Tuesday, May 22, 2012

This week in 1989: BUSTER


Here's a few pages from the issue of Buster that was on sale this very week in 1989, kicking off with a cover by Tom Paterson. Note the '32 pages' blurb. This was Fleetway's advantage over DC Thomson at the time, when Beano and Dandy still only had 24 pages. 

The Buster strip continued on the back page...


Inside, something a bit different than my two regular pages. Instead of Tom Thug's Skooldayz and Pete and his Pimple being separate strips both characters co-starred in a two page story. Incidentally, the villa shown in panel 7 is based on a tatty dive I stayed at in Kavos the previous year. As for the little character shown coming out of the door, that's one of The Vampire Brats, - a strip I drew that would replace Pete's Pimple a few weeks later.



Jack Oliver was one of the best writer/artists to have graced British comics and he produced a lot of material for Buster over the years. Curiously, when he did Vid Kid it was under his pseudonym as, er, Sue Denim! Nice work. Not so sure about the garish limited colour overlays Fleetway were using back then!


Mike Higgs was a hero of mine when he was writing/drawing The Cloak in Pow! back in 1967 and it was a privilege to work as his assistant for a while in the mid 1980s. By 1989 he'd returned to weekly comics to draw Thundercap and it was great to be in the same comic as him. That was something I could never have imagined happening when I was eight years old reading The Cloak!


That same week saw the publication of the Buster Holiday Special. Here's the cover by Mark Bennigton...


The special had 64 pages, many of which were sadly filled with reprint due to budget cutbacks. To compensate for this, editor Allen Cummings had some characters team up to fit in all the favourites. Being aware of this is why I'd had Tom & Pete in one strip in the weekly and now their holiday adventure continued in the special...


Other team-ups in the Holiday Special included Ricky Rainbow and Chalky drawn by Bob Hill...




Melvyn's Mirror and Nipper drawn by Vic Neill...


...and Mighty Mouth and Weedy Willy drawn by Terry Bave...


(Have to say, it's a shame the other artists didn't design a special team-up logo for their pages but the strips are still great and I bet readers must have been pleasantly surprised by various characters meeting each other.) 

I hope you've enjoyed this trip back to 1989. I must admit the 1980s still seem very recent to me, which is one reason I don't cover that decade very often, but if you'd like to see more from that time let me know.

2 comments:

Andrew Hickey said...

I certainly like seeing that stuff. I'm 33 and this was the tail-end of my own childhood comics-reading, before I moved on to 2000AD and DC reprints, but I have a huge amount of nostalgia for this period (especially your work at that time -- you were the first cartoonist whose work I recognised in different titles, and your strips were always by far my favourites.)

Lew Stringer said...

Thanks Andrew. As I've probably said before, back then we as freelancers didn't receive much feedback from the readers. We'd be told our work was popular, but that's about it. (I was pleased to hear that Tom Thug was challenging Buster himself for being the reader's favourite.) I just plowed on, hoping what amused me would amuse the readers, so it's good to hear from people like yourself who were enjoying it.

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