Saturday, February 21, 2015

This week in 1965...

I haven't done one of these for a while, where I look back at several comics from years ago that were published in the same week. Above is my photo of how a newsagents counter may have looked this week exactly 50 years ago when all of these issues were on sale! Half a Century ago! Blimey!

Let's start off with the issue of Valiant that went on sale Saturday 20th February 1965. Cover by Mike Western which looked back on other events of this week in times past...

Inside, the dark, tense artwork of Solano Lopez with the latest Kelly's Eye chapter. These old strips certainly knew how to deliver a great cliffhanger!


As the topline on the cover promised, this issue saw the start of a new adventure with The Wild Wonders, drawn by Mike Western...



A good horror/mystery serial in Valiant at that time was Jack O'Justice, drawn by Tom Kerr... 


That issue also carried a half page ad for that week's Buster and The Big One which featured a free gift...


Monday 22nd February 1965 saw the publication of The Dandy No.1214 with a very amusing Korky the Cat strip drawn by Charlie Grigg...

Inside, Dudley D. Watkins proved what a master comic artist he was with a Desperate Dan strip with 17 panels on one page...

The Smasher was up to mischief as usual, drawn by Hugh Morren. Note the advert at the foot of the page, heralding the start of Greedy Pigg the following week! (Greedy Pigg would replace George Martin's Sunny Boy which ended that week.)

The Dandy carried a regular feature page back then called My Home Town. Humour illustrations by Frank McDiarmid, with the 'straight' artwork by Thomson staff artist Alan Gibson. (Thanks to Ray Moore for correcting me on that.) Note the ads for that week's Bimbo and Diana at the bottom of the page...


The same day saw the publication of Wham! No.37, with a cover by Graham Allen doing his best to 'ghost' Leo Baxendale's style...

This issue of Wham! saw the debut of two new strips. In actuality they were both reprints from Swift. Western serial Johnny Straight by Don Lawrence was a re-lettered reprint of Wells Fargo...

...whilst The Bouncers by Peter Maddocks was also reprinted from Swift.

The rest of Wham! was still all-new though, and worth every penny. Especially with Leo Baxendale's glorious centre-spread strip Eagle Eye: Doomsday School...

This week in 1965 saw the publication of TV21 No.6. (Apologies for my copy having a bit missing from the cover.)

An important issue as it saw Mike Noble's arrival to TV21, taking over the art duties on Fireball XL5...


On the back page, The Daleks were proving to be more devious and cunning than they'd be portrayed in some of their TV appearances. Artwork by Richard Jennings...

Sparky was also on issue No.6 that week. Cover by Ron Spencer. My apologies if anyone is offended by the strip. Presented as it was in different times. Thankfully things have moved on since.

The centre pages featured another adventure with Dreamy Dave and Dozy Dora with artwork by George Ramsbottom. (Thanks to Ray Moore for that info.) One of the weirdest things about this strip was that every week the sleepy siblings shared the same dream


On the back page, another nice Moonsters strip by Bill Ritchie...

Just a few examples of the wide variety of strips from the many British comics that were available 50 years ago. It was a great time to be a child!

19 comments:

bromley001 said...

Dave and Dora were obviously very close. ;)

Lew Stringer said...

Yeah, too close! :)

As for the strip, it's basically Little Nemo in Slumberland with a British spin. I liked it as a kid though.

paddykool said...

We took that kind of quality work for granted , I suppose.It's fabulous when you look at it fifty years later, though..I have the first hundred issues of Wham[except for #1} bound together.I hadn't really realised that Leo Baxendale hadn't done all those covers. I must take a closer look. They were beautifully coloured, weren't they?

Lew Stringer said...

Leo signed most of his strips for Odhams so that's the easiest way to identify them. Graham Allen's style was very close to Leo's in some ways but he developed his own distinct style later too. Then you have Ron Spencer and Mike Brown (and later Mike Lacey) all imitating Leo, but again with differences that become easier to spot with more exposure to their work.

Yes, the photogravure printing allowed painted artwork rather than the flat mechanical colours of newsprint. And Wham had a distinctive look to its colouring. Pity it didn't last, with it going to newsprint before issue 100. Although by then it was down to one colour page as you know.

I suspect Wham didn't actually sell as well as expected unfortunately, as there were a number of cutbacks. Those reprints in issue 37 being the start.

Graham Exton said...

Eagle Eye was great. I really liked the minions, I mean squelches. My absolute favourite was the mouff.

Lew Stringer said...

