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.

Monday, July 14, 2014


The first WHOOPEE! BOOK OF FRANKIE STEIN was chronologically the second Frankie Stein publication and came out for the Christmas of 1975. The advert in MONSTER FUN COMIC dated 27th September, 1975 announced it was due to go on sale on 1st October. The softcover book had 128 pages and cost 75 p. Apart from bright front and back covers it was all b/w, printed on coarse pulp paper prone to heavy browning (hence the weird colour of the majority of images included in this post – the result of my efforts to make them look better…).

WHOOPEE! BOOK OF FRANKIE STEIN 1976 followed the pattern set in the first FS Summer Special: some content was Frankie Stein-related and some wasn’t. I have counted 61 pages of the former variety – that’s less than a half of the book. This is a Frankie Stein publication so let’s deal with that part of the content first. Less than one third was puzzles, mazes, gags or other features named after Frankie (e.g. Frankie’s Personal Disaster Diary):

Just like in the first FS Summer Special, both spot-the-difference puzzles were in fact pieces of Bob Nixon’s artwork taken from Shiver and Shake weekly comics (Seeing Double was the front cover of Shiver and Shake No. 61 (4th May, 1974) and Double Trouble with Frankie swinging a tank holding it by the gun was a panel from the episode in Shiver and Shake No. 53 (9th March, 1974)).

One thing that I find interesting about those Frankie Stein publications is that artists who’d never had anything to do with the friendly monster were often asked to draw something for the specials or books. We’ll see a lot of this in later publications. In WHOOPEE! BOOK OF FRANKIE STEIN 1976 it was two pages of Frankie's Funspots by Jim Crocker and this contribution of Cliff Brown:

Enough about puzzles, let’s look at Frankie Stein strips which occupied 39 pages (42 if we count both covers and the “this book belongs to” page). There were four brand new Frankie Stein tales, all drawn by Bob Nixon, and Frankie Stein in Funtastic Voyage (6 pages) is first in line. Contrary to what the title suggests, it was not Frankie but Prof. Cube who went on that voyage. He accidentally swallowed some shrinking pills which he had hoped to use on Frankie, and Frankie ate him up with his bun. That’s how Prof. Cube found himself inside Frankie’s body. Looking at these panels I can’t help thinking about Ken Reid’s The Nervs in SMASH!:

T.V. Frankie Stein was a two-pager in which Frankie went through a lot of trouble to visit the girl of his dreams but got bitterly disappointed in the end. Quite an unusual set, IMHO:

Frankie Stein Time Traveller was the third new tale (an 8-pager) in which Prof. Cube persuaded his troublesome creation to try out a time machine in hope that he’d get lost in time. Frankie’s first stop was in the Wild West where he accepted Sheriff’s position and rid the town of some nasty red Indians and then Black Jake the robber:

His second stop was in the times of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table where he took part in a tournament and jousted against the evil knight Sir Vile before making it home safely.

1976 Winter Olympics were near so a Frankie Stein winter sports story was an appropriate proposition. Frankie Stein in Winter Sports was a 6-pager in which Prof. Cube came up with an idea that entering Frankie in the Olympics might be a good way to get rid of him for good:

Bob Nixon redrew the last panel of the second page shown above for the back cover of this book:

There were three pages of Freaky Frankie – a strip without speech balloons by an unknown artist whose drawing style I don’t find very appealing:

There were also 12 pages of reprints of Frankie Stein episodes by Ken Reid from WHAM!, but I’ll discuss them further down in this post.

Frank McDiarmid contributed one new Frankie Stein tale - Professor Cube – Inventor! (a 6-pager) in which Frankie Stein played a minor part opposite Dad. It was a story about Prof. Cube’s inventing misadventures in his pre-Frankie days:

…which of course were now over and long-forgotten:

Mr. McDiarmid was also the only contributor of new non-Frankie-Stein strip content in this book. Weird Wolf was a tale about a ghost wolf whose most favourite pastime was howling at the Moon, much to the annoyance of the population of the town of Dullton who tried different schemes to get rid of the pest. Two episodes (a three-pager and a two-pager) were included in this book. Here's a taste:

The second new non-Frankie-Stein strip by Mr. McDiarmid was The Movie Makers, two 4-page episodes can be found in this book. It is about daft International Film Studios who had no clue how to make movies. Their first one was so horrible that it became a blockbuster as the ‘World’s Most Horrific Film’ and made them believe they could do more of the kind:

