Wednesday, December 23, 2015

The Christmas EAGLE (1955)

This issue of Eagle from exactly 60 years ago was published the same week as the issue of Girl that I covered the other day. Such an influential and popular comic, the cover featured Dan Dare at the height of the strip's run during one of the best serials, Rogue Planet. Wonderful artwork by Frank Hampson and Don Harley.

As was the norm with adventure strips, they didn't often go off at a festive tangent just because it was Christmas week. However, this P.C.49 serial did just that, breaking the fourth wall by sending a Christmas message to the readers. Art by John Worsley. 

The fantastic centrespread cutaway by L. Ashwell Wood that week featured London's Christmas Rail Traffic. I've also retained the Luck of the Legion part of the spread, even though it has no festive theme, as it seemed a shame to crop off such great art by Martin Aitchinson.

The Eagle reader's page featured a message from the editor reminding us that it was Jesus' birthday (although that's debatable) and a humour strip, Chicko, by Thelwell.

Harris Tweed by Captain Pugwash creator John Ryan. This is the sort of humour/adventure serial that I wish British comics did more of as it worked well enough in Europe for decades. Still, at least Tweed did lead to Leo Baxendale's Eagle Eye, Mike Higgs' The Cloak, and I suppose we can add my Combat Colin to that too. (And The Phoenix runs humour/adventure serials these days.) 

Eagle carried a lot of features as well as strips of course. Only 9 and a half of this issue's 16 pages were strip, even though we still refer to Eagle as a comic. I'm including Christmas and its Customs as one of those strips, even though it's more of an illustrated article as it's not sequential storytelling. Art by Norman Williams...

I hope you're enjoying these flashbacks to old Christmas comics. I'll be posting my final selection sometime on Christmas Eve, with samples from not one but two issues of a vintage story paper. See you then! 


Hedley said...

A Dan Dare much safer than asking for The Blighty annual?...Hedley

paddykool said...

I'm really enjoying these Christmas flashbacks Lew. hope you have an equally enjoyable Christmas and end- of- year festivities. Many thanks for all the great postings throughout the year too.

mj said...

Great stuff this! Splendid festive fare. Thanks for this and the effort you put in all year to this blog Lew. Best wishes for the new year and I hope you have a peaceful and enjoyable festive period.

Andy Boal said...

I think very few people now think that Jesus was born in December - the usual riposte is (a) Bethlehem isn’t known for snow and (b) shepherds would not be out in cold December.

For the vast majority of Christians, 25th December is just a convenient day to remember it, and I think the origins may be as simple as giving Christians something to celebrate when everyone else was getting roaring drunk celebrating the traditional Roman and pagan winter festivals.

For someone like me, it’s more important to remember that Jesus was born (and was a refugee in Egypt) than whether it’s the right time or not :)

Lew Stringer said...

I have met people who still believe Jesus was born on December 25th, Andy. Some still firmly believe whatever they were taught by authority figures I'm afraid. Whatever floats their boat.

Thanks paddykool and mj. Glad you've enjoyed them. The final one on Christmas Eve. I'm just putting it together now.

Andy Boal said...

People, eh?

Merry Christmas, mate :)

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