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.

Saturday, April 28, 2012


Kid Chameleon was a beautifully written and lavishly presented tale that must have gripped imaginations of many COR!! readers. The story was about an English wonder-boy who survived a plane crash years ago and was reared by reptiles in the Kalahari Desert in South Africa.  After the plane crash chameleon lizards attended the infant with their tongues and gave him a protective skin. As he grew, all reptiles became his friends. He could talk to them in their strange tongue-clicking language and the skin-tight lizard suit of scales enabled him to change colour at will. Kid Chameleon’s quest in life was to find the man who had shot his parents and bring him to justice.

Written by Scott Goodall and illustrated by Joe Colquhoun, Kid Chameleon was launched in the first issue of COR!! and occupied the centerspread for 98 weeks until 15th April, 1972  (issue No. 98). The series consisted of an introductory episode and 12 different serialized adventures, each between 5 and 13 weeks long. Apart from the opening episode, only two of the stories had to do with Kid Chameleon’s “main” mission. The other ten told random adventures of Kid during his clueless but determined travels in Africa and Europe. Just as in the majority of other serialized adventure strips, weekly episodes ended with cliffhangers but in Kid Chameleon they were weaved seamlessly into the storyline and didn’t appear to be there for their own sake (save for the odd one or two).

Kid Chameleon was a great addition to COR!! package. Unfortunately, newsprint often failed to convey the full beauty of Joe Colquhoun’s artwork: quite frequently colours were off-register and not as vivid as the artist had intended them to be.

Let us take a closer look at the series. For the sake of reference and convenience, I have taken the liberty of inventing names for the individual stories that ran consecutively, with the ending of one story smoothly leading to the beginning of a new adventure.  

Intro: Kid’s Quest Begins
Here is the complete intro to the series from the first issue of COR!! I may be wrong but there is something about this opening episode that makes me doubt whether it was really by Joe Colquhoun:

Kid Chameleon and the Valley of Vultures (6 weeks from 13th June, 1970 until 18th July, 1970, issue Nos. 2 – 7)
The scene of the first adventure is set in the South African Kalahari desert. Kid Chameleon is captured by two game poachers who have come to the desert to kill rare antelopes. They can’t afford to turn him loose for fear that he will tell people about their wicked intentions so they tell their native trackers to dump the boy for keeps in the dreaded Valley of Vultures. Kid uses his colour disguise and ability to speak reptile language to save himself from hungry cheetahs and escapes from the valley. Camouflaged in a swarm of migrating butterflies, the lizard boy sets antelopes free while the poachers’ vehicles crash and explode.

From COR!! issue dated 11th July, 1970 (No. 6)

Kid Chameleon and the Arrow of a Thousand Diamonds (11 weeks from 25th July, 1970 until 3rd October, 1970, issue Nos. 8 – 18)
Kid arrives in a remote South African town where he is spotted and captured by Johnny Bull’s-Eye. The evil man demands instant obedience from Kid because he wants to exploit the boy’s extraordinary talents to get hold of the arrow of a thousand diamonds. The quest for the mysterious artefact involves crossing a soggy waste-land swarming with razor-fanged fish, climbing a pinnacle guarded by a hook-beaked hunter and recovering a strange arrow-shaped object. Having overcome all the dangers, Kid delivers it to Johnny Bull’s-Eye. The lizard boy has now served his purpose and Johnny Bull’s-Eye tries to get rid of him. Saved by two crocodiles, Kid sets out on a mission of revenge and unveiling of Johnny’s mystery. He retraces Johnny’s footsteps to a deserted town of Deathbowl Creek. There Kid frees an old hermit Abe Bannermann whom Johnny has tied up before leaving to unearth the arrow of a thousand diamonds and they both rush to stop Johnny. Johnny uses the arrow-shaped object to open the secret door of Deathbowl Creek and retrieves the diamond arrow but is confronted by Kid and Abe. Johnny Bull’s Eye escapes into an abandoned mine...

