Tuesday, June 30, 2015


I've blogged about Express Weekly here before, and its later incarnation as TV Express, but here's the comic in its original form! It wasn't even a comic back then really. Junior Express was basically a newspaper for children, - as its title implies, it was a junior version of the Daily Express. Tabloid size, and printed on cheap newsprint, it was launched in 1954 but the issue I'm showing here is No.22, dated January 29th 1955. 

(Update: I'd presumed from the cover story that this issue was the last in the newsprint format before it switched to glossy photogravure the following week. However I'm reliably informed by Jeremy Briggs and Graham Bleathman that it continued for another year in newsprint before improving to photogravure with issue 75.)

At the foot of page one you'll see Bengo, by Tim. This character later appeared in the Blue Peter Annuals. As you may know, Tim (real name William Timyn) also created and illustrated Bleep and Booster, which was a static frame cartoon story that sometimes appeared on Blue Peter in the sixties. 

Junior Express had 16 pages but comic strips only appeared on two full pages, a half pager, and a few mini strips. (It would later be practically all-strip when it became Express.) One of those strips was The Think Pistol. I'm not sure who the artist was but going by some of the techniques and the style of speech balloons I'm wondering if it might be by Chas Sinclair? 
Jeff Hawke first appeared in the Daily Express of course but new strips, not by Syd Jordan, appeared in Junior Express. Unfortunately they're uncredited, as is its companion strip Silverstone Sam. Also unfortunate is that the colour registration is off. No wonder they upgraded the printing later.
Joanna of Bitter Creek gave us a spirited heroine. (Junior Express was aimed equally at girls and boys.) Art by Jac Darrel. Its companion strip, Biddy and Butch, carries no credit but I'm sure it's the work of Cyril Price.
As previously noted, Junior Express was mainly a newspaper, and here's one of its feature pages; Junior Show Page with a few items of interest. The mini-strip, Cap and Crew, is by Roland Fiddy (1931 -1999), a very popular cartoonist of the time.
Here's a couple of adverts from this issue. Firstly, an interesting one from the days when Lucozade was considered by the medical profession to have "remarkable" health benefits. Attitudes have changed somewhat now, but all I know is that whenever I was laid up with a virus as a kid, it certainly made me feel better when my mum brought me a bottle of Lucozade. (And that plastic amber outer wrapping made it look something really special.) 
Now here's possibly the most important advertisement of all, because it settles a debate about Wagon Wheels that's been going on for years. "They used to be as big as your hand" say people today. Well, here's the evidence that 60 years ago they were 3 1/4" in diameter. Are today's Wagon Wheels smaller, or is it simply that our hands were smaller then? Measure one and let me know! (A Wagon Wheel, not your hand.)

Some previous blog posts about Express:


Monday, June 29, 2015

There's a new blog in town

It's always good to see another blog dedicated to old British comics and the latest one is called nothingbutafan. It's still early days but I reckon it's going to be good, maybe even great! Take a look and bookmark it, and let's wish it the best of luck:

Horror in the National Archives!

There's some fascinating revelations about the 1950s British anti-comics crusade over on the Down the Tubes blog today. No point in me reiterating it, so take a look for yourselves here:

You may remember that a few years ago I found some news items about the campaign that had appeared in the Daily Mirror in 1954. If you've never seen them they're hilarious in their paranoia, with the Bishop of Coventry comparing comics to Satan! Click on this link:

Saturday, June 27, 2015

New Grindhouse, new character

American publisher Dark Horse have just published Grindhouse: Drive In, Bleed Out No.6, and on the back page you'll find my newest creation, Sex Pest! - a story about pubic lice. (Sorry kids, it's adults only!) Don't worry, the obnoxious misogynist gets his just desserts, and to find out how, pick up an issue from your nearest comics speciality store or buy the digital edition from the Dark Horse app.  

Sex Pest! is only the back up strip. The main feature in the comic is part two of Lady Danger: Agent of B.O.O.T.I. by Alex de Campi and Mulele Jarvis. You can read a preview of a few pages over on the CBR website:

Friday, June 26, 2015

Hayley Atwell confirmed for LFCC

The guest list for next month's London Film and Comic Con keeps getting bigger and better! Sigourney Weaver (Alien, Ghostbusters etc) and Catherine Tate (her own TV show plus Doctor Who etc) were recently added to the list and now Hayley Atwell has been conformed as the latest guest.

Amongst her other screen appearances, comic fans will know Ms.Atwell as Peggy Carter in Marvel's Captain America movies, Avengers: Age of Ultron, a few episodes of the Agents of SHIELD TV series, and her own Agent Carter mini series. 

The London Film and Comic Con takes place at Olympia on 17th to 19th July. Hayley Atwell will be attending on Saturday and Sunday.

Guests from the comics industry include Mike Perkins, Rachael Smith, John Wagner, Lee Sullivan, Dan Slott, Gary Erskine, David Lloyd, Mike Collins, and me amongst others! I hope to see some of you there! For full guest list and more info, visit the LFCC website here:
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