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Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Ken Reid's DARE-A-DAY DAVY (1967 / 68)

The first Davy strip from Pow! No.1, 21st January 1967.
Ken Reid really excelled himself at Odhams in the 1960s. Frankie Stein and Jasper the Grasper for Wham!, Queen of the Seas and, later, The Nervs for Smash! - and for the back page of Pow! he delighted us with Dare-A-Day Davy

Davy was perhaps the most subversive of Ken's Odhams strips. A reader-participation strip, where kids were encouraged to send in their "dares" for a cash reward if used. (Only a pound, but that went a long way in the sixtes!) The dares often backfired on Davy, usually causing him great suffering and pain. This was illustrated child cruelty for comic effect, but in Ken Reid's expert hands it became one of the most manic and funny strips of the decade. Besides, it was only a comic strip, and no one really got hurt unless they accidentally stabbed their finger on Pow's protruding staples that were rarely laid flat in the centre pages. (Pow! was a cheap-looking comic but rich on laughs and adventure, featuring a mix of new humour and adventure strips alongside reprints from Marvel comics.)

Dare-A-Day Davy ran throughout the length of Pow's run, from issue 1 in January 1967 to the final issue, No.86, in September 1968. Here's a few examples...
Restricted to a half page for POW! No.5 but still crammed with craziness.

Brilliant reactions from the crowd in this page from Pow! No.7

Davy's will power makes an appearance in Pow! No.16

Reid continued to develop the Willie Willpower character. Pow! No.17

Davy's inner conflict was depicted as a battle between temptation and conscience. Pow! No.21

Marvel's NICK FURY made an appearance in Pow! No.33. Get it slabbed, Marvelites!

By Pow! No.37, Davy's temptation was shown as a demonic version of himself.

Man-mad Lulu (from The Dolls of St.Dominics strip) guest-starred in Pow! No.39
Davy gets blown up for Bonfire Night. Pow! No.43

I doubt you could show a bullet-riddled pig's carcass in a kids' comic today. Pow! No.56

Davy later moved inside the comic, away from off-register colour. Pow! No.68

The final Davy strip from Pow! No.86
Dare-A-Day Day never did return to weekly comics from his journey into space, but a few years later, IPC introduced a sanitised lookalike called Challenge Charlie in brand new stories in Valiant. Superbly drawn by Frank McDiarmid but with none of the explicit comedy violence of the Pow! version. 


Manic Man said...

Nice stuff. I think issue 7's one is kinda the example of staff colourists not paying too much attendant.. the Porridge is grey, dialogue says grey, but to add more colour, it's yellow...

I'm also not sure if I'm missing something, but Constable Coddlebonce being in a white coat with a silver helmet just doesn't seam right to me.. but still great art and story. It was a great concept for a strip that worked well.

Nutty Big D said...

Even removing the bias I feel due to my age (born in 1955), surely the 60's was the best era for both UK childrens' comics and UK pop music

Irmantas said...

When IPC introduced Challenge Charlie in Valiant, Frank McDiarmid re-drew some of the stories from POW! illustrated by Ken Reid. I wrote an article about it and showed both versions side-by-side on my blog here

A few more facts about Dare-A-Day Davy: the vast majority of scripts were supplied by Walter Thorburn, including the script of the “banned” Frankenstein episode that Odhams considered too gruesome to print because in it Davy was shown kissing a fungus-infested human skull. Ken Reid wrote scripts for the episodes in POW! Nos. 8, 12, 18, 24, 26, 28, 31, 36, 43, 45, 46, 47, 53, 55 and 86.

Dare-A-Day Davy episodes in POW! issue Nos. 31 and 81 were drawn by someone else (not Ken Reid), but Ken write the script for the episode in No. 31.

paul Mcscotty said...

Wonderful stuff thanks Lew that took me right back

Lew Stringer said...

Thanks fir the extra info, Irmantas. I must have missed that blog post of yours. I still prefer Ken's version. What a shame they missed out that great crowd scene in the redrawn version.

Manic, that's how policemen used to dress when directing traffic:

Nutty, I agree, but I know people who grew up on 1980s comics who give valid reasons why they think the '80s was the best decade. It's all subjective. :)

Manic Man said...

Ah, I thought I was missing something..

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