The phrase "You couldn't get away with that in a comic now" is often overused, but you definitely couldn't get away with this story today. In fact, some comics wouldn't have published it back then either!
This episode of Percy's Pets is from Smash! Annual 1968, writer unknown (possibly Les Lilley?), and drawn by Stan McMurtry. The opening panel is vicious enough, with poor Percy being clouted so hard by his dad that his chewing gum flies out of his mouth, but the child cruelty continues throughout the story.
Smacking a naughty child is bad enough, but Percy doesn't do anything to deserve such violent treatment. The whole story revolves around how funny it apparently is for good-natured Percy to be beaten by his bad-tempered dad.
Much as I love the Odhams comics of the 1960s, they could often be irresponsible in their comedy-violence. It can be argued that they were so over the top that the violence is on the level of a Punch and Judy Show and not to be taken seriously. I'd usually agree with that, and the way that Ken Reid handled such material, for example, was genuinely funny. This one, I'm not so sure about.
As a child, I'd find stories like this amusing, and surely that's the important thing? After all, the story is aimed at kids. To put it in context, 50 years ago, shamefully enough, it was commonplace for parents to smack their kids, so scenes like this wouldn't seem unusual then. As an adult, I find it somewhat disturbing and I'm glad comics don't feature parents belting their kids now. (Although Biffa Bacon spoofs this perfectly in adult comic Viz.) What's your opinion? Post a comment below...