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, June 29, 2020

Echoes of the Cold War in FUDGE AND THE MIKROMEN story by KEN REID

Fudge and the Mikromen was the 25th tale in Ken Reid’s Fudge the Elf saga. The 408-panel, 136-strip story ran in The Manchester Evening News from August 17th, 1959 till January 23rd, 1960. The Cold War was in full swing at the time; the possibility of an all-out nuclear conflict was very real – and not just in people’s minds. Ken Reid was very hung up on the Cold War. Always worried about Russia, he followed the news religiously all the time. Fudge and the Mikromen was a product of his worries, and a reflection of the fears that many people experienced at that time.

It started like this:

The crumpets are disappearing beneath Speck’s bed. The two elves investigate, and find a mysterious mechanism:

The glass sphere rises up and a loud voice from the inside tells them they are looking at planet Mikros II. The voice invites Fudge and Speck to visit the planet and observe the manner of living of its people. An invisible Mikro-ray shrinks the two friends to microscopic size, and they are transported to the inside of the planet by means of a flying mechanism used by the aliens to cut the elves’ crumpets into small pieces – it turns out the inhabitants of Mikros II commandeered the crumpets to save themselves from famine due to failed harvest.
En route to the planet, the voice tells them a few things about Mikros II:

Upon arrival, they are greeted by a local who is appointed their courier during the visit. His name is Mikroman 163, but his friends call him Mike:

Mike tells them more about Mikros II:

The tour takes them to the rural counties where rain can be ordered from central computer to water the crops; they also visit a dairy farm with no cows:

The most important thing that Fudge and Speck learn from Mike is that the planet is ruled by Ion – a vast complicated machine, an electronic brain incapable of error:

The happy tour ends abruptly as Grimm, the evil ruler of Mikro II's sister planet Mikro I, launches an attack on the defenseless peaceful planet and issues an ultimatum – surrender within 24 hours, or their next rocket will carry the power of total destruction.

The destruction of the mighty electronic brain that rules and guides Mikromen in everything, sends Mike into panic, but Fudge refuses to believe that the planet is incapable of fending for itself:

The three friends rush to see the Central Control Committee:

It turns out Mikromen do have a special powerful bomb, to be employed should they ever be attacked from outer space. Trouble is, the weapon is sealed up in level X:

Realising that unless they retrieve the bomb, Mikro II must either surrender, or be totally destroyed, Fudge and Speck immediately volunteer, and Mike, embarrassed, joins them.

Access to Level X is through the Central Reform Centre where criminals are purged of sin by the Mentalfilter, before their evil thought-matter is siphoned to Level X. Fudge and Speck witness the effect of the machine:

Mentalfilter operator warns them against descending to Level X but soon realises that they are determined to do that no matter what, so he gives them some essential protective gear:

The party descends into the gloomy depths of Level X overflown with giant fungus growths. The trio struggle with urges to turn violent on each other as the evil thoughts extracted from thousands of criminal minds try to re-establish themselves in their heads, until they finally come across the missile:

Evil thoughts pool resources for their last collective effort:

Mike’s unprotected brain is overwhelmed and he turns against his two companions:

Mike knocks himself out as he falls on his head, and evil thoughts can’t influence a mind that is blacked out. Fudge and Speck take Mike and the bomb back to the upper level where the Mikroman is immediately processed by Mentalfilter and becomes his normal self again:

The war of nerves begins as the two planets exchange threats:

Grimm, the evil ruler of Mikro I,  finds out that his opponents posses a deadly weapon that will destroy his planet, but dismisses the news as bluff.

It looks like both tiny sister planets are now doomed:

There’s still hope that the two rockets will collide and explode midway between Mikros I and Mikros II, but alas...

... Then something happens and both bombs explode in outer space before reaching their targets:

Filled with blind rage at the failure to destroy Mikros II, Grimm rushes to launch another deadly missile but its scaffolding fails and the bomb crushes the evil ruler:

On Mikros II, humanoids are scratching their heads as they try to figure out what caused the two bombs to explode and prevent the catastrophe, when they hear the familiar voice of Ion from the loudspeakers:

Ion carries on, scolding the inhabitants of both planets. War minister Rath makes a claim to power as Grimm’s successor, but the people of Mikros I demand to be ruled by Ion:

Mike gets a space taxi and transports his elfin companions from Mikros II (which had been hovering at the ceiling of Speck’s bedroom all the time) to Speck’s dressing table, where Mikro-rays transform Fudge and Speck back to their normal proportions, and the story comes to a happy ending:

I think Fudge and the Mikromen was a powerful story, especially considering its Cold War context. Ken had a free hand writing his Fudge tales, and if this one is to be construed as his views on the future, it seems he had little faith in human reason and wisdom, and believed that artificial intelligence was humankind’s only chance…

This is the third of Ken's Fudge the Elf stories I have covered in a similar manner on my blog. You can check out FUDGE AND THE MAGIC BOOK here and here, and SPECK'S INVENTIONS here and here.

