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Friday, March 30, 2012

David Lloyd's Kickback now on the iPad

I recently received the press release regarding David Lloyd's Kickback graphic novel being available on the iPad. I don't have an iPad myself but from what I've heard the conversion to digital format is excellent. Here's the full details...

Graphic novelist David Lloyd, co-creator with Alan Moore of V for Vendetta and designer of the stylized Guy Fawkes mask used by the Occupy movement addresses corruption in the deluxe digital version of crime-noir thriller Kickback. The iPad version includes an exclusive interview, audio commentary, and production notes and images.

TOKYO March 28th, 2012  It's the mask protesting about corruption and greed around the world, and its creator David Lloyd, the artist behind V for Vendetta, has just released an interactive graphic novel for the iPad addressing those very issues: "V for Vendetta was concerned with how a society becomes corrupt and how it frees itself from corruption. My graphic novel, Kickback, resonates with this theme, but it is about how one man frees himself from the shackles of his own corruption." 

Kickback follows the story of Joe Canelli, a corrupt cop in a tough city, haunted by his dreams and confused by his past. When his partner is murdered and his colleagues betray him, Canelli must confront his past and question the direction of his life. "Kickback is a fast-paced thriller that explores themes of corruption, consciousness, society, and self-respect against a big-city backdrop," says Lloyd.
The iPad app (which takes advantage of the new retina screen) presents Kickback in a stunning high-quality digital format, with a specially-designed user interface that gives the reader smooth swiping from page to page, flawless pixel-per-second movement, and effortless transition to Panel Mode to view enlarged panels one by one in beautiful detail. The app also includes an audio commentary by the artist, an exclusive interview, and production notes and sketches.
In the exclusive interview Lloyd discusses a range of issues and details his experience of launching the print version of Kickback just after the V for Vendetta movie was released and is scathing about former publisher Dark Horse and their lack of promotion of his work.
In relation to the decision to release the work in iPad format, Lloyd commented, "Intelligent graphic novels for adults have rarely been able to find the readership they deserve. With this iPad version of Kickback, we're making something I'm very proud of available to millions of people who wouldn't think of scanning the graphic novel section of a bookstore, or entering a comic shop. The format also allows us to add features that would either not be possible or be too expensive in a printed book. The whole thing looks fantastic and I'm very excited to see my work in this form."

The artist worked with Tokyo-based digital publisher Panel Nine Publishing who specialize in fully-featured software for digital graphic novels. Publisher Russell Willis, a Brit, commented: "Not all digital comics are created equal. The 'lean back' nature of the iPad allows immersion into the material and we have created software which sweats the small stuff to exploit the features of the device and create the optimal reader experience. This is a world away from reading a dodgy PDF on a computer monitor. There is no doubt that in the next few years most people will be reading graphic novels on tablets of some sort: Kickback is the future of the graphic novel."

Kickback is available for all versions of the iPad and can be purchased from iTunes for £6.99. Click here to purchase and download your copy.

This app presents Kickback in stunning high-quality digital format, with a specially-designed user interface that gives the reader smooth swiping from page to page, flawless pixel-per-second movement, and effortless transition to Panel Mode to view enlarged panels one by one in beautiful detail.
Special features include:• Audio commentary for selected pages, recorded by David Lloyd exclusively for this app

• A host of extra material including a selection of previously unpublished sketches, thumbnails, and cover roughs from the development of Kickback

• A brand-new interview with David Lloyd conducted exclusively for this app

• Visual contents and bookmarks that let the reader view thumbnails of all pages and navigate quickly and easily

David Lloyd is one of the comics industry's foremost talents. He has worked with many top graphic novel writers including Alan Moore, Garth Ennis, and Grant Morrison.

Here come the HULKS!

When Panini UK reluctantly had to close Fantastic Four Adventures last month due to falling sales another title was needed to take its place on the schedule. And who better than The Incredible Hulk, who will be one of the stars of the Avengers Assemble movie in a few weeks? 

The Incredible Hulks No.1 is out now from WH Smith and other newsagents, with a titanic 100 page premiere issue for the usual price of £2.95. Yes, that's "Hulks" plural, for this comic reprints the recent American editions where ol' greenskin had a whole team of Hulks.

Personally I think the Hulk works better as a loner and I feel the addition of multi-hulks only dilutes the concept of him as one against the world. On the other hand, it's good to see new twists on the old concept. The Hulk has been around for 50 years now and "team Hulk" is just the latest spin on keeping the character fresh. I hope the title changes to Incredible Hulk (singular) soon though. "Hulks" just sounds daft. 

