Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Broons and Oor Wullie - 75 year annual

This is my first of this years annual, I was originally going to buy The Beano and The Dandy, which selebrates Dennis the Menace's 60th birthday, but this one stood out more too me! I suppose it was the fact that I was bored of The beano and The Dandy books always looking the same (except this year it comes with a replica Beano #452), and the Broons and Oor Wullie book fetured pages from The Sunday Post's fun section tht wasn't just Broons and Oor Wullie comic Strip. My favourite by far is this step-by-step drawing guide!

The book also comes with a free Broons 'Cielidh Classics' CD featuring "20 Kilt Swinging Tunes" and a 2012 Oor Wullie Calender.

You can pick this brilliant celebration annual up from any good (and a few bad) bookstores for just £12.99, or you can purchase it off D.C Thomson's website!

Monday, November 21, 2011


Another first, and this time it's about Dennis the Menace's hair growing legs - Gnasher! Dennis' creator (David (Davey) Law), got the idea for Dennis whilst watching a play and the original ideas were scrawled on the back of a hankerchief. That was in 1951. It was 17 years on when Dennis got the Abyssinian Wire-Haired Tripe Hound, he picked him up off the street and then took him along to the dog show. However, this wasn't the first time Dennis had owned a dog. His dad was walking one in the park way back in the very first episode on 17th March 1951, and earlier in '68 he picked another dog up off the street, in several different issues! So dogs were a big part of Dennis' world.

Ian gray, the scriptwriter for Dennis the Menace at the time, gave Law the following instructions for drawing Gnasher: 'Draw Dennis the Menace's hair, put a leg at each corner and eyes, nose and teeth at the front'. He did a pretty good job of it as well didn't he!

So here is the first ever comic strip published with Gnasher, which appeared on the back cover of Beano #1363, August 31st 1968.

In the last box 'Dad' send Gnasher off to Pup Parade, where he would appear the following week. Gordon Bell, the artist of Pup Parade, illustrated Gnasher perfectly, and with a bit more of a cartoony face! This story though, as far as I can find, has never been posted up online. So here it is! Enjoy!

Gnasher did not appear alongside Dennis that week. In fact, he didn't appear again until #1370, then vanished until #1377, then #1380, had two consecutive weeks in January 1969, then came back in #1387 and then started appearing every week from #1392, dated March 22nd 1969.

Then, in 1986, Gnasher went missing! After many anxious weeks and campaigns, he returns, the father of six pups. Only one of them is kept - Gnipper. The two later went on to star in their very own comic strip called 'Gnasher and Gnipper'. In a more recent issue Gnasher sets off to find the other pups who are at all four corners of the world, which was illustrated by Tom Paterson. When the Dennis the Menace fan club started, Gnasher had his own section entitled 'Gnashers Fang Club' and even had his very own hairy badge with moving eyes and would quickly become the most popular part of the club. All of the most popular Beano free gifts were based upon Gnasher. Dennis the Menace changed it's title to Dennis the Menace and Gnasher, and remains like that today. From 1977 to 1986 he had his own story called 'Gnashers Tale and more recently one called Gnasher's Bite, which appears on the back page of The Beano every week.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Subscriptions to Strip Magazine now avaliable!

Instead of heading out to one of the few comic shops that actuall sells Strip Magazine, you can now head over to their website and buy a subscription today! Two packages are avaliable to purchase, a 6 month subscription is £14.99 and a 12 month is just £25.99! Bargain! To subscribe just head on over to their website:
and click the package you want to buy on the right hand side!

Frankie Stein arrives!

Wham! was one of five Power Comics created by Odhams Ltd. and was launched on 20th June 1964, lasting 187 issues, until it merged with it's sister comic POW! in January 1968. During it's short life Wham created dozens of incredible stories such as Biff, The Tiddlers, General Nitt and his Barmy Army, Georgie's Germs, Eagle Eye, Pest of the West all of which were amazingly illustrated by such artists as Leo Baxendale, Terry Willers, Gordon Hogg, Artie Jackson and more.

