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.

Sunday, March 9, 2014


In case you didn’t know, in the mid-70s Frankie Stein was the big star in WHOOPEE! - another IPC comic of the time. Originally from WHAM! comic of the mid-60s, the character was revived in the short-lived but excellent SHIVER AND SHAKE and found himself in WHOOPEE! when the two titles were merged in 1974. I wrote a couple of detailed blogposts on Frankie Stein in my SHIVER AND SHAKE series, you can revisit them HERE and HERE.

When preparations to launch MFC took off in 1975, Frankie Stein was at the pinnacle of his stardom so IPC editorial staff probably decided he had become too big for just one comic and came up with an idea to capitalise on his fame by nominating him ‘honorary editor’ of their new paper with horror comedy as the main theme.

Frankie Stein made his editorial debut on page two of the first issue of MFC, welcoming his fans with a special message. The drawing was by Robert Nixon, who was in charge of the character in Whoopee! A cropped version of this drawing was later reused a few times in Frankie Stein’s editorials and elsewhere, as you will see later on in this post. Speaking of Frankie Stein’s messages, they were a regular feature throughout 1975 and ran nearly every week until issue 22 (8th November, 1975). After that they disappeared until the Holiday Season of 1975 and can be found in issues 28 and 29 (20th and 27th December, 1975). The last one ever was in the second issue of 1976 (No. 31). The messages were Frankie Stein’s rostrum for promoting various fun features in the current or the next week’s issue. Starting from issue 4 they usually appeared on Frankie’s Diary page and sometimes included a ‘Frankie-type joke’. Here are some examples:

Being the big star that he was, Frankie Stein made front cover appearances in issues 9, 29 and 48:

There were also instances when his mug was in the top right corner of the front page beside MFC logo, bellowing special messages such as these:

…but not necessarily:

Frankie Stein appeared on several pull-outs: he received his own poster in issue 20 and was the dominant figure in Frankie’s Monster Mountain pull-out game (No. 29) and Monster Fun Easter Eggrace Easter pull-out game (No. 46). Frankie’s pull-out Book of Monster Gags in No. 49 carried his name on the front cover but otherwise had nothing to do with him. Frankie Stein was also one of the characters whose cut-out badge was offered in issue 22.

Let’s take a look inside the paper and see how the Honorary Editor was represented there.

Frankie had two strips of his own in MFC – Freaky Frankie and Frankie’s Diary, both ran concurrently and were illustrated by Sid Burgon. Freaky Frankie was a simple newspaper-type strip without speech balloons, usually consisting of three panels. Check out some examples below. The strip first appeared in issue 14 and continued regularly until issue 42 (27th March, 1976). Later on it appeared only occasionally and the last one can be found in No.  71 (16th October, 1976).

Frankie’ Diary was more interesting. It started in MFC No. 2 under the headline Frankie’s Own Freaky Fun Page, then continued without a headline until issue 12 (the space at the top of the page was usually occupied by Frankie Stein’s messages; in issue 7 the page was headlined Frankie’s Page and the headline Frankie’s Diary was first used in No. 8, only to be dropped again a week later). It then took a break until No. 20 and from that issue till the end of the run the page came to be known as Frankie’s Diary. The episode in issue No. 20 is also notable because it was the only one drawn by Robert Nixon. Here is the first set from MFC No. 2 and Bob Nixon’s set from No. 20:

The title of the strip tells it all, really – it was a diary written by the friendly monster himself, telling readers about his misdaventures during the week. It was different from Frankie’s antics in WHOOPEE! because in MFC there was less of Prof. Cube so he didn’t have to suffer as much as he did in the other comic. In Frankie’s Diary most of the humour was at Frankie’s own expense. 

In a few early episodes Frankie’s week consisted of seven days:

… but normally he wrote his diary five days a week:  

…unless special circumstances dictated that it had to be cut to four or three days only:

Later on, six days became standard. No explanation for the exclusion of Sunday was offered, perhaps it was Frankie’s day off… Most likely though it was because pages looked less cluttered with only six entries of the diary:

There were two participation features involving the Honorary Editor. Letters of Frankie was a regular feature throughout the run of the paper. I won’t go into details because the letters column has already been covered in the yearly overviews HERE and HERE

The other one went by the headline Ticklish Allsorts and had little to do with Frankie Stein, except that he was the presenter and the feature always carried his portrait in the corner (in fact, the portrait was a cropped version of the same old drawing by Rob Nixon first used in Frankie’s editorial in MFC No. 1). Readers were invited to contribute “something amusing” and collect the award of a pound for every entry printed. Each week editorial staff would deliver an assortment of those amusing reader contributions to Les Barton who’d produce detailed sets that IMHO are a treat to the eye. They were usually half-a-page long but sometimes Les Barton did a full page. Here are some examples. Aren’t they brilliant!

Ticklish Allsorts was introduced in issue 23 and lasted until the end of the paper, missing a few weeks in between (34, 48, 52, 55, 56, 62, 64, 65, 68 and 72).

In order for this account of Frankie Stein’s appearances in MFC weeklies to be complete, I will also mention Frankie’s Fun Feature – a spot-the-difference kind of puzzle in issue 9; another one like this can be found in issue 19.

And finally, Frankie Stein also featured in a number of IPC in-house advertisements promoting summer specials (Shiver and Shake Summer Special in Nos. 2 and 3, Frankie Stein Summer Special in No. 54), annuals (Whoopee! Book of Frankie Stein in Nos. 16 and 19, Monster Fun Annual 1977 in Nos. 66 and 69) and other comics (Whoopee! in Nos. 35 and 38). Here are a couple of examples:

It remains to be checked, but I have a feeling that the Honorary Editor sometimes made the odd guest appearance in other strips of the paper, such as in Draculass in No. 51:

And now, on with reviews of individual strips and Kid Kong is first in line!


  1. I can see you read every page again Wow!! the detail is amazing!!
    Kid Kong next is going to be good..
    As you say the Les Barton pages are very good and eye catching..
    This long post has appeared in my blog list!? which is strange...

    1. I am puzzled about those appearances and non-appearances of my new posts on other people's blog lists. I have a feeling it may have to do with the number and different sizes of the illustrations included, but I'm not sure.

  2. It's strange, but even 'though Frankie Stein enjoyed new popularity in the '70s (and I was buying the comics he appeared in), I still mainly associate him with Wham! in the '60s. I wonder if that's because the absence of Micky (except in reprints) somehow changed the strip's dynamic to such an extent that it didn't really seem like the same Frankie in some way. I enjoyed Bob Nixon's depiction of the character, but Ken Reid's remains the definitive one in my opinion. It was good to see a character from my boyhood revived in my teenage years 'though.

    1. IMHO, an explanation may be in the simple truth that Mr.Reid’s version was objectively better and more striking than those offered by other artists later on. Of course, I am speaking from my perspective as an adult who first saw the character some 5 or 6 years ago.
      To me, the Frankie Stein you remember from your WHAM-reading days comes across as a character aimed towards readers in their early teens, whereas the later version from Shiver and Shake and Whoopee was tailored more to the interests of younger readers. If we accept that this is true, then both your exposures to the character came at the wrong period in your life… :)))

    2. If true, then obviously I must have been an extremely intelligent and discerning child to appreciate a strip aimed at teens. (I think I'll ignore the other side of the coin; that I must've been an extremely backward teen to appreciate strips aimed at kids.)