Tuesday, May 12, 2015

ZIP (1958)

Zip is a comic that seems quite rare. I'd heard of it but had never seen a copy until this issue turned up on eBay last week for a reasonable price. It was a tabloid sized weekly published by Odhams and ran for 92 issues from 1958 to 1959 before merging into Swift. Apparently Zip was a replacement for Mickey Mouse Weekly after Odhams lost the rights to the Disney strips. (Source: http://ukcomics.wikia.com/wiki/Zip )

The tone of the comic is quite young and seems pitched as a bridge between nursery comics and traditional humour and adventure weeklies. The cover strip is Skippy, The Boy Who Lives in a Barrel by Robert McGillivray. (I'm pretty sure he was the artist who drew The Mighty Smiths and Fairs Please for Tiger in 1969/70.)

The plot of Skippy isn't clear, but he seems to be on the run from the authorities. In which case, perhaps having a postal address to his hideout (and his name above the door) might not have been his wisest decision.

A strip that I'm sure will interest most UK comic fans is Strongbow the Mighty, illustrated by the great Ron Embleton (who gets to sign his art).

Over the page, the humour short The Pond People. There's something familiar about the art style but I can't place who drew it.

On the facing page, another adventure strip that should be of interest; Wells Fargo by Don Lawrence, several years before he'd illustrate The Trigan Empire.

The centrespread of Zip followed the old British comics tradition of being a sort of patchwork quilt design of short strips.

Kiki the Boy Clown wasn't anywhere near as scary as he appeared on the free Kiki mask given away with that issue.

The Brainy B's seems very much in the style of the Famous Five books and the Children's Film Foundation movies of the time. Art by Redvers Blake. 

This issue also featured a competition, with the prize being a flight to Scotland. It didn't explain how readers who lived North of the border could benefit, but perhaps another issue gave them the opportunity to fly to London? (Or was Zip only sold in England?)

Billy Brave, the almost obligatory school strip, was nicely illustrated by Tony Weare...

On the back page, another boy living in a tree house; Robin Alone. Artist unknown.

Zip seems quite a gentle comic but with good art and plenty of variety to its content. I hope you've enjoyed this brief look through one issue.      


Andy Boal said...

Google zip firelighters :)

Lew Stringer said...

I remember them well. Is there a connection to the comic?

paddykool said...

Hi Lew ..I've been busy so i'm catching up ...Zip is an entirely new one on me .Mind, I'd have been only about six when it came out. It looks very much along the lines of Express Weekly which I suppose probably came just a few years later. The black and white strips look very well done , if a bit conservative but the colour work appears to be especially vibrant ...

Lew Stringer said...

Good to see you commenting again Paddykool. Express Weekly appeared a few years before Zip, so I suppose the latter was a rival in a way.

Yes, the colours are excellent. I should have mentioned that Zip was printed photogravure, like Eagle, TV21, and Express, so that enabled higher production values than the newsprint comics such as Lion, Beano, etc.

Andy Boal said...

I don't believe there is any connection, but the logo and colouring were very similar!

John Pitt said...

If I ever saw Zip, I can't recall it.
Yes, I have enjoyed a look through it with you. It's always gratifying to see a comic I don't know for the first time!

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