Tuesday, January 1, 2013
Ringing In The New Year: Whizzer and Chips (1986)
I'm going to ring in the new year by taking a look at one of the first New Year comics I read. This issue of Whizzer and Chips was dated 4th January 1986, and at 22p, although similar in price to other Fleetway comics, was a considerable amount more than The Beano, which cost just 16p at the same time! However Whizzer and Chips was a bigger comic, and also had a much brighter front cover, something that would have stood out on the shelves. To top it all off, Tom Paterson was drawing the cover strip, one of my personal favourite comic characters - Sweeny Toddler.
There are a lot of good quality themed strips inside, but since I can't show all of them I'll only show my favourites. The first is Lazy Bones, who is a lazy boy called Benny Bones, who simply can't be bothered to do anything but sleep. Illustrated by Colin Whittock, the strip is both funny and well drawn, with Colin's basic but fast style adding even more humour to the page!
Next up is Terry Bave's Toy Boy. This strip is one of the two in this comic that has stuck in my mind since I first read it! I like the witty humour that makes everything seem planned from the start! A great strip along with some great artwork!
Whizzer and Chips is famous for it's catchphrase "Two Comics In One, Double The Fun!". The intention of Whizzer and Chips is that Whizzer was a seperate comic from Chips, so readers felt like they we're getting more for their money. Chips appeared as a pull-out comic in the middle, complete with an issue date and a cover star who appeared in full colour (meaning the centre pages of the comic were in black and white or blue - blue ink was used in Chips, red in in Whizzer). The cover star of Chips was Shiner, who first appeared in the comic in issue two, moving Sid and Slippy from Chips into Whizzer (yes, Sid was originally a Chip-ites)! Both Sid's Snake and Shiner were illustrated by one of my favourite artists, Mike Lacey, so it's brilliant to be able to see his artwork in full colour each week!
The first strip inside Chips is Lolly Pop, the mean old skinflint who wouldn't spend a penny if he could manage it! Of course, nothing ever goes his way and he always ends up spending thousands at the end!
Sammy Shrink is a clever strip, illustrated by one of the comics most influential artists, Terry Bave. You may notice that Benny Bones appears on this page, and that is beacuse each week one comic would send a "raider" into the other comic. Basically, a character from Whizzer would "raid" Chips, appearing on a comic strip somewhere, and vice-versa. Readers, who were either Whizz-Kids or Chips-ites, would have to spot this raider and blot him out, and then cheer on their own raider in the other comic!
Back in Whizzer, Joker is the other strip that has stuck in my mind! Just like in Toy Boy, Sid Burgon's brilliant artwork accompanies a brilliant script!
Finally, lets take a look at one of the title's most succesful strips - The Bumpkin Billionaires! As usual, the Bumpkins are trying to get broke, and for once they do it! Read on to find out how!
Sharing a page with The Krazy Gang is a half page advertisement for The Best Of Whoopee Monthly for January of that year. I don't have that issue, but I do have the one that followed.
Fleetway produced many Best Of Monthly's for various comics, including one for Whizzer and Chips in 1984 and Buster got one later on in 1987. They were big, chunky comics with over 60 pages of reprints from the titles comic appearing inside them each month! Very similar To Big Comic Fortnightly, although focusing on only one comic.
D.C Thomson created a similar comic in 1996, when they launched the first issue of Classics From The Comics, featuring strips reprinted from various classic Thomson titles, but sadly that folded recently. I'd like to see a comeback of these, one from both Thomson and Egmont (who now own the rights to all the Fleetway funnies), and I'm sure they'd sell very well! I'd buy one anyway.