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 The Little Monsters. Show all posts
Showing posts with label The Little Monsters. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 7, 2015


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 17, 2015


The Annual contained a few nice surprises. I will start with the episode of Kid Kong by Frank McDiarmid. I can’t remember ever seeing another one by him before. The story isn’t particularly original: it’s almost Christmas and Kid has no money for Gran’s present so he takes a job with the post office. This is the third MF Annual with Kid Kong facing a cash problem before X-mas, and the second time he takes a postie’s job to solve it, but Mr. McDiarmid’s work really makes it shine:

After all the chaos and destruction, everybody’s happy in the end:

There are two episodes of Freaky Farm in this Annual, neither by the regular artist Jim Watson. In the first one Jousting Society hold a tournament on Farmer’s land. Artwork by Russel Brooke. Here is the first page:

The four-pager by Ian Knox is my favourite one:

And finally, here’s a set of The Little Monsters by Martin Baxendale who clearly took a few lessons from his Dad. There are two installments of the feature in this Annual and the other one is called The Little Monsters Down on the Farm! Make sure you click on the image below to enlarge it and have fun examining all the fine detail!

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

Sunday, December 21, 2014


The publication of MFC weeklies began in the second half of June 1975 and IPC didn’t have time to produce a book for 1976 so Monster Fun Comic Annual 1977 was the title’s first. It came out early in the Autumn of 1976 – the first advertisement can be found in MFC No. 66 (Sept 11th, 1976). At that time the weekly was already counting its last days and was absorbed by Buster a few weeks later. The book was 144 pages thick and cost a pound.

Here is an account of the contents: Little Monsters (in colour on the front endpapers and one page in b/w inside, by Sid Burgon), Brainy and His Monster Maker (three 2-pagers, including one in colour), Dough Nut and Rusty (three episodes by Trevor Metcalfe: 2 three-pagers including one in colour, and a four-pager), Monster Fun Puzzle Page (2 pages), X-Ray Specs (2 two-pagers and 2 three-pagers including one in colour by Mike Lacey), The Robot Maker (5 reprints from COR!! weeklies, artwork by Frank McDiarmid), Frankie Stein Ticklish All-Sport (2 pages of gags by Jim Crocker), Art’s Gallery (2 episodes – a three-pager and a two-pager), Draculass (2 two pagers by Terry Bave), Stoneage Brit Ancient Nit (4 reprints from COR!! weekly comics, artwork by Tony Goffe), The Ice Monster’s Coming! (adventure thriller on 6 pages), Tom Thumbscrew – The Torturer’s Apprentice (2 two-pagers by Norman Mansbridge, including one in colour), Freaky Farm (a 4-pager), Sam’s Spook (4 reprints from SMASH! comic, artwork by Leo Baxendale), Mummy’s Boy (3 two-pagers by Norman Mansbridge, including one in colour on back endpapers), Movie Monsters feature (2 two-pagers), Teddy Scare (a two-pager), Martha’s Monster Make-Up (a two-pager), Gums (a three-pager by Tery Bave), Kid Kong (an eight-pager by Robert Nixon), Terry and the ‘Dactyl (an 8-pages adventure thriller), Creature Teacher (a six-pager by Tom Williams), Monster Mystery (spot the difference puzzle on two pages), Major Jump - Horror Hunter (a two-pager by Ian Knox), Monster Mirth (2 pages of gags by Jim Crocker), Crafty Cat (a two-pager), Film Funny feature (1 page), Ye Badtime Bedtime Worsery Rhymes (6 pages by Terry Bave), Survive All (a two-pager), The Day of the Apples Starring the Earthies (a four-pager by Mike Green).

Advertisement in MFC No. 66 (Sept 11th, 1976)

It is appropriate to start the review from the beginning and here are the hilarious front endpapers with The Little Monsters by Sid Burgon:

Unlike in the first Summer Special, all reprints (Robot Maker, Sam’s Spook and Stoneage Brit) were re-arranged to fill two pages. Also, differently from the Summer Special, the Annual had as many as two adventure thrillers. The first was the six-page story The Ice Monster’s Coming! An ice patrol boat is clearing the shipping lanes by blasting away icebergs with a gun. One shot does more than shatter an iceberg – it also releases a prehistoric monster that was trapped inside. Instead of showing gratitude to his liberators, the creature vents its frustration on the ship and its unfortunate crew. The boat sinks and it looks like it’s the end for the crew but they get rescued by another ice patrol ship. Here are the last two pages of the story:

