Saturday, December 20, 2014

Christmas Comics: TV COMIC (1970)

Published on the very same day as the issue of Tiger I showed in the previous post, here's TV Comic No.993, being the Christmas issue for 1970. Tom and Jerry had taken over the cover position in the previous year and remained there for a long run. Artwork by Bill Titcombe, with the story continuing on page 2...

TV Comic featured several strips that were not TV shows and which were created specially for the comic. Mighty Moth was one such strip, enjoying a very long run drawn by Dick Millington...


Catweazle was a popular children's tv show at the time, starring Geoffrey Bayldon. The strip version in TV Comic was illustrated by Bill Lacey, father of humour artist Mike Lacey...

Texas Ted was another strip originated just for TV Comic, and was stylishly drawn by Frank McDiarmid...

Running across the top half of the centre pages at this time was Basil Brush, the popular TV puppet. The strip expanded the theme, setting Basil in his stately home and giving him a butler. Artwork by Chas Sinclair...

The comic often featured newly drawn strips of American cartoon characters. Here's The Bugs Bunny Show, again with art by Bill Titcombe I believe...

This doesn't have a festive theme to the story but I thought you might like to see that week's episode of Doctor Who, drawn by John Canning. Within a few weeks the strip would transfer over to Polystyle's new weekly, Countdown, who would give the Doctor a more sympathetic and sophisticated treatment...


On the back page, Popeye, drawn by Bill Mevin. It could have been easy for TV Comic to reprint the American Popeye strips (and they did, in the Popeye Holiday Specials) but to their credit they originated brand new pages for the weekly. 

The final festive flashback is tomorrow! See you then. 

16 comments:

Raven said...

Early '70s TV Comic is a real treat, with a wealth of great artists; I appreciated learning the name of the era's Basil Brush artist. I think Bill Titcombe probably gave Tom and Jerry the best, most appropriate (its kinetic style reflects the classic cartoons) artwork they ever had in their comic incarnations over the decades - so memorable. Frank McDiarmid did some great work for TV Comic, too.

Obviously you can't do them all, but I wish you'd posted the Pink Panther strip! This colour single-pager was often very good with an eccentric sense of humour that would appeal to all ages, not really like that of any other British strip, and I'd be very interested to know who the artist was. The first page I turn to if I get an old TV Comic.

The Skippy serial of the era tended to be well written, too.

Thanks for the post - this Christmas issue was well worth featuring. Polystyle released some nice comics (Pippin and Playland, particularly, apart from TV Comic); it would be interesting to find out more about the company.

Peter Gray said...

The British versions are very well drawn and good humour...
It looked a good comic in 1970...

Lew Stringer said...

Yes, it was a good comic throughout the sixties and well into the seventies Peter.

Raven, The Pink Panther strip was in black and white at this stage. It wasn't in colour until a few weeks later when TV Comic changed it's paper quality with issue 1000.

Regarding Polystyle, Steve Holland published a bit of background info on the company in his Countdown for TV Action book.

Yes, Bill Titcombe was ideal for a fast paced strip such as Tom and Jerry. Much livelier than the American comic version.

Lew Stringer said...

Raven according to this excellent blog, the name of the Pink Panther artist was John McNulty:

http://toonsandtelly.blogspot.co.uk/

Manic Man said...

Just wondering.. The Catweazle strip was run in TV Comic about the same time as in Look in? popular show and all, but seams interesting as they were two different companies comics..

Oh and that Tom and Jerry, the style looks more like the 60s Chuck Jones period character designs mixed with the classic Hanna-Barbera era designs to me.(really, the film Series being cancelled and the staff fired was quite good for Hanna and Barbera as it lead to them creating there own studio)

Lew Stringer said...

Catweazle didn't appear in Look-In until a year or so later. I guess LWT got a better offer.

Fireball XL5 and Supercar also started in TV Comic before moving to rival comic TV21.

Raven said...

John McNulty. Thanks for that info, Lew - and for the link to that blog, which looks like an irresistible read.

I suppose it occurred to them that a Pink Panther strip really should be in colour. The writing of that strip interested me in the same way that Sparky's Puss and Boots did - it didn't read like any other British humour strip in a field where especially idiosyncratic humour was hard to find. I wondered if the writer wrote anything else. It seemed like a personal sense of humour.

I like the Seventies TV Comic Doctor Who, but, whereas I suppose that strip is the big attraction for many collectors, I prefer the issues without it as they tend to feature long-gone/fairly obscure UK kids' series adaptations like Grasshopper Island and The Flaxton Boys which I think is an even bigger nostalgic buzz.

Colin Brown said...

Lew, a very diplomatic comparison from you of the art style on Doctor Who here and the great Harry Lindfield and superb Gerry Haylock in Countdown. Steve Holland's recent book has made me appreciate how much great artwork there was in Countdown.

John Pitt said...

So glad you showed the DW strip. I've just remembered the first "TV"comic I ever had was TV Land in the late 50's, so I was wondering if you had any you could show us sometime?
See you tomorrow for the last Xmas edition.

Lew Stringer said...

I don't have any copies of TV Land I'm afraid. Lots of other stuff to show in the new year though.

The last Christmas post should go live any minute now.

Lew Stringer said...

Colin, I can't praise Countdown highly enough. I loved that comic. Steve's book is a great tribute to it.

Lew Stringer said...

Hi Raven, Wasn't The Flaxton Boys in Look-In, not TV Comic? I didn't follow TV Comic in the mid to late seventies much so I could be wrong.

Raven said...


The Flaxton Boys was another strip that was in both TV Comic and Look-In, Lew.

The series three characters were featured in Look-In in 1971 (a double-pager), and the series four characters were featured in TV Comic in 1973-74 (a single-pager).

Lew Stringer said...

I see. Thanks Raven. I had TV Comic No.1000, then didn't read it again for years for some reason. (I think I was just too preoccupied with other comics, then I went through my "I'm too old for humour comics" phase from 1975 to 1980. :) )

John Schiltz said...

I really do think that John Canning's artwork on both The Avengers and Doctor Who was sophisticated and beautiful. This TV Comic is still whole and in my collection after all these years. You seem to have a good source for naming the artists which is one of the appreciable differences about Countdown. Do you know who created the art for the TV Comic Tarzan strip?

Lew Stringer said...

I don't know, John, sorry. Anyone else able to help?

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