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Monday, December 24, 2018

The Christmas ALLY SLOPER'S HALF HOLIDAY (1898)

The wheezy old Blimey-Timey Machine has taken a pounding this Christmas, whizzing back and fourth across the years to bring you samples of comics from yonks ago. Now we've arrived at our final destination for Christmas and we've travelled so far back in time that I think the old machine will need a week to recover, and plenty of mince pies and wobbly pop to refuel.

Here we are then, 120 years in the past, in the year 1898 for the Christmas issue of Ally Sloper's Half Holiday! To see the pages full size, click / tap on the images and zoom in.

British humour has always been at its best when it's been a bit dark and subversive, and long before Viz and 2000AD, there was Ally Sloper's Half Holiday delighting its readers with covers like this. Between Ally "stuffing" the goose with hot mulled cider (wassail), his son smoshing a Christmas pud on his sister's head, and the bugs crawling on the bread, it's festive chaos, lovingly illustrated by W.F. Thomas. 

(I should, at this point, mention to anyone new to comics history that comics were aimed at adults back then, but I suspect even some grown-ups of a nervous disposition would have nightmares after seeing that scene.)

As I've mentioned before, the closest equivalent today to Ally Sloper would be Private Eye. Both feature a mixture of cartoons, short strips, socio-political rumour and comment, and a healthy dose of satire.

This Christmas issue was "enlarged to 12 pages" from the usual 8, for no extra charge. Here are a few extracts from inside...


Another comic-horror scene, this time to promote Ally Sloper's Christmas Holidays, which was an additional special edition with 20 pages for 2d (1p).
There was even a letters section!
More ads for the special. They were really pushing it! 

The back page of this issue features Ally Sloper surrounded by his artists and writers dressed as jesters, wishing each other, and the readers, compliments of the season...
...and on that note I too will wish you all a very Merry Christmas! I hope you've enjoyed all the recent posts showing old festive comics and that you'll come back again next weekend for the traditional end-of-year comics I'll be showing! In the meantime, remember I've also posted some of my own Christmas strips from over the years on my other blog. Take a look:
http://lewstringercomics.blogspot.com


9 comments:

Peter Gray said...

Going to have nightmares now!! Happy Christmas Lew and thanks for finding time to do these super posts...

Lew Stringer said...

Thank you, Peter. I know some aren't interested in comics "before their time" but thanks for always appreciating the classics. Wishing you and Carol a Happy Christmas!

Colin Jones said...

Lew, I recall you saying you didn't like Christmas all that much but I'll wish you a merry yuletide anyway :)

Lew Stringer said...

Thanks Colin. Christmas isn't a big deal for me because I don't have a family but I still enjoy it. Can't beat Christmas music in the shops and decorations in the town... and Christmas comics of course! Best wishes to you for Christmas and 2019!

qamar said...

Happy Christmas Lew!

Lew Stringer said...

Thank you, qamar. Happy Christmas to you too!

varszava_vavava said...

Hello

I spent some hours over Christmas re-reading recent Beano and Dandy annuals. I forgot you were the Smasher artist. In the 2013 Dandy Annual the same Smasher strip appears twice. Do you recall if you were paid twice..?

Lew Stringer said...


No, I most definitely wasn't paid twice. We invoice them for our work long before the books are printed. They made a mistake by running a page twice, which means that some other strip that should have been there was left out.

Robert Carnegie said...

I had to look up "Louis de Rougemont"! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_de_Rougemont

It sounds like he should have his own weekly comic strip!

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