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Saturday, December 23, 2017

The Christmas SPARKY (1970)

One of the most fondly remembered covers for a D.C. Thomson humour comic, this Christmas 1970 issue of Sparky eschewed the usual Barney Bulldog strip to present this cosy festive scene with all the characters carol singing. The artwork was by Vic Neill, the Peter Piper artist of the time. (Peter being the one writing the message in the snow with his pipes.) 

There were plenty of Christmas strips inside this 24 page issue. I-Spy didn't have a festive theme but I know so many of you liked this strip (as did I) that it'd be remiss of me to avoid it. Brilliant comedy-adventure material of the type we should see more of in British comics. Artwork by Brian Walker.

Mr.Bubbles was a strip I never really cared for. It seemed too young, even when I was 11, but in retrospect this is a nicely told Christmas tale. I think the artist was Pamela Chapeau at this stage but I'm not too familiar with her work. Can anyone confirm this?

The Sparky People was the comic's brilliant sit-com set in the Sparky office. Although the staff were fictionalised it was an enjoyable strip about the behind-the-scenes antics. Art by Jim Petrie.

L-Cars (the name a spoof on TV's Z-Cars) was another great Sparky strip. The thing about Sparky was that it had its own identity and style of humour. When the Odhams comics ended, I jumped to Sparky as one of the closest equivalents. A genuinely funny comic, and L-Cars was one of its best strips. Art by Bill Hill...

The back page featured Puss and Boots by John Geering. Full of comic violence and frantic situations, it became one of the most popular strips in the comic. 

We're nearing ever closer to Christmas, but look out for another festive flashback on this blog on Christmas Eve!

Incidentally, the issue of The Beano that came out that same week in 1970 featured a cover that complimented the Sparky one, with its characters carol singing too. You can see my blog post about it from last year here:


Ray Moore said...

Yes Lew, it is Pam Chapeau drawing Mr Bubbles.

Lew Stringer said...

Thanks, Ray. That's very helpful of you.

Robert Carnegie said...

The adventure of "I Spy" is also a lot like what "Danger Mouse" gets up to these days - including a very relaxed attitude to physical possibility. Indeed, DM's regular enemy at different times recently held the world to ransom by rearranging the continents or disabling gravity, in two different adventures. He didn't cut up land masses though, I suppose they just tear smoothly along the dotted lines of national borders.

In the long running "Girl Genius" steampunk comic, a long standing element of the setting just came into focus: that's a world in which mad scientists, who are responsible for most things, made the whole of Great Britain sink, some time ago. No one knows how it was done and the process is continuing. Until now it hasn't been very important in the story because it was mostly happening in Europe.

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