Yes the Mouff was great. I'll have to check to see if it appeared in the weekly. If it was only in that Wham! Annual 1967 strip then it was drawn by Graham Allen.

John Pitt said...

Lew, if you haven't put them away yet, could you please check if Steel Claw is fighting the Kraniums that week?
There is a possibility that all 5 comics were in in our house, which makes this post very exciting. I'd need to check with my brother about the Dandy though.I would also have had TVComic that week for Dr. Who.

Lew Stringer said...

No, the villain was Dr.Magno, John. I don't recall the Kraniums.

John Pitt said...

Thanks, Lew. I didn't have the Valiant after all then that week. The Kraniums came a little later in '65 then. Well worth searching out, Lew! - Brilliant exciting story and stunning atmospheric art by Jesus Blasco.A perfect example of British comic strips for boys! *****

Lew Stringer said...

I have all the 1965 (and 1966) issues but it's been a few years since I read them. There's a story about Kranos from June to October '65 so it must be that one. Must re-read them sometime but I have so much stuff unread I don't know when I'll get around to it.

Ray Moore said...

Hi Lew, I really do like these slices of comic life you do from time to time.My eight year old self thanks you! Just to set the record straight the 'straight' art on the Dandy 'My Home Town' page was actually the work of a Thomson staff artist named Alan Gibson. Morris Chapman was more of a caracturist. If he'd drawn Jane Austen she wouldn't have looked so true to life. I imagine you may have used my Dandy Monster Index to reference Morris Chapman so apologies for not having the info to hand at the time to be more specific about who did what on the 'My Home Town' page. Whilst Morris Chapman did provide many caricature portraits for the feature the straight artwork was provided by either Ian Mackay, Alan Gibson or Graham Millar with Frank Mc Diarmid providing the more cartoonish elements as you have rightly said.
Also the example of 'Dreamy Dave and Dozy Dora' you've used was the work of long-time Thomson illustrator George Ramsbottom one of at least six artists who worked on the strip.
Thanks again for the trip down nmemory lane.

Lew Stringer said...

Hi Ray, Many thanks for that information. I'll make those corrections right away. Yes, I find your indexes invaluable, both for looking up facts and to save me time rooting through the comics I have. I'll be giving them some coverage soon.

Was it Morris Chapman who also did work for the sports pages of the Mirror? Very clear, sharp brushstrokes in his caricatures?

Thanks again for the info!

Paul McScotty -Muir said...

Excellent stuff Lew I really enjoyed reading these strips - I do miss the humour serials (like Eagle Eye, The Cloak and your own Combat Colin etc),

Was nice to see the Wild Wonders again , one of my favourites as a kid which seemed to be in the Valiant for what felt like an eternity, although I do recall getting a bit fed up with it after a while despite Mike Westerns great artwork.

Re the Steel Claw v Kraniums strip there is a nice link to the strips here and that amazing artwork:

http://bronzeageofblogs.blogspot.co.uk/2014/07/the-steel-claw-part-2.html

Lew Stringer said...

Thanks Paul. I don't have permission from IPC to run entire serials here so I couldn't personally show that many pages on Blimey!

There you go, John. It's at that link, and you commented on it there so perhaps you'd forgotten you'd seen it?

Re: The Wild Wonders, I'm afraid I never liked that strip very much and would sometimes skip it. Great artwork, but I wasn't interested in the wild boys and their sporting antics. Give me The Steel Claw and Kelly's Eye any day.

John Pitt said...

It was good old Paul "McScotty" who found them for me last year, Lew!
But, I'm about ready to reacquaint myself with them, so I'm clicking on that link next.
And to anyone who isn't familiar with them, I recommend you take a peek. - THIS is what British comics is about!!

Colin Brown said...

Love the newsagent counter photo. Valiant seems to have passed me by at the time.
Lew, not a comment as much as a request. I saw your comments on the blog about taking images from the website. Would you mind if I copy some to keep in folders on my tablet? I like the idea of having folders for pages of Tom Kerr, Dudley Watkins etc that I can look at altogether rather than jump from blog to blog. If not, no problem, I'll continue to enjoy the blog.

Lew Stringer said...

Sure, no problem Colin. I expect most people do that anyway because Blogger won't be around forever. That note about images is mainly a humourous swipe at those who copy my scans for their own blogs then infer they did all the work.

Ray Moore said...

Hi Lew, Yes it is the same Morris Chapman on the Mirror sports pages and thanks for the kind words re my indexes. It is much appreciated.

Lew Stringer said...

Thanks Ray. I always liked those distinctive caricatures so it's good to put a name to the artist.

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