Thursday, November 05, 2015

50 Year Fireworks Flashback

Fifty years ago today, six year old me was wearing the Guy Fawkes mask I'd had in Buster comic as my dad let off the fireworks in the back yard. I don't remember the mask after that so I'm pretty sure it must have ended up on the guy on top of the bonfire in our garden.

That paper mask had been given away in Buster dated 30th October 1965 (on sale 23rd October). A week later, in Buster dated 6th November 1965 there was another gift, - the Guy Fawkes Banger, one of those simple but effective cardboard and brown paper constructions. (I didn't have Buster that week. I was only interested in the mask.)
These scans of ads are from Valiant comic. Here's the cover of the issue that was out half a century ago this week. art by Mike Western...
Valiant was primarily an adventure comic of course, so the serials didn't carry a fireworks theme. However, most of the humour pages did. Here they are...

The Crows, with art by Reg Parlett...
The Nutts, art by Angel Nadal...
Billy Bunter, art by Reg Parlett...

Master-Mind. Art was originally by Stan McMurtry but this one doesn't look like his work...
'Gabby' McGlew, art by Angel Nadal...

All scans are from comics in my own collection. I hope you've enjoyed this brief selection from 50 years ago. Wishing you (and your pets) a peaceful and safe Bonfire Night. 

17 comments:

Manic Man said...

Any one know who draw that art for the Buster mask by the way.. it's been often stolen in these internet days and I was just wondering

Lew Stringer said...

You're right. I've seen that image (in colour) in various places on the 'net. Back in those days the free gifts were usually designed and illustrated in house by the art department. So it may have been drawn by whoever the art editor of Buster was in 1965.

Manic Man said...

It seams, the Buster Comic Index says the Mask was given out in both a November 1960 issue and November 1965 so this issue was the 'reissue' of the mask. colours in the eyes look a bit flat but I guess bits were meant to be cut out to see. I'm not sure if that says how was the art editor.. the art isn't too bad and sometimes it nice to find out who it was. Of course, you should know about that index. but I don't think it does list a lot of back-room people.. shame because sometimes they can be as important as the writers and artists.

Lew Stringer said...

I Googled Buster Guy Fawkes mask and found two different images so I think the 1960 one was a different design. Then there was a third one in 1969, free in Whizzer and Chips No.3, again with a different design. (I've shown the firework issue of that W and C comic on my blog years ago.) After that, the 'free' masks tended to be cut outs from the centre pages.

DC Thomson gave away some great glow in the dark masks of Splodge (in Topper) and Korky (in Dandy).

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Lew. As a kid in the 70s I loved fireworks night, and in those days, in the UK, of course it was far bigger than Halloween is nowadays. I loved the fireworks night build up via the comics, especially IPC ones. The special covers and various masks published and so forth. There was a Gunpowder Plot game you collected and constructed via several issues of Whoopee, around ’77 or ’78. I also loved the colourful and exciting ads for Standard Firework and I’d plan on which set I’d pester my folks to buy for the back garden display. Very happy memories of a simpler time. Thanks again.

Tony Howson said...

Nice post. I've never been sure whether tonight celebrates Guy Fawkes or his failure, but he's definitely something of a local hero where I live now (York).

Also, for some reason I've now got a mental image of a 12 year old Alan Moore coming home with that week's Buster, looking at his free mask and thinking "hmmm ...I could get some mileage out of this"

Robert Moubert said...

The Whizzer and Chips mask looks to me like the work of Mike Western.

Lew Stringer said...

I'm not sure about that, Robert. I looked it up and it doesn't look like Mike's work to me.

paddykool said...

I remember those great cardboard and paper bangers , Lew. When it finally ripped , I copied it and made my own versions .They were given away in lots of comics from time to time.

Lew Stringer said...

That's right. I showed a few here on the blog a few years ago. Cheaply made but effective gifts. I don't think they're allowed to give away gifts that make loud noises now, so no bangers or whistles any more.

John Parker said...

Typical Lew Stringer. He says he is resting from blogging and then publishes again less than a week later! Make your mind up !
But seriously, thanks a lot for a great post. I never get tired of seeing this stuff from the 60s. While I don't remember the mask at all, I really enjoyed the strips especially The Nutts which was a great favourite of mine. I used to get Valiant delivered every week though I cannot remember exactly when as I used to change comics every year or so. Buster was a comic that I read at other people's houses.
Hoping for some good Xmas stuff next month....

Aaron Cane said...

I made one those bangers recently at work... It was still ridiculously funny!!

benpeter johnson said...

An early incarnation of V for Vendetta perhaps?

Lew Stringer said...

V is based on Guy Fawkes of course but this mask wasn't an influence. I asked David Lloyd about it and he was busy reading American comics in 1965 and wasn't following Buster so he never saw the free mask.

Peter Gray said...

I think it was the norm to have Dad light fireworks in the garden..
organised displays are the thing these days..quite liked seeing fireworks in the summer you could sit on the dry grass in your T Shirt..

I used to make guy out of old clothes newspaper..drew my own cartoon face..

the 30's firework comics are brilliant to see too..

thanks for the post Lew

Lew Stringer said...

Yes, every family celebrated bonfire night in their own back gardens, and strictly on November 5th, not any day of the week for a fortnight around that date like it is now. I don't recall any civic displays in the sixties. Not in my neck of the woods anyway. People still have fireworks in their own gardens too though, but no bonfires allowed now. Subsequently no Guys either. 'Penny for the Guy' is a thing of the past.

Colin Jones said...
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