This issue reprints stories from the American edition of The Incredible Hulks Nos.612 to 614. Next issue, the comic adds the Red Hulk with stories reprinted from Hulk

The Hulk was the first Marvel character I saw, back when Odhams began reprinting his saga in Smash! in 1966 (see here for details). I've read it on and off ever since, so it's good to see him back in his own British title. If you haven't kept up with the character for a while this is an interesting jumping on point. 

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Review: CLiNT No.15

CLiNT 15 - in yer shops and in yer face this week

CLiNT No.15 is in the shops today with 100 full colour pages for £4.25, which buys you a ton of good stuff.  After 15 issues over a period of 18 months, Kick Ass 2 comes to a violent and bloody close with a mammoth 34 page final chapter. Yes, 34 pages of goodness from artists John Romita Jr and Tom Palmer (not forgetting Dean White's powerful colouring) from a script with attitude by Mark Millar. 

The heroes and villains square off against each other and the results are compelling reading with a few unexpected twists. What might be a serious gore fest in lesser hands is balanced out with enough black comedy moments here to tip you the wink that the creators are having fun, and so should you.

Okay, this isn't one of the comedy moments.
 It's also the end for Superior, as Mark Millar and Lenil Yu's high voltage tale of superheroes and souls reaches its closure. A refreshingly uplifting conclusion too, especially for those of us expecting something bleaker. 

No Rex Royd this issue again, and apparently there'll be a double dose next time. What we do get though are 26 pages of Graveyard of Empires, continuing the saga of marines vs zombies during a tour of duty in Afghanistan. This is my least favourite strip, mainly because I read comics for escapism and I feel the war in Afghanistan has horrors enough without adding fantasy to it, but the strip is well told by Mark Sable, the art by Paul Azaceta is smart, and this is basically good comics.

Art by Paul Azacta from Graveyard of Empires
 There's also an exclusive prologue to Super Crooks, the new series from Mark Millar and Leinil Yu which begins properly next issue, a preview of Brian Hitch's artwork for America's Got Powers (a new Jonathan Ross comic coming soon), and a taster of what to expect from the upcoming Kapow! Comic Convention (lots of good looking 20 something women in superhero outfits apparently, judging by the photos). If I was 30 years younger I'd buy a ticket on that impulse alone.

At the back of the issue there's an ad for the relaunch of the comic in May as CLiNT gets a new design, new logo, new strips, and a new number one. Much as some fans hate it when comics are renumbered, sadly it's sometimes a necessary method to get chain stores to sit up and take notice and order more copies. For example, my local WH Smith stopped taking CLiNT months ago, but hopefully the relaunch will encourage it and many other stores to give it another go.

Dummy cover for CLiNT 2.1

CLiNT No.15 is in shops now. 100 pages for £4.25. 
CLiNT 2.1 will be out on May 10th. 


The latest Commando issues - on sale today

Thanks again to Commando editor Calum Laird for supplying the info and cover images. No new stories at all this week unfortunately, with all four issues being reprints. Without further ado, here's the lowdown on the issues of Commando that arrive in shops today:

Commando No 4483: The Fighting Penguins

The RAF Regiment was formed during the Second World War. Its purpose…to defend airfields in the event of attack from the air or from ground forces. Some people scoffed at them — “Airmen who can’t fly?” they said, “They’re like penguins!”
   Well, these airmen might not fly, but by jingo they could fight!

Introduction by Calum Laird, Commando Editor

Twice a year we throw open our vaults and allow our readers, to choose a pair of stories they remember from times gone by which they reckon need another airing. For some reason, we’ve had a lot of requests from our friends in the RAF Regiment this year…sorry about the title, folks.
   Monty was great script-writer. All the Ts would be crossed and the Is dotted, the very essence of a professional author. He also worked for the Ambulance Service in Norfolk, no doubt just as professionally. If you were going to have an accident there, during his shift would be as good a time as any.
   What can you say about the two artists who realised Monty’s script? Without them Commando would not be what it is. Without them boys would not have had art to copy on to the covers of school jotters. Without them there would have been no hilarious visitations to the Commando Office every week.
   I bet you’re all glad Commando wasn’t without them. I know I am.
   If you’d like to see a story again, let us know and we’ll put it into the queue for September.

