Thursday, April 19, 2012

Monster Fun Joins Buster

Monster Fun was launched in 1975 and, just over a year later, it folded, becoming Buster's 7th merger on 6th November 1976. With it, Monster Fun brought a whole bunch of different characters, the most famous strips being Gums, Kid Kong and X-Ray Specs. All the new characters were shown on the front cover.

Even though Buster's strip didn't acknowledge the merge with Monster fun, there was a letter from him at the bottom of his page, welcoming all the new readers to Buster!

Gums also had a welcome message, politely introducing himself as he destroys a smiling Bluey's boat!

Another new strip is Terror TV, illustrated by Barrie Appleby. It's all about a television studio that scares the living daylights out of everybody! I haven't read many episodes, but I imagine it would start to get a bit repetitive after a while, but it's run wasn't too short, lasting just over a year when it finished in Febuary 1978.

A strip that didn't come from Monster Fun is Leo Baxendale's Clever Dick (I think this is a reprint as Leo had left comics by this time, but if not it could have been his son Martin who drew this strip). Clever Dick was always a brilliant strip, well written, well drawn and possibly inspiring kids around the country to have a go at making Dick's gadgets for themselves! Of course, his idea's would nearly always backfire somehow - even when the plan seemed flawless!

Ken Reid, the mastermind moster doodler, had several pages in this weeks issue, one comic strip (Martha's Monster Make-Up) and two more pages for a Funny Monster Competiton. All you had to do was guess the name of the monster from the selection underneath, save them and do the same for the next three issues. When you're done simply send in your answers and you could win a Detector Products Viking Transmitter Receiver (as used by the police) - that's a metal detector - and a Decimo Vatman pocket calculator! So, what names would you give to these fine beasts? (Options for above monster: A. Octo-Pussy, B. Pollupuss C. Bog Moggy. Options for below monster: A. Snuff-Grumpus B. Rhino-Snitch C. Elephantom.)

The War Children is an adventure serial written by Scott Goodall about a group of children who were captured by the Nazi's and ordered to do whatever they were told "without question". Naturally, they didn't like the sound of that, so they escaped and now have a hideout in the woods. This strip also shows that Nazi's can be easily defeated by a wild pig! Artwork by John Stokes.

Intrestingly, Gus's Gags is still the main jokes section, after two years since it joined Buster from Cor! in 1974. 

Roy of the Rovers got his very own comic in 1976, just a number of days before Monster Fun merged with Buster! So of course, Fleetway would try and do everything they could to make it a success. Here is a half page advert, advertising the free gift - 'Roy Race's Favourite Footballers!' booklet.

Because of all the excitment about the merge most of the comic strips seemed to have forgotten that it was fireworks night when the comic came out (or maybe that was celebrated in the previous issue?). Apart from a small message at the bottom of Chalky's page, not a thought is given to it!


Robert said...

I picked up Buster and Monster Fun as a lil 'un in 1977 and that moment was probably more responsible than anything else for my ongoing love of comics. I'd read the Beano and the Dandy before and liked them but Buster was the first comic I really loved.

Incidentally, I really liked Terror TV and, as you note, it ended quite shortly after I started reading it. It was actually pretty funny, watching faux scary takes on the TV of the time. My favourite strip was probably Leopard of Lime Street, though like many others loved Ivor Lott and Tony Broke, and Faceache as well (and later Deadly Headley).

George Shiers said...

I think the thing that got me into comics was Whizzer and Chips, without it I'd probably have stuck to the Beano for a few more years then just moved on!

I liked the Terror TV in this issue, I'll have to hunt around for some more Buster's of the time so I can read a few more episodes! I'm not a huge fan of adventure strips, but The Leopard of Lime Street was one I read every now and then. Although I must say, I prefer Billy the Cat :)

Lew Stringer said...

Clever Dick was never in Valiant. It started in Buster in 1970 and was originally by Leo Baxendale and later by his son Martin. The example you have is either a reprint by Leo or a new one by Martin.

George Shiers said...

Thanks for clearing that up Lew - I'm sure Leo drew something in Vailant but whatever it was has esceped me...

Lew Stringer said...

Bluebottle and Basher, a cops and robber strip was Leo's Valiant strip. Started late sixties.

ProStyla said...

Interestingly most of Buster's early content was action orientated and strips dedicated to cops like Zip Nolan, Phantom Force Five...according to my old Dad (which was originally from the Commando Library) Beautifully rendered in indian inks and paved the way for the latter day strips like Leopard of Lime Street... exquiste work by Mike Western. Sadly missed, like my Dad too!

George Shiers said...

Phantom Force Five was a strip that started in issue one of Buster in 1960, but I'm not sure if Zip Nolan was. The Leopard Of Lime Street was a fantastic, thrilling and always entertaining strip, which is why I'm happy to have quite a few complete adventures!