Wednesday, August 27, 2008

More from Look-In


As the blog on the early years of Look-In was so popular I've decided to do a follow up, showcasing some more of the great artwork that appeared in the comic in the 1970s.

Freewheelers appears to have had several artists on it throughout its run in the early issues of Look-In. The marvelous example below is from the late great Brian Lewis (Look-In No.10, 1971).


The Fenn Street Gang was a television spin off from the popular Please Sir! series. The strip version was initially drawn by Tom Kerr (below).


Although I was fairly dismissive in my previous blog of the "popstar" focus that Look-In took from late 1972, the comic still continued to feature top comic artists. The following page is an example of John Burns' work on The Tomorrow People from 1974. John of course is still active in the industry today, as a contributor to 2000AD.


That same issue (No.12, 1974, - Look-In renumbered itself at the start of every year) began the Kung Fu strip with artwork by Martin Asbury (who would take over Garth in the Daily Mirror after Frank Bellamy's death).


By 1978 Mike Noble was drawing The Famous Five, embellishing it with a grey wash. Noble is an artist perfectly suited to dynamic action, but these pages below show how he can even make a domestic scene capture the interest of the reader. This is basically a "talking heads" episode but by changing the angles, and with his slick inkline, Noble gives it character and warmth.



How the West Was Won, also from 1978, sees John Burns using a darker, grittier style than readers were used to on his Tomorrow People work. Over the course of Burns' career he's often experimented with different techniques to suit the theme of the story and this savage style was ideal for the Western setting.



The Six Million Dollar Man and its spin-off The Bionic Woman had both been given their own strips in Look-In during the late Seventies. By 1979, with their tv popularity waning, the characters were teamed up in Bionic Action drawn by Ian Gibson. (The artist would go on to greater heights with Robo Hunter and Halo Jones for 2000AD.) There was never a tv series called Bionic Action but the characters had of course co-starred in each other's individual shows on occasion.



I rarely bought Look-In at all during the 1980s as comic strip versions of CHiPS, The Fall Guy, and Haircut One Hundred were not really what I wanted out of a comic (or out of my tv come to that). Perhaps I missed some great strips too though, so I'll be interested to see what the forthcoming book Look-In: The Best of the Eighties throws up. Seeing Magnum and Cannon and Ball on the cover I'm not too hopeful, but if the 1980s was your decade perhaps you'll get a kick out of it.

9 comments:

Alistair McGown said...

Hee! Don't you worry - we'll make the 80s look like a golden age! Oh and Magnum and Cannon & Ball aren't on the cover cos the one that's on the web isn't the final version, it's just an early concept.

Lew Stringer said...

Thanks for the info Alistair. If it's possible for you to send me a cover image of the 1980s book I'll be happy to plug it on my blog.

Garen Ewing said...

The Six-Million Dollar Man was the reason I bought Look-In in the late 70s. Thanks for the scans and commentary, Lew.

Zokko said...

The 'Look-In' version of 'Space:1999' was great too. When it switched to Year 2 mode, the plots of the strip were better than some of those in the show itself!

Alistair McGown said...

As soon as I actually receive the final cover image back (I did it, but don't know if any text was altered) and I'm allowed to put it out there, I most definitely will. Desperately so!

Shaqui said...

Ian Gibson actually only drew the first two parts of 'Bionic Action' (I think that's part 2 you have there)... the rest were drawn by Ron Tiner, John Richardson and Mike White.

Only John Richardson would draw for 'Look-in' again, for 'Haircut 100' in the early 80s.

Shaqui said...

Alistair said:
Hee! Don't you worry - we'll make the 80s look like a golden age!

I still think the 'Look-in' of the early to mid 80s was its own Golden Age but it was different from the 70s - I get quite fed up when people dismiss as 'no longer any good' simply because it didn't appeal to them any more. Sales were still good and (ok, being something of a fan of the music of that era too) I liked the more pop oriented stuff just as much.

Lew Stringer said...

Thanks Shaqui. That's the only issue I have around that period so I wasn't aware of how little Ian Gibson did for the comic. I suppose he was pretty busy on 2000AD at the time.

Shaqui said...

According to Ian Gibson, in the feature I wrote on 'Bionic Action' (click on my name to go to it :-D ), it came after the end of the first 'Robo-Hunter' run of strips, and before returning to '2000AD' for other short-lived strips. I speculated that perhaps his work was too stylised for 'Look-in', and he concurred. A shame really, as his stuff for the two 'Bionic Woman' annuals, especially the colour work, was superb...

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