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 Ken Reid. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ken Reid. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 15, 2017


The text of this post is part of Ken Reid biography that I wrote for a project that now seems to be dead, which I think is very sad...

“Dare-A-Day Davy” in POW!, illustrated by Ken Reid and written (mostly) by Walt Thorburn, featured a boy who couldn’t resist a dare. Dares were supplied by “POW!” fans who were offered a pound for every idea used. In the beginning of each episode Davy was torn between common sense and an irresistible urge to take on the dare, no matter how crazy or dangerous it was.

Vance Gledhill of Blackpool, Lancs., dared Davy to no less than dig up Frankenstein-monster’s remains and bring him back through the kiss of life. Davy had done lots of naughty and nasty things before but until then he’d never desecrated a grave or kissed a worm-infested fungus-covered skull, so Bart and Alf decided to spare the readers of “POW!” of the gory tale. 

Ken, however, wasn’t the only person responsible for its horridness: “Frankenstein” was drawn to Walt Thorburn’s script, so the writer was at least partly culpable

Odhams Press didn’t reject the episode or contact Ken about it. Ken received his check for the artwork and there is no evidence of his knowledge that the page was withheld from print. It was rescued by Steve Moore, then an Odhams Press’ employee, later a comics writer whose work featured in most of the major British comics, and printed in the first issue of “Weird Fantasy” comics fanzine published in the Winter of 1969 by David Britton – a British author and artist, later a co-founder of the publishing house “Savoy Books” that reprinted a couple of Ken's original Fudge books.

Contrary to what some people believe, “Frankenstein” was not the last episode of “Dare-A-Day Davy”. The reason which may have given rise to the belief was the number  “90” hand-written by Ken at the top left corner of the original “Frankenstein” artwork reprinted in “Weird Fantasy”, implying that this may have been the 90th episode of “Dare-A-Day Davy”, whereas only 86 issues of “POW!” had been published. “Frankenstein” was in fact the 64th episode of those drawn by Ken, while the “90” was the result of an error in Ken’s paybook when he turned a new page and started the numbering of his “Dare-A-Day Davy” episodes at 74 instead of 47, and carried on with it until the very end of the run.

Below is the cover of the fanzine that reprinted the Frankenstein episode, followed by the inside pages with the episode itself, the editor’s comment on Ken Reid and an artist’s take on Fudge, drawn in the style of American underground comix of the times (1969 or thereabouts).

Saturday, February 11, 2017


Ken Reid was a devoted boating fan. He bought his boat, MISS BASSETT, in the summer of 1967 with the extra money that he earned working for Odhams. Ken once wrote that he purchased it, in complete ignorance, “second hand and immaculate”, “at a giveaway price due to emigration” from a genial young “Johnnie” who neglected to mention that the boat had a few major faults, such as an unpredictable outboard motor that often stopped in an enigmatic manner and nothing, not even a marine engineer, could induce it to start again until it had simmered down to “cold starting”. The seller, “who made the supreme sacrifice as favour” also omitted to explain that the generator didn’t work, so Ken’s navigation lights consisted of two candles, each placed in a jam jar... :)

Ken spent a lot of his time aboard Miss Bassett moored at Lymm village moorings in Cheshire, and used it as residence and studio in the warm months.

As a boater, Ken was a regular reader of Practical Boat Owner – a specialized magazine dedicated to all things boating. In April 1969 he came across a culinary article about preservation of cockles, written by a Mrs. Gillian Hibbs from Havant, Hants. Ken was a fan of mussels, so he contacted Mrs. Hibbs via the magazine and asked her to write a similar article on his favourite sea food. Mrs. Hibbs obliged, and her article was printed in the May issue of the magazine. Mrs. Hibbs liked Ken’s humorous and vivid writing style so she sent him a letter in reply, and the two corresponded for a while. Ken assured Mrs. Hibbs that the moment “mussel mania” sweeps the country once again in the late autumn, he shall get cracking with bottles, pepper and vinegar with rapturous abandon along the lines suggested by her. He continued by saying that:

Mrs. Hibbs suggested that Ken got in touch with the editor of Practical Boat Owner who she thought might possibly be interested in his writing style. Ken sent the Editor a humorous article on one of his many boating experiences and an illustration showing him proceeding through a mile long tunnel like a billiard ball, cannoning from one wall to the other. 

The magazine replied that, unfortunately, the story wasn’t for them because their material had to be essentially practical, useful, helpful and instructive. They said the illustration was too horrific for them – they were for a gentler humour, “which will make Mother laugh but not make her resist Father’s persuasive attempts to make the family take up boating”.

Ken was never short of ideas, so he immediately approached the magazine with another illustrated letter which the magazine accepted and printed in the readers’ letters page of their December 1969 issue, paying Ken a fiver for his contribution. Here is the cover of the magazine:

… and here is Ken’s letter:

In December 1969 Ken sent another letter to Practical Boat Owner with an article and an illustration of “Mini-derrick” (in pen and wash). Ken’s notes say that the magazine accepted the article and the illustration, and sent him a check for his contribution. If that was the case, it should have been printed in one of the issues in the beginning of 1970 but the dealer who sold me the number with 'Noah' article couldn’t find anything resembling a mini derrick in any of the issues, and he said he looked very closely; maybe the editor of Practical Boat Owner decided not to print it after all…

Friday, May 20, 2016


The third and the last guest appearance during the Shiver and Shake run of Scream Inn can be found in issue No. 73 (August 24, 1974), and on that occasion the visitor was a Creepy Creation. I covered the Creepy Creations feature in detail when I reviewed SHIVER AND SHAKE comic a couple of years ago. You can find the article HERE.

Here is that week’s Creepy Creation from the back page of SHIVER AND SHAKE, drawn by the usual artist Ken Reid (as if you didn’t know…):

All three guest appearances at Scream Inn in SHIVER AND SHAKE have now been accounted for. My detailed review of Scream Inn in SHIVER AND SHAKE comic can be found in another article under SHIVER AND SHAKE umbrella HERE.

I will start looking at the WHOOPEE! run in a week or so, and the first guest will be a very unusual one indeed! 

Friday, March 25, 2016


Let’s take a look at all three Easter episodes of Frankie Stein in WHAM! comic. Those from 1965 and 1967 editions were by Ken Reid while the one in the middle (1966) was by someone else because Ken was too busy with The Queen of the Seas at the time and had to give up drawing Frankie Stein temporarily. Which is a pity because the period when Ken was substituted by another artist coincided with Frankie’s days at Madam McAbre’s Academy for Frustrated Freaks (or Monster Manor) inhabited by fiendish characters of all sorts. One can only imagine how brilliant the episodes would have been, had they been illustrated by Frankie Stein’s original artist.

Happy Easter! 

Sunday, January 24, 2016


I have a few pieces of original comic artwork that are well-worth to be framed and displayed on my wall but so far I’ve only got round to mounting one – a World-Wide Weirdie by Ken Reid.  I thought it would be nice to put the original and the printed version side by side, so here’s the result:

Ken Reid inscribed the name and address of the author of the idea on the back of his drawing. I asked the frame shop to cut a hole in the mounting board so as to expose the hand-written text on reverse :

In the image below I have pasted the two versions ‘shoulder-to-shoulder’ to give you an idea about the size of the original (assuming you are familiar with the size of WHOOPEE! comic :) )