The Fighting Penguins, originally Commando No 1368 (November 1979), re-issued as No 2692 (September 1993)

Story    R A “Monty” Montague
Art    Gordon Livingstone
Cover    Ian Kennedy

Commando No 4484: The Cage

For over five hundred years the iron cage had hung there, swinging grimly outside the castle wall. No one knew how many wretches had suffered and died over the centuries, imprisoned by those stark, rusting bars.
   Now it held a strange assortment of prisoners — a British sergeant, a German army officer and two German soldiers. A strange assortment yes — but they all had one thing in common. They were all to be shot at dawn…

Introduction by Calum Laird, Commando Editor

As I said, twice a year we throw open our archives to allow our readers another chance to read a well-remembered story. This is the second one of the pair that they asked for and as usual, it doesn’t disappoint.
   Monty’s characteristically structured story revolves around hatred of an enemy and how, if it takes over, there can only be one outcome.
   Galindo, who drew 26 stories for Commando, displays a secure hand — especially when tackling rain and darkness, two notoriously difficult subjects for a comic artist.
   Penalva’s cover is exactly what you would expect from a master of his craft — you can hear the crack of thunder accompanying the lightning and feel the rain on your face.
   If you’d like to see a story again, let us know and we’ll put it into the queue for September.

The Cage originally Commando No 758 (July 1973), re-issued as No 1955 (January 1986)

Story    R A “Monty” Montague
Art    Galindo
Cover    Jordi Penalva

Commando No 4485: The Death Dealers

If you’ve already met…TOM, DICK and HARRY, you’ll know that when they’re around there’s plenty of action and trouble, plenty of grief — usually for Nazi Germany,
   If you haven’t, the pleasure’s all yours.
   But hang on to your hat, don’t relax your trigger finger for a second…for they’re a rough, tough trio. Fast-moving, hard-hitting, they give no quarter and expect none – one of the reasons Germans call them…

Introduction by Calum Laird, Commando Editor

This Gold Collection story hasn’t seen the light of day since 1962 so it’s a rare treat.
   Tom, Dick and Harry were Commando’s first recurring characters, having first appeared in Closer Than Brothers , No 19 (November 1961). Then they were in the jungle, here they are on Crete and given form by Cecil Rigby who would draw for Commando for nearly 40 years. Heavy and dramatic use black ink is a trade mark of his pages.
   Eric Hebden hands our heroes a special mission, his fiction populated by fanatic enemies and double-dealing rogues. The trio are no supermen, though, and come unstuck…but I’d better not give away the story.
   Ken Barr’s cover comes at you with a tidal wave of action, and a Nazi dagger thrown in for good measure.

The Death Dealers, originally Commando No 19 (March 1962)

Story    Eric Hebden
Art    Cecil Rigby
Cover    Ken Barr

Commando No 4486: War In The Snow

When a Wellington bomber with a very special cargo on board crashed in Norway, things were bad enough, but to make matters worse the Nazis had found out about it. So the race was on to reach the plane, with both the Germans and British speeding towards the crash site. On one side, a special snowmobile. On the other, a team of huskies!

Introduction to the Silver Collection story by Scott Montgomery, Commando Deputy Editor

In hindsight, the middle of summer — July 1987 — may have seemed like an odd time to publish this gripping, but decidedly wintry-looking tale. But perhaps not, as Commando has often been ideal summer holiday reading, whether on a sunny beach or stuck inside a caravan with rain bouncing off the windows (yes, I am talking from experience).
   Nevertheless, Denis McLoughlin’s icy art is spectacular here. Look at the page opposite: those snowflakes almost come out of the page and make you shiver.
   Keith Walker’s dynamic representation of a German snowmobile is also brilliant. Keith was a staff artist — now enjoying his retirement — who could find himself working on the Bunty or the Beano…and everything in between.
   Finally, a typically exciting script from Alan Hebden, which contains the longest single word I’ve ever seen printed in Commando! (Hint: It’s on page 22)

War In the Snow, originally Commando No 2104 (July 1987)


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Kid Cops of the 1930s!

Artwork by John L. Jukes, 1933
 Kid Cops, currently on its third series in The Dandy, was a concept offered to me by the Dandy editorial team for the comic's relaunch in 2010. I designed the characters and I write and draw the strips. So imagine my surprise when I was recently looking through copies of The Funny Wonder from the 1930s that I bought on eBay to discover a strip coincidentally entitled Ben and Bert, The Kid Cops!

