Sunday, February 04, 2018

WHAMtastic!

It's always good to read back issues you haven't seen before, so I was pleased to buy an old copy of Wham! last week on eBay. I have most issues of Wham! but I still have a few gaps (23 missing out of 187). I'm no longer hunting down the ones I don't have, but if one catches my eye and it's cheap enough I'll buy it.

The highlight of Wham! was always work by Leo Baxendale and Ken Reid, and this Tiddlers cover strip by Leo is a delight. Just look at the amount of work in panel 5. The concept of the makeshift castle repelling invaders is one that Leo used a few times so I think he must have enjoyed drawing scenes like this. 

The strip continued onto the back cover, in black and white. (By this time, only the front cover of Wham! was in colour. Cutbacks and all that.) Wham! was pretty outrageous but very funny. Scenes such as force-feeding someone tablets, and the threat of sending a kid into the canal could not be shown in comics today. (Even though a sign tells us the canal is only 6 inches deep, - possibly a hasty addition by the editor.)

That same issue also contained a great Frankie Stein page by Ken Reid. Brilliant stuff. (Incidentally, the strange lines across the logo were a glitch of photogravure printing sometimes. It was very rare, but I have seen it happen before.)

Strips that are 53 years old and still funny! Or is that just nostalgia? If Wham! was well before your time, what do you think of them? Does the humour and artistry still hold up today (despite obvious anachronisms)? I'd like to think so. What's your opinion? 



3 comments:

John Parker said...

Great post, Lew ! I still find these strips funny. I remember poring over the artwork back in the day, there was such detail to be found. The sort of stuff we can only dream of seeing in a modern-day hardback collection. If only Rebellion could add some of this to its schedule.

Lew Stringer said...

Yep, it would be great if Rebellion had the rights to comics before 1970. So much good stuff is gradually fading into obscurity.

paul Mcscotty said...

I haven’t seen either of these strips (unless I read them as a kid and have forgotten them now) but these are both excellent and very funny /cute (in the case of Ken Reid a bit scary as well lol) . I’m pretty sure it’s not just nostalgia but it would be interesting to hear what younger folk think of them (unless Johns a “young un” that is ). A great purchase as well Lew.

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