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 Yearly round-up. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Yearly round-up. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 30, 2014


Here we are at the turn of the year again, and it is time for me to look back and ponder over the results of 2014 in terms of my UK comics hobby.

This is the last X-mas number of
Sparky that I didn't have and acquired
in 2014
I’ve almost stopped buying things on eBay, mostly because my collection of the titles I am interested in is nearly complete, also because I visit eBay less frequently than I used to. Besides, I am not in the UK and I’ve made a decision as a matter of principle not to buy from sellers who don’t offer international shipping, whatever their reasons might be. I am past the stage when I used to contact them asking would they please ship abroad. If they don’t want my money, I’ll take my business elsewhere.

Looking at my current wants lists, I can see that I’m now stuck at the diabolical figure of 6-6-6: I am missing 6 issues for each of the three remaining titles I am trying to collect complete sets of – BUSTER, GIGGLE and SPARKY. A year ago it was 9 issues of BUSTER, 16 of GIGGLE and as many as 35 of SPARKY. At this rate of filling the gaps, there is a good chance I will complete the sets during 2015!

2014 has been a good year in terms of building my collection of the first decade of PLAYHOUR young children’s comic. I try to concentrate on the period 1958 – 1965 which was the time when the magazine featured Gulliver the Guinea-Pig stories with superb artwork by Philip Mendoza and Gordon Hutchings. A few months ago I bumped into the complete year 1961 going cheap online from an American dealer and bought it without hesitation. It would have been interesting to learn how the PLAYHOURs found themselves on that side of the Atlantic, but the seller wasn’t very talkative, unfortunately. A few days before X-mas I was approached by another Gulliver the Guinea-Pig enthusiast whose collection is in the form of scanned images – not exactly my thing, but still OK until I get hold of hard copies. I helped him fill one or two gaps in his list and he sent me a few of the episodes that I didn’t have. Between the two of us, we are now only 50 or so instalments away from the complete run of this magical series which continued for more than 7 years! Here a is a couple of dramatic Gulliver panels from the late 50s:

... and here's one in the holiday mood from 1960:

A year ago I wrote about how I started a library of bound volumes and mentioned my plans to collect complete runs of THE BEANO and THE DANDY from 1970 until the last newsprint issues in the mid-8os, and have them bound in half-year hardcover volumes. It took me surprisingly little time to build the Beano set, but I am still working on the Dandy. Towards the end of “packaging” the Beanos I realized that the book-binders I was using were equipped to make nice colour covers, not just plain black cloth ones. I am still kicking myself for realizing this so late because those last volumes look so much better. It’s a shame the black covers of the earlier volumes can’t be replaced without damaging the books, so I’ll have to settle for the next best thing which is colour dust jackets and which has been the original plan anyway. 

As regards this blog, you may have noticed that new posts are becoming less frequent. Looking back, when I started Kazoop!! in 2012, it took me less than a year to cover the entire run of COR!! – weeklies, annuals and specials, the lot. 2013 was the year of Shiver and Shake on Kazoop!!, and although Sh&Sh had a much shorter run than COR!!, it took me slightly more than a year to cover the title. The whole of 2014 was not enough for me to close the chapter of MONSTER FUN COMIC and it looks like I will spend the first two months of 2015 writing about the MFC Summer Special (there is only one left) and the rest of MF annuals. Kazoop!! is loosing steam (fellow bloggers know that researching and writing a blog takes a lot of time) and I’ll probably take a break from the regular format of doing comprehensive series of articles on a particular title. I am still considering the monumental quest of reviewing the entire eleven year run of WHOOPEE! but it may take some time before I proceed with it, and even if the WHOOPEE! series never materializes, I believe that one day they will still give me a medal for covering three great UK comics titles and putting together a decent reference resource for anyone who might be interested in them :). That said, I have no intention of neglecting this blog so be sure to drop by in 2015 for lots of British comics goodness, including news about two projects that I am currently involved in, which I will unveil as soon as I am in a position to do so. Here is a little something by way of a “teaser”, albeit not a very straightforward one…

In the meantime, I wish you all a very Happy New Year 2015! 

