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.

Showing posts with label Kid Chameleon. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kid Chameleon. Show all posts

Saturday, May 5, 2012


Kid Chameleon and the Mystery of the Old Gondola (5 weeks from 1st January, 1972 until 29th January, 1972, issue Nos. 83 – 87)
Walking the streets of Venice, Kid Chameleon sees a sack thrown into the canal out of the window and it turns out there’s a human being inside. Kid rescues a skinny boy by the name of Pietro Spogetti and finds out that the fat man who has just tried to get rid of him was the boy's uncle Mario. Kid Chameleon teaches Mario a lesson by kicking him down the stairs. Kid thinks he has done a good deed, but the boy tells him he has only made things much worse: the uncle is very powerful because he owns many gondolas and makes much money. The boy only has one gondola left to him by his father and he works very hard to make a living. Mario has tried to buy the boy out because he wanted to have all gondolas but Pietro refused, so now Mario beats and bullies him every day. Now that Kid has beaten Mario, he has made things much worse for poor Pietro. At that very moment the two boys are confronted by Mario’s friends who threaten to beat them up. Kid Camouflages himself and defeats the thugs but amidst the commotion, Mario tows Pietro’s gondola away: 

From COR!! issue dated 15th January, 1972 (No. 85)
Kid dives into the canal and goes after Mario in order to force him tell the truth why he wants the old gondola so badly. Mario disappears in the traffic of the Grand Canal but Kid finds him again with the help of his lizard friends. Mario has brought the gondola to the edge of a lagoon on the outskirts of the city and started breaking it up with his axe. Having smashed the prow of Pietro’s gondola, Mario retrieves some precious paper but Kid grabs it from his hand. The paper has drawings of a gondola that can make man a fortune. Pietro can now develop his Dad’s gondola while Mario pays for his crimes in a prison cell. Kid’s quest continues.

Kid Chameleon Enters for the European Cross-Country Race (6 weeks from 5th February, 1972 until 11th March, 1972, issue Nos. 88 – 93)
Kid reaches the Italian city of Pisa. He witnesses some posh English youngsters pester a poor artist. Kid intercedes for the poor old fellow and the bullies begin ridiculing him. The artist tells him they are English schoolboys entered for the European cross-country race and the big one is Clive Smythe, British Schools’ Champion, the favourite in the race. The bullies have more fun at Kid’s expense when they persuade him to hold the leaning tower of Pisa so it doesn’t fall. Kid becomes really furious for being made a fool. At first it looks as if the snobbish Clive is going to have the upper hand thanks to his judo skills, but Kid plays his own game and Clive ends up in a fountain. The bullies chase Kid but they are not fast enough. Frank Carter, the sports’ master in charge of the four British boys, is fascinated because Kid has just outrun his best athletes: 

From COR!! issue dated 12th February, 1972 (No. 89)
Carter offers to enter Kid for the European Cross-country race. Kid agrees because he sees it as a chance to beat Clive, but Clive’s plan is to put Kid out of the race. On the day of the race Clive spills some drawing pins on the track. Kid injures his bare feet and goes through a lot of pain and trouble before he finally wins the race with the help of his lizard friends.

Kid Chameleon Brings the Murderer to Justice (5 weeks from March 18th, 1972 until 15th April, 1972, issue Nos. 94 – 98)
Kid crosses the border from Italy into Switzerland. He slips down the slope and crashes into the bottom of a fat school-teacher who is out on a nature ramble with her pupils. The lady smacks him on the head with a newspaper for hitting her and calling her fat. Kid can’t believe his eyes because the newspaper has a photograph of the man he is after. Kid asks the teacher to read the report and learns that the man on the photo is an Englishman and well-known international thief called Matthew Blain. He is now trapped by the police on the upper slopes of a mountain known as the White Tower. Kid arrives at the foot of the mountain and discovers it is all sealed-off by the police. Using his talents, Kid slips past the cordon and reaches the upper slopes. After a lot of shooting and a mountain slide Kid attacks Blain and renders him powerless. The boy demands to know the truth about his parents’ death and Blain tells the story:

Final episode of Kid Chameleon in COR!! issue dated 15th April, 1972 (No. 98)

And that was the end of the tale about Kid Chameleon (a.k.a. Gavin Webb as we now know).

