Sunday, December 22, 2013

Christmas comics: RADIO FUN (1958)

By 1958 Radio Fun had been around for 20 years, and frankly it was looking a bit old fashioned compared to The Beano which by then had been re-energised by Leo Baxendale, Davy Law, and Ken Reid, or Eagle which was setting new standards for British comics. Radio Fun, published by The Amalgamated Press, was on its last legs, (it would merge into Buster in early 1961) but it still contained work by A.P.'s finest artists.

The cover strip by this time was diminutive comic actor/performer Charlie Drake, drawn by Arthur Martin. As you can see, it used AP's old formula of circumstance bringing about a reward, providing the inevitable slap-up feed.

Radio Fun contained a nice mixture of humour and adventure strips (and a few prose stories). One of the comic's most successful characters was The Falcon, who by this point had become a gun-wielding superhero. Artwork by George Heath.

The Jimmy Jewel and Ben Warriss strip is by Reg Parlett, but the style looks a bit heavier than the one Reg was using in the late fifties so I think this may be a reprint from an earlier issue...

Tilly the Terror seems to be Radio Fun's answer to Minnie the Minx. Not so enduring though obviously. Artwork by Albert Pease.

To ensure its survival (for a while at least), Radio Fun had ventured into using stars from TV and films too. Norman Wisdom was one of the biggest UK film stars of the day, (and deservedly so). Artwork by John Jukes.

The inside back page of Radio Fun's 20 page weekly featured, what to my mind, seems a very old fashioned and long-winded editorial style page of the sort that A.P. had been using in their comics for decades. Things would change when Fleetway took over in the 1960s, and pages such as this would be livened up with more visuals and modernised. Even the ads for the annuals look dull, but look at those prices! 37 and a half pence for an annual. You couldn't even buy a bag of crisps for that today. 

If you want to see more Christmas comics of the past, have a root around this blog as I've posted quite a few over the last seven years. Presuming you're reading this on a computer rather than a phone or handheld device, search the December posts at the sidebar on the right of your screen and you'll find plenty of Christmas offerings of bygone times.


Nutty Big D said...

On the subject of Charlie Drake, do you have any examples of his mid 60's strip in Buster to compare side by side with its repeat in Lion in the late 60s/early 70s, retitled Chester the Champion chump, with his hair inked in?

Lew Stringer said...

I have a couple I think, but not the exact ones that were reprinted in Lion. Like you said, the changes were only minimal, filling his hair in black and changing his name.

Nutty Big D said...

Thanks, that would be easier than putting Tom Baker's head onto old Pink Panther strips !;

Lew Stringer said...

This is true. :)

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