Sunday, July 14, 2013
This Week In... 1960 - Buster!
I haven't written a 'This Week In' post for almost two months so it's about time I did, and this time we head back to the very early days of Buster, and look at the issue that went on sale this week in 1960! Buster had only begun in May 1960, making this issue #7. Here Buster is drawn by Bill Titcombe, who wouldn't draw the strip for long, not even lasting one full year!
The strip over the page is The Terrors Of Tornado Street drawn by Juan Rafart.
Each week the terrors' strip would end with a character always saying the same line - "What's the use? It's safer to let them play!" Each week it would be the character that had tried to spoil the kids fun, only for their plans to backfire! Here are a few examples.
Buster had its fair share of adventure strips, but the most popular had to be Phantom Force 5. Eric Bradbury drew the first series, and the strip was later reprinted in Smash under the name of 'Send for Q Squad' at the end of the decade.
The weirdest strip in the comic is probably Boris and Shimmy in Dinkle Land. I don't have the first issue of Buster but Peter Gray did post the first episode on his website, and it turns out they simply walked into Dinkle Land when they got lost. Weird, and here's the strip for your amusement, and the artist is David Myers.
You can read the first two episodes on Peter Gray's site by clicking the link below!
Another strange strip is Johnny All Alone - The Orphan In Outer Space. This strip is about Johnny and his dog Poochie who were fired into space after stowing away in a rocket's nose cone - a bit far fetched but still a good story. I might show how he came to be on the rocket sometime in the future. I'm not sure who the artist was, at first I thought it was Tom Kerr but I'm probably wrong. Can anybody identify him/her?
The centre spread is the home of one of my favourite early characters from Buster - Milkiway. Milkiway is a good-hearted alien who tries to help people here on Earth, but doesn't quite understand what is going on and often becomes a nuisance. He shared his page with Uppsy Daisy, and I think Angel Nadal Quirch drew both strips.
Also on the centre spread was The Sea Hawk, and was drawn by Eric Parker and Pat Nicolle. This strip was based on the 1915 novel of the same name, written by Raphael Sabatini. Basing a comic strip directly on a novel is an interesting idea, and I wonder if it was popular - I suppose fans of the book would have loved it!
These early Buster comics were tabloid in order to stand out from the rest of the comics available, and also had brilliant bright red covers! The size wouldn't last for long though, and here's a look at this Buster comic next to one from each of the following decades.
Where will the comics time machine take us next? I don't know - we'll have to wait and see!