MF Annuals, a large proportion of the book was filled with reprints - I can confirm 36 pages but there are probably more. The majority is first-class material from the hands of Alf Saporito (on Hot Rod), Brian Walker (on Ghost Train):


… and Bob Nixon on Frankie Stein and King Arthur and His Frights of the Round Table).  They even did a good job processing one episode into a full-colour affair; check out both versions side-by-side. The b/w one is from WHOOPEE! No. 5 (click to enlarge):




Barrie Appleby was once again the champion in terms of page-count, but I am unsure how many were new and how many were reprints. I know for sure that both sets of Major Jump were reprinted from MONSTER FUN COMIC weeklies (Nos. 33 and 37) but Tom Thumbscrew, Teddy Scare and Terror TV may very well be new material. Here is the opening page of Terror TV:


Barrie Appleby mastered a prefect imitation of Reg Parlett’s monsters, don’t you think?:



Ken Reid provided two double-page episodes of Martha’s Monster Make-Up. This is a third year in a row (!!) that one of the stories involves bullies whom Martha teaches a lesson with the help of a monsterized snowman and some snowballs:


In the second story Martha uses her cream on a tramp for a change and helps him prove he’s not useless because he can now take a job as a scarecrow…


Tom Williams, another regular contributor in MF Annuals, provided two sets of Brainy and his Monster Maker and two sets of Creature Teacher. In one Teach takes class 3X to visit the local fire-station:


… while the other one comes with this dramatic logo:


… and shows class 3X get medieval on the poor woodwork teacher:


… and build a coffin for Teach:


John Geering’s input is four pages of Gums. In the first episode Bluey tricks Gums out of his false teeth by making him get rid of the old set and replace it with one made of steel, and then using a super-strong magnet to pull it out of the shark’s jaws. Bluey smashes the old false teeth to bits but two fossil collectors reconstruct the set. Gums ambushes them and is back in business again. Here are the opening pages of both episodes. I like the way Mr. Geering experimented with his layouts in this Annul:


There is quite a lot of X-Ray Specs this time: although Mike Lacey was the regular illustrator of the feature in MFC and later BUSTER weeklies, he rarely did X-Ray Specs for MF Annuals. Here is one of the two sets by Mr. Lacey:


There is also one by another artist who I believe is Paul Ailey:


In George ‘n his Magic Dragon by Alan Rogers George and Cedric the dragon deal with Bully Bloggs:


And before I finish this first part of the overview, here are two out of the 4 pages of gags drawn in this annual by Artie Jackson:


In Part Two I will look at some of the pleasant surprises contained in this Annual, such as Frank McDiarmid’s take on Kid Kong, two episodes of Freaky Farm by illustrators who’d never worked on the feature before and some super-nice artwork by an artist who’d learned from the best....


All Images 2015 © Egmont UK Ltd.  All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Monday, February 23, 2015

MONSTER FUN ANNUAL 1981, PART ONE



In comparison with the previous edition, the Annual lost 16 pages and cost 55 p more, i.e. £1.80.

Contents: Freaky Farm (a 2-pager on front endpapers in colour by Jim Watson), Hot Rod (3 reprints from WHIZZER AND CHIPS, artwork by Alf Saporito), Frankie Stein (a 3-pager in colour by Brian Walker), Tom Thumbscrew (a 3-pager), King Arthur and his Frights of the Round Table (4 reprints from WHOOPEE!, including one in colour; artwork by Robert Nixon), Spot the Space Changes puzzle (2 pages), The Castaways (reprint from Whizzer and Chips, artwork by Ron Turner, 23 pages), Gums (a 3-pager by John Geering and a 3-pager by Tom Williams), Fun Wars (10 pages by Doug Baker), Teddy Scare (2 pages), Martha’s Monster  Make-Up (a 2-pager by John Geering),  Terror TV (a 4-pager by Barrie Appleby), Brainy and His Monster Maker (a 2-pager by Tom Williams), Draculass (two 2-pagers by Terry Bave), X-Ray Specs (a 3-pager by John Geering and a 2-pager by Tom Williams), The Heat is On maze, Terry Dactyl Stone Age Detective (a 4-pager), Major Jump (a 3-pager), The Ghost Train (7 pages of reprints from WHOOPEE!, including two in colour on back end-papers; artwork by Brian Walker), Sir Twistalot maze (artwork by Cliff Brown), Jason and his Joggernaut (2 episodes), Monster Mind-Mixers (1 page signed by Ian Bennett), Mummy’s Boy (a 2-pager by Norman Mansbridge, possibly a reprint), Grimly Feendish (a 4-pager by Paul Ailey), Kid Kong (a 3-pager by Tom Williams), The Adventures of The Scarlet Pimply-Neddy (reprint of the BBB from MFC No. 50), Dough Nut and Rusty (a 3-pager by Jim Crocker), Creature Teacher (a 3-pager in colour by Tom Williams).

