Monday, August 23, 2010

Crikey! No.16 - A grand finalé


The final issue of Crikey! is one of the best issues published, which makes the closure of the magazine even more frustrating.

In the three years since Crikey was launched some features have been stronger than others, and a couple of articles were so riddled with errors they were a complete waste of space, (ie: the features on Smash! and Countdown). However the magazine overcame its teething troubles and was getting better with each issue, gradually moving away from its patchily-memorized rose-tinted nostalgic slant and developing into a reliable solid read.

Which brings us to this final issue, No.16, just published this week. Despite the downbeat cover the contents are full of enthusiasm and positivity about the subjects under study. It kicks off with a new interview with Mick McMahon which was a pleasure to read as Mick rarely attends conventions these days so it was good to catch up with what he's been up to recently and it ends on a very optimistic note.

There's a short item by Shaqui Le Vesconte about the unseen Metal Mickey strip planned for Look-In, and the reasons it never appeared. Although it concerned a tv show that I personally couldn't stand the background information about the strip was a revelation.

Ian Wheeler presents a nice well researched article about the old Action Force strip that appeared in Battle whilst Rab Smith gives us a good retrospective of Les Barton's time on the classic I Spy strip from Sparky. Rab is a big fan of the strip so this was clearly a labour of love. Strangely, although the article is specifically about Les Barton's work, Crikey's editors have used Brian Walker pages as well to illustrate it for some reason. (Walker is a fantastic artist but not relevant to this particular article.) It was always these little niggles that were one of Crikey's drawbacks unfortunately.


Andrew Edwards contributes the history of The Bojeffries Saga. This Warrior comedy strip by Alan Moore and Steve Parkhouse was a real gem and deserves a collected edition. Hopefully this article will stir up fresh interest in the strip.

Glenn B. Fleming takes a look back at the distinguished career of Joe Colquhoun, easily one of the best comic artists the UK ever produced. Sadly the curse of Crikey creeps in again, using John Cooper artwork on page 31 by mistake. Nevertheless, the rest of the feature is excellent. Dez Skinn and Pat Mills also contribute their opinions on the great man.


Adding some variety to the issue Tony Ingram writes a breezy history of Keyhole Kate, the strangely voyeuristic character from The Dandy (and later, Sparky) whilst Jamie Hailstone presents a resumé of Stingray strips from TV Century 21. Tony returns later in the issue for a look back at the Rogue Trooper saga and John Devaney wraps up his mini series on comedy-horror humour strips.

The back cover features Comic Oddments. Uncredited but I think it's devised by Phil Clarke and Mike Higgs. It's actually an ad, but it could have developed into a promising new feature had the magazine continued.


It's sad (and annoying) that more fans didn't support Crikey but Tony Ingram and Glenn B. Fleming should be proud of the three year run of the magazine. (Many comics never even manage that long.) However, all is not lost. In his editorial Tony reveals that a new, digital, magazine is being planned, under the name Comics Unlimited. (Presumably no relation to the 1970's fanzine of the same name.) Available as a PDF download, Comics Unlimited will cost £2.99, which hopefully should please all those people who thought £4.99 was too much to pay for Crikey!

As one magazine ends, a new one dawns. Keep your eyes on http://www.crikeyuk.co.uk/ for more news!

Crikey! No.16. 56 pages for £4.99. Available from Forbidden Planet International, Nostalgia and Comics and other comic shops (not Forbidden Planet due to some odd policy against "fanzines") or by contacting the above website.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your positive comments on my I SPY article, Lew. I was pleased with the end result, other than a fair few typo errors [I write fairly quickly to keep spontanaeity, but I'm sure I would have checked the article before submitting]. I'm not complaining though: I'm delighted to have something in print again after so long. 'Walking on air' and all that......

The Les Barton images were supplied by me: maybe I should have e-mailed more in. The Brian Walker images are at least clearly labelled such, and I tried to keep positive about Brian's work in the closing round-up. Had readers approved of what I'd written, I likely would have done a second piece on the Brian era [which actually was pretty good]. Sadly, this won't happen now...


cheers, Rab Smith.

Mark Kardwell said...

They had me at "interview with Mick McMahon".

Shaqui said...

For what it's worth I couldn't really stand 'Metal Mickey' either Lew but when I first discovered the unpublished pages, I had to find out more and interview Bill Titcombe and MM's 'creator' John Edward to find out more...

I actually haven't seen the feature yet, laid out in all its glory (I had hoped to see a proof before publication) as captions were also provided for each scan in the hope that if they were used, then at least they would be accurate!

Now waiting for a copy to appear through my letterbox any day now...

Dave W said...

I always looked forward to reading each new issue of Crikey! and despite its various factual inaccuracies and occasional sloppiness, it was clearly a labour of love for all those who put the mag together. I'll miss it.
It's a real shame that we no longer have a magazine devoted to British comics history.

As for your comment on the wonderful Bojeffries Saga - A new Collected edition will be published by Top Shelf in the not too distant future. What's more, it will feature a brand new Alan Moore & Steve Parkhouse strip.
Here's the link -
http://www.topshelfcomix.com/catalog/the-bojeffries-saga/717

John Freeman said...

As you say Lew, the mag just got better as it progresed, but was stymied by distribution. Comic shops that should have been taking copies simply didn't. Very sad.

Dave Mullen said...

Advertising for any Fanzine is always tougher than it sounds, I always support any interesting fanzine I hear of but these days you just don't get to hear about them in time, if at all.
I guess the Internet and a PDF format is a more logical way to go, it's cheaper and people are more inclined for online transactions these days and would likely be much more willing to pay the fee for a file of that nature.

As John says though I think the lack of support from comics retailers is a major stumbling block for this kind of venture, maybe a low key (British) comics fanzine just isn't that sexy as a sell but if the big shops or a retailer won't show a solid support and endorsment of this kind of grassroots venture there just won't be any breakthrough talent for British comics coming from this direction. Fanzines used to play a very important part in finding and encouraging new talent and readers and by comparison I don't think the internet is necessarily the place that will find them...

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...