Sunday, September 15, 2013

This Week In... 1950 - Knockout

Let's head back to the newsagents shelf this week in 1950, and take a look at just one of the many comics that was on sale at the time - Knockout. The cover star of Knockout is the ever-popular Mike, who would be reprinted many times in the future, most famously under the name Smiler. This particular episode shows Mike offering a cigar to Sergeant Flopp, a scene that would never even get close to appearing today! Art by Eric Roberts.

Knockout's most famous character has to be Billy Bunter. First appearing in the Magnet in 1908, the bloated, loveable buffoon was so popular that at one point Knockout was even named Billy Bunter's Knockout! That hadn't happened yet though, and at this point Billy still appeared in black and white on an inside page, illustrated by Frank Minnitt.

Comic historian and cartoonist Denis Gifford also drew for Knockout, illustrating Steadfast McStaunch. This was McStanch's first appearance, and Denis later revived the character again, using the same storyline, when Whizzer and Chips was launched in 1969. Here are both episodes, the first one from (this issue of) Knockout, and the first one from Whizzer and Chips.

From this issue of Knockout.

From #1 of Whizzer and Chips (1969).

Freddie Frog is an interesting strip. Illustrated by Peter Woolcock, it's the story of a frog and his friends who, following an age-old idea, dress, talk and act just like humans! What doesn't make sense though, is why the horse doesn't, instead it acts like... well... a horse!

Sexton Blake also stars inside, which is a surprise to me but interesting to see nonetheless. His strip is the first one in the comic and takes up two pages. Art by Hal Meredith.

And finally, my personal favourite strip in this particular issue is Sporty, by Reg Wootton. This episode had me laughing out loud - and I'm sure it will with you too!

We'll be taking anyother step through the comics time portal soon, and who knows where we'll end up!

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