We had the Daily Mirror every day when I was growing up in the 1960s. My family must have been reading it since the 1930s as my mum told me that when she was a child she enjoyed the Pip, Squeak and Wilfrid comic strip. The Mirror was the paper of the working class, and it had a direct and intelligent writing style that cut to the chase for the man in the street.
It also had some great comic strips. I showed a page from a wartime edition here the other day, but today I'm focusing on the strips I enjoyed as a child in the sixties. There was Andy Capp by Reg Smythe, and The Perishers by Maurice Dodd and Dennis Collins of course, and I'm showing a couple of those here, but the strips I enjoyed most were the three tiers that always appeared around page 20: Garth, The Larks, and The Flutters.
|18th September 1962|
Frank Bellamy's dynamic take on Garth in the 1970s receives a lot of praise, and justifiably so, but it was the earlier strips by John Allard and Steve Dowling which captured my imagination as a kid. Their stories often had a creepy atmospheric quality about them, even tense and claustrophobic at times due to the hatching and cross-hatching of the inks, but that added to the likable strangeness of the strip. Garth was aimed at adults of course, and women our time-travelling hero encountered would sometimes be topless, so that, plus the dark mood of the strip made it seem very mature to my young eyes.
|28th June 1963.|
The Larks by Jack Dunkley was a standard family sit-com, and it felt a bit too middle-class for the Mirror to me, perhaps better suited to the Daily Mail. Nevertheless, I often enjoyed the gags and I liked the artwork. The interesting thing about The Larks is that the characters aged with the strip, so as the years progressed the kids grew into teenagers, Sam (the father) gained a bit of grey in his hair, etc.
|14th February 1964.|
|14th February 1964.|
The Flutters was a strip I really liked. I'm sure that some of Ian Gammidge's scripts with all their sporting/gambling references went right over my head as a child, but I think it was the fact that it was a continuing humour strip that grabbed me. The artwork by the appropriately named Len Gamblin was the clincher though; busy but clear, and just right for the strip. I was disappointed when The Flutters was eventually replaced by Bill Tidy's Fosdyke Saga which I never really took to.
|22nd April 1964.|
Anyway, here are several examples of those strips, mostly from the mid-1960s. I hope you enjoy looking at them! All are scanned from old copies of the Daily Mirror I bought at a Memorabilia Show a few years ago. I've cleaned a couple up in Photoshop as necessary but I've left that authentic newspaper look to most of the scans.
|30th January 1965.|
|Perishers: 30th January 1965.|
|13th May 1965.|
|16th July 1965.|
|Andy Capp: 16th July 1965.|
|20th September 1966.|
|14th November 1966.|
|10th June 1968.|