Frankie Stein consolidated his front cover position but I am unsure who the illustrator was. Inside, there is only one Frankie Stein story, drawn by Brian Walker and presented in colour. Prof Cube makes Fredastein - a girl monster, hoping she will annoy Frankie and drive him away. Of course, he miscalculates again – Fredastein proves to be as disaster-prone as Frankie; as a side-effect, Frankie comes to appreciate the company of girls:


Kid Kong also received only one strip this time. Trying to help Gran redecorate the house, Kid smashes a few holes in the walls and goes to get a brick-man to fix them. In a weird twist of circumstances, he catches two bank robbers and spends his reward on house repairs and – surprise surprise – ‘nanas. The artist is Tom Williams who did quite a lot of work for this edition, including an episode of Creature Teacher in which a photographer calls to take a class photo of 3X and ends up getting photographed himself:


… an episode of Brainy and His Monster Maker in which Brainy monsterizes a mushroom:


… an episode of X-Ray Specs:


… and an episode of Gums in which the shark is eager to be allowed into the annual water carnival and demonstrates his talents as a clown and a performing seal. This time no one tries to take away his false teeth for a change:


Like Tom Williams, John Geering also illustrated one episode of Gums in which the shark wants to scare some divers who are after giant clams but finds himself in trouble with others of his own species:


… and an episode of X-Ray Specs in which Ray annoys other kids by winning all the games at a X-mas party but becomes popular again in the end:


Besides these two strips, John Geering contributed a double-pager of Martha’s Monster Make-Up in which Martha visits a new hair salon in town:


Jim Watson drew one episode of Freaky Farm in which the Farmer receives two wiseguys who’ve come to rob him:


Terry Bave’s contribution was two episodes of Draculass. Here is one:


The episode of Terror TV is by Barrie Appleby:



Major Jump is by the same ‘artist’ who drew it in the previous edition:


Those who put this Annual together probably thought one poorly draw strip wasn’t enough so they brought in more ‘talent’ to draw the episode of Tom Thumbscrew:


…and the episode of Teddy Scare:


54 pages of this book are definitely reprints, including Hot Rod, King Arthur and his Frights of the Round Table and Ghost Train which had already appeared in previous editions of MF Annuals. There are two new and welcome additions to the reprints package. One is The Adventures of The Scarlet Pimply-Neddy – the Badtime Bedtime Story from MFC No. 50. Pages of the reprint are twice the size of the original pull-out booklet – a perfect way to appreciate quality artwork by Mike Brown. I prefer the black and white version of the reprint to the cluttered colour presentation in the original BBB:


The other reprint is 23 pages of The Castaways by the excellent Ron Turner. The strip is originally from WHIZZER AND CHIPS where it ran from the first issue of 1972. Here are two sample pages:


In part two of my look at MONSTER FUN ANNUAL 1981 I will cover all the new strips featured in this book, including Fun Wars and Jason and his Joggernaut, and mention one or two artists who are new to me.


All Images 2015 © Egmont UK Ltd.  All rights reserved. Used with permission.