Monday, May 30, 2016

BUSTER HOLIDAY FUN SPECIAL (1969)

In the late 1960s, to compete with D.C. Thomson's superb glossy tabloid summer specials, IPC launched their own 'Holiday Specials'. While not as large or luxurious as Thomson's photogravure specials, the IPC titles instead boasted more pages.

The Buster Holiday Fun Special was the first of that weekly's holiday specials. A whacking great 96 pager for 2/6d (12 and a half pence). The cover featured a fun roller coaster scene with a bunch of Buster's current characters drawn by Reg Parlett, IPC's top humour artist. 

Inside, the content was mostly black and white and mostly reprint, not that the young readers it was aimed at would care of course. This value for money package would entertain its readers for hours. One of the new stories was Fishboy, but not drawn by its regular weekly artist John Stokes. Again to save money, the specials (and annuals) often used different artists at a lower page rate. 

This wasn't the case with the Freddie (Parrotface) Davies strip though, with regular artist Reg Parlett turning in a new two pager. Freddie Davies had risen to fame on TV via the talent show Opportunity Knocks and appeared on various TV shows at the time. (You can find out more at Freddie's website here:
http://freddiedavies.com/)


One of the reprints in the special was Red Scarlet and the Seige of Stowford, which was actually a collected Ginger Tom serial from Knockout of the late 1950s. IPC had a knack of re-naming characters for reprints in a vain attempt to convince readers they were new stories. The artwork was by Pat Nicolle (1907 - 1995), a superb illustrator. The story took up many pages in the special but here's the first two...


Another reprint was a classic Dick Turpin story, with early artwork by Eric Bradbury...

The Galaxus strip was new, but not by its regular artist Solano Lopez. I'm not sure who drew this...

One odd strip in Buster at the time was Charlie Peace, based on a real-life Victorian murderer! In the comics, Charlie was revamped as nothing more than a 'rough diamond' anti-hero type and common thief, and by this point in the strip's history had been transported to modern-day London. This new story in the special stretched to six pages but here's the first two, drawn by regular artist Jack Pamby...


Summer Specials often featured a board game in their centre pages but this opportunity was lost here, with Buster's Dream World appearing instead. Art by Angel Nadal...


The Cruncher strip by Frank McDiarmid featured a plot inspired by a huge event of 1969; the Apollo moon landing...


On the back page, a reprint from the old Eagle comic, with Fidosaurus renamed as Pongo, The Prehistoric Pooch! Art by Reg Parlett...

I hope you've enjoyed this small selection of the 96 pages of this special. Happy Bank Holiday Monday! 

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great stuff Lew, you're right while they didn't have the glossy pages of the DCT specials nevertheless those 90 pages were terrific for comic loving kids like myself. Great memories of reading these summer specials at the seaside even better with a bottle of pop. Thanks for sharing Ian

Lew Stringer said...

After a few years they reduced from 96 pages to 80, then to 64, and finally 48 pages, but it was still good to see them on the stands. I think the 2000AD Summer Special is still 48 pages.

DP said...

Now I want to see ALL of it. Any possibility of a cbz file Lew? Perhaps something to ponder for the future? Love the blog and follow it every day but BLIMEY is lagging by not running full comics. So please please cbz files or serialise full comics? It would make your blog THE BEST!

Lew Stringer said...

Absolutely not. Whilst using a few pages for review purposes is usually acceptable to the copyright owners, piracy is definitely not. If you want to see the full comics I'm afraid you'll have to do what I did: buy them!

DP said...

I can't afford all the comics I need! What's wrong with SHARING?

Lew Stringer said...

You're confusing want with need. I've already given you the reasons why I won't do it.

Paul McScotty- Muir said...

Excellent stuff again Lew thanks for sharing - I much preferred the IPC specials as a kid to DCT due to the amount of stories they had, although sometimes the "replacement" artists were not that suited to the strips - these all look great though - good to see old "Freddie Davies" again (blast from the past) and the wonderful art of Mr Parlett (did that man ever do a less than amazing art job). Its been an enjoyable holiday period reading this and the Lion,

Lew Stringer said...

Agreed. Reg Parlett's work was always top notch, even when he was 90. I think it helped in that his early work was so detailed and skilled that when it came to 'loosen up' his style, both due to age or changing commercial tastes, he could manage it with ease. I don't know of any other artist of his generation who was able to do that as efficiently. It also helped of course that Reg was such a superb visual storyteller and that his characters were naturally funny and appealing in their body language and expressions. Truly brilliant.

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