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.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014


WHOOPEE! FRANKIE STEIN HOLIDAY SPECIAL 1980 had 64 pages and cost 45 p. Frankie Stein was given 20 pages, including the front cover and the pull-out poster by Robert Nixon whose style had changed dramatically for the worse since the first FS publications. The poster is nice, though:

John Geering drew 2 Frankie Stein stories – an 8-pager and a 6-pager. 1980 was the year of Moscow Summer Olympics which was boycotted by many countries because of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. British athletes competed under the Olympic flag and it looks like Frankie Stein nearly made it to Moscow as part of Team UK. I showed the story in its entirety in the series of London Olympics blogposts a couple of years ago, you can view it HERE.

In the second Frankie Stein story Professor Cube realises that nasty accidents happen to mountaineers so he takes Frankie to conquer some peaks. Sure enough, a series of accidents does occur and Dad is at the receiving end once again. Frankie meets a Yeti and his family but Prof. Cube causes an avalanche which brings the Yeti hut down, alongside with a village at the foot of the mountain. Now Dad has to share Mildew Manor with four monsters instead of just one:

This is the first FS Holiday Special with Nigel Edwards as part of the roster of artists. He drew three pages of Freaky Frankie and two pages of Monster Mirth, all in full colour; two pages of Mind-Bender Mansion puzzles in b/w are also by him. Here is some of Freaky Frankie:

There were four non-Frankie Stein strips that weren’t reprints:  Monster Movie Makers (4 pages by Mr. Hill), Computer Cop (4 pages by Alan Rogers) and Gook-TV Spook (2 pages by Artie Jackson) were familiar to readers from previous FS books and magazines, while Animal Olympics (5 pages by Martin Baxendale) was new to them. 

Monster Movie Makers manufacture a live dummy Bigfoot and travel to the USA to film on location in Timber Country. All is well until they upset the real Bigfoot:

Computer Cop is on duty outside the secret inventions laboratory but a gang of crafty crooks outsmart him and steal a super-magnet which attracts anything the operator wants. The crooks are off to do some “window-shopping” with the jewellers but Computer Cop prevails in the end.

In Animal Olympics Mr. Frost the Head Zookeeper is off to watch the Olympics on the telly leaving all his chores to Fred the Assistant Zookeeper. A sports enthusiast that he is, young Fred organises his ‘alternative’ Olympics with Zoo animals as athletes. The style of Martin Baxendale strongly reminds that of his Father’s, perhaps he got some advice and assistance from Leo Baxendale when drawing the set.

As far as reprints are concerned, WHOOPEE! FRANKIE STEIN HOLIDAY SPECIAL 1980 has 2 pages of Ghoul Guides (from KNOCKOUT), 3 pages of Monkey Nuts (from I don’t know where) and 1 page of Tell-Tale Tess (from COR!!) – all seen in previous FS publications. The one that wasn’t was The Ghostly Galleon – the longest story in the magazine, spanning 18 pages. The story appeared in Shiver and Shake weeklies No. 71 – 79 and is reprinted in full, except that readers of SH&SH who followed the serial had an opportunity to win some cash which wasn't offered to readers of the Holiday Special. I reviewed the story in my series of SHIVER AND SHAKE strips, you can check the article out HERE (frankly, it is not exactly the best SHIVER AND SHAKE adventure strip).  

Images 2014 © Egmont UK Ltd.  All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Friday, August 8, 2014


Like the previous editions, the magazine had 64 pages but cost 40 p. They systematically kept increasing the price by 5 p. every year. Speaking of contents, to me it is definitely an improvement since the previous edition. They kept the share of reprints down and commissioned loads of new material – I estimate there were only 12 pages of reprints (Monkey Nuts by Graham Allen (from I don’t know where), Tell-Tale Tess by Joe McCaffrey (from COR!!) and Ghoul Guides by I don’t know who (from the IPC revamp of KNOCKOUT), 4 one-page episodes of each). Here are some examples:

26 pages of Frankie Stein – Time Traveller were by the excellent Brian Walker. Attentive readers will recall it is the second time that a story with this headline appears in a Frankie Stein publication – the first one, drawn by Rober Nixon, can be found in the first Frankie Stein Annual (1976). That time Frankie Stein visited the Wild West and then the age of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.  In this WHOOPEE! FRANKIE STEIN HOLIDAY SPECIAL 1979 Frankie Stein – Time Traveller was split into 4 parts spread across the paper (one 8-page and three 6-page sequences).

The story begins when Frankie disrupts Dad’s peaceful breakfast. The frustrated parent and inventor goes through his regular routine of failed attempts to do away with his offspring until Dr. Who TV programme gives him an idea to build a time machine and send ‘the big lunk’ away for good. Contrary to his plan, Dad accidentally becomes a companion in Frankie’s time travels:

Like in the earlier time travel story, their first stop is in the Wild West:

… then the sixteen-hundreds – the golden age of pirates:

… and finally prehistoric times:

Professor Cube goes through a lot of danger and suffering, but it all comes to nothing in the end, as always:

Disaster movies are out, so Monster Movie Makers decide to do one with good old-fashioned monsters. Assistant Director has some ideas but first their Rodney-the-Rhino-on-loan escapes into town disguised to look like a Triceratops, then the systems of two electronic giant monsters go haywire. With all the damage caused during shooting, it looks like this is the first major financial disaster for Carlo Monte and his crew… Artwork by Mr. Hill.

Computer Cop is on special duty, guarding the Ministry of Secret Plans. A gang of crafty villains is on a mission of stealing some plans... 

