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 Tom Thumbscrew. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tom Thumbscrew. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 3, 2015


My previous post ended with a page-count of strips illustrated by Tom Williams and Barrie Appleby whom the editor kept really busy when preparing this 1979 MONSTER FUN Annual. Barrie Appleby was the unchallenged champion because out of the 19 pages by the runner up Tom Williams, two were most probably reprints (Ghost Town from WHIZZER AND CHIPS), and three formed part of 2-page spot-the-difference puzzles. Here is one pair, if you feel like playing the game (click on the image to enlarge):

Mr. Williams also drew both episodes of X-Ray Specs. In the first Ray is in the mood of playing dirty tricks on other kids and his X-ray specs come very handy until Mummy of the Mummy’s Boy strip puts an end to his antics. It is a nice example of characters from different strips crossing-over:

In the second episode Ray takes a boring job at the packing department of a big store during the Christmas rush. He amuses himself by using his X-ray specs to see what’s inside the parcels and exposes a fraudster who steals gifts from the boxes.

It is good to see the return of Creature Teacher after a break in the previous MF Annual.  In this story Class3X give Teach some nasty Christmas presents. He gets his own back on them by treating Class3X to cardboard sandwiches, plaster cakes and wax fruits from the drama cupboard before inviting them for a real Christmas meal in the dining room:

Barrie Appleby’s contribution (which amounted to whopping 20 pages of new material) was two episodes of Brainy and His Monster Maker:

… an episode of Teddy Scare:

… an episode of Major Jump in which Major Jump and Cosmo scheme to catch the Wild Jorkonorkus. What they don’t realise is that the mission hardly calls for human cunning because the monster is all in for mince pies, jellies and telly that they offer at the monster menagerie but his eagerness to fall into the various traps set by Major Jump and his assistant backfire on the pair. The 4-page story is a sequence of four short episodes, the last one ending with the willing captive getting happily captured. Here is one:

Barrie Appleby was also the man behind the episode of Terror TV which proudly presented everybody’s favourite talent-show Horror-Tunity Shocks starring Hughie Goran. In the first part of the show the first two sponsors introduce the Wobbles and the Baskervilles, and here is Part Two:

Last but not least of Mr. Appleby’s contributions in this 1979 MONSTER FUN Annual is this 6-page story of Tom Thumbscrew (or rather two 3-page stories presented in a sequence):

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

Wednesday, May 7, 2014


This weird little strip was set in the dark Middle Ages and offered the readers of MONSTER FUN COMIC a weekly helping of dungeon humour. The main character was young Tom Thumbscrew who worked as a torturer in the King’s caste; the title of the strip tells us he was the torturer’s apprentice but actually he was the master of the dungeon and answered directly to the King.

Tom wasn’t much of a torturer: he tended to side with the prisoners and was generally on friendly terms with them. He spent more time playing cards with the captives than actually trying to make them ‘talk’ and tormenting them with his branding irons, stretching rack and iron maiden. Sometimes he even helped them escape. There were usually at least two or three prisoners chained to the wall of the dungeon but they seemed to be quite happy in Tom’s custody. The young torturer did his job only when the King imperatively commanded him to, and even then he preferred soft methods, such as feather tickling, telling lame jokes, making a dirty robber wash, telling the offender to eat both of the apples he has pinched or shaving off a guy’s hair and beard to dissuade him from escaping because he knew the guy preferred not to be seen like that in public.

The other regular character of the strip was the King (or Kingy). He was the one who was really violent and always eager to keep Tom busy. Kingy was often worried that Tom wasn’t torturing his prisoners properly so he liked to check on him in the dungeon. The King was a willing participant in the torture sessions and liked to experiment with new methods. The honey-on-buried-prisoner torture must have been his favourite - he tried it as many as four times. Besides, the King liked to entertain his noble guests by inviting them to do some torturing together or watch his prisoners being branded and stretched on the rack. Obviously, the King was the baddie in the strip and often found himself at the receiving end of the various torturing schemes gone wrong.

All this sounds worse than it looked in the strip which was in fact quite jolly and bright. Tom Thumbscrew ran in MFC issues 1 to 73 and missed issue Nos. 14, 24, 48, 51, 56, 58, 62, 70, 71 and 72. The regular artist was Norman Mansbridge who took charge of the strip starting from issue 12. The opening story in MFC No. 1 was by Trevor Metcalfe who would have made an excellent job as the illustrator of the entire run, on par with Norman Mansbridge:

The episodes in MFC Nos. 2 – 11 were by the less-excellent Andy Christine – the illustrator of another concurrent MFC strip Giant Bearhug… GIANT, who signed his sets of Tom Thumbscrew in issues 2 and 4. Here is an example from MFC No. 9: