Most of us will have grown up with The Beezer comic of the 1960s to 1980s but in its early days it was quite different to the later issues. Here are a few pages from the year of its launch, 1956. Issue No.37, dated September 29th.
Although Ginger was the cover star for the first 33 issues (and would be again later), Pop, Dick and Harry had proven popular enough to be given the treasured cover position every week until 1962. The strip above is by Tom Bannister displaying his excellent skills in depicting physical comedy.
In its early days The Beezer had a good proportion of adventure strips. One of them being The Voyage of The Bushwhacker on page 2. According to Ray Moore's indispensable Beezer index (The Book of The Beezer) the artist was Bill Holroyd. This surprised me as there's barely any similarity to Holroyd's later work for The Dandy on Brassneck, Jack Silver, and Spunky and his Spider etc, but closer inspection does reveal that style emerging.
Fans of Leo Baxendale will know that his style kept developing throughout his career. In this 1956 Banana Bunch page there is very little resemblance to his Badtime Bedtime material of 18 years later but his style evolved gradually.
Westerns were big in the 1950s and The Beezer got in on the act with Lone Wolfe with artwork by Ron Smith. This is the second episode of the series. It's interesting to see a few silent action scenes. Very unusual for a British comic.
Although he was off the cover for a while, Ginger still had a full page inside. Drawn by the late Dudley Watkins with very contemporary images for the fifties, with its wind-up record player, door-to-door brush salesman, and old-style telephone, kettle and lawn mower. For a youngster Ginger was being a bit conservative in his music tastes for 1956 though, preferring Hillbilly music to rock 'n' roll!
The back cover went for an educational theme back then, with a wildlife feature and a cutaway. Presumably this was Thomson's attempt to rival similar features in Hulton's Eagle.
The early Beezer only had 12 pages but its huge A3 size and bright colour on every page (8 full colour, 4 in red spot colour) still made it look good value for money. It's no wonder it endured a long run of many years!