Four isssues into it's run a new story would appear. Frankie Stein was of the magnificent Ken Reid, who decided to follow his love of drawing monsters, aliens and all things weird! Some of the stuff was so ghastly, it was never published in the comic itself and was never even seen until it was eventually published in an underground comic in 1969! The art Ken drew for Odhams was definatly some of his best, whole collections have even been put into books, some of those books reaching sky high prices of over £190 each! Frankie Stein is one of them, and he first came to life inside the covers of Wham issue 4, on page 17, way back in 1964! Although he didn't appear on the cover of that issue, Frankie Stein would later become one of Britain's most popular characters, appearing in many different comics and annuals. He even had two of his own annuals in 1976 and '77, both titled the 'Whoopee Book of Frankie Stein', although by this time Robert Nixon had replaced Reid. Even more collectable are the Frankie Stein holiday specails, which ran for eight years between 1975 and 1982. At the start of the series the comic was priced 25p and by 1980 it had doubled to 50p. Nixon's front cover artwork for the first special sold at auction in 2008 for £378.

So here, for all those Reid fans who haven't seen the first Frankie Stein strip, here it is!

Apologies for my scans been on an angle, it's just that my copy of this comic is in near mint condition so I didn't really want to damage it.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Digital Comics!

Screenshot of the comics in newsstand. As you can see I have a Star Cat background from The Phoenix!

I sent off the last paragraph from my blog post here: to D.C Thomson suggesting that they make apps for their comics. And now - it's been done! Hooray! You can download the comics through newstand (you must have ios5)and then download the comics through there! You can either purchase the issues or simply download the free ones! Here are some more screenshots:
The Dandy loading page...

Harry Hill on the small screen! That's me reading Dandy #3557!

The Beano loading page...

Me reading The Beano on my iPod!

Also avaliable from the app store (although not for news-stand) is Commando.

You can also purchase Strip Magazine from iTunes, but unfortunatly it is only avaliable for the iPad at the moment. Click here for more details:

Friday, November 18, 2011

Winners of CCGB Awards!

Not too long ago Peter Gray commented on my post about Dave Follows winning the award for the best humour strip. He was intrested too know who won it each year. Well, I contacted the Cartoonist's Club of Great Britain (who gave out the awards) who replied telling me that I should contact Mike Turner (who was chairman of the club at the time). Mike managed to find out who won it (Despite the fact the information was "...rather scattered and time consuming to track down...")

Anyway, the award went on for about 5 years. Dave won it in 1983 for the best humour strip, and there was also an award for a best humour strip in a newspaper category. Amongst winners in the latter years were 'The Perishers' by Steve Bell and Rocky Steady Eddie by Tom Johnson. The award quickly ended however because of the lack of entries, member votes and due to the dis-intrest of newspapers who did not publish the results if their paper did not feature the winning strip and so the award was gone in 1987/88.

Cheers Mike for been very helpful!

Cartoonist's Club Of Great Britain:

Mike Turner's profile can be found in the member's portfolio's section there.

Peter Gray's site:

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Wizzo Issue 3 and 4!

The Wizzo! is a comic created by Harry Rickard and involves 18 young artists! Plus! For every issue you buy some money is given to charity to help diabetics. So why not buy the latest issue - which comes out in just two weeks! (And you can also buy a re-make of issue three at the same time!)

Oh, and why not follow them on Facebook and Twitter whilst your at it?!/TheWizzoComic

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Beano - 70 Years of Fun!

It was the above comic that really got me into comics. If it wasn't for this I wouldn't be sitting here writing this review. Instead I'd probably be playing video games, but instead, I hate them (seriously - I can't stand them). I had been buying the Beano weekly since March 2007, in fact I still have my first copy, but that was the only comic (along with The Dandy of course, but I never bought it) I'd ever heard of. Now, four years later this book has bought me almost 2000 comics, including the first two issues of Whizzer and Chips, 10 1960 Buster comics for a fiver (and others from 1961+), School Fun, Oink, Beezer, Sparky, Big Comic, Topper, Big One, Monster Fun, Nipper plus many more and has introduced me to some of Britains best characters such as Roger the Dodger, Dennis the Menace, Frankie Stein, Shiner, Uncle Pigg, Ivor Lott and Tony Broke, Lolly Pop, Cheeky, Flapper, James Pond (which had two completely seperae series, one as a human in Buster in the 60's and one as a frog in Nipper in the 80's) and thousands more. It introduced me to brilliant artists such as Nigel Parkinson, Lew Stringer, Andy Fanton, Wayne Thomson, James Turner, Terry Bave, Nigel Edwards and more, almost all of which are extremely friendly people! I even picked up my talent of drawing from copying what I saw in the comics. I wish everybody saw comics like the way I did, not just boring, still pictures on ripped, stapled paper. I don't understand why comics with gifts sell hundreds, if not thousands more copies. And so that is why I treasure this book, and have read it countless times.

