Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Strongest Man (or Woman) in Comics!

Desperate Dan needs no introduction, as he is probably Britain's most famous strong man! Originally from the first Dandy in 1937, the he-man has survived almost 75 years in the comic and remains, according to the latest survey, the most popular character in the comic today! But he isn't the only super human to have appeared in comics, and here's a few more!

The Dandy's sister comic The Beano has had a few through it's time, and currently stars Bananaman! - a little boy who turns into a super-strong nit whenever he eats a banana! In a recent post I wrote about Danger - Len at Work, but the comics most succesful has to go to Pansy Potter! Pansy began in issue #21 (The first christmas issue!) and instead a being a muscly man, like most other characters, she was a young girl! I'm not too sure, but I think this may have been drawn by Jimmy Clark.

Going even further back than The Beano and The Dandy (although this character did in fact feature in The Beano), we arrive at Adventure comic! Illustrated by Dudley Watkins, Strang the Terrible was rather similar to Morgyn the Mighty, who appeared in Beano #1. Desbite being known as 'Terrible', Strang was the hero, always helping others out of unfortunate adventures!

Even the annuals had special super-strong characters made up for them. Young Ben is a text story from the 1968 Sparky annual, and I'm fairly certain that this is just a one off story.

Thomson weren't the only ones to use the idea, Fleetway would use the theme, but in several different ways! First up is Scared Stiff Sam. He certainly is strong, you can tell just by looking at him, but unlike the others Sam is afraid of anything and everything!

Another take was Frankie Stein! Half human, half monster, Frankie would cause more damage than a tornado, which involved everything from destroying his house to bringing home Big Ben tower to set his watch! Here he is destroying a brick wall for the 1977 annual, illustrated by Robert Nixon!

Gal Capone was a short lived strip from Whoopee, but she is, like Pansy Potter, another example of a female strongman! It was a very good strip too, except that maybe her arms are a little too big!

The Big One was an experiment comic that lasted for only 19 issues (more info on it here), and inside was a strip entitled Tough Tex. Because this comic is all reprint (except for Big One himself), Tough Tex originally appeared in The Comet, a comic from the 1950's. (Thanks to Clive Huckstepp for confirming this.)

And of course some still live on today, with Jamie Smart doing an excellent job on Desperate Dan and Wayne Thompson on Bananaman (and John Geering's reprints in the Beano)!


Harry Rickard said...

Robert Nixon's?
I do believe you mean John Geering?

Peter Gray said...

Scared Stiff Sam is by Mike Lacey
Frankie by Robert Nixon..
so don't know what you mean about John Geering?

Anyway great topic..well done!!
I also suggest Ding Dong Belle Beano

George Shiers said...

Whoops! John Geering's Bananaman reprints! :)

I'd completely forgotten about Ding Dong Belle - I only have a few of her stories but I might post some up. I bet there's loads of other characters I've missed out though!

Hank Shanklin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hank Shanklin said...

A few months back, i got a copy of the Frsnkie Stein 1977 anual, on ebay. I'm not sure quite how much it cost, but it was in excess of £30. All was fine, until i had a look through today, & noticed that there may be a couple of pages missing. The page numbers go straight to page 3 after the inner font cover. Page 3 does have a title, but it appears to be midway through a story. Is there anybody out there that can confirm that i'm missing pages 1 & 2? & if possible, could you do a scan of the missing pages? I really don't want to have to pay again, just to find out if i am missing those 2 pages.

George Shiers said...

I'm afraid that you're missing the title page and the first page of the story - so one leaf.

Hank Shanklin said...

Thanks for the info george.
any chance you could post a scan of those missing pages? or even just a photo, just so i can print them & have a 'complete' copy?

George Shiers said...

If you'd like to send me an email I'll send you a scan directly. My email can be found on my profile on the right.

Hank Shanklin said...

Thanks mate, email on its way to you now.

Hank Shanklin said...

Hi George,
Did you get the email?