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 Monster Fun Comic Summer Specials. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Monster Fun Comic Summer Specials. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 7, 2015


The second and the last MONSTER FUN COMIC Summer Special came out for the Summer holidays of 1976, it had 64 pages and cost 25 p.

Contents: Frankie Stein’s “Wish You Were Here” Postcards (3 pages, including one in full colour on back page, all by Jim Crocker), Kid Kong (two episodes – a 3-pager and 2-pager, both by Robert Nixon), Martha’s Monster Make-Up (a 2-pager by Frank McDiarmid), Stoneage Brit Ancient Nit (6 pages of reprints from COR!!, including two in full colour), The Robot Maker (6 pages of reprints from COR!!, including two in full colour, artwork by Frank McDiarmid), Brainy and His Monster Maker (a 2-pager), Sam’s Son (a 2-pager by Robert Nixon), Hot Rod (3 pages of reprints from WHIZZER AND CHIPS, artwork by Alf Saporito), Penalty Point (spot-the-difference puzzle with a panel from Hire A Horror or Rent A Ghost by Reg Parlett), Dough Nut and Rusty (a 2-pager by someone, possibly Jim Crocker, ghosting Trevor Metcalfe), Swing Along With Kong (spot-the-difference puzzle with a panel from an episode in the weekly by Robert Nixon), X-Ray Specs (a 3-pager), Mummy’s Boy (a 2-pager by Norman Mansbridge), You Gotta Laugh! (2 pages of gags by Mike Lacey), Freaky Farm (a 2-pager by Les Barton), Teddy Scare (a 2-pager in colour on the centerspread by the regular artist), Clean up With Teach (spot-the-difference puzzle with a panel from the weekly, artwork by Tom Williams), Draculass (a 2-pager by Terry Bave), Well, What do You Know! (2 pages of jokes by Mike Lacey), The Little Monsters (one page by Jim Crocker), Monsters from an Unknown Planet feature (3 pages), Art’s Gallery (a 2-pager), Meanie McGenie (1 page), Creature Teacher (a 4-pager by Tom Williams), Film Funny Feature (1 page), Gums (a 2-pager by Artie Jackson).

The lavish front cover by Bob Nixon promised an exciting episode of Gums inside. Disappointingly, it was only a rushed two-pager tucked away towards the end of the paper.

Some of the other MFC stars got a better treatment. As could be expected, there was quite a lot of Kid Kong. Robert Nixon illustrated two stories. In the first one Kid tries to find a way to cool down on a hot day at the seaside and in the other one he has a very intense craving for ‘nanas:

In Creature Teacher the teach takes Class3X on their summer outing to an old castle where the little horrors find temporary shelter behind thick medieval walls. This time it takes the teach quite an effort to subdue Class3X: first he transforms himself into a mechanical digger to fill the moat, then turns into a battering ram to smash through the gates and finally grows a shell to protect himself against artillery fire. Class3X end up in the chamber of little horrors in the dungeons. Artwork by Tom Williams.

X-Ray Specs was also given the privilege of a 3-pager but was illustrated by someone else rather than the regular artist. I get an impression he was undecided whom he wanted to ghost – Terry Bave or Mike Lacey:

In the 2-page episode of Martha’s Monster Make-Up illustrated by Frank McDiarmid Martha is enjoying herself on the pier and brings her monster make-up with her.

Draculass, the other female MFC star, had some fun biting people’s necks at the swimming pool:

The list of reprint strips was expanded by adding Alf Saporito’s Hot Rod from Whizzer and Chips to the usual pair of Stoneage Brit Ancient Nit and The Robot Maker, both from COR!! A few of the episodes of the latter two were coloured-in. Stoneage Brit looks tolerable in colour but the artwork of Frank McDiarmid is too fine and detailed for added colour in The Robot Maker, IMHO.

The 3-page feature Monsters from an Unknown Planet promoted a new film presented by Miracle Films. The images used in this Summer Special were b/w but the advert says the film was in colour.

For dessert, here are two complete stories. The episode of Freaky Farm was the first one ever by Les Barton who did an excellent job drawing it. Mr. Barton was very good at monsters.

Sam’s Son is a strip I don’t remember seeing elsewhere. Another one-off experiment, perhaps?

Earlier in this post I said this was the last MFC Holiday Special but the truth is that after MFC was absorbed by BUSTER, starting from 1977 BUSTER was given two Holiday Specials every year: one was BUSTER HOLIDAY SPECIAL and the other one was BUSTER AND MONSTER FUN HOLIDAY SPECIAL. The practice continued for many years: the last edition with the combined title that I have in my collection is from 1994, and there may have been more later on. I will not cover them in this series because I think they are in the BUSTER territory, but I'll show a small selection of covers. Here are some earlier ones:

…and here are a few from the nineties:

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

Wednesday, December 17, 2014


It’s time I got back to the mission of completing my comprehensive review of MONSTER FUN COMIC, so let’s look at the first MONSTER FUN COMIC Summer Special which came out in the summer of 1975 - the time when the early issues of the weekly went on sale, which suggests that the first issues of the weeklies and the Summer Special were put together at more or less the same time. The 80-pages magazine cost 25 p and came with an eye-catching Kid Kong cover by Bob Nixon.