It starts off with a nice, short introduction to the Beano, although everybody in Britain, and around the world, probably knows and loves it! "The fact that The Beano has reached it's 70th birthday is not simply a milestone in the comic's history - it is a milestone in BRITISH history, so nationally beloved is the title and its famous cartoon characters. Loord Snooty, Biffo the Bear, General Jumbo, Jonah, Dennis the Menace, Roger the Dodger, Minnie the Minx, The Bash Street Kids... the names roll off the tounge like some ledgendary football team. And ledgends they are, for there can be very few children, parents or grandparents in Britain today who are not familiar with the colourful world of The Beano."

So then we turn over the page and feast our eyes upon early issues of The Beano, starring Big Eggo - the wods most famous Ostrich drawn by postcard illustrator Reg Carter. Unfortunatly in 1948 it was decided that readers couldnt relate to this egg-hunting ostrich as he wans't humanoid, and so as a result he was replaced on the cover by Biffo the Bear. At first drawn By Dudley Watkins, who was discovered thanks to a drawing he did on the blackboard at school when the teacher was out of the room, Biffo appeared first appeared on issue #327, dated 24th January 1948. He was an instant hit, and remained on the cover until 1974.

Now, going back to the start of the book, we begin to learn about Lord Snooty. "In the early days the top cartoon strip was Lord Snooty, drawn by the talented Dudley D. Watkins. Snooty, the young Earl of Bunkerton, was a titled lord of the realm but for fun and true friendship, stole away over his castle wall to play with the ragged urchins on Ash Can Alley." To go with this short text, D.C Thomson present us with the first Lord Snooty from Beano No. 1!

"A lot of early Beano funnies were small, single gag strips, arranged three to a page." Very similar to a few pages in The Dandy at the moment (and back then as well), but instead of three to a page there's four, and instead of 6 boxes taking two rows there are 3 to 4 tkaing up just one. The examples given on these pages are the more well known strips such as 'Contary Mary', 'Hairy Dan' and 'Little Dead Eye Dick'.

Flipping over onto page eight, and we meet Pansy Potter for the first time. She was first introduced to the readers in an advert in Beano #20, which came with a 'Merry Christmas Mask'. I read online that none are known to be surviving, but I know that's not true as I saw one for sale (with the comic). I would have bought it but the seller wanted £1000. Hugh McNeil drew the first series of the strong man's daughter, and it was so popular it "became a household name"! Other artists were Sam Fair and Basil Blackaller, who was just 19 when he drew this strip I have scanned in below! The story lasted a very long time, in fact it didn't end until 1993!

World War Two broke out a year after The Beano's launch in September 1939. This eventually lead to paper rations in The Beano and Dandy, meaning that they had less pages and came out on alternate weeks. Of course, The Beano was hugely against the Nazi's and devoted many pages of comic strips to their defeat. They even included "Save Waste Paper" adverts in the comics - that is one of the reasons these comics are so rare and so much more collectable. The next few pages feature such stories and adverts, with Big Eggo putting a Nazi spy in an oven and Lord Snooty destroying Hitler's castle. I was absolutely amazed to find that if the Nazi's had invaded Britain the editors of both these papers would have been arrested!

We go on to the "Casulty of War" section, and they begin by telling us about "The third brother to the already super successful Dandy and Beano comics." The comic in question if of course, Magic. Launched on July 22nd 1939, the paper and ink shortages were just too hard to cope with and as a result it folded 80 issues later. There were two annuals, one in 1941 and one in 1942. The annuals then merged with the Beano books until 1950, hence the fact they were called The Magic-Beano book.

This section on Magic is only two pages long, and on the second page there is a comic strip showing how Magic was also against the Nazi's, when Peter Piper defeats a German spy loose with a machine gun by brining to life a picture on an advert for chocolates titles 'Charge of The Light Birgade'.

"You've read the comic, now read the book..." The Beano book first hit the shelves in September 1939, and is almost always referred to as 'The 1940 Beano Book". A reproduction of this annual was made several years ago, but was limited to just 2000 copies, and so when they do come on sale they sell for high prices, around £80 - £120 is average. The highest price for an original that I know of was the one handed into a charity shop in Scotland, and it sold for a massive £4,265.00 on!! This page also goes on to explain the reason behind the Magic-Beano book (as I just explained above) and has a Marmaduke Mean the Miser comic strip from an annual, although I'm not sure which one.