From COR!! issue dated 26th September, 1970 (No. 17)
Kid and the old hermit set off in pursuit once again. Abe Bannermann tells Kid the story of the diamond arrow. The precious artefact is Abe’s father’s legacy to his son that the old man hid in a safe above the mine to prevent its theft. The object that Kid retrieved from the pinnacle in the marshes was the key to the safe. Johnny Bull’s-Eye stole the only map giving the exact location where the key was hidden but couldn’t get to the pinnacle until he found Kid Chameleon whom he could send to cross the deadly swamp for him. In the meantime, Johnny tries to blow the mine up and escape through the ventilation shaft but Kid foils his evil plot. The arrow is back with its rightful owner and Johnny will face a court of law. Kid’s own quest continues.

Kid Chameleon and the Ivory Skull of Uhulu (13 weeks from 10th October, 1970 until 2nd January, 1971, issue Nos. 19 – 31)
The scene of this next tale is set in East Africa. Kid accidentally discovers a secret laboratory of an evil scientist Sunset Kilpenny. Helped by his native assistant Zarbampa, the old man performs experiments on wild animals by immersing them in a strange muddy liquid that makes them become three times as big. Kid threatens to foil Kilpenny’s evil plot, so the scientist decides to act quick – he uses the liquid on a huge ape named Goliath that obeys the scientist’s every command. He orders the hairy monster to attack a big house in the clearing of a vast coffee plantation inhabited by plantation owner Sam Crouch and his son Don. Kid comes to their rescue. The man urges Kid to stop the gorilla because Kilpenny has ordered it to steal the ivory skull of Uhulu and he must not have it. Kid tries but to no avail. The brute finds the safe, cracks it open and Sunset Kilpenny gets hold of the skull. After twenty years the sacred dance of the Fiery Dawn shall again be performed!  Sam Crouch and Danny get their rifles and the three of them set off to catch Kilpenny before it’s too late. On their way to the shrine, the plantation owner tells Kid that Kilpenny owned the land next to his when he was a young man and used it as a transit camp for stolen wild game and animal experiments. Kilpenny then became chief of the warlike Uhulu tribe because he had found an ivory skull and Uhulu legend said that whoever possessed it was their leader until death. Then one night Crouch managed to steal the skull and Uhulus lost faith in Kilpenny. Now with the help of the giant gorilla he has managed to steal the skull back and is about to be reinstated as Uhulu chief. The three of them are ambushed by Goliath but still manage to make their way to Uhulu camp. Once there, they see that the sacred ritual has already begun...

From Corr issue dated 19th December, 1970 (No. 29)
Kid uses his talents and strips Kilpenny of his powers but the possessed scientist is reluctant to give up. He gets everyone trapped in a cave-in and retreats to his laboratory. Kid follows Kilpenny to his lab where the scientist prepares to turn a lion and a leopard into giants and bring the Uhulu nation under his command. Kid manages to overturn the tank and spill the potion to waste. In a frenzy of rage Kilpenny scoops up a broken spear and hurdles it at the giant gorilla. Furious at the sudden pain, Goliath flattens the entire laboratory. Kid gets a shrinking antidote and squirts it at the ape that falls down senseless and shrinks to its normal size. Kilpenny is defeated and his dreams of glory are ended because jail awaits him. Kid rushes to free the people trapped in the cave-in so that he can move on to search for the man who shot his parents.

The next post will cover three more exciting stories: Kid Chameleon and the Treasure of Ghouli Cavern; Kid Chameleon beats Saphire Crooks and Escaped Convict gets Kid Chameleon into Trouble, be sure to come back and check them out :)

Thursday, April 26, 2012


Stoneage Brit Ancient Nit was a short-lived series in the vein of the Flintstones telling adventures of a little pre-historic kid. Weekly antics involved mammoths, dinosaurs, etc. Stoneage Brit had an enemy named Ug who was an ape-like club-wielding brute.  The feature was quite similar to Glugg - a strip that appeared in WHAM! in the 60s. One of the things that Stoneage Brit had in common with Glugg was his turn for innovation and invention

From COR!! dated 15th August, 1970 (No. 11)

The artwork was rather crude – perhaps appropriately for a strip about pre-historic times.  Stoneage Brit Ancient Nit lasted until 7th November, 1970 (issue No. 23) and missed a couple of weeks towards the end of its modest run (it did not appear on 26th September, 1970 and 10th October, 1970 (issue Nos. 17 and 19)). It was hardly missed by many when it disappeared from the pages of COR!!

