Wednesday, May 24, 2017

80 year Flashback: FUNNY WONDER Whitsun issue 1937

Whitsun was a bigger deal in years past than it is today, and 80 years ago the comics of the Amalgamated Press used it as the theme for that week's issues. I've previously shown the Whitsun issue of Jolly Comic for 1937 (click here) and now here are a few strips from The Funny Wonder of the same week. The comic is scanned from my collection.

Funny Wonder had 8 tabloid-sized pages, all printed in black ink on green paper for 1d. The wonderful holiday theme logo illustration and Pitch and Toss cover strip is the work of Roy Wilson I think. (Might be by one of his imitators but I'm sure it's a Wilson page.) 

Inside, Merry Moments with Marmy and his Ma sees mum and son visiting a fair for the holidays. Note the "Fat Boy" attraction; a depiction of times when the "Freak Show" was a voyeuristic attraction at fairs. Art by Wally Robertson I believe.

Charlie Chaplin had appeared on the cover of the comic for years but by 1937 he was one of the centre-spread strips. Art by Bertie Brown.
Sally, the Sunshine of Our Alley, had a resourceful girl as the lead, and the title of the strip was of course inspired by the 1931 film Sally in our Alley starring Gracie Fields. 
The comic included a cut-out badge for readers to become part of "The Funny Wonder Secret Society", but stipulated that only regular readers could wear it. (That excludes all of us then, unless we have a bound volume of issues to read.)
Fifty percent of the issue was taken up with prose stories and, on the back page, the only adventure strip in the comic; Tim McCoy. Those speech balloons are a bit shouty! 
I hope you enjoy reading this summer issue from 80 years ago. If you have a laptop or tablet, why not sit in the sunshine and enjoy a good read? (22 degrees C here at the moment!)

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

LAWLESS collected

Rebellion are certainly putting out a lot of collections of strips these days. Next month sees the awesome Lawless Volume 1, with amazingly detailed artwork by Phil Winslade. 

Ludicrously, there are still some people who claim today's comics aren't as well drawn as those of decades ago. Take a look at this, folks. Phil's artwork is on a par with any of the best work published in comics since comics began! The high standard of comic art today is incredible. 

Here's the info on the book from the publishers, along with the first five pages to whet your appetites...

CREATIVE TEAM: Dan Abnett (w) Phil Winslade (a) Ellie De Ville (l)
REGIONS: UK & US print, worldwide digital
RELEASE DATE: 15 June 2017
PRICE: £14.99 (UK) $20 (US)
ISBN: 9781781085431

The first collection of 2000 AD's latest breakout success set in the Judge Dredd universe, with an incredible new female Judge. The backwater planet of 43 Rega has spent five years recovering from an invasion of aliens known as the Zhind. isolated and a hotbed for trouble makers, Badrock is an colony township desperate for a strong law enforcer to take charge. Enter Colonial. Marshal Meta Lawson. Tough, surly and determined, Lawson seems to be ideal for the role. But is this law-woman exactly who she claims to be?

Available in print from: book stores, Amazon, and comic book stores via Diamond

Time for a sort out!

From this week I'm starting to list some items on eBay again. My house is just too overcrowded with books and comics that I'll never get around to re-reading so I'm selling off some of them. 

There's only a handful of items up so far to see how they go, but I'll be putting more up next week. I have some duplicates of comics (such as the above issue of Smash!) that I don't need, and various graphic novels and books that I'll be selling at reasonable prices. If you're interested, visit the link below:

Monday, May 22, 2017

Charlie Grigg honoured at his old school

The late Charlie Grigg, who drew Korky the Cat for many years, has been honoured with a blue plaque at his old school in Oldbury. 

I never knew Charlie personally but, like many of us, I grew up entertained by his artwork for The Dandy on strips such as Korky the Cat, The Red Wrecker, and The Umbrella Men, and on The Topper with strips such as Foxy and Splodge. I'm very pleased for his family that they've achieved this honour for him.
You can read the full details over at John Freeman's Down the Tubes blog today:

The BBC's Midlands Today covered the news in its 21st May broadcast and at time of writing it's still available on iPlayer, 3 minutes in:

Saturday, May 20, 2017

TV Comic with Target (1978)

TV Comic underwent quite a few changes over its 33 year run. It started out as a comic for very young readers in 1951, aged itself up a bit in the 1960s to compete with Dandy and Beano, changed to a tabloid sized comic (as Mighty TV Comic) for a while, and by 1978 its emphasis was more on adventure strips due to absorbing the failed Target comic. (Target had lasted just 18 weeks and you can read more about that here: )

Here's a few pages from TV Comic with Target No.1397, dated 22nd September 1978. The cover strip rotated its characters and this week it was the turn of Kojak, drawn by David Lloyd early in his career before he went on to find fame with V for Vendetta. (Today, David is the publisher of digital comic Aces Weekly )

TV Comic had been printed in the slick photogravure format for years, until changing to web offset in 1971. However, by 1978 it had downgraded to cheap newsprint and, as you'll see, a very limited approach to colouring. Charlie's Angels was illustrated by John Canning...

The Doctor Who strip in TV Comic by this time was a reprint from earlier issues. In the case of this story, it originally appeared in 1974 featuring the third Doctor, with art by Gerry Haylock. For this 1978 reprint, John Canning redrew some of the figurework to replace Jon Pertwee's Doctor with Tom Baker's! 

The Kicktail Kid wasn't related to any TV show but was instead publisher Polystyle's attempt at a superhero strip. (Perhaps trying to compete with the numerous Marvel UK weeklies around at the time.) David Lloyd had been the original artist on the strip but this work is by someone else and I don't recognise the style. 

TV Comic with Target also featured several humour strips of course, as the comic always did, mostly based on cartoon characters. One of the longest running in the weekly was Tom and Jerry, drawn by Bill Titcombe, which was on the back page of the comic that week. 
With only 20 pages, TV Comic was relatively expensive at 10p, but it was still popular enough to survive for a few more years (when its print quality would improve again). 
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