And I really like this poem, it's cool and catchy!
The Tiger Was Tickled
There was a young boy of Pekin
Who tickled a lean tiger's chin.
The tiger's now fat.
Can you wonder at that?
But where is that boy of Pekin?

Well, I've probably blabbered on enough for now and I've covered the comic very extensively so to read any more you'll have to grab a copy for yourself!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Broons Jigsaw on eBay!

The Broons jigsaw above has 386 of it's original 400 pieces, is a bit bumped here and there and has some writing on it but otherwise it's in braw condition! And that's what the top bidder must have thought as well, since they forked out a massive three-hundred-and-twenty-one quid for it! Jings!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Comics UK gets a makeover!

As many of you may have noticed, Comics UK hasn't been running properly lately. Well - it's back! YAY! And it's got a new look! So why not go and check it out, they've got some uselful informataion and great galleries!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Dave Follows wins award!

Back in 1983 cartoonist Dave Follows and script writer Roy Davis both won an award for the most humerous comic strip of the year! Underneath the photo of Dave lifting his prize it reads:
Wonderful Wonder Wellies is the TOPS! That's the verdict from the Cartoonist Club of Great Britain, who recently presented artist Dave Follows with a plaque for producing the most humorous comic strip of 1983. "It's a great honour for both myself and script writer Roy Davis," said Dave, seen here with his award.

The story of course is Wonder Wellies, but unfortunatly, it doesn't state which issue won the award and I have no further information on it, so I can't post it here. Awww..... oh well, there were only 4 or 5 issue before containing this strip the above issue so I'll try and get them to post all of the Wonder Wellies up, and one is bound to be the award winner! But don't rush me - it WILL take time! (Or it could just be the entire series in total they're talking about?) However! - I can post the Wnder Wellies that appeared in that very issue, so enjoy! And if this isn't enough, you can always pick up any Buster comic from issue dated 17th September 1983 to 26th September 1985!
Sadly though, Dave passed away on 17th October 2003, but his artwork will never be gone, or forgotten. R.I.P.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Stolen artwork?

Several weeks ago I pointed out to Harry Rickard about Lew Stringer's Pete's Pimple artwork being used as a logo for an iPhone/iPod Touch app. (Lew wrote a short post on it - see here:

So, as I was walking around a few shops earlier today I saw this box of pranks, which has very similar artwork to Nigel Parkinson's Dennis the Menace. Ok, so I know it's not exactly "stolen" - but surely companies who make products such as this should respect these great characters and leave them alone.

Nigel Parkinson's comment:
"It's some lazy ad agency art director tracing Dennis poses instead of bothering to create something new. Happens from time to time, always looks bad and cheap. I still have a problem with Lichenstein passing off poor copies as 'art', so I think any (mis)appropriation of someone elses work is very bad form. But legally, Dennis's trademarks are the red and black sweater and the black spiky hair which as you see they've altered."

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Baggage in the Times

On 27th October The Times printed a half page Baggage comic strip by The Etherington Brothers! It was only in the newspaper though, not in the book. So here it it for everybody to enjoy!

And you can still buy the book here:

and here:

Fireworks in a 2011 comic!

Here is, as far as I'm aware, the first review posted online about the latest Dandy! Woop! So, before we get started, I'd just like to apologise to all those who were expecting me to write a post on the halloween Beano. Unfortunatly for me, my subscription has run out, so may not be recieving any issues for several weeks!
I'm going to start off with Nigel's Harry Hill. Both Jack (Captain Jack from Dr. Who and Torchwood) and Catherine Tate are sitting on top of lit fireworks! This is incredible! I'd never have thought this would have been allowed to be printed in a 21st Century Comic! So a big "Razzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!" to all the critics who will without a doubt moan and groan long and hard about this giving children bad ideas (a Daily Mail article parhaps?).

On the left (below) is the artwork and colouring from this weeks issue, on on the right the one from Nigel Parkinson's blog here:
zdoen't the one on the right just look so much better than the printed one? I reckon it should have been used, but then both of the Harry Hill pages would have to have this background - maybe it would be a bit distracting?

And there is even more fireworks related stuff! Postman Prat uses them in replacement of his engine, Si Fawke doesn't try to blow up parliment, your very own cut out fireworks display by Nigel Auchterlounie, Korky the Cat's ancestor captures a very cunning fox and, and, well actually, that's it! (But hey, 7 pages of fireworks fun isn't that bad is it?!)

Well, that pretty much sums up all of this week's firework action! So go on out to buy The Dandy for just £1.50 - or get a subscription and it gets delieverd straight to your front door!