The other thriller feature was an 8-pager called Terry and the ‘Dactyl. The narrative panel of the first frame creates an impression that this is not the first episode of the story:

Terry senses foul play and escapes into the jungle where he has to hide from hostile natives. Climbing some rocks, he finds a baby pterodactyl and starts looking after it. Terry’s wanderings take him and his new “pet” to an ancient ruined city of gold somewhere in the mountains where he stays for ten months raising and training the reptile until it grows into a giant flying creature. A plane crash near the ruined city and the death of the pilot make Terry return back to civilization and settle scores with the corrupt local police chief Gomez who would stop at nothing to find the lost city of gold. This is quite a violent story with as many as five deaths:  first Gomez’ sidekicks take care of Terry’s companion – the old prospector, then the airplane pilot dies of poison, then both of Gomez’ cronies meet their fate at the hands of their evil master and finally the rogue policeman himself falls from sky high into the river never to be seen again…

Both stories are drawn by the same artist whose name I don’t know but he was the illustrator of the long-running and successful Rat Trap feature in COR!! comic. I think I’ve seen his (her?) artwork in girls’ comics. Does anyone know the name?

Readers were treated to two new comedy strips. Crafty Cat was drawn by either Martin Baxendale or Tom Paterson. I would put my money on Martin Baxendale but I wonder if he wasn’t too young to contribute at that time:

Survive All pretended to be a weekly strip (or perhaps TV show). I am not sure about the name of the artist but I am finding the style similar to that of the illustrator who drew the Forest Legion in SHIVER AND SHAKE annuals and signed one episode Mazza. Here is the strip in full:  

This was a nice book with lots of quality artwork by top IPC talent so let’s take a quick look at some of the highlights. 

In Freaky Farm the farmer and his horrors do what they do best – scarring intruders off the farm. In this case it is a team of road builders. I am not sure if this set was drawn by the regular Freaky Farm artist Jim Watson – it looks like Elphin who drew a couple of early episodes in the weeklies was responsible for it:

In Martha’s Monster Make-Up Martha gets into trouble for wickedly using her cream on some people who did her no harm. The artist tried imitating Ken Reid and he is also the one who occasionally stepped in for Ken on Faceache in BUSTER comic. I don’t know his name, unfortunately:

In Gums the shark finds being toothless very embarrassing and goes to the swordfish for help. The sword-fish makes him a set of teeth from the wooden hull of a sunken ship but the shark still boobs in the end:

In Kid Kong the loveable giant gorilla decides to earn some money and make it up to Gran for having such a big appetite. A gang of crooks take advantage of the innocent mind and Kid helps them rob the high street bank. Kid and Gran find themselves behind bars where Kid realises that the crooks made a monkey out of him. Furious, he breaks out of prison and stops the robbers from escaping the country. His cash reward is quickly converted into ‘nanas.

Kid and Gran fantasizing about how they will spend the cash 
that Kid brought home after the bank robbery

In Major Jump – the first one signed by Ian Knox that I can remember seeing, the horror hunter and his assistant answer an S.O.S. signal and find themselves in an awkward situation when they realise it was them who the tiny people got so terrified with:

Ye Badtime Bedtime Worsery Rhymes by Terry Bave implies a connection with Badtime Bedtime Books which appeared in MFC weeklies, but it doesn’t fit the definition of a classic BBB because it isn’t a strip and is only 6 pages long (as opposed to 8 which was the standard). Here are the first two pages:

In Creature Teacher Class X are invited to put that year’s Christmas play and are thrilled about the opportunity, less so about Creature Teacher being the producer. A series of failed plots to get rid of him later, comes the day of their Cinderella performance, and Class X have saved all their mischief-making for the night:

Needless to say that Creature Teacher intervenes and saves the day:

It is the second time after the MFC Summer Special 1975 that we meet those strange creatures called the Earthies. The full title of the story is The Day of the Apples, featuring the Earthies and the illustrator is Mike Green – thanks, Lew and Raven, for identifying the artist in your comments to my previous post. Here is the story in full:

It is that special time of the year, so I will round up this post with this festive episode of The Little Monsters by Sid Burgon. More MFC-unrelated X-mas goodness to come soon!

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