Kid Chameleon’s adventures weren’t limited to COR!! weeklies. Two short stories also appeared in the annuals – 1972 COR!! annual and an obscure BIRTHDAY BOOK FOR BOYS 1972.

The scene of the 6-pager in COR!! 1972 annual is set in East Africa. Kid Chameleon saves Jill Carter and her Dad’s money from the wicked crooks Trent and the Carnival Strongman Samson who are plotting to escape with the takings of the carnival. The episode was illustrated by a different artist but I can’t identify who. Here's a sample page:

The episode in the BIRTHDAY BOOK FOR BOYS 1972 was 8 pages long. Kid Chameleon is in a small East African town where he foils the plans of Baxter and his accomplice Basher who have disguised themselves as artists to rob the local bank. Illustrated by Ian Kennedy. Here are the last two pages of the short story:

Thursday, May 3, 2012


Kid Chameleon beats a Gang of Child Kidnappers (13 weeks from 3rd July, 1971 until 25th September, 1971, issue Nos. 57 – 69)
By now Kid Chameleon has reached the outskirts of a big industrial town in East Africa. He tries to seek shelter from a dust storm and ends up on board a cargo airplane. Kid resists the pilots’ efforts to seize the stowaway. In the course of the fight the boy tumbles on the instruments panel and smashes half of it to pieces. The plane crash-lands in Egypt and Kid loses his pursuers by climbing over a wall of a posh oriental residence. He meets Musti Fatah, owner of the house. Upon hearing that the intruder is wanted by authorities for running off after the plane crash, Musti Fatah realises that Kid’s presence endangers his own plans. To prevent his house from being searched, the wealthy merchant decides to hand Kid over to the authorities and throws him into his dungeon. There Kid finds himself in the company of an Arab boy who is held captive. The boy’s name is Ali Hassan, he is son of a wealthy Bedouin Sheik. Ali tells Kid that Musti Fatah plans to take him across the desert to Cairo and demand a high ransom. Fatah overhears them talking and realises that Kid now knows the truth and has to be disposed of as soon as they reach the desert. The thugs roll the boys up in carpets and load them onto camels. The lizard boy manages to escape and follows the caravan at safe distance in order to try and rescue Ali. He suffers an accident and is picked up by some Bedouin camel riders led by Sheikh Hassan, father of Ali. Kid tells him about the trouble that his son is in and the Bedouins ride towards the oasis of El Kabir to look for the snivelling snake-eyed merchant Fatah, unaware that he and his men had dug a deadly trap for any unwanted pursuers.  A fight breaks out. Fatah escapes carrying Ali away with him:

From COR!! issue dated 11th September, 1971 (No. 67)
The Sheikh is prepared to yield to the black-hearted merchant’s demands for a ransom of two million piasters for Ali’s safe return but Kid Chameleon thinks of a clever plan and finally foils the kidnapper’s evil plot assisted by his reptilian friends. The Sheikh reunites with his son and Bedouins capture the merchant who will now meet the justice that he deserves. Kid continues his long and wearying quest for the man who shot his parents.

Kid Chameleon helps American Oilmen Deal with Arab Terrorist Rebels (7 weeks from 2nd October, 1971 until 13th November, 1971, issue Nos. 70 - 76)
Kid is now in Egypt, walking along an oil pipeline that runs along the river Nile. Suddenly he is seized by some jeep-riding angry American “lily-skins”. The Americans tell him that for months now a bunch of rebels has been sabotaging their rigs and pipelines and they believe that Kid is one of them. Kid realises he is being blamed wrongly. The lizard boy uses his talents and makes a rough escape. As the oilmen drive off, their jeep gets bombed. Kid rushes to the scene and sees two men with guns who are going to finish the Americans off. Kid intervenes and the would-be assassins run for their lives. An ambulance comes from the oil rig. The two oilmen accuse Kid of blowing their jeep and Kid can’t escape this time. They take him to their camp and lock him up in the paint store. A mysterious figure with a stocking mask unlocks his door and starts shooting at him with a catapult. A messy fight breaks out and Kid soon finds out that his attacker is a red-haired girl by the name of Mary-Lou McGraw who has come to get even with him for what he did to her Dad. Kid escapes from the store and takes the girl with him so that she can’t raise alarm until he is far away. Suddenly he sees the same two men who tried to kill the girl’s father breaking into the camp. Kid is going to capture them by climbing onto a derrick and dropping on them with force but it turns out that the derrick is the Arabs’ target and they blow it up:

From COR!! issue dated 30th October, 1971 (No. 74)
Kid’s fall is broken by water in the fractured tank. The girl sees the villainous Arabs as well and she now believes Kid's innocence. But her Dad and the other drillers who are trapped in a bunkhouse must be saved. Kid calls his lizard friends for help; they dig a tunnel under the flames and Kid wiggles into the bunkhouse where the situation is becoming desperate. The men crawl to safety through the tunnel. Mary-Lou tells them about Kid and they realise he had nothing to do with the rebels. Kid is determined to bring the terrorists to justice. He picks up the villains’ trail and soon catches up with them. The Arabs are driving to Alexandria to get some sleep. Camouflaged, Kid uses a signpost to pin the two rebels down.

Kid Chameleon’s First Encounter with the Man Who Murdered his Parents (6 weeks from 20th November, 1971 until 25th December, 1971, issue Nos. 77 – 82)
Kid is now in Alexandria, Egypt. He sees two men fighting and Kid scares the attacker off. The robbed man tells Kid that no one knows the thief’s identity but every time he strikes he leaves a strange sign as his trademark of crime. The sign is exactly like the badge of Kid’s parents’ killer. The scent leads Kid to the port where a big passenger liner is about to depart and he knows that the wicked man is on board. Kid sneaks into the liner. He realises it won’t be so easy to spot the villain in the crowd of passengers. He decides to try the dining saloon and thinks chandelier is the best vantage point. Kid burns himself on hot light bulbs, crashes down and causes a mess: 

From COR!! issue dated 4th December, 1971 (No. 79)
Waiters grab Kid and take him to the captain who never did like stowaways very much. Captain orders to lock Kid up until they dock in Italy. Upon arrival Italian authorities are ready to take him ashore. Suddenly Kid sees the skull and dagger emblem on the bag of one of the disembarking passengers and realises that at long last he is staring into the face of the man who had shot his parents. Kid escapes from his guards and then the dock area. Camouflaged, he runs through the streets of the city where Christmas activities are taking place but the man disappears in the crowd and the quest has to begin all over again.

The next and final post dedicated to Kid Chameleon will cover the last three stories of the saga: Kid Chameleon and the Mystery of the Old Gondola; Kid Chameleon Enters for the European Cross-Country Race and Kid Chameleon Brings the Murderer to Justice, plus two stories from the annuals.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


Kid Chameleon and the Treasure of Ghouli Cavern (7 weeks from 9th January, 1971 until 27th February, 1971, issue Nos. 32 – 39)
Kid Chameleon is still in East Africa. Little lad Stevie Parker is captured by two hard-faced brothers Len and Sammy Bolton. They board their boat and sail off without noticing that Kid has sneaked on board in hope he can help Stevie later. A mile out at sea a big ship rides at anchor. Kid tries to sneak into the ship but is spotted and caught by a hideous tattooed Indian with Mohican hairstyle by the name of Anvil Ironhead, who is an ex-circus strongman hired by the two thugs as a general helper and bodyguard. Kid is dumped in the hold with young Parker. The evil men want to know where Stevie has hidden the chart of Ghouli Cavern. They make Steve talk by using a sinister Skull-Jacket of Instant Truth. Having got hold of the map, the thugs dispose of the boys by throwing them both tied up into the deepest wastes of watery hunting grounds in the sea... 

From COR!! issue dated 6th February, 1971 (No. 36)

Kid uses his talents to save both of them. When they are in the safety of the shore, Stevie tells Kid that his late father was a big game hunter in Africa and his legacy to his son was a fortune in ivory tusks, hidden secretly in Ghouli Cavern. Now that the Boltons have the map, they know the exact location of the treasure and are going to steal it. Kid decides they must be stopped but 3 miles away the thugs have already blown away the secret  doors inside the cavern and the tusks are as good as theirs. They start running their dingy back and forth to transport the tusks to the schooner. Giant marine turtles carry Kid unseen to the Ghouli Cavern. He sinks the dingy and challenges the Boltons. A blast of dynamite blows the lizard suit clean off Kid and he can’t camouflage himself any more. His life is in serious danger but Kid summons an army of sand lizards that bind the thugs tight with weeds, vines and creepers. Kid tells Stevie to call police and tell the story. Kid’s quest continues.

Kid Chameleon beats Saphire Crooks (9 weeks from 6th March, 1971 until 1st May, 1971, issue Nos. 40 – 48)
Traveling through a game reserve in Kenya, Kid falls asleep on a deflated air balloon. Upon waking up he finds out that the balloon is being inflated. Soon it takes off with Kid trapped on top. Game-warden Ralph Franklin and his daughter Lindy are traveling to investigate strange goings-on at the Cetswayo Water-hole where many animals are falling sick. Kid tries crawling down the side to reach the basket and rips the material with his sharp finger nails. The balloon crashes and the three of them continue on foot. They arrive at the water hole and find dozens of sick animals. Ralph carries out some tests on the animals and they seem to be suffering from water poisoning. A friendly lizard tells Kid that a strange object is often seen on shores of the lake at midnight. That night Kid spies a strange machine in the shape of a flying saucer. Camouflaged, he crawls on the glass roof and sees two men inside. The machine is about to submerge and Kid’s hand is stuck. Left with no other choice Kid bangs on the glass to attract the attention of the men inside the submarine. The men capture Kid and take him to a building at the bottom of the lake. Inside Kid meets Jim Latchett, the boss. He and his cronies are after sapphires down there. They’ve been breaking up the lake-bed rock with special acid and collecting loads of the precious stone in the submarine. Kid realises that the acid is poisoning water and making animals sick and threatens to tell Franklin about their deeds. Jim Latchett pulls out his gun but the wonder-boy sneaks though the emergency airlock and escapes from the building into the surrounding waters. When Kid gets to the shore, he tells everything to Ralph Franklin and his daughter. The amphibious submarine suddenly emerges from the lake and tries to make a getaway but Kid has a plan how to catch wicked Latchett. He sews up the hole in the balloon and they soar away into the cloudless sky... 

From COR!! dated 24th April, 1971 (No. 47). Note Joe Colquhoun's initials
in the bottom right corner of the last panel

After an action-packed pursuit Kid smashes the glass top of Latchett’s amphibia and it crashes into a tree. The crooks are taken away by the police. Kid sets off alone once again into the unknown in search of the man who shot his parents.

Escaped Convict gets Kid Chameleon into Trouble (8 weeks from 8th May, 1971 until 26th June, 1971, issue Nos. 49 – 56)
Through a series of unfortunate circumstances, Kid Chameleon finds himself on board a train in the company of a runaway convict Slugger Sankey. The criminal hijacks the train and runs it into a tanker train with thousands of gallons of petrol standing in the station of a town. Kid and Sankey jump out as the two trains collide and explode. News come through that Kid and Sankey are responsible for hijacking the train and causing the accident. The police move in and cordon off the whole area. Sankey makes off but Kid ends up in a prison cell... 

From COR!! issue dated 29th May, 1971 (No. 52)

It takes him some effort to escape. Kid realises that to prove himself innocent he has to find Sankey and make him confess. He finds the escaped convict choosing clothes in a store so that he can get out of his prison gear and steal a car to get clean away from the town. Sankey grabs the boy and locks him up in the restaurant kitchen cold store so that he freezes to death. Kid wiggles out of the freezer and races back up to the street where he sees Sankey about to steal a car. Kid grabs at the wheel as the car gathers speed and makes it crash. The car smashes through a bridge parapet and hurtles down towards a circus big-top below. Kid knocks Sankey out with a heavy bass drum mallet, forces the thug to write a confession and leaves him tied up to the chair near the wrecked car. Kid’s name is cleared and he is off on his way again.

In the next post I will be taking a look at the following action-packed adventures of the reptile boy:  Kid Chameleon beats a Gang of Child Kidnappers; Kid Chameleon helps American Oilmen Deal with Arab Terrorist Rebels and Kid Chameleon’s First Encounter with the Man Who Murdered his Parents

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 :)