Friday, October 31, 2008
Following my previous posting on firework comics I received an e-mail from Blimey! Blog reader Irmantas with attached scans of the 1970 firework issue of Buster. What makes this issue so fascinating is it shows the shift in attitude towards safety with fireworks. Had there been complaints about the previous year's Whizzer and Chips perhaps, showing kids holding fireworks?
Comics had published warnings before this, usually as notices on the reader's pages, but, to my knowledge, never so blatantly within the strips before. This Buster's Dream-World strip tries to be cautionary but it comes across as fear mongering and depressing. You can feel the humour leaving the comic as you read it. A very odd story indeed.
And what's that bit about not drying out fireworks in a gas oven? I'd never even heard of such a practice until I just read that strip. Talk about putting ideas into kids' heads! Any disturbed little perisher who enjoyed throwing bangers would have a field day being introduced to the concept of blowing up a gas cooker.
Thus began the gradual shift away from firework issues of UK comics. However, the last several years have seen the rise of Halloween-themed comics instead. This week's Beano has a special eight page Beanotown's Most Haunted strip by Nigel Parkinson, whilst The DFC carries a fantastically atmospheric strip by Ben Haggarty and John Welding titled Will Skoggin's Skull: One Man Short.