Saturday, October 22, 2011
Superman in Radio Fun
Numerous British publishers have tried making Superman work in UK comics, with varying degrees of success. The first such venture was in Triumph in 1939/40, he had his own reprint title in the 1950s, there was the short-lived Super DC in 1970, and various attempts from Egmont and Titan in more recent decades. Back in 1960 however, British comic readers could marvel at the exploits of Superman in the pages of Radio Fun weekly.
The strip had a relatively short life in the long-established AP/Fleetway comic, only appearing from 1959 to 1961. Even the planet-twirling Superman couldn't reverse the fortunes of Radio Fun which, after a highly respectable 23 year run merged into Buster in 1961. Superman became one of the strips which transferred to Buster, but the Man of Steel didn't survive there for long.
The Superman stories which appeared in Radio Fun were collated from the daily strip that appeared in American newspapers. The example shown here, from Radio Fun dated January 9th 1960, originally appeared in the USA from April to August 1958. In the story Superman encounters Romado, an alien with a computer mind who shows Superman the miniaturized Kryptonian city of Dur-El-Va which he keeps in a bottle. Sounds familiar? Around the same time, Action Comics No.424 (July 1958) introduced us to Brainiac, an alien with a computer mind who has the miniaturized Kryptonian city of Kandor in a bottle.
(You'll notice that some of the artwork and the lettering on the top half of page 2 of the issue doesn't match the rest of it so I suspect some redrawing went on to edit the strip for the Radio Fun version.)
Although Radio Fun during this period was clearly trying to retain the interest of readers who might otherwise be distracted by the glamour of American imports, the comic still contained traditional British fare as well, from The Falcon to Bernard Bresslaw. Here's a selection of spreads from the same edition:
On the back page, a complete contrast to the American icon on the cover. It's the very British icon Norman Wisdom, illustrated by the brilliant John Jukes: