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.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


1974 SHIVER AND SHAKE ANNUAL was a thick book of 160 pages priced 70 p. Below is the summary of the contents. Again, black colour is for SHIVER section and blue is for SHAKE; underlined are the features that didn’t appear in the weeklies:

Webster (3 episodes, one in full colour),  Frankie Stein (5 episodes - 2 in colour and 3 b/w); Shiver (in full colour); Creepy Creations feature (2 instalments); Ed (5 episodes); Grimly Feendish (4 episodes, one in full colour); The Hand (2 episodes); Sweeny Toddler (2 episodes); Adrian’s Wall; The Duke’s Spook (2 episodes); Soggy the Sea Monster (2 episodes); Biddy’s Beastly Bloomers; Midnight Tales (adventure, 4 pages); Ye Haunted Lake; Ghouldilocks (2 episodes); Shake (2 episodes, both in colour); Lolly Pop; Miss Chief (3 episodes); The Desert Fox (2 episodes); Nutter (3 episodes), ; Sample Simon (2 episodes); Damsel in Distress; The Scroungers (2 episodes); Though Nutt and Softy Centre (2 episodes); Mirth Shakers feature (2 instalments); Moana Lisa; Comics College (3 episodes, one in full colour); Gal Capone; Seeing Stars feature (Horoscope); The Forest Legion (14 pages); The Fixer (2 episodes); Loopy Locations feature; The Silly Circus; Match of the Year Circus versus Panto Folk; Kids’ Court; Jail Birds; Horrornation Street; Christmas Eve at Scream Inn; The Shiver Givers.

Same as the 1973 Christmas Holiday Special, the Annual was modelled after the weeklies: the cover was split in two and there was a Shake section inside separated from Shiver with blocks of colour pages on both ends. Here is the front page of Shake:

Let’s take a peek inside. Again, all episodes of Frankie Stein were reprints of the original stories illustrated by Ken Reid in WHAM! issues 19, 2o, 22, 23 and 24, all resized from the original 1 ½ pages in WHAM! to 3 pages in the Annual, with the usual consequences (enlarged panels with awkward empty spaces, extended lines, etc.).

The Annual had two Creepy Creations with a Winter theme. In his comment to my previous post about 1973 Special Andy noted that the Christmas Creation that I showed was drawn by Bob Nixon, not Ken Reid. I believe the two in this first Annual were also by Nixon. Here is one. The face is Reid-ish, but otherwise it looks more Nixon than Reid to my eye, what do you think?

In the Christmas episode of Scream Inn Santa charmed all resident creeps so the Innkeeper had to use his cunning to scare Santa off and prevent him from winning a million pounds. Below are two important panels from the set:

Shiver got his own strip for the first time:

I won’t go into details of other regular Shiver and Shake strips from the weeklies because I hope to cover them in their dedicated posts at a later stage.  I will concentrate on those that didn’t appear in the weeklies instead, and this Annual had quite a large number of them. Ed and Midnight Tales were the only ones in the Shiver section. There’s nothing much to say about Ed. Midnight Tales was a mystery horror tale that looks like a reprint but I don’t know where from or who the illustrator was. Here are the first two pages:

Shake section had a lot more of unfamiliar entries. The Forest Legion was probably the most prominent one because it was as many as 14 pages long. It was about a crowd of goody forest animals and their efforts to stop two baddies – a crook called Boss and his assistant Butch, from robbing a loopy rich old Baron who lived in his lone castle on an island in the middle of the lake. Forest Legion later appeared in other Shiver and Shake annuals. I don’t know the artist’s name. Here are two opening pages:

Miss Chief told adventures of a Red Indian girl. The strip wasn’t sensationally original in its concept and a lot of its humour was supposed to come from the ‘pidgin English’ so well familiar to folks who read Little Plum in the Beano (such as this: … ‘Medicine man angry! Him boilum up a storm!’ … or ‘Blackfoot tribe say our Chief got smelly socks! Heap insult!’...).

Seeing Stars, a Horoscope drawn by Reg Parlett, was a nice addition to the package. Another reprint, I believe:

Kids’ Court was a feature about law enforcement in which adults faced justice at the hands of kids. It was interesting in the sense that it was a pilot episode of a strip that became a regular in Whoopee! as of 1976 and continued there for more than three years.