The premise is similar to the modern day strip, with the Kid Cops patrolling the neighbourhood to fight injustice. Although The Dandy version is more about them thwarting over-the-top health and safety rules rather than tackling local bullies or crooks. Also, the Funny Wonder Kid Cops appear to actually be on the police force, rather than independently policing the streets as the Dandy ones do, and they look more like the size of young teenagers than The Dandy's Kid Cops who are small children. 

From The Funny Wonder, 1934

There's one similarity though. Ben and Bert wear a police helmet and cap, as Sgt.Nick and Officer Bobby of my version do, but that's an obvious visual to use. Initially, when I was designing Nick and Bobby I considered putting them in police uniforms that were too big for them, but thought better of it. I'm glad I didn't now, otherwise the coincidental similarities with the 1930s characters would have been too great.

Published in 1935
According to Denis Gifford's Encyclopedia of Comic Characters, Bill and Bert, The Kid Cops ran in The Funny Wonder from 1932 to 1940 and was drawn by John L. Jukes (the same superb artist who drew Alfie the Air Tramp which I've shown on earlier postings). 

From The Funny Wonder, May 22nd 1937
To read the latest fun-venture of the modern Kid Cops pick up a copy of The Dandy, out today. The latest issue comes bagged with a few gifts and also features the start of a brand new Jamie Smart series Mega-Lo Maniacs! See his blog for more details!

Header for this week's Kid Cops in The Dandy

Monday, March 26, 2012

The myth of the speech balloon

I trust that most of you will by now have bought your first day covers of the Royal Mail stamps featuring classic British comics? They really are excellent as is the mini-Dandy No.1 (reprinting 12 of the first issue's 28 pages) and the brief history of comics that accompanies it.

However, there is one little glitch that perpetuates a common myth of British comics. In the folder that comes with the stamps, Graham Kibble-White states "In 1937, DC Thomson launched The Dandy. This landmark title mixed rollicking adventure tales with robust comic strips that featured individual speech balloons rather than text blocks. This innovation made the stories easier to follow and prompted the launch of The Beano in 1938, as well as setting the template for future comics."

It's a mistake that James Chapman also made in his book British Comics, A Cultural History, when he wrote "While they maintained some text stories, Dandy and Beano introduced a new kind of picture strip that dispensed with text captions underneath the pictures and used speech balloons for dialogue."

It's the same myth that was in the BBC Four series Comic Britannia a few years ago. However, the fact is that in December 1937 The Dandy No.1 did not innovate speech balloons in comics, nor was it the first British comic to dispense with text under the panels. Here's a few examples to prove it...

From 1917, twenty years before Dandy No.1, the cover of Picture Fun No.428, with word balloons used in practically every panel...

From 1933, the cover of The Funny Wonder No.1,023, which not only uses speech balloons but also sound effects. (Art by Roy Wilson.)

Inside that same 1933 issue, two strips that use word balloons, dispense with the text under the panels, and even have the sort of rhyming couplets that The Dandy and other DC Thomson comics were known for.

A cover of The Sparkler from July 3rd 1937 (five months before The Dandy was launched) showing word balloons in every panel. (Art by Roy Wilson again.)

That very same week, The Butterfly featured its regular strip Perky, which although features some text it's relegated to the foot of the strip rather than appearing under each panel.

However, in the same issue, this short strip tells the story with word balloons and no text whatsoever...

So, speech balloons and textless strips had been used frequently in British comics long before The Dandy debuted. So how did this myth arise? I'm not sure, but it's one that been doing the rounds for decades and I even believed it myself at one stage. (I may have even written an article or two years ago that's guilty of the same assumption.) It seems to be an error made by some comic historians rather than originating from DC Thomson itself.

Thing is, The Dandy was innovative when it arrived but the reasons why are harder to pin down. For example The Butterfly, Funny Wonder and other comics of the time dispensed with text on some humour strips but The Dandy dispensed with text on most of them. Basically The Dandy took its inspiration from existing British comics and expanded upon it. This gave the impression that The Dandy was a more modern looking and faster paced comic. Also, the tone of The Dandy seemed brasher and not as slick as those from Amalgamated Press. It seemed to have a different attitude than its rival titles, and, yes, that new-kid-on-the-block cockiness did inspire other comics. Perhaps the myth that The Dandy introduced speech balloons to British comics just makes for a simpler soundbite... but it's still wrong.

