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Friday, October 31, 2008

Firework Fear

Following my previous posting on firework comics I received an e-mail from Blimey! Blog reader Irmantas with attached scans of the 1970 firework issue of Buster. What makes this issue so fascinating is it shows the shift in attitude towards safety with fireworks. Had there been complaints about the previous year's Whizzer and Chips perhaps, showing kids holding fireworks?

Comics had published warnings before this, usually as notices on the reader's pages, but, to my knowledge, never so blatantly within the strips before. This Buster's Dream-World strip tries to be cautionary but it comes across as fear mongering and depressing. You can feel the humour leaving the comic as you read it. A very odd story indeed.

And what's that bit about not drying out fireworks in a gas oven? I'd never even heard of such a practice until I just read that strip. Talk about putting ideas into kids' heads! Any disturbed little perisher who enjoyed throwing bangers would have a field day being introduced to the concept of blowing up a gas cooker.

Thus began the gradual shift away from firework issues of UK comics. However, the last several years have seen the rise of Halloween-themed comics instead. This week's Beano has a special eight page Beanotown's Most Haunted strip by Nigel Parkinson, whilst The DFC carries a fantastically atmospheric strip by Ben Haggarty and John Welding titled Will Skoggin's Skull: One Man Short.


Ken Davidson said...

My dad was a fireman, and hates fireworks with a vengeance. As a result, I do too except perhaps at large organised events. The thing about drying fireworks out: this used to be a quite common practice. In terms of price versus income fireworks used to be more like gold-dust than they are now, and the combustibility of cheap ones questionable due to damp gunpowder - poor storage; inadequate cardboard casings etc. From what I remember my dad attended quite a few blazes where parents dried fireworks in the oven for a bit, to get a more reliable burn.

Or, that could all be boll*cks he told me, just to give me the willies about the things ;)

Peter Gray said...

Great The Beano has a Guy on the cover and some firework Nigels Dennis the Menace..Billy Whizz with fireworks...and some Guy Fawkes facts...a step in the right direction...made me pleased..

Lew Stringer said...

Had to go into town to buy this week's Beano Peter. My corner shop's stopped taking it. Like you say, good to see a nod to Bonfire Night.

Anonymous said...

Spare us from your little world where comics cannot harm anyone. I'd say the story was worth every drop of ink if that cautionary tale saved just one child from harm. Do you agree with that or are you only interested in defending the industry that pays your wages?

Lew Stringer said...

Anon, get a life.

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