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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Comics: POW! (1967)

You saw the Christmas issue of Smash! in the previous post, now here's one of its festive stablemates that was published on the same day, Pow! No.50 dated 30th December 1967. (You may have seen this cover before when I used it in a blog post three years ago but I'm going into further detail today.)

Pow! varied its covers more than its companion comics did, and this week it was the turn of The Pow! Short Story to take residence. I've always liked the idea of adventure strips starting on the cover as it hooks the reader straight away. Here are pages two and three of this complete story...

The Dolls of St.Dominic's is a good example of how daring the Odhams comics were compared to their Fleetway counterparts. The premise owes more to the schoolgirls of St.Trinians than The Bash Street Kids but artist Ron Spencer was still encouraged to draw it in a Leo Baxendale style. For those of you born long after the 1960s, "Englebert" refers to Englebert Humperdink, a Leicester-born singer who reached the heights of pop stardom, and I believe still has a residency in Vegas.

The favourite comic strip of many Pow! readers, including myself, was The Cloak, written and drawn by Mike Higgs. Pre-dating Sparky's I-Spy this black-garbed super spy usually appeared in serials of about six weeks in length but for Christmas Mike contributed a complete story. Note all the Pow! characters gathered for the party in the final panel, including Mike Higgs himself (or 'MiK' as he signed his work then).

The other standout strip of that issue was Dare-a-Day Davy in its regular back cover slot. Artwork by Ken Reid, who was always a great artist but by the 1960s had reached new heights of genius. People may criticize modern humour comics for not reaching Ken's standards but the truth is no one could touch him back then either. Ken Reid was always in a league of his own.

Tomorrow: The penultimate Christmas classic.


Dave Morris said...

It's like having a Tardis whisk you back to the golden days of childhood. I'd forgotten half those strips until now, but they've always been there in the back of my mind. What a brilliant Christmas treat! Thanks, Lew.

Lew Stringer said...

Thanks Dave. Comments like yours make it worthwhile. Merry Christmas!

Anonymous said...

Great post, Lew. I really appreciate this site and have to thank you for all the effort you must put in.
I was 6 when this came out but my 11-year-old brother collected Pow ! at the time so I certainly would have read it.In the earlier issues, I seem to remember a great strip called "The Python". Do you have any information on that?

Wishing you and your readers a great Christmas !

John Parker

Lew Stringer said...

The Python was a huge robot snake controlled by people inside it. (Very much Pow's answer to Valiant's 'Mytek the Mighty'.)

The Python makes an appearance in the final panel of that Cloak story I've shown here, smashing through the wall.

Anonymous said...

Yes, of course. Your comment rang a bell and I just took another look at your post from January,2007 where you mentioned The Python. I remember the Spidey gun quite well. The other standout moment for me back then was when Spidey fought The Lizard. It's probably still my favourite Lee/Ditko story ever. Ah, nostalgia.

I'd love to know who drew The Python and maybe even see a scan of one of the pages.

Cheers,Lew and Happy Holidays once again.

John Parker

Lew Stringer said...

I'll be blogging more about the Odhams strips next year. :)

Anonymous said...

It's EngELbert HumperdinCk. I can't understand why it's so often mispelt Englebert Humperdink ;-)

Steve Cook said...

I always loved the snow on the logo. It really meant Christmas was coming, which in those days was exciting. The Pow! annual 1969 was one of my favourite Christmas presents and I'm pretty sure I still have it.

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