The remaining new features are hardly worth mentioning. Nutter was a poorly drawn strip without speech balloons about an unfortunate toothy kid. The Scroungers was about a family of … scroungers, illustrated by Phil Millar. The title of The Silly Circus also speaks for itself. Here is the whole strip as I find the artwork quite nice, although I am not sure about the artists’ name:

Thursday, January 24, 2013


The first Shiver and Shake Special was quite extraordinary because it was a CHRISTMAS Holiday Special. It had 96 pages and cost 18 p.

Here is the breakdown of the contents (black colour is for SHIVER section and blue is for SHAKE; underlined are the features that didn’t appear in the weeklies): The Duke’s Spook, Soggy the Sea Monster, Grimly Feendish (4 episodes), Ghouldilocks (3 episodes), Christmas Creations (4 instalments), Frankie Stein (5 episodes), Horrornation Street, Menace of the Ghost Ship, Scatty Bat (2 episodes), The Hand (2 episodes), Sweeny Toddler, Wiz War (2 episodes), The Shiver Givers, Shake (+ Shake’s Christmas Surprise), Mirth-Shaking Christmas Inventions (2 instalments), The Desert Fox, Damsel in Distress, Lolly Pop, Mirth Shakers (2 instalments), The Fixer, Moana Lisa, Match of the Season: Santa’s Team v Jack Frost, Tough Nutt and Softy Centre, Sample Simon, Scream Inn, Ye Haunted Lake, Ed (2 episodes) and Webster.

The Special was structured after the weeklies: it had the spook and the elephant on the front and a Creepy Creation (on this occasion – a Christmas Creation) on the back, while SHAKE section was framed by full-colour Shake strip on the front and a beautiful Shake’s Christmas Surprise on the back, also in colour. All characters were in their usual sections. Here is the front page of the Shake section:

For me, the highlights were Ken Reid’s Christmas Creations – three in full colour and one in black and white, and the 4-page Christmas set of Scream Inn (Scream Inn Welcomes Ebenezer Scrooge). Here is one of the Christmas Creations, followed by the masthead and the final panel of Scream Inn:


All 5 instalments of Frankie Stein were reprints of episodes of the original series in WHAM! by Ken Reid (from WHAM! issues 131, 28 (with half a page of the original episode unceremoniously chopped off), 35, 34 and 157).  

Match of the Season was a nice variation of Match of the Week. Here is the opening panel with a crowd of Shiver and Shake characters in the background:

A number of strips were unfamiliar to readers of the weeklies, all but one were reprints.  Menace of the Ghost Ship was a 16-page adventure thriller by Eric Bradbury that in fact was a heavily doctored reprint of Maxwell Hawke and the Ghost Ship that ran in Buster back in 1965. In the Shiver and Shake version Maxhwell Hawke the famous ghost hunter became Stirling Steel, while Hawke’s pretty assistant Jill Adair from Buster had a sex change and turned into Mark Tyme. Below are two opening pages from the Special, followed by the first episode of the original series in tabloid-size Buster dated 3rd April 1965:  

Wiz War was a reprint of the strip about two rival wizards Wizard Prang and Demon Druid that originated in POW! and continued in SMASH! 

Scatty Bat was a reprint of Batty Bat from the early Whizzer and Chips; the reprints appeared in Shiver and Shake specials and annuals but not in the weeklies.  

Ed was the only new strip but was actually a poorly drawn space-filler about a headless cavalier.

All in all, the Special made a very attractive package.

Friday, January 18, 2013


Important issues in 1973:
10th March, 1973 – first issue, free gift
17th March, 1973 – second issue, free gift
24th March, 1973 – third issue, free gift
21st April, 1973 (No. 7) – Easter issue
29th December, 1973 (No. 43) – Christmas issue

The comic started as a 36-page paper, SHIVER section was 20 pages and SHAKE section – 16. Both had full colour front and back covers, there was a date and IPC copyright year on both front covers; both sections had a coupon where readers could rank their favourite features in Shiver and Shake. The spook and the elephant were always on the front page (until issue 53 dated 9th March, 1974 when Frankie Stein took over) while the back page was permanently reserved for Creepy Creations. The full-colour front page of SHAKE pull-out section featured the Shake strip; Moana Lisa and The Desert Fox took turns on the colour back page and were occasionally ousted by Mirth Shakers that shared the page with Disney Movee Cavalcade adverts. In an unlikely event if you chose to follow the instructions on the front page of SHAKE section and separate SHAKE from SHIVER by opening up staples on the centre pages, you’d indeed end up with what looked like two self-contained papers.