Thursday, December 26, 2013


The end of the year is a good time to look back and see where my collecting hobby and enthusiasm for UK comics has taken me and what lies ahead... First of all I am very happy and proud I completed a detailed overview of SHIVER AND SHAKE that is easily one of my favourite British comics. I was hoping it will be a kind of an introduction to the epic quest of covering the entire eleven-year run of WHOOPEE! – the comic that is responsible for triggering my interest in British comics in the first place. I have compiled a detailed index of the title and all of its strips but it looks like the WHOOPEE! tribute project will have to wait because I’ve picked another IPC comic for 2014. As opposed to 567 issues of WHOOPEE!, MONSTER FUN COMIC had a modest run of just 73 issues (which is even less than SHIVER AND SHAKE at 79) and I am confident I can comfortably manage it over the next 12 months.

My other quests for 2014 (and beyond, if necessary) include completing the runs of BUSTER (only 9 issues remaining, plus 4 issues that I need to upgrade condition-wise) and SPARKY (41 issues remaining, including 6 issues that I need better copies of). I am also determined to collect a full set of GIGGLE but it’s a tough one and I still need 16 issues (of the total of 38). In keeping with the theme of the Holiday Season, here is the front cover of the only X-mas number of the title:

This year I was lucky to pick up a few large joblots of The Dandy and The Beano from the 70s and the 80s, also a nice long run of early NUTTYs. Buying large joblots appears to be an excellent idea because comics tend to come in uninterrupted runs and often in fine condition, with pink flyers and even free gifts intact. As an extra bonus, the joblots that I bought were outrageously cheap. I took them to the local binders and had them bound in half-year hard-cover volumes. The only difference between my bound sets and those sometimes offered by phil-comics on eBay is the absence of printed text on the spines of my copies (which makes them look like dull office ledgers from the outside) but I intend to compensate with bright dust-jackets. The plan is to collect complete runs of the Dandy and the Beano from 1970 until the change of format in the late 80s and have them packaged nicely in half-year books. I am also doing pretty well collecting the Beano and the Dandy of the 60s but I have no plans to have them bound. They will all remain individually bagged and boarded because that’s how I believe they should be stored.

That's just a small part of my bound volumes...

I often tell myself my collection is nearly as complete as I’ll ever want it to be and I should put my hobby on hold. The problem that I’ve got is that I have to be very careful reading Comics UK Forum and some UK comics blogs because sometimes I unexpectedly bump into unfamiliar titles and artists that fascinate me and I get carried away again... 2013 was the year I discovered young children’s magazines and comics, such as TREASURE, ONCE UPON A TIME and PLAYHOUR, and in them such artists as Woolcock, Quinto, Mendoza and Hutchings, drawing many first-rate features and strips, such as Gulliver Guinea-Pig in PLAYHOUR. This smoothly brings me back to the subject of the Holiday Season and those scrumptious festive numbers. PLAYHOUR took their Christmas very seriously in the early 60s and played the theme throughout December on the covers and in Gulliver Guinea-Pig tales inside. Check out these images from the X-mas edition of 1960 (unfortunately, the only one from December that I’ve got from the year so far). Artists’ signatures tell us the front cover is by Gordon Hutchings and Gulliver Guinea-Pig by Philip Mendoza.

In December of 1962 PLAYHOUR ran a three-week story Gulliver Guinea-Pig and the Christmas Toymakers illustrated by Hutchings, and in 1963 – another three-week tale of Gulliver Guinea-Pig’s Travels in which the Toymakers invited him to trim Father Christmas’ beard. I will save those for some other time but here is the cover of a 1963 Christmas edition (the last one of the three from that year) and a sweet little X-mas tale from the same number. The cover is somewhat unusual in that it has no sign of snow – was the greenhouse effect already at work in 1963?