Monday, June 28, 2010
Comics beside the seaside - Part 1
This is the time of year when it was traditional for Summer Specials to begin appearing in the shops; annual bumper versions of the weekly comics. Sadly, as mentioned here last year, the Summer Specials have now practically fizzled out, replaced by a few hardback "Summer Annuals".
However, those glossy specials were not the only place to find summertime strips of favourite comic characters. The weekly comics also reflected the seasons and throughout the summer months characters would often be seen in seaside situations. As we're in the middle of a heatwave I thought it'd be appropriate to breeze through a few summer strips from over the decades...
Most summertime beach-related strips featured very basic slapstick. Here's Ruff and Tumble, the Jolly Little Circus Chums from Lot-O'-Fun dated June 2nd 1928. The comic was aimed at young children so the storyline is simple and relatively gentle cause-and-effect comedy.
Moving forward a few years to The Joker dated July 28th 1934 we see Wotto the Wizard play an age-old prank to make pop disappear. (Or perhaps it wasn't so age-old in 1934.) Watch out for that crab folks, it has a habit of turning up in seaside comic strips again and again.
It's July 5th 1947 and on their permanent cover residence in Illustrated Chips Weary Willie and Tired Tim become beach detectives fpr the week, illustrated by the brilliant Percy Cocking.
That very same week in 1947, Radio Fun had Arthur Askey come up trumps after meeting a beach bully.
Fast forward a few years to June 1st 1963 and cover star Bunty encounters one of those comedy crabs. (I think the artist was James 'Peem' Walker.)
July 11th 1970 and Sid's Snake enjoys the beach in Whizzer and Chips' first summer. Artwork by Mike Lacey.
On the back page of the same issue, the surreal Minnie's Mixer thwarts the plans of another beach bully.
1976 was a real scorcher of a summer and this cover of Tammy by John Richardson reflects that. Dated 11th September 1976 it shows a girl and her Mum (or big sister) returning from summer holidays in the UK whilst a travel agent looks on, possibly considering his losses.
More seaside fun soon!