Thanks to Niblet who referred me to the appropriate post on another blog (see comments below), I can now add that the illustrator was Tony Goffe.

From COR!! dated 5th September, 1970 (No. 14)

And now I’ll take a deep breath before the next batch of three or four posts that I plan to devote to one of the most exciting COR!! strips - Kid Chameleon

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


Tricky Dicky (not to be confused with the character in TOPPER of the late 70s) was a strip about a boy who could get out of anything. “When it comes to dodging, or dallying, this kid’s in a class of his own” – said the caption above the first episode in COR!! No. 1. Although the idea around which the character was developed wasn’t novel at all, readers probably found Dicky’s simple weekly tricks and dodges amusing: the strip managed a lengthy run of more than three years, ending on 29th September, 1973 (issue 174). 

From COR!! issues dated 3rd June, 1972 and 10th June, 1972 (Nos. 105 and 106)

Comparison of the early and the later episodes reveals a bad case of “reverse aging” of the main character – in the early episodes he looked like a boy in his early teens and got younger instead of older in the course of time. The artist was Cyril Price and his style also changed considerably during the run. Check out an early episode from issue No. 3 and the last one of the series side by side:

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


The Robot Maker. A beautifully illustrated but short-lived feature.  Robbie McHinery’s Dad was an inventor whose inventions normally didn’t work but one day he invented a machine capable of replicating human beings by building identical robots. Drawn by Frank McDiarmid in his Ken Reid-imitation style that he had used in the mid-60s on Big Head and Thick Head in THE DANDY. The feature ran for 20 weeks from the first issue until 17th October, 1970 (No. 20). The Robot Maker did not appear on 26th September, 1970 (issue 17).

From COR!! dated 1st August, 1970 (No. 9)

From COR!! dated 22nd August, 1970 (No. 12)

Sunday, April 22, 2012


Judging by the length of the run, Ivor Lott and Tony Broke was easily the most successful strip that originated in COR!! Not only did it survive COR’s!! merger with BUSTER but also continued there for many years to come and spawned a bunch of imitators in other IPC comics.

Early episodes from COR!! issues dated 2nd June, 1970
and 21st November, 1970 ( Nos. 2 and 25)

The series exploited the simple theme of class warfare between the haves and the have-nots, the former represented by Ivor Lott and the latter by Tony Broke. An offspring of wealthy parents, Ivor Lott was a spoilt brat who lived in luxury, treated his butler and servants like a slave driver and looked down upon other kids, Tony Broke in particular. Tony was a poor kid, often referred to as Riff Raff by Ivor. Mean rotter that he was, Ivor Lott usually came off worst in the end. His megalomanic ways often resulted in destruction of his Father’s property – mansion (Lott Hall), car, helicopter, plane, motorboat, etc. The punishment at the hands of Pater Lott was merciless and Ivor often got whacked in every imaginable way. A good deal of whacking also came from Ivor’s teacher. Together with Whacky and Patsy (of The Teacher’s Pet), he was one of the characters who suffered the most in COR!! – and deserved every single moment of it. Speaking of Pater Lott, he often sympathised with Tony who sometimes malevolently lent a hand in Ivor’s punishment.

From COR!! issue dated 24 April, 1971 (No. 47)

The original illustrator was Reg Parlett. The feature (as well as Reg Parlett’s other work for COR!! and other comics in the end of the 60s onward) was a product of his adapting to the modern style of the 70s. In his interview for the Winter 1979 edition of GOLDEN FUN Reg Parlett said he had no trouble adapting, it had happened fairly naturally over a period of time.  The big change for him was that he no longer did his own lettering which he wasn’t particularly keen on. He also said he had probably been doing more actual artwork in the 1970s then he had ever before: in the old days he did everything himself – script, art, lettering, everything. In the 70s he was given scripts by IPC and had more time to devote purely to drawing then.