... but they underestimate Computer Cop who foils two of their sophisticated attempts in this 6-page episode. Drawn and signed by Alan Rogers:

Two 2-pagers of Gook TV Spook by Artie Jackson were presented in full colour.  I believe they were drawn especially for this Holiday Special. Here is one of the episodes in full:

There was a one-pager of The Ghost Train by Frank McDiarmid. The original run of the strip by Brian Walker in Whoopee! had expired  back in 1974, so it looks like the set was drawn especially for this Holiday Special but there is also a possibility that Mr. McDiarmid had drawn it for the Star Guest feature and it was printed in an IPC sister publications back in the mid-seventies (most probably WHIZZER AND CHIPS – I checked COR!! and SHIVER AND SHAKE but didn’t find it).

On the gags front, Jim Crocker drew and signed two pages of Freaky Funnies while Jack Clayton contributed 3 pages of Monster Mirth drawn in his instantly recognisable style:

For dessert, here is the pull-out poster from the centre pages of this WHOOPEE! FRANKIE STEIN HOLIDAY SPECIAL 1979. It is the only contribution by Robert Nixon in this magazine – you have probably noticed that the cover is by Mike Lacey.

For the sake of accuracy, I will also mention Bob Nixon’s drawing of Frankie used in the Frankie Twins puzzle in this Holiday Special. Mr. Nixon had drawn it for the front page of the Mini Monster Comic pull-out book in the first combined issue of WHOOPEE! AND SHIVER & SHAKE (October 12th, 1974).

Images 2014 © Egmont UK Ltd.  All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Sunday, August 3, 2014


The fourth WHOOPEE! FRANKIE STEIN HOLIDAY SPECIAL 1978 had 64 pages and cost 35 p. 

If I were a kid who bought it in the summer of 1978 I would have probably been disappointed with the low amount of Frankie Stein content – only 27 pages featured the friendly monster. This includes the front cover, the pull-out poster of Frankie Stein in a space suit drawn by Robert Nixon – not a reprint this time, 4 pages of Freaky Frankie Puzzles by Artie Jackson, Ghoulish Picture Crossword by Cliff Brown and 19 pages of Frankie Stein antics serialised in three interconnected stories: Adventure in Space (8 pages), African Safari (6 pages) and Holiday Cruise (5 pages).

Watching 'Warstars' and seeing Frankie enjoying it very much gives Dad an idea to send him on a trip into space. As Prof. Cube’s luck goes, he accidentally finds himself on board the spacecraft together with Frankie. 

They run into some space creatures and Dad gives them Frankie as a gift, telling them he is a slave robot. Frankie proves to be completely useless as a servant and the aliens kick him out.

Frankie and Dad’s space journey continues and they find themselves in the middle of an inter-stellar war. 

Frankie helps the clashing space tribes make peace and is rewarded with a spaceship to transport him home. Dad makes his last attempt to get rid of the ‘big lunk’ by programming the spacecraft to take him to the Sun but a massive explosion on the surface of the Sun destroys the craft and the pair land on planet Earth in the middle of Africa. This is where the space adventure ends and the African safari begins. Dad’s ploys during the safari include dropping lion skin on Frankie in hope that hunters will shoot him down, encouraging Frankie to take a boat to see some nasty waterfalls up close and finally losing him in the desert. 

Digging for water in desert sands, Frankie strikes oil, sells the well, catches up with Dad and suggests that they go home on a luxury liner. 

While on the holiday cruise, Dad throws Frankie into the ocean to play with the sharks, then attempts to poison him by putting ‘stuff’ in his salt and finally leaves him stranded on a desert island inhabited by cannibals. 

Frankie leaves the island on the back of a whale but soon finds himself stranded on a coral reef. I like the ending:

I may be mistaken but it looks like the illustrator was the same Doug Baker who signed two Frankie Stein gags in the previous Holiday Special and drew a number of FS tales in other Frankie Stein publications earlier on. If it was indeed him, his style had improved somewhat since the second Frankie Stein annual (Robinson Frankie and Frankie Stein Super-Freak stories) and grey wash also made the drawings look better.

Let’s look other new stories. In Monster Movie Makers Carlo Monte and his crew are shooting their latest epic – ‘The Loch Ness Monster’. The budget prevents them from hiring extras for the crowd scenes so they take their cameras to the actual loch, hoping to scare the holidaymakers with a dummy monster and film their reaction. Things don’t go as planned but turn out well for the daft movie makers in the end. The artist was Mr. Hill who also drew Monster Movie Makers for the previous FS Holiday Special (as well as the subsequent ones).

Computer Cop was a new strip drawn by Alan Rogers. It was about a super robo-cop. Here is the last page of this 4-page episode:

Five WHOOPEE! strips (The Hand, Fun-Fear, ‘Orrible Hole (by Les Barton), Gook-TV Spook (by Artie Jackson who is also responsible for five pages of puzzles and gags in this magazine) and Webster (by Terry Bave)) look like new material drawn especially for this Holiday Special. Here are both pages of Fun-Fear. I wonder who drew them? Looks like Mr. Hill to me:

They stopped reprinting The Haunts of Headless Harry and Ghost Ship but introduced reprints of a few strips previously unseen in FS publications: there were 2 episodes of Ghoul Guides from KNOCKOUT (IPC version), 2 episodes of Monkey Nuts by Graham Allen (I can’t remember where the reprints are from) and 5 pages of Tell Tale Tess by Joe McCaffrey from COR!!

For the second time after the previous FS Holiday Special, this edition also has 2 episodes of Barney’s Brain Box, reprinted from COR!!

I will round up this post by showing a page of gags by Artie Jackson:

…and Frankie Stein pull-out poster:

Images 2014 © Egmont UK Ltd.  All rights reserved. Used with permission.