Front page of SHAKE section in the first issue

Strips that started in the first issue (the ones highlighted in black were in SHIVER section, while those in blue – in SHAKE pull-out):

Shiver and Shake on the front page by Mike Lacey
Frankie Stein by Robert Nixon
Cackles from the Cave reader participation feature
The Duke’s Spook by Arthur Martin
Webster by Terry Bave
Scream Inn by Brian Walker
Biddy’s Beastly Bloomers by Sid Burgon
Who’d Kill Cockney Robin? By Tom Kerr
Shake by Mike Lacey
Lolly Pop initially by Reg Parlett then by Robert Nixon and Sid Burgon
The Desert Fox by Tom Williams
Gal Capone by Murray Ball
The Fixer
Match of the Week, initially by Leo Baxendale, then by Mike Brown, then by Mike Lacey
Damsel in Distress by Trevor Metcalfe
Shake a Leg editorial and Mirth Shaking Inventions reader participation features
Tough Nut and Softy Centre by Norman Mansbridge
Jail Birds
Sample Simon possibly by David Mostyn???
Moana Lisa by Peter Davidson
The Hand by Reg Parlett
Soggy the Sea Monster by Robert Nixon
Sweeny Toddler initially by Leo Baxendale
Horrornation St. by Tom Williams
Adrian’s Wall
Ye Haunted Lake possibly by Nigel Edwards???
Creepy Creations by Ken Reid

The first three issues came with free gifts. Here is how they were advertised on the front covers of their respective issues: 

The first issue came with four different gifts. Which one will you get? – ran the question on the front cover. The original owner of my copy got the joke ‘pencil’, leaving me with an empty package...

I gather from the description that a very similar freebie was offered with BUSTER dated 25th November 1997:

Here are instructions how to use the free gifts that came with the first and the second issues, and free gift advertisements in issues 1 and 2: 

Quite a few of the strips from the first issue survived the whole run of the comic (The Duke’s Spook, The Webster, Tough Nutt and Softy Centre, The Hand and Creepy Creations). Two strips from the first issue (Moana Lisa and Horrornation Street) nearly made it to the end and ceased in the penultimate issue. Four strips outlived the home comic by a good margin, they were Frankie Stein, Scream Inn, Lolly Pop and Sweeny Toddler, all of which migrated to Whoopee! after Shiver and Shake folded in 1974. Sweeny Toddler must have been the most successful of all because it outlived Whoopee! and continued in Whizzer and Chips after 1985.

The comic didn’t have an Editor’s column like COR!! Instead, the cover stars hosted reader participation features in their respective sections: Shiver the spook had half-a-page entitled Cackles from the Cave and encouraged readers to send their entries for the cacklesome contests in his section of the paper, offering a pocket money prize for every item published: 

Shake the elephant had a whole page entitled Shake a Leg. He invited readers to join in all the fun features that he had in store for them in SHAKE and was also generous with his pocket money prizes. Initially the Shake page had two reader participation features. In Mirth-Shaking Inventions readers were challenged to bend their imaginations and guess the purpose of different weird objects. Answers were provided in upside-down illustrations on the same page.  The page also had Elephant Jokes (one Elephant joke always appeared on the front page of the SHAKE section). Here is the first instalment of Shake a Leg in No. 1:

A third column of Shake a Leg called Trunk Call was added from issue No. 7 and was used to publish reader mail, one or two letters a week. Predictably, the majority of the mail was about how great the free gifts and the comic itself were and how necessary it was to place a regular order with the newsagent because it sold so quickly. One reader mentioned seeing the new comic advertised on the telly. Does anyone remember what the TV ad was like?..

The letter in the first instalment of Trunk Call had a comment that was signed by the Ed: 

Later the comments disappeared and resumed only in issue 21 but were made to sound as if they were  by Shake the host of the column rather than the Editor. Here is a selection of random Shake a Leg pages (the number in the corner of the coupon represents the issue number):

Both cover stars used their best effort to promote the comic. Shiver appeared in the ad in several issues and “a very special message from Shake” was printed in issue No. 16:

The paper may have not had an editor's column, but readers were well-familiar with the editor of SHIVER and his team because a strip called The Shiver Givers started in the 4th issue of the comic (31st March, 1973) and continued nearly to the end of the run. It featured the Editor of Shiver, Miss Nightshade the secretary and the freaks that inhabited the Shiver Office, all of whom were of course characters from Shiver section. Here is how the new feature was introduced in the 3rd issue of the paper (24th March, 1973): 

That said, I spotted two messages signed by the Editor in issues 4 and 6 (31st March, 1973 and 14th April, 1973). Presumably they were in response to letters from readers who wrote in to complain that their entries for the various competitions posted in the first weeks were ignored. 