From COR!! dated 14th August, 1971 (No. 63).
At the time of writing page one of the episode is available
on eBay at the Buy-it-Now price of £39.99

Ivor Lott and Tony Broke started off as a one-pager in the premiere issue of COR!!  In response to a very positive reader feedback, a few months into the run of COR!! the Editor began dropping hints about his intentions to promote the feature to two full pages. Starting from 20th March, 1971 (No. 42) he made good on his promises and the strip was given 1 ½ pages, then two full pages starting from 25th December, 1971 (No.  82). A further promotion took effect from the issue dated 22nd April, 1972 (No. 99) when the strip was moved to the centre pages and became a three-colour affair. Robert Nixon began drawing the odd weekly episode at about then.  Starting from 30th December, 1972 (No. 135) Reg Parlett handed over his illustrator’s duties permanently to Bob Nixon who remained in charge of the strip until COR!! folded (and for some time after merger with Buster). Terry Bave and Mike Lacey also contributed the odd episode in COR!!

From COR!! dated 1st April, 1972 (No. 96), still illustrated by Reg Parlett

Ivor Lott and Tony Broke made three front page appearances in full colour in COR!! issues dated 5th May 1973, 2nd June 1973 and 11th August 1973 (Nos. 153, 157 and 167). In his book The Comic Art of Reg Parlett Alan Clark writes that the characters were so popular that at the time of writing the book in the 80s there had been talk of a Christmas Annual devoted exclusively to Ivor and Tony. Apparently, this didn’t go beyond talk but the two favourite characters were cover stars in every single COR!! Annual from 1977 until 1986 and COR!! Holiday/Summer Special from 1976 until 1983.

An episode by Robert Nixon from
COR!! issue dated 14th July, 1973 (No. 163)

From COR!! issue dated 20th October, 1973  (No. 177)

Friday, April 20, 2012


Harriet and her Horse. A tale about a little girl Harriet who swopped her scooter for a troublesome horse and named her new friend Hector. The two of them got along very well and had some jolly good time together but COR!! readers apparently didn’t think much of their antics: the story was dropped 22 weeks into the paper’s run - the last episode was in the issue dated 31st October, 1970 (No. 22). Illustrated by Les Barton. 

From COR!! dated 27th June, 1970  (No. 4)

From COR!! dated 12th September, 1970 (No. 15)

Thursday, April 19, 2012


Football Madd featured Micky Madd, a striped-shirt wearing football supporter extraordinaire who would take any steps to see a football match or win one. He was a die-hard United supporter. Cortown United that is.

Football Madd from COR!! dated 25th July, 1970 (No. 8)

Micky was a George Best fan: he collected and traded George Best cards and the footballer’s signed poster adorned his bedroom wall beside the bed (that had a goal for headposts and headboard). Incidentally, George Best himself – or at least I think it was him, made a couple of surprise appearances for reasons that had nothing to do with the script (COR!! issues dated 23rd January, 1971 and 20th February, 1971 (Nos. 34 and 38)):

Episode with surprise appearance of George Best in the first panel on the lef in row three
in COR!! dated 23rd January, 1971 (No. 34)

Micky was extremely good at keepie-up. He was often seen accompanied by his pooch that was usually in the foreground wearing a silly or puzzled expression and occasionally conjured a thought or speech balloon.

Football Madd in COR!! issue dated 19th January, 1974 (No. 190)

Football Madd was one of the few features that ran from the first to the last issue of COR!! and successfully migrated to Buster where it continued for another year until September 1975. It was a black-and-white strip and had one page devoted to it. Micky Madd made as many as five front page full-colour appearances in COR!! issues dated 16th June 1973, 4th August 1973, 14th November 1973, 9th March 1974 and 13th April 1974 (Nos. 159, 166, 182, 197 and 202). I am not sure who the artist was. Peter Davidson perhaps? I even emailed Dez Skinn once to ask if he remembered who the illustrator was but he said he’d forgotten… Can anyone confirm please?

