NOTE: Blimey! is no longer being updated. Please visit for the latest updates about my comics work.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Jonah spot-the-difference

When Buddy reprinted Ken Reid's Jonah strip in 1981, there were a few changes made from its original appearance in The Beano. The most obvious one being the change from hand-lettering to machine lettering for most of the dialogue. To my mind, this immediately deadened a lot of the humour. It just didn't "sound" right in such dull looking font. So why did they do it? 

Well, I'd imagine it's because some of the dialogue was rewritten for various reasons best known to them. Compare the two pages here. The original is from 1960. The reprint from 1981. "Cap'n" becomes "Captain", Jonah's "WE'VE HAD IT!" is redone in a quieter less effective size, the German's dialogue changes a bit, and that's just for starters. 

One glaring change is in the caption above the airship. The humour of "...the days of the airship are not finished - YET!" becomes "...the days of the airship are not yet finished". Someone may have thought that was more grammatically correct, but the emphasis on Jonah's impending damage to it has been totally lost. 

Note also, the absence of the dinghy going POP! in panel 7 of the Buddy reprint. The implication in the original was presumably that the crew met a watery grave. None of that downbeat stuff for the reprint! Sheesh. The black humour of Ken Reid's work was what made it popular!

Anyway, compare the pages and you'll no doubt find other changes too. It also happened in other weeks throughout the reprint run. Perhaps one day, they might reprint Jonah complete and uncensored in a nice book, but I'm not getting my hopes up. 


John Parker said...

Great post, Lew. I did like me a bit of Jonah back in the day. I'd rather see a Jonah book than a Faceache book but I'm not complaining!

Lew Stringer said...

Yes, Ken was at his peak in the late fifties to late sixties (although he was always great). An uncensored Jonah "for older Beano kids" would make an ideal book. As would a collection of his other Thomson strips such as early Roger the Dodger, Big Head and Thick Head, Jinx, etc. I can't see it ever happening unfortunately.

Gavin Burrows said...

The bolder, less naturalistic spot colour works better too. Buddy, we already knew the sea was blue. No need to keep elaborating on it.

Lew Stringer said...

Absolutely. The older Beano didn't need to limit its back page to two colours (the front cover was in full colour) but they knew how effective it would be. The Buddy reprint is just garish.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...