Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Changing Face Of Sun - Part 1

Today we take a journey through the 1940's and 1950's and take a look at the changing face of Sun comic. I mentioned in a post last week that Sun had undergone a lot of changes in its early years, before finally finding its audience. The front cover to the first issue (below) featured a Swiss Family Robinson strip by Bob Wilkin, an artist who illustrated many one-off comics in the 1940's. This strip proves he could also draw adventure strips, as well as his humour ones. It cost two pennies and came out on 11th November 1947, with a new issue coming out every fortnight.

Issue six saw the first revamp to the cover, but it was nothing major. The logo had simply been redrawn and placed horizontally across the top, instead of vertically down the left-hand side. I think this change made the comic look far better.

Soon The Swiss Family Robinson had ended, and was replaced by Voyage To Venus. I don't know who drew this strip, but it was always signed 'POS'.

The logo soon changed to having a blue background, and by June 1948 was completely different. John and Joan: On the Spot had also taken over on the front cover. You may have noticed that they also appeared in Voyage To Venus!

Joan and June were swiftly replaced on the cover by Sitting Bull - Fighting Indian. Sitting Bull had been inside Sun since 1959, and #50 (seen below) was the strip's first cover appearance.

This was replaced by the cover's first humour strip - Young Joey: Always Late For School, illustrated by Hugh McNeill. He shared his cover spot with Professor Peanut.

The stories of Young Joey always being late for school must have been very limited (although Slowcoach in Whizzer and Chips managed it for years, even using Joey's catchphrase - "Sorry I'm late, Sir, but I've got an excuse!") and Joey's strip was renamed Young Joey In Story Book Land. The title says it all really. As you can see, it now says "Every Monday" on the cover, and by this point Sun had gained popularity and now came out every week instead of every fortnight.

Joey had a good run on the cover but by the time Sun came to celebrating it's grand 100th issue he had been replaced by Alfred The Great. A large panel took up half the cover every week at this point, advertising the western adventure inside.

And here is the western story for this issue, entitled The Law of Wild Bill Hickok, a text story written by Barry Ford.

And going a bit off topic, here are a few strips from inside a couple of different issues we've seen so far.

We've passed the halfway point in the tale of Sun's changing face, and I don't want this post to get too lengthy so I've decided to break it into two parts. I'll be posting the second part soon, so don't go anywhere!


Peter Gray said...

You are doing some brilliant blog posts on comics...loved seeing more of a comic I don't know...also that sun face logo is brilliant..mind you very 30's style..

Raven said...

Yes, this is another excellent entry. You've uncovered a couple of hitherto unrevealed and surprising Whizzer and Chips origins lately: Kookoo Klub and possibly Slowcoach.

Peter Gray said...

Reading the Slowcoach type...its amazing how it was showing slave trade for 1950..unless Joey went back in time..

mind you sadly there is still slavery today hidden away..

Your blog has been great looking at older comics now and again..

George Shiers said...

Glad to hear this post is going down well. The second part will we going up soon, either today or tomorrow!