Monday, April 16, 2012


Donovan's Dad. The series was about a little lad named Donovan and his extra-strong but rather dim working class Dad with super-powers who didn’t know his own strength:  he could knock a torpedo off its course, lift railway tracks into the air to save a runaway car and land an airplane without undercarriage. If he flung a snowball, it could whistle half-way round the globe and hit a native in Africa... Starting from COR!! issue dated 8th May, 1971 (No. 49) the two of them set off on a World tour. They got stranded on an island, met cannibals, visited Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, the USA (Texas), Italy (Pisa, Venice), France (Paris) and returned to England in issue dated 31st July, 1971 (No. 61).

Donovan's Dad by Terry Bave in COR!! issues dated 20th June, 1970
and 10th October, 1970 (Nos. 3 and 19)

The black and white one-pager enjoyed a long run of nearly three years from the first issue until 14th April, 1973 (No. 150). The original artist was Terry Bave.  In part II of his detailed account in the Summer 1986 edition of GOLDEN FUN Terry Bave recalls that Donovan’s Dad had been devised by Bob Paynter who invited him to create the necessary characters for the feature. Terry Bave’s drawings were approved and he agreed to take on the weekly drawing provided that the scripts were supplied. With all the work they were doing for WHIZZER AND CHIPS as well as COR!! at the time,Terry Bave and his wife Sheila already had quite enough script writing as it was.

Terry Bave’s account tells that although great fun to draw, Donovan’s Dad did not prove quite so popular and only ran until mid-1971. This isn’t exactly true: the artist probably recalled the time in 1971 when he stopped drawing the feature and it was taken over by another illustrator who I believe was Les Barton. The last set by Terry Bave was in COR!! issue dated 13th November, 1971 (No. 76) and the first one by Les Barton appeared a week later.

Donovan's Dad by Les Barton in COR!! issues dated 20th November, 1971
and 1st January, 1972 (Nos. 77 and 83)

Sunday, April 15, 2012


Percy Puffer was a simple feature about a little boy Percy who blew and puffed with his mighty lungs. Nothing much to comment here. The strip ran for 70 weeks from the first issue and ended on 2nd October, 1971 (No. 70). Does anyone recognise the artist?

Friday, April 13, 2012


Who can kick three goals and six opponents in a playtime football game? Who can make the best go-cart in town? Who has the biggest collection of frogs, mice and creepy crawlies outside of the Zoo? … Tomboy! She was an unladylike little girl who always brought disappointment to her parents, particularly her Mother. Every week she would tell Mum she was up to something and Mother would imagine her offspring was finally turning into a lady, only to find out that Tomboy had a completely different thing on her mind. Each story ended with Mum saying That’s my Girl! 

Tomboy from COR!! dated 12th December, 1970 (No. 28)

Tomboy enjoyed playing cowboys and Indians, taking part in a girl-on-girl boxing match, watching wrestling on the telly, driving a tank, fighting bulls, taking karate lessons, taking part in motorcycle scrambling or a piano wrecking competition, etc. She even joined Hell’s Angels, wore a Nazi uniform (30th September, 1972, No. 122) and got into jail (10th March, 1973, No. 145). One might think the reason of her outrageous behavior was because a father wasn’t around. It’s true that the vast majority of Tomboy episodes featured her Mother and no Dad. But the truth is that Tomboy did have a Father who appeared quite regularly in the early episodes and occasionally later on in the series (for instance in issues 15th July 1972, 12th August 1972, 21st October 1972, 27th January 1973 (Nos. 111, 115, 125, 139)). My guess is that he got a job out of town soon after the strip was launched and was away from home most of the time... 

Tomboy from COR!! dated 20th May, 1972 (No. 103)

The feature did quite well in COR!! readers’ popularity polls. Tomboy ran from the first COR!! issue to the last, survived merger with BUSTER and continued there for another couple of years. The one-pager was in black and white until issue dated 8th April, 1972 (No. 97) and turned colour from 15th April, 1972 (No. 98). Tomboy made a front-page appearance in COR!! issue dated 1st June, 1974 (No. 209).

