About a month after Buster's 25th birthday the above issue came out, with a bright front cover illustration by the new Buster artist Tom Paterson (more about that here). The letters page of this issue displayed something very interesting - a small advert with a few eyes around the Buster logo!
The ad promised us some exciting news, but readers would have to wait until the following issue until they found out what it was! Was it a new look to the comic? Was it advertising a super free gift? Were Buster and another comic joining forces? When the next issue, dated 29th June 1985 finally arrived it looked exactly the same, but came with the strapline 'Clumsy Colin fans - Big News Inside!'.
I was a bit disappointed at first since I'm not what you would call a 'fan' of Colin, but the actual news was very exciting indeed! A full page advertisement on page 29 proved that not only was Clumsy Colin making a return, but two new characters were appearing - Fright School and Pete's Pop-Up Book!
I was very excited when I got the following issue, dated 6th July 1985, because I knew the comic would explain how Pete got his pop-up book and why a bunch of ordinary school kids were being taught in a haunted castle called St. Crypto's!
And I wasn't let down! The first of the three advertised strips I read was Fright School, illustrated by the amazing Reg Parlett! As I'd hoped, the strip explains how the kids got from an ordinary school into the horror that is St. Crypto's!
Next up was Pete's Pop-Up Book, illustrated by one of Fleetway's key artists Terry Bave. A lot of Terry's strips have fun origins, and this one is very random, but oh well, a story has to start somehow!
And finally, Clumsy Colin, a character designed by KP Skips for their advertisements had his own strip in Buster, which originally started almost a year earlier on 23rd June 1984 and ended with the final strip appearing inside the 1984 Christmas special, dated 29th December. The original series was drawn by David Mostyn, but Robert Nixon drew this one.
The plot for series two was Colin trying to save up for a motorbike, and continued week after week, where he either gained a little money or lost it all! The series ended in the 1985 Christmas edition (both series 1 and 2 ended in Christmas issues!), and yes, he got his much wanted bike in the end!
But that wasn't all the excitement over with! Also in that issue was a half page advert sharing a page with School Team, advertising yet another new strip coming to Buster! This time it was Skid Kidd!
Skid Kidd is about a group of inventors who have created a top secret creation called S.A.M. However, S.A.M is stolen by a group of baddies, who lose the bike in a car crash to a lad named Michael Kidd. It turns out that the bike has the ability to choose it's owner, and it chose Michael. For the first few episodes Michael is trying to find out where the bike came from, but that is quickly answered and it is now up to him to fight crime and stop the baddies stealing back his bike! The strip is illustrated by Ron McKie.
Of course, to make room for all these new strips some old characters had to be replaced. Sadly one of those strips was The Leopard From Lime Street, the last adventure strip to appear in the comic (although the series was reprinted later on in the early 90's). Back when I lived in England I used to live near a street called Lime Street, which always amused me. Although I don't have a photo of the street sign, here is a screenshot from Google maps.
Funnily enough, just around the corner from Lime Street was a road called Greyfriars, which is where Billy Bunter went to school! I'm now confident this town was built by a comics fan!
Just to add to the fun, there is another street round the corner from Greyfriars called Garfield Street! Surely all this can't be coincidence!
This is part 1 in a series. For the other parts, click on the appropriate link below: