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, June 23, 2013


Brimstone and Treacle were two apprentices of Merlin the Magician whom he accidentally sent from the times of H.M. King Arthur to the year 1973 where they started a neat little business with sorcery as the main speciality, offering ‘magic for hire and spells for sale’. The first episode in SHIVER AND SHAKE No. 22 (August 4, 1973) tells us everything about why and how they found themselves six hundred years ahead of their time, how they started their business and why they picked Wizards Anonymous as the name of their ‘24-hour spell service with a smile’:

The idea of keeping a low profile was dropped very early in the run and Brimstone and Treacle stopped changing their robes to disguise themselves. More than that, on a number of occasions they were seen in public riding the Wizmobile that was in fact a pram:

Sometimes their wizardry worked and sometimes it misfired, but they never failed to come up with mad and unexpected solutions to their customers’ problems. What did they do when they were approached by a Punch and Judy man who was no longer able to hold his audience because everybody preferred watching television? Well, they used a vice versa spell and let Punch and Judy have the television and turned Punch and Judy booth into the only place to watch TV programs! Or how did they cure a man who couldn’t sleep? They consulted some SHIVER & SHAKE strips and saw that everyone who was sleeping in them had a lot of Z letters hanging about their heads so they bought an armful of Zs from a store that sold plastic letters for shop fronts and hung them above the poor man’s bed, accidentally dropping one down on his head and knocking him out. Below are a couple of random episodes for your enjoyment:

Apart from their talent at wizardry, WA excelled in marketing and advertising. It is true that they got a lot of business from hearsay and word of mouth, but a bit of self-promotion didn’t hurt. Advertising banners and slogans in Wizards Anonymous was a trivia fun ingredient of the strip, just like menu boards in Scream Inn. Here are some examples:

Wizards Anonymous also had a rich reference library of spell books and related literature. Brimstone was the entrepreneur/manager type, while Treacle was the educated one who really knew his stuff in spells and potions and here is the list of the titles he was seen consulting:
  • Spells and the Workings Thereof,
  • Spells Ancient and Modern,
  • Lovely Kindly Spells,
  • Spells for Getting Out of Nasty Situations,
  • A Bumper Book of Nature Spells by Wizard Prang, Author of A Cupful of Sorcery,
  • Popular Magic,
  • 101 Spells a Bright Boy can do – With 500 illuminations in full colour – Ye Camelot Press,
  • Who’s Who in Magic,
  • The Jolly Lively Spell Book by Annie Mator (Third Witch in Macbeth), 
  • The Birds and Bees Book of Nature Spells, Vol. I,
  • Woodland Nymphs and Satyrs,
  • My First Spelling Book,
  • Spells for Backward Boys.
Wizards Anonymous had their 15 minutes of fame in SHIVER AND SHAKE issue 37 (November 17, 1973) in which Brimstone and Treacle not only made a guest appearance in Scream Inn but also devastated the Innkeeper by winning the prize of one million pounds. You can read that episode here. The crafty Innkeeper made his own guest appearance in Wizards Anonymous in that same issue and used his cunning to restore the original status of things:

All in all, it was a bright and funny strip. If I was asked to do a top ten of my favourite SHIVER AND SHAKE strips, Wizards Anonymous would definitely be there. It’s a shame the feature had such a short run of only 23 weeks. The beginning of 1974 was the time when preparations for the launch of a new comic Whoopee! were in full swing at Fleetway House. Brian Walker was asked to do The Ghost Train series for the new paper. The strip was initially a three-pager, so together with Scream Inn and Wizards Anonymous in SHIVER AND SHAKE, this would have meant 7 pages of artwork a week for Brian Walker, and it was probably too much for the artist. Given the success of Scream Inn, cancelling it was out of the question, so bringing Wizards Anonymous to an end was the only reasonable option. The strip was given a proper ending in which the two potty wizards returned to their era and brought back some new ideas from the future:

Wizards Anonymous started in SHIVER AND SHAKE issue 22 (August 4, 1973) and continued without a break until issue 44 – the first issue of 1974 dated 5th January. The strip was part of SHAKE section except for the last episode that was in SHIVER. The illustrator was the excellent Brian Walker and I suspect that the scripts were by Cliff Brown (I don’t know for sure, but they do look very Cliff Brown to me…). Brian Walker sneaked his initials in the last panel of the episode in SHIVER AND SHAKE issue 43 (X-mas number dated December 29, 1973):