By the way, despite that, James Chapman's British Comics, A Cultural History is still a cracking read and an absorbing study of the history and sociological significance of comics. Order your copy from Amazon here if you haven't already bought the book.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

40 Year Flashback: TV ACTION takes over

On this day in 1972 Polystyle's Countdown comic had a complete makeover and was re-titled TV Action.

Countdown had launched in 1971 with high production values and top class strips based on sci-fi TV shows and features about science and technology. Ironically, for a comic that dealt in science fiction strips, it was a bit behind the times because by 1971 the space race was over and many kids had diverted their interest elsewhere. During the course of its run, Countdown gradually broadened its focus, running a cover strip based on light adventure thriller The Persuaders TV series and tweaking its title logo to become 'TV Action in Countdown' and 'Coundown for TV Action'. Finally, with issue 59 came the major revamp into TV Action (or TV Action + Countdown as it was for the next 40 issues or so).

With the license to publish Doctor Who strips being its greatest asset since Countdown No.1, TV Action put the strip on the cover with superb artwork by Gerry Haylock. Inside, readers could win a 17" colour TV if they won the Draw Your Enemy competition. As you can see, I designed my monster but never sent it off. therefore The Clawhawk remained in limbo... until today! (Somehow I don't think I'd have won anyway.)

Interestingly, this competition is currently at the root of one Doctor Who fan's legal claim that he created Davros, which he alleges the BBC imitated right down to every switch and shoulder pad. Considering competition entries were sent to Polystyle and not the BBC, and that Terry Nation wasn't a judge, I have my doubts (to put it mildly).

If new readers picked up TV Action thinking it was a new comic they may have been a bit disappointed to find that so many of the strips continued from Countdown. The sophistication and space politics of the Countdown strip could go over the heads of regular readers sometimes so new readers must have been particularly confused. Nice artwork by John M. Burns though.

One of the new strips debuting this week was Hawaii Five-O, based on the highly popular Friday night TV series. One of the good things that TV Action carried over from its previous incarnation were the use of artist's credits. This was highly unusual for the period, when most artists for rival comics were still prohibited from signing their work. (Polystyle also allowed artists to sign their pages on companion title TV Comic.)

Relegated from the front cover, The Persuaders still had two pages inside the comic, and with Harry Lindfield on the art it was still impressive stuff.

One of the best artists of the time was Brian Lewis, who had contributed many pages for Fleetway and Odhams in the 1960s. Drawing the latest UFO serial Let The Aliens Land, Lewis was able to take advantage of the high production values and embellish his work in a grey wash.

Other Gerry Anderson strips included new Thunderbirds adventures drawn by Don Harley and a Stingray reprint from TV21. There were also several intelligently written articles including one on the then-proposed Thames flood barrier. Like Countdown, TV Action tried not to dumb down to its readers. I doubt an article this in-depth would appear in a children's comic today.

On the back page, the comic's token humour strip Hanna-Barbera's Autocat and Motormouse drawn by Peter Ford.

Of the comic's 24 pages, 17 featured strips, two of which were reprint. The rest were taken up with articles and "filler" as some might call it today. Yep, it wasn't 100% comic but we didn't care. Like Countdown before it, TV Action was an excellent comic but, outside of fan circles, it never really caught on in a big way. Nevertheless, the revamp as TV Action gave it a good boost and it carried on for over another two years, finally ending with issue 132.

My earlier blog post on Countdown No.1:

Saturday, March 24, 2012

This week in 1964: LION

The issue of Lion that was on sale this week in 1964 is a good example of the high quality of the comic back then. Arguably the early to mid 1960s was Lion's best period, with some of the top comic artists in the UK regularly contributing to the weekly.

The eye-catching cover by Joe Colquhoun sets the scene. Tough, dynamic action with a meticulous amount of detail. The strip continued on the back page in black and white, for in those days Lion only had the front cover in colour. Here, Colquhoun draws scenes of World War 1 several years before he'd return to the subject with Charley's War.

This period in Lion's history saw the comic bring two interesting tweaks to the usual look of British adventure comic. For one, the serials were given individual titles, so Karl the Viking was headed The Voyage of the Sea Raiders for example. Secondly, the large opening panel was rendered in a grey wash, giving it more of a realistic photographic effect. (Sadly this didn't always reproduce well on newsprint.) Stunning artwork here from Don Lawrence...

Britain in Chains, drawn by Geoff Campion, was a relatively new addition to Lion at this time, but the series character Vic Gunn would continue his fight against the tyrant occupying Britain in several sequels such as The Battle for Liverpool and Rebel Island. The series was later reprinted in Smash! as The Battle of Britain.