The reaction of readers to the various contests in the new comic must have been quite overwhelming. The amount of entries for the Creepy Creations contest soon prompted the editors to add a page of Creepy Creations Runners-Up offering a weekly selection of the entries that didn’t quite make it to the star-spot on the back page but fully deserved to appear in print and attract a prize of 50 p. Creepy Creations Runners Up first appeared in issue No. 7 (21st April, 1973) and continued until issue No. 47 (26th January, 1974). Here are some nice examples:

Entries for SHAKE’s Mirth Shaking Inventions contest must have also been pouring in in large numbers: EXTRA Mirth Shaking Inventions was included for the first time in issue No. 8 (28th April, 1973) and appeared semi-regulary for a few months. Another Shake feature called Mirth Shakers was added from issue No. 28 (15th September, 1973) and appeared ocasionally until No. 63 (18th May, 1974):

Scream Inn challenge must have stirred the strongest reaction among readers, prompting the Innkeeper to make this extraordinary statement in issue No. 13 (2nd June, 1973): 

The challenge was only resumed in the first combined issue of Whoopee and Shiver and Shake some 16 months later.

Let’s take a look at the developments of the character lineup. Frankie Stein was 1 ½ pages long in the first three issues but was promoted to two full pages from issue No. 4 (31st March, 1973). The first major changes in the lineup took effect from issue No. 22 (4th August, 1973) when as many as four new strips were introduced: Ghouldilocks and Grimly Feendish replaced Adrian’s Wall and Biddy's Beastly Bloomer in SHIVER while Charlie Williams and Wizards Anonymous took the place of Gal Capone and Sample Simon in SHAKE. This is how the arrival of the 4 new features was announced in SHIVER AND SHAKE No. 21 (28th July, 1973):

Adventure serials deserve a special mention because they were puzzles in themselves where readers were encouraged to follow the story and look for clues to solve the mystery, or plot the characters’ travels on the map to enter for a prize draw in the end. 

The last thing worthwhile mentioning is the start of the Star Guest feature in issue No. 17 (30th June, 1973). Different star characters from IPC companion comics appeared in the pages of Shiver and Shake (just like Shiver and Shake stars were showcased in other comics). By then Knockout had already merged into WHIZZER AND CHIPS, so in the middle of 1973 the exchanges involved just COR!!, SHIVER AND SHAKE and WHIZZER AND CHIPS. WHOOPEE! joined in later on.

Speaking of advertisements in SHIVER AND SHAKE, they promoted developments in the life of the paper (such as the arrival of new characters or the Christmas Holiday Special), new characters/free gifts in sister publications (COR!! in particular) and important market developments, like first issues of new papers (such as Football Star or Goofy and Also Pluto) or mergers of the existing ones (Knockout and Whizzer and Chips).  Commercial ads promoted Cadbury’s chocolates, Disney movies and products, chewing gum, post stamps, Scripto colours, Chimp patches and the gold spinner from Revell.

Here is the front cover of the 1973 Christmas issue, followed by a picture of the original artwork kindly sent to me by my mate Derek who took it before selling the piece on eBay some time ago:

Strips and features that started later in 1973:
Shiver Givers
Creepy Creations Runners-up
Comics College
The Terrible Trail to Taggart's Treasure (adventure, 2 pages)
Star Guest from COR!!, Whizzer and Chips
Charlies Williams
Wizards Anonymous (2 pages)
Grimly Feendish
Extra Mirth-Shaking Inventions
Eagle-Eye (adventure, 2 pages)
Malice in Wonderland (adventure, 2 pages)

Strips that ended in 1973:
Biddy’s Beastly Bloomers
Who'd Kill Cockney Robin? (reached the natural end)
Gal Capone
Jail Birds
Sample Simon
Adrian’s Wall
Ye Haunted Lake
Comics College
The Terrible Trail to Taggart's Treasure (reached the natural end)
Malice in Wonderland (reached the natural end)

Shiver and Shake managed a special and an annual in its first year but I’ll leave them for later because this post is already way too long as it is...