If you haven't bought THE POWER PACK OF KEN REID, the collection is available on eBay or from my e-shop here: https://www.kazoop-comics-shop.com/

Thursday, June 25, 2020


In my previous post I said it was going to be the last in WHOOPEE! series for now, but I thought I might do another quick one… 

Only 13 issues were published in 1985 – the comic’s last year before it was absorbed by WHIZZER AND CHIPS, and although the paper was about to fold, I think 1985 was the year when readers saw some of the best WHOOPEE! covers. Here are a few that I find the most unusual and striking:

This doesn’t apply to the front cover of the last issue that I think was rather bland:

It had this announcement on the centre pages:

And here is the cover of the first combined issue that arrived a week later and coincided with Easter:

Characters are © Rebellion Publishing Ltd

Saturday, June 13, 2020


Compared to the year before, 1984 was a lot more generous in terms of WHOOPEE! pull-outs and free gifts... 

The four issues of 10th, 17th, 24th and 31st March, 1984 contained Sweeny Toddler's Naughty Booklet and confirmed that Sweeny Toddler had re-established his unshakable status of WHOOPEE!’s number one star. 

The booklet was given both sides of one page in all of the four issues, so it was 16 pages thick when fully assembled. It had colour front and back covers and centre pages, the rest was in black and white. The illustrator was the one and only Tom Paterson:

The issue with the cover date of 5th May, 1984 had a free Heinz Invaders badge:

… and carried this advert on one of its pages:

The next four issues of 12th, 19th, 26th May and 2nd June, 1984 had the Creepy Comix pull-out booklet.

The 16-page booklet was drawn mostly by Nigel Edwards or maybe Ian Knox, with a few pages by other artists:

The first of the four issues with the Creepy Comix booklet (12 May, 1984) also had a little extra and arrived with a pack of Free Fryers Phantom sweets, not present with my copy.

The next cut-out booklet came after a short break of just one week. The four issues of 16th, 23rd, 30th June and 7th July, 1984 carried Whoopee TV pull-out booklet:

It was another 16-pager, drawn exclusively by J Edward Oliver:

The first issue with the Whoopee TV pull-out booklet (16 June, 1984) also had a Free Gift from Weetabix - Shrinkies - Make me into BADGE… KEY FOB… PENDANT. I don’t have the gift but here is an image that I found online:

In August 1984 IPC launched Shoot! Football Magazine, and ran four-page adverts of the new periodical on the centre pages of WHOOPEE! issues cover-dated 25th August:

...and 15th September:

Whoopee Comic Turns Quiz and Jokes Booklet was that year’s fourth cut-out booklet and was presented with the issues of 22th & 29th September and 6th & 13th October, 1984:

Besides the page of the booklet, the issue of 29th September carried an advert of Christmas Annuals on its four centre pages. The layout of the first page looks shockingly familiar, doesn’t it? 

The centre pages of the next issue (20th October, 1984) advertised the arrival of the first issue of Big K computer magazine:

…followed a week later by the indispensable Guy Fawkes mask by Brian Walker in the issue cover-dated 27th October, 1984:

Finally, the four November issues (3rd, 10th, 17th and 24th) came with the second Sweeny Toddler booklet that year. The issue of 13th November also had three Free Stinky Stickers that are not present with my copy.

All four cut-out booklets offered earlier in 1984 followed the same uniform design: they had 16 pages, with colour front and back covers + colour centrespreads. This one, however, was different:  it was named Sweeny’s Baby Comic and purported to be the World’s Smallest Comic. After detaching the cut-out page from the comic, one was supposed to cut it in half again before folding, and after four weeks the result was a 32-page booklet that was four times smaller than the page of the comic:

The mini-comic was the last pull out in 1984, and also the last one in WHOOPEE! The days of the comic were already numbered: after the issue of 30th March, 1985 it was merged into WHIZZER AND CHIPS, and ceased to exist as such…

This blogpost concludes the long series of 13 yearly overviews of the posters, free gifts, pull outs and other goodies that came with WHOOPEE! during its exciting lifetime, spanning the period from 1974 till 1985. You can revisit the series by clicking Whoopee pull-outs at the bottom of the ‘Labels’ column on the right.

Characters are © Rebellion Publishing Ltd