I'm going to start this blog post by heading back to Buster dated 26th October 1985. What really interests me about this particular issue is one of the letters on the letters page. It comes from Julian Buss of Ashford, and here it is:
And so begins the legend of Sqworm the Worm! Well, it actually began many weeks earlier with issue dated 13th July 1985, which was the first time we ever saw Buster's newest pet (he had a dog in the early days, but that's a story for another time). Here is Sqworm's first appearance in full.
Before we move on, I should also add that the Buster at the top of the post was the first one featuring Prambo, a spin-off of Rambo, illustrated by Steve Bright. I never really liked the strip too much (it was alright occasionally), but here is the first episode plus the advertisement from the previous issue.
Anyway, back to Sqworm. The letter from Julian sparked off interest in Sqworm's name - he didn't have one! A few weeks after the letter appeared, an advertisement did, and a name had finally been chosen!
The above notice appeared in the 1985 Christmas issue, and so Sqworm's name was revealed in the first issue of 1986! The winning suggestion came from Scott Williams, but some other names were Wormsworth, Wesley and my favourite, Wobbly Wilf!
Sqworm was very popular, and continued after Tom Paterson passed the pen to Jimmy Hansen right up until the end of Buster! In fact, in issue dated 17th May 1986 he got his very own comic strip. It was illustrated by Steve Bright and lasted for just under one and a half years, ending in issue dated 12th September 1987! On the front cover of the 17th May edition, Tom Paterson advertised Sqworm's strip in the first panel of Buster.
But in the previous issue, he gave himself a shout-out!
And here is Sqworm's very first adventure!
And here is his final one. The reason his strip ended is because Nipper comic merged into Buster and obviously some characters had to be replaced, and Sqworm was one of them.
I could go on and on about Sqworm, but you might begin to start thinking I'm a little weird having such a fascination over a worm. Instead, I'll wrap up this post with this fantastic cover story from Buster dated 10th May 1986!
This is the second post in a series of Buster posts I have planned (part one appeared here), which will hopefully show a lot of the changes Buster went through in the mid-to-late 1980's in order to stay popular! I'll probably post around one a week, and it should last for 2 - 3 more weeks, if I cover everything I've got planned.
If you'd like to read a panel-by-panel strip about Sqworm being evicted, click on the link below!
Other parts in this Buster series (this is part 2):