The illustrator was Brian Lewis. Mike Atwell is also credited with Tomboy artwork in Ray Moore’s Buster index.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


Hire a Horror was another long-running strip that continued throughout the entire run of COR!! Late 60s and early 70s saw the rise of comedy horror genre in British comics and Hire a Horror is a perfect example. The weekly one-pager was named after an agency that hired out all sorts of monsters to all kinds of clients who wanted them for various personal reasons. Customers’ schemes frequently backfired. The horrors occasionally fell victim to their own terror plots when things didn’t go as planned. Except for its services, the agency was a normal company in every respect: it had an office with a sign, a casual daily routine, a miserly boss and a gorgeous receptionist, a pool of secretaries, a cashier and a team of workers who sometimes grumbled about pay. The strip survived until the demise of COR!! and would have probably made it to the combined BUSTER AND COR!! but due to the similarity of the theme the editors had to choose between Hire a Horror and Rent A Ghost (an old-timer in BUSTER) and their decision was in favour of the latter.

Reg Parlett was the regular artist who worked on the strip until the issue of 8th April, 1972 (issue No. 97). All of his sets were in black and white. Starting from the issue dated 15th April, 1972 (No. 98) Reg Parlett was permanently replaced by Robert Nixon and Hire a Horror became a full-colour feature (with the odd b/w episode). In his interview in the Winter 1981 edition of GOLDEN FUN Robert Nixon recalls that Hire a Horror was his first IPC work after he quit DC Thomson and began to work for IPC exclusively. The first episode of the strip by Bob Nixon (in b/w) was in COR!! 29th January, 1972 (No. 87).

It’s interesting to note that as the comedy horror genre grew more popular, a number of ideas used in weekly Hire a Horror episodes were later developed into regular features for other IPC comics. Hideous Hole that appeared in COR!! issue of 17th October, 1970 (No. 20) later became ‘Orrible Hole in Whoopee! and Monster Hhand from COR!! dated 27th November, 1971 (No. 78) was developed into The Hand in Shiver and Shake. An attentive COR!! reader wrote in to tell the Editor that at the beginning of the tale the hand was a left hand, while in all other frames in was a right (I took the trouble to check and found out that it was actually the other way round – first right, then left…).

More trivia stuff: two horrors later appeared as Creepy Creations in Shiver and Shake. The one from COR!! issue of 11th July 1970 (No. 6) reappeared as The Chip Chomping Tater Terror of Tring (Creepy Creation No. 2) in Shiver and Shake dated 17th March, 1973 and Igor from COR!! issue of 7th August, 1971 (No. 62) re-emerged as The Cowley Cowdog (Creepy Creation No. 9) in Shiver and Shake dated 5th May, 1973.  

Hire a Horror made three front cover appearances in COR!! issues dated 21st April 1973, 25th August 1973 and 22nd December 1973 (Nos. 151, 169 and 186). Terry Bave, another IPC great, contributed three episodes towards the end of the run (issues 9th March 1974, 16th March 1974 and 23rd March, 1974 (Nos. 197, 198, 199)). Robert Nixon signed his Hire a Horror set in the issue dated 1st June, 1974 (No. 209) - it was one of the very few signed pages in COR!!

As I was preparing to start this blog, I accidentally bumped into a piece of Reg Parlett’s original Hire a Horror artwork on eBay and couldn’t resist bidding on it. In his interview for the Winter 1979 edition of Golden Fun Reg Parlett told Alan Clark that his favourite materials were half and half – a heavy fashion board. He said he preferred this kind of board for two reasons – the first being that it was easier to work on and allowed a lot of errors to be corrected easily, and secondly because it was easier for packing when he sent work to IPC. The two photos below show the artwork beside the printed page in the paper (the original is 4 times the size of the comic) and the back of one of the halves with the issue number and date marked. Note the hand-written text and corrections of the caption. I have also scanned a couple of frames so that you can appreciate the linework close-up. Marvellous!