Monday, September 03, 2012
This week in 1947: WONDER
Starting out as The Funny Wonder in 1914, the comic simplified its title to Wonder in 1942. That Hitler. Not content with causing paper shortages... Anyway, whatever the reason for losing its Funny, Wonder carried on until 1953.
This issue, which was published this very week in 1947, showed how Amalgamated Press were not only trying to survive post-war Britain but also trying to survive the stiff competition from Dandy and Beano. Still retaining its original 8 page format (albeit now smaller than its old tabloid size) Wonder was looking old fashioned compared to its Dundee rivals. The cover was a desperate attempt to grab attention with not one but three strips, although they were admittedly of the highest quality. The main strip looks like the work of George Parlett. Some excellent lettering as well as superb cartoon work. (The other two strips may also be his work but I think they're reprints.)
The contents were the traditional mixture of prose stories and humour strips. Here's Sonny Day and Whiskers the Wizard, drawn by Reg Parlett (George's brother)...
I'm not sure who drew this Mississippi Max and his Axe episode but it features three things that wouldn't be allowed in a children's comic today: racial stereotyping, smoking, and smacking someone in the face with an axe!
Ron Roy - The Rubber Boy had formerly been Ronnie Roy the Indiarubber Boy, but the simplified title was far better. According to one of Denis Gifford's books, this was drawn by Harry Parlett (Reg and George's father). Looks more like George's work to me but I could be mistaken as the Parlett styles are very similar...
On the back cover, the sole adventure strip. Westerns were massively popular in the late 1940s and Roy Rogers was the biggest Western movie star of the day so a comic strip starring the actor was an obvious way to attract readers.
Although not an outstanding comic by 1947, Wonder still packed some quality work into its 8 pages. Printed on cheap newsprint too, which still looks almost brand new today, 65 years later. They built things to last back in those days, even disposable comics!