Sunday, December 21, 2014

Christmas Comics: WHAM! (1964)

It's the final festive flashback for this year as the Blimey-Timey Time Machine settles in 1964 for the duration of Christmas. This issue of Wham! was published exactly 50 years ago today, on Monday 21st December 1964. A smashing seasonal cover by Graham Allen (who put his initials in the last panel) with a sleigh-full of Wham stars on the masthead.

Let's have a look at a selection of some of its contents. Here are The Wacks, drawn by Gordon Hogg...
On the facing page was the regular pop feature, and who better to appear in this special Christmas issue than Britain's biggest popstars The Beatles
Kelpie the Boy Wizard didn't have a festive theme but I couldn't resist the chance to show two pages of classic John Burns artwork...

In these early strips The Tiddlers had a teacher who was on their side called Super Sir! After a while, the strip ditched Super Sir in favour of a traditional put-upon teacher warring with the kids, which was a shame. This episode looks like it might be the work of Terry Willers...

Only one strip by Leo Baxendale in this issue, but what a strip! Eagle-Eye, Junior Spy running across the centrespread in full colour. Some of the humour is of its time and might understandably give offence now, but the artwork is top quality funny stuff...
How's about a Christmas ghost story? Here's the short and spooky Vanishing House. And for lighter fare, It's a Crazy World drawn by Artie Jackson...
It wouldn't be Wham! without Frankie Stein and here's Frankie's first Christmas, drawn by the genius Ken Reid...

Finally, a lively Georgie's Germs strip which shows that Santa even visits germs! Several artists drew this strip over the years and this one is by the excellent Brian Lewis...


I hope you've enjoyed these visits to various Christmas comics of the past. Thanks for dropping by and may I wish you all a very Merry Christmas!

34 comments:

Bruce Laing said...

Merry Christmas, Lew.

Jeff T said...

Hi lew, thanks for showing these. It's great to look back at all these old titles. Amazing to think that John Burns is still going strong and has just started a new strip in 2000AD! Have a great Christmas.

Jeff T

paddykool said...

Happy Christmas Lew and many thanks for all this year's blogs.The Christmas Wham is a wonderful comic. That comic was like a blast of fresh air with genius contributors. I still have the first 100 issues and they are as fresh as paint . The colour work was always excellent too. I think the quality began to drop after the first two years , what with cheaper paper ...but still a classic.

Kris Shaw said...

Oh man, I'd be in for a collection of Kelpie The Boy Wizard in a second!

Lew Stringer said...

A collection is unlikely to happen, Kris, but I'll show some more pages from Kelpie next year.

Thanks for the Christmas wishes, folks. I'll be spending a quiet day on my own and not celebrating it but I am looking forward to the Christmas episode of Doctor Who.

John Pitt said...

Well, what a way to end! Wham was an absolute joy cover to cover! Have a Happy Christmas, Lew and thanks for entertaining me for yet another year! My very best wishes.

Lew Stringer said...

Thanks John. All the best.

Peter Gray said...

Hope you see some friends over the next few days as well...

Happy Christmas and Happy New Year..

Thanks for your art and blog..

Lew Stringer said...

Don't worry, I'll see a few friends on Christmas Eve Peter, but Christmas itself means nothing to me now. I know most people celebrate it, which is why I do the Christmas comics blogs for people to enjoy, but it's not a big deal for me.

It's a time for kids and families and I wouldn't begrudge anyone that of course, but I'd rather ignore it than become one if those people who wraps up Christmas presents for himself to open on the day. :)

Anonymous said...

Sorry but I don't understand why people like you are so anti Christmas it's a lovely time of year and a time for families to get together and even if your not religious it still means a sorcial day with your loved ones, what good does it do to exclude yourself from them? What for you do stay in another room out of there way? Join in Lew you'l wish you had later, make the most of it. Happy Christmas to you and yours. PETE

Lew Stringer said...

You're making a few big presumptions there, Pete, and all of them wrong. I am not anti-Christmas, and there are no "you and yours" to "exclude" myself from. It's simply that with no surviving family it doesn't mean much to me these days. For the same reason I don't celebrate my birthday either.

I think we're all free to spend December 25th however we like, with no pressure from anyone else to conform to how they want people to celebrate.

Colin Brown said...

I thought you gave enough clues when you said Christmas doesn't mean much to you now. Clearly not enough clues for PETE.
Have a great holiday Lew. The Christmas covers advent calendar was great - good of you to take the time to do them.

Niblet said...

Lew, thanks for reviving the blog this year, your posts have been much appreciated. I can totally sympathise with your feelings about Christmas, as my Mum passed away on 1st December leaving me in a rather similar position to yourself, so it's going to be a bit tough for me this year. I have good friends and have been invited out on Christmas day but I think I prefer to spend it alone. Take it easy mate and see you back here soon.

Dr Andy Oliver said...

A wonderful post Lew. Thanks for these Xmas specials. Sadly I don't have the Wham issue but I've been digging a few out of my collection to read to my boys. Tonight was Shiver and Shake from Dec 1973. My boys loved the strips especially Sweeney Toddler, Grimley Fiendish and Scream Inn. I also managed to read it all the way through - I never had the chance when I got it first time around as my mom accidentally threw it out!

Lew Stringer said...

Thanks folks. Andy, what did your lads think of the 1970s strips? Do they still appeal to today's children?

Niblet, I'm sorry for your loss. It'll be hard for you but try to look forward to next year. A few friends have invited me for Christmas dinner too, which is very kind, but I prefer to be on my own this year. I plan on just having a rest and some quiet reflection and watching a bit of TV.

Colin, glad you liked them. I could have done a few more but deadlines beckon at the moment and I have work for Toxic and The Beano to complete by tomorrow.

Dr Andy Oliver said...

They love the strips. Particularly the monster / ghost themed ones. They read the current Beano and Phoenix comics but I also regularly read them strips from Monster Fun etc. and the odd annual. It all still appeals as most of it is timeless. My enthusiasm helps though as well. BTW - just saw that "Do you believe in ghosts" strip on your post. Recognised it from its inclusion inn the Buster Book of Spooky Stories (another of my kids favs). Never realised the strip first appeared in Wham. Take care Lew and many thanks for blogging again.

Anonymous said...

Alright Lew but everybodys got family, if not parents what about your missus, or boyfriend if your that way inclined? I'll spend Christmas day trying to work out the kids games I expect then its the in laws and their brood, still count as family, then its Doctor Who and put our feet up. Have a good one anyway.PETE

Next year can you put some Whoopees up?PETE

Lew Stringer said...

No Pete, I'm not 'that way inclined' as you put it. Enjoy your Christmas.

Andy, I'd forgotten they reprinted that page in the Spooky book. Must dig that out. Great annual (edited by Dez Skinn by the way).

Lew Stringer said...

Incidentally, years after that book, 'Spooky' was also the title of a proposed humour horror comic but Fleetway didn't go for it. I think it was going to be mainly reprint anyway, so not a great loss.

Dr Andy Oliver said...

I would have loved it even if it had reprints. Im too young to have read the Oldhams stuff. A very happy Xmas to you Lew - thanks for all these goodies.

Colin Jones said...

Merry Christmas Lew, even though you're not celebrating it. My closest relatives are all deceased too but I still intend to have plenty of food and booze and will be celebrating as much as is possible on your own - but I definitely won't be giving presents to myself or pulling crackers with myself, I'm not that sad. Actually I like Christmas these days without all the family pressure. Anyway Christmas is a season not just one day.

Lew Stringer said...

Hi Andy,
It wouldn't have reprinted Odhams stuff. Spooky was a comic proposed in the 1990s so would more likely have reprinted material from Monster Fun and Shiver and Shake.

Colin, hope you enjoy your day. I never drink at home so no booze for me on Christmas Day. I'll be in town with some pals on Christmas Eve though so no doubt I'll have one or two pints then. :)

Even when my mum was alive we didn't make a big fuss of Christmas. I'd go to her house and help cook the dinner (just a bit of chicken, never a turkey just for the two of us) and it'd be a quiet day watching TV. I think it's been over 20 years the last time I put any decorations up. It's something you grow out of if you don't have kids of your own I think. That's how I see it anyway. I'm sure others would disagree.

One thing about never having a big family was that there was no family pressure. At most, when I was a kid, Christmas Day would only include my parents, me, my granddad and my aunt, so we never made a big fuss over it. I don't envy some people who have to cater for loads of relatives and have kids falling out over presents etc.

Colin Jones said...

Well, I do put a string of lights up but not a tree. There was a survey a few years ago where a third of people said they hated Christmas because they felt forced to be with their families. All this stuff about Christmas being for children and families is just a Victorian invention anyway.

Lew Stringer said...

Yep, seems to be a stressful time for many. I'm happy not to be part of all that. Have a good Christmas, Colin.

John Pitt said...

Phew, I felt your pain from Pete's comments! It hurt me too! It wasn't meant to be cruel though, - he must be a fairly new reader and doesn't know your circumstances.
Anyway, you spend it however you like and I'm sure you know that you have friends out here that you have given years of pleasure to. ( felt I HAD to say something!)

Lew Stringer said...

Thanks John. Yes, perhaps Pete is new. He hasn't posted until this week anyway. Perhaps next time he could comment about comics.

Paul McScotty -Muir said...

Really enjoyed reading all these Christmas issues Lew so like others I would like to say thanks again for showing them as it brought back some great memories of happier family Christmas's - I especially enjoyed the Buster and Wham issues as they seemed to sum up more (to me at least) than the other what a Christmas comic was back then (scary to read that issue of Wham was 50 years ago though!).

I'm the same as you I will be spending Xmas day on my own this year (as I did last year and I quite enjoyed it - if "enjoy is the word) as also like you I lost my mum in 2013 - I have invites to parties etc and will be at my girlfriends on Boxing day and out with friends on Christmas eve , but its still a bit "raw" at present to be in company with folk on "that" day at present on what is a "family" holiday. Its amazing the number of folk that have issues with me doing that (not my girlfriend she understands) saying that I have a bit of an issue with their "issues" lol - you take care and do what you need to do to get through that day as you say it means less now as we get older and our loved ones aren't there, plus its just another day really (no offence to religious folk).

Lew Stringer said...

You've summed it up perfectly, Paul. My feelings exactly.

There'll be considerable sadness on the day of course but I'll distract myself with the TV and reading. I still have quite a few DVDs I haven't watched so I'll put one of those on. Wishing you all the best Paul and hope the day passes ok for you.

mj said...

Everyone to their own! As ever Lew, thanks for the festive blog treats and the rest of the year also.

Lew Stringer said...

Thanks mj! All the best.

Anonymous said...

Hope you had a fantastic Xmas day Lew and plenty of turkey. PETE

Lew Stringer said...

Well it was tolerable, Pete. Can't say I've had a "fantastic" Christmas since I was a kid, nor would I expect to. It's really not a big deal for me, ok?

No turkey. A chicken portion was quite sufficient for one.

Matt G. said...

The only Wham Christmas I knew aboutb was the song LAST CHRISTMAS. Was there ever a WHAM ANNUAL? Perhaps you might consider writing up about that some time?

Lew Stringer said...

I presume you're new to this blog, Matt, so welcome. Yes, I've covered the Wham! Annuals a few times. Here's one old posting showing all the covers and a few interior pages:


http://lewstringer.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/wham-annual-cover-gallery.html

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