Sunday, April 21, 2019

Easter Funday!

I just have time for a quick post today so here's a bunch of Easter covers that have graced humour comics past and present. Longtime readers of this blog will have seen most of these before but they're worth showing again in one post. 

In consecutive order, starting with Funny Wonder No.1045 from 1934. I believe this was drawn by Reg Parlett in his early days. (This is the international edition, which had an issue of Jester inside, but apart from the masthead it was the same as the UK edition.)

A few years later, in 1937, we have the Easter issue of Chips, with Weary Willie and Tired Tim drawn by Percy Cocking...

On to 1940 and it's Radio Fun with artwork by Reg Parlett...

Moving into the Sixties it's the Easter Bimbo with covers by Dudley Watkins...



Wham! from 1965 with Biff drawn by Graham Allen...

A year later, 1966, the Easter Smash! with a cover by Ron Spencer...

The Easter 1967 issue of The Beano, with Biffo by Dudley Watkins...

It's 1968 and the Easter Pow! cover is by Mike Higgs...

Journeying through time to 1989 it's Buster with art by Tom Paterson...



Finally, back in the present day it's the current issue of Beano with art by Nigel Parkinson...

...and the latest issue of The Phoenix with a cover that, unusually, is uncredited! (If you're out there, let me know who you are.)

After that brief time-trip through British comics history, I hope you all have a great break and a Happy Easter! 

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Preview: COMIC SCENE No.3

There's a new issue of Comic Scene out this week and once again it's full of good stuff pertaining to comics old and new. The highlight for me was a new interview with veteran artist Ian Kennedy, who this year celebrates 70 years in the comics business! An incredible achievement, and Ian is still as skilled and sharp as ever.

Other features include the final part of the look back at the history of Marvel UK. A great article but sadly stops short just before a lot of us began creating new material for the company...

A look back at Buster...

An interview with Roy Thomas...

An item on Avengers Endgame...

The latest episode of Marc Jackson's Whackoman strip...

...plus much more, including a look at the state of UK independent comics, Frankie Stein in the 1970s, Writing for the 13th Doctor, Batman in the 1950s, Pat Mills, and I've written a behind the scenes article on the Cor!! Buster Special...

Comic Scene No.3 will be on sale in WH Smith and comic shops from Thursday 25th April, or you can subscribe here:
http://www.getmycomics.com/ComicScene

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Today's the day! The COR!! BUSTER HUMOUR SPECIAL is here!

Cover art by Neil Googe, coloured by Jim Boswell.
It's the day that fans of British humour comics have been waiting for. The Cor!! Buster Humour Special will be on the shelves of WH Smith and selected newsagents and comic shops from today! 

Many of the classic IPC characters are back, revived and rebooted for a new generation for the first time this century! The last time some of these characters were seen was in the final issue of Buster at the end of 1999 (apart from a reprint special in 2009)... and some characters had last appeared long before that! Now they're back, in a 52 page full-colour glossy special in all-new stories!

The comic kicks off with a fantastic three-page strip featuring Sweeny Toddler, and it's written and drawn by Tom Paterson, the artist who drew his adventures throughout most of his original run! 
Then it's on to reboots of other favourites, including Deadly Hedley by Paul Goodenough and Neil Googe, with colouring by Jim Boswell...
Hit Kid by Robin Etherington and David Follett...
Grimly Feendish by Ned Hartley and Tom Paterson...
...plus Frankie Stein! X-Ray Specs! Gums! Kid Kong! Hire A Horror! and many more, including brand new characters Swines of Anarchy by The Feek and Pye Parr...
...and a gathering of classic characters in Who's In Charge? by John Freeman and Lew Stringer...

There's even some vintage art by Ken Reid to top things off, as well as a couple of puzzle pages and a breezy look back at where some of the characters first appeared.

Publishers Rebellion and editor Keith Richardson are to be congratulated for bringing these favourites back for a whole new generation. No doubt some older readers will miss the old art styles but sadly most of the original artists are no longer around. It's also important that the comic doesn't look like a clone of The Beano or The Phoenix but has its own identity. From Comic Cuts to Oink!, humour comics have always evolved to reflect the times and changing styles so it's only natural for today's artists and writers to be given an opportunity to work on this new special. After 19 years or more in limbo, these characters will be regarded as totally new by today's young readers, and that's who this comic is aimed at, so a fresh revamp is the way to go.

That said, there are various nods to the past as a tribute to the heritage of the old comics. Even Weary Willie and Tired Tim and Homeless Hector have a cameo!

Having been one of the artists/writers on the original Buster from the late 1980s and through the 1990s it's a good feeling to be back for this one-off revival. I hope it receives the support and appreciation it deserves so that hopefully it won't be the last we see of Buster and his pals! 

The Cor!! Buster Humour Special is out now from WH Smiths, newsagents, and comic shops. 52 pages for £4.99. 

A couple of photos of it on display in WH Smiths in the Midlands...





Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Comics advertised on TV

It was a regular occurrence for new UK comics and free gift issues to be advertised on TV throughout the 1960s. I remember many a time when I'd come home from school, see an ad for a comic and rush up to the corner shop to buy a copy. They all tended to follow a similar pattern: show the free gift in action, a few brief images from the strips, and concluding with the cover and an enticing "Out Now!" blurb. Who could resist?

Sadly, those numerous 1960s TV ads don't seem to exist now... or are waiting to be rediscovered. I've even asked television archivists if they've found any in their searches but unfortunately they haven't. Such a pity, as I have vague memories of short, snappy adverts for Sparky, Pow!, Fantastic, and many, many more. 

However, some more recent TV ads have been preserved, thanks to video, and transferring them to You Tube. (I say "more recent", but these will still be ancient to the younger readers of this blog.) Quality is poor, but better than nothing! 

First up, a selection of adverts for Look-In from the late 1970s...

An ad for the first issue of 2000AD from 1977:

The ad for the relaunch of Eagle in 1982:

A free gift issue of The Beano (1994):

A free gift issue of The Dandy (1994):

...and finally a plug for 2000AD's revamp in 1994:

You'll find a few more if you search You Tube. Let me know if you ever find any from the 1960s!



Monday, April 15, 2019

Reverend Cross - Origin Special!

Reverend Cross is an enjoyable independent comic published by British company Kult Creations, founded by John A. Short. You've probably read my reviews of earlier issues such as here and here so you know I vouch for it as a fun strip. 

The next issue, No.7, is currently on Kickstarter where you can pledge to fund it and support the comic. It'll bring us the origin of the world's first female vicar action hero with art by various creatives and a great cover by David Hitchcock!

As with most Kickstarter projects, the more you pledge, the more you gain, starting from just £3 for the PDF version, £4 for the print version, up to £85 for all seven issues, all alternative cover versions of No.7,  and a signed page of original artwork! 

Check it out here, where you can see a great little animated video of Reverend Cross strips past and present and also samples of art from the upcoming issue:
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1336023535/reverend-cross-issue-007/posts

Funding for Reverend Cross No.7 ends on Monday 22nd April, so don't miss out!



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