Robot Archie had debuted in the first issue of Lion in 1952 (as The Jungle Robot) and had been a regular in the comic since 1957. The Curse of Dragon Island (drawn by series regular Ted Kearon) still has Archie as a silent robot, before he developed a boastful personality in the slightly lighter stories that came later.

The great thing about the Fleetway comics is that they understood how to pace a comic. Page after page of adventure strips can make a comic look duller than it actually is so Lion added a few features and humour strips to break things up. Its most notable humour strip being Mowser, drawn by Reg Parlett, which ran for ten years. The strip had only been running a few weeks when this example was published and Mowser's relocation to Crummy Castle and meeting his nemesis James the Butler was yet to happen...

The other humour strip in Lion at this time was Spy Smasher Smith, latching onto the spy craze of the 1960s...

The anti-smoking campaign was starting to get underway back then and comics often featured advertisements to discourage young readers from smoking. (See here for an old blog post I did on the subject.) Here's an ad that featured in Lion this week in 1964...

It may have only had 28 pages but Lion of 1964 packed a lot in and was a strong rival to the DC Thomson adventure papers such as Victor and Hornet.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Ken Reid's Scorcher strips

Most readers of this blog will be aware of the work of the late genius humour artist Ken Reid, specifically the Jonah strip he did for The Beano in the late 1950s and early 1960s, co-creating Roger the Dodger in the 1950s, and his hilariously manic work for Odhams in the 1960s (Frankie Stein, Queen of the Seas, Jasper the Grasper, Dave-A-Day-Davy and the later episodes of The Nervs).

When IPC took over the reigns of the Odhams and Fleetway comics in 1969, Ken's work became a little bit more restrained. His work was still brilliant, still funny, and still some of the best illustrated pages in UK comics, but it was evident he wasn't being allowed to go full throttle as he had on The Nervs for example. (Apparently IPC management told editors that The Nervs should never be reprinted because its humour was so grotesque.)

Nevertheless, even though Ken's IPC strips were a little more formal than his Odhams material they were still amongst the finest pages the company ever published. In the 1970s Ken's most famous character was Faceache, first seen in the short-lived Jet and then in Buster for many years. However he also illustrated several strips for the football comic Scorcher, which I'm showing here today.

Ken's first series for Scorcher was Sub, aka Duggie Dribble, the hopelessly overweight substitute who never had a hope of getting a game. (And if he did, events would backfire on him.) This example is from the issue dated 11th April 1970...

By the issue dated 28th November 1970, Sub had been replaced by Football Forum, a reader participation strip where the characters responded to questions by fans.

Like Sub, Football Forum proved to be another short-run strip as by early 1971, Manager Matt had replaced it. This page is from the 20th March 1971 issue. Some dialogue appears to have been censored or altered in the final panel for some reason...

By the 25th December 1971 issue, Hugh Fowler had become Ken's regular strip...

...but by the following summer, The Soccernauts had replaced it. (This example from Scorcher and Score dated 17th June 1972)...

Here's a curious one. Scorcher and Score dated 4th November 1972, and Ken's page is now Harry Hammertoe, The Soccer Spook. However, that's clearly a Reg Parlett title box illustration. Presumably Reg was the original artist before Ken took over the strip? Can anyone confirm this? (I only have a few issues.)

Finally, by 15th September 1973, Ken was drawing Jimmy Jinks. I get the impression that Ken enjoyed this character more than some of the previous ones. Jimmy himself is bursting with energy and the page is top quality Reid standard.

There was another strip by Ken in Scorcher before it merged with Tiger in 1974, called The Triptoe Tryers. Unfortunately I don't have any reference for that one.

All of the above strips are good. Sub and Jimmy Jinks being my particular favourites I think. Most of these characters have often been overlooked when talking about Ken Reid's work, probably because they had such brief runs. I'm not sure why Scorcher's editor had such a quick turnover of Ken's strips (8 in 5 years). Perhaps the premise for some was too restrictive, or perhaps Ken himself requested something fresh?

It's been said that today's humour artists are not in the same league as Ken Reid. Fact is, most of yesterday's artists weren't in the same league either. Ken Reid was always uniquely brilliant.

Here are more examples of each series in more depth:

SUB (1970:



HUGH FOWLER (1971/72):



JIMMY JINX (1973/74):

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