The rest of non-Frankie-Stein comic strip content was reprints. The strips they chose to reprint were already familiar to readers of the first FS Summer Special: Ghost Ship (3 episodes, originally from SMASH!), The Haunts of Headless Harry (3 episodes, originally from SMASH! as well), Crabbe’s Crusaders (adventure tale, one episode spanning 8 pages, originally from BUSTER) and best of all - Mervyn’s Monsters. Drawn by Leo Baxendale, the strip originally appeared in BUSTER in the late 60s and was a tale of the epic struggle between two opposing secret services – M.U.M. (Mervyn’s Undercover Monsters) and C.R.U.S.H (Crafty Rascals’ Union of Saboteurs and Hoodlums, headed by Oscar Mush). The original run consisted of a number of serialised stories, and the 18-pager reprinted in this book was Mervyn’s Monsters Starring in the Incredible Abominable Snowmen Adventure that started in Buster AND GIGGLE dated 16th March, 1968 (note that this is not the first episode of the original series). Check out the opening pages in Buster and WHOOPEE! BOOK OF FRANKIE STEIN 1976:

Getting back to Frankie Stein but keeping on the subject of reprints, the book contains quite a few  episodes by Ken Reid. Originally they are from WHAM! Nos. 43, 46, 54, 47, 75, 68 (listed here in the order of appearance of reprints in the Book). As always, the original one-pagers were tampered with and converted into two-pagers, therefore the total page count of Ken Reid artwork comes to 12. Check out an example from WHAM! and compare it with the doctored version in the Book. They certainly took liberties with the original…

From WHAM! No. 68, 2nd October, 1965

Reprint in Whoopee! Book of Frankie Stein 1976

WHOOPEE! BOOK OF FRANKIE STEIN 1976 also had a fair amount of ‘monster’ and ‘horror’ non-comic strip features that weren’t related to Frankie Stein, e.g. Man Made Monsters (photos of giant machines and structures with some factual details), Screen Scream (screenshots from horror movies with humorous speech balloons), Spot the Star (mugshots of contemporary stars with Frankenstein forehead, hairdo and neck-bolts attached) and Monsters of the Screen (screenshots of monsters from various films). As you can see, this book was very much in the horror comedy genre so it was a suitable substitute for MONSTER FUN COMIC annual 1976 which IPC didn’t have time to put together in the first year of MFC. It is probably not by coincidence that IPC ran a series of adverts in MFC weeklies, and Frankie mentioned the book on a number of occasions in his letters section.


  1. I've got this book, but never got the second the following year (that I remember). Must look out for a copy one day. Another interesting, well-researched and nicely illustrated post, Irmantas. Now send me all your comics.

    1. I will cover the second FS book in a week or so, there's lots of goodness there!

  2. Another excellent looking book I missed and need to get (will have to stop reading your blog at this rate) -- I love the Mervyn's Monsters page, Baxendale just managed to make fun pages - thanks for showing that

    Well I better get back trawling ebay and Amazon for these two books before anyone else gets them.

    1. I blame reading various blogs and comics forums for lots and lots of my purchases on eBay and from various online dealers :))

  3. Incidentally, I've DEFINITELY seen other things by whoever did Freaky Frankie. I'll get back to you on that once I've remembered where I saw them.

  4. More tinkering with the original dialogue, alas! At least SOME of it’s been left alone. It’s probably not worth my asking if Reid got any reprint payments – very few IPC/Fleetway artists did.

  5. I too doubt that Mr. Reid go paid for reprints of his work. I hear he kept records of all his payments which all survive in his family archive. Perhaps one day the archive will become available to the public and we can find out answers to many questions.

  6. Although not directly related to these books, I have several Odhams file copies of POW, Smash and Wham with the original payment fees noted in them for some "Frankie" (and other) pages - interesting to see that for the time, at Odhams at least the artists got paid quite well (compared to the average salary in the 60s) I hear its not as good today in the UK)

    1. I suspect that some of those Smash! ones could've belonged to me before I passed them on to someone, McScotty. I used to have the complete bound file copies for the first year with the payments on each page. Luckily, I still have the other bound volumes of the first two years without the prices. (Odhams kept two for each year, apparently.)