Here is a summary of the contents: Tom Thumbscrew (a two-pager by Andy Christine), Cinders (a two-pager in full colour by Norman Mansbridge), The Robot Maker (5 pages of reprints from COR!! weeklies, artwork by Frank McDiarmid), Sam’s Spook (4 pages of reprints from SMASH!, artwork by Leo Baxendale), Lots O’ Laughs (2 pages of gags illustrated by Mike Lacey), Stoneage Brit Ancient Nit (4 pages of reprints from COR!!, including one episode in colour on back cover, artwork probably by Tony Goffe), Martha’s Monster Make-Up (a two-pager by Frank McDiarmid), X-Ray Specs (two episodes: a three-pager probably by Jim Watson imitating Mike Lacey, and a two-pager that appears to have been penciled by Terry Bave but inked by someone else),  Make A Date: Tarzan and the Little Bo Peep – An Imaginary Meeting of these Famous Characters (a two-pager by Trevor Metcalfe), Kid Kong (an 8-page story by Robert Nixon), Creature Teacher (a four-pager by Tom Williams), Art’s Gallery (a three pager, probably by Jim Watson), The Land That Time Forgot feature (3 pages), Cave Cackles (1 page of gags by Sid Burgon), Monster Maze on the centerspread in full colour, probably by Artie Jackson, Fred’s Fault (a two-pager by Jim Watson), Major Jump Horror Hunter (2 two-pagers by Ian Knox), Dough Nut and Rusty (a 4-pager by Trevor Metcalfe), Mummy’s Boy (a two-pager by Terry Bave, Brainy and His Monster Maker (a two-pager by I don’t know who), Frankie’s Freaky Week (2 pages of gags by Sid Burgon), Monster Mirth (one page gags feature by I don’t know who), Grizzly Bearhug… Giant (a four-pager by Andy Christine), Monster Fun-Time (2 pages of puzzles), The Earthies (a four-pager by an unknown artist), Monster Regis (one-page feature by Sid Burgon), Draculass Daughter of Dracula (a two-pager by Terry Bave in colour).

Andy Christine got 6 pages –2 of Tom Thumbscrew and 4 of Giant Grizzly… Bearhug. That's precisely 6 pages too many, IMHO.

Mike Lacey wasn’t available to draw X-Ray Specs, so Jim Watson illustrated one episode, check out these sample panels:

… and Terry Bave was asked to do the other one but it looks he only had time to submit his penciled work which was then inked by someone else, or maybe he did the set in a rush. Check out this sample page and tell me what you think:

Terry Bave drew two more features in this Summer Special – Draculass was his regular strip in MFC weeklies, while Mummy’s Boy - the second that he did for this magazine, was usually drawn by Norman Mansbridge in the weeklies.

Assuming my observation regarding Jim Watson being the artist responsible for the first set of X-Ray Specs shown above is correct, then Mr. Watson should also be credited with the artwork of Art’s Gallery:

In the case of X-Ray Specs and Art’s Gallery Jim Watson (provided it was indeed him) was under pressure to imitate Mike Lacey, but Fred’s Fault was a completely new strip, so he was free to draw it in his own style:

I like the idea of the Make a Date tale illustrated by Trevor Metcalfe which brought together two very different characters – Tarzan and Little Bo Peep, into one story. I don’t remember seeing this feature elsewhere so it was probably a one-off experiment. It’s a shame IPC editors chose not to continue with the idea because in my opinion it had good potential.

The idea of The Land That Time Forgot feature was rather clever too – it was a three-page collage of action-packed scenes from a new feature film with short bits of text, included to generate interest in the film:

Let’s take a look at some of the highlights of this Summer Special. Kid Kong is the longest story and the front cover feature. In it Granny Smith decides to take Kid Kong to the seaside. The story takes off with Kid causing havoc on the highway as he tries to find Granny’s lost pennies so she can buy their bus fares to Brightsea. They finally make it to the resort and are enjoying themselves at the fair where Kid runs into the fairground owner who used to keep him behind bars and is very keen to recapture the giant gorilla for his freak show. With Granny Smith around, this is easier said than done but the short-sighted old lady wanders off as she goes to get some ice creams. The wicked fairground owner takes the opportunity to seize Kid Kong but Kid spots Granny afloat in the sea on an inflatable mattress and breaks free to rescue her. Mayor awards him with a life saver’s badge and a cash prize for the effort.

In Creature Teacher the Massacre Street School are on their annual outing to the seaside and Creature Teacher is put in charge of the unruly class 3X who forced the locals to move away last year. Creature Teacher quickly brings the trouble-makers to heel. 3X decide to get rid of Creature Teacher first by dumping him out to sea and later by placing him under the blade in the chamber of horrors but Creature Teachers outsmarts his pupils and class 3X return from the outing “well-tanned”:

In the first episode of Major Jump Horror Hunter the brave Major and his assistant Cosmo are after the mysterious Monster Snoozlehorn. They get very disappointed when after going through a lot of trouble they find out that Monster Snoozlehorn is a musical instrument. Had they taken just a few more steps, they would have realised that their effort wasn’t in vain:

In the second episode Major Jump captures a giant worm. Major thinks it is not a very exciting monster, but still better than nothing. He probably finds the second creature whom he encounters in this episode more exciting:

In Martha’s Monster Make-Up Martha uses her magic cream on a mean participant of the Beach Beauty Queen Contest. She becomes so terrifying that another participant’s hair stands on end permanently in a “way-out new hairstyle”, making her the darling of the media, even though the scary one shocks the judges into awarding her the first prize:

My personal favourite in this first Monster Fun Comic Summer Special is this 4-pager by an artist whose name I don’t know. Any suggestions?

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