Thursday, August 28, 2014

The World's Comic #1,161 (1914)

According to Denis Gifford's book 'The British Comic Catalogue 1874 - 1974', The World's Comic ended on 10th November 1908 and merged into Funny Cuts the following week. This was not the case however, for I have a copy of the comic from 28th November 1914 - over six years after Denis claims it folded. I can't say whether he corrected this information in his 1985 book 'The Complete Catalogue of British Comics' because I don't own a copy, but I think The World's Comic actually ended sometime in 1915. I believe this because the front cover character, Bounderby Bouncer (also known as Bounderby Bounce) appeared on the cover of The Big Budget from 1899-1900 and then Funny Cuts from 1915-1918. I suspect he was revived for The World's Comic when WWI broke out (he was the "war correspondent") and then moved over into Funny Cuts when the two comics incorporated. That would just be my guess - can anybody confirm any dates?

The cover strip becomes quite racist with the third panel when Bouncer says "I was wending my way home in Buckingham Pal - well, towards my home, when I suddenly heard strange sounds. At first I thought I was near a pig-stye, but, listening more attentively, I recognised the sounds as German. Concealing myself, I approached, and I recognised two German spies." Ooer - that really reflects the times, doesn't it. The First World War had of course begun some months earlier so there was a most unfriendly attitude towards the Germans at the time - there are a lot of strips I've read from the period in which poorly disguised German spies are carrying around a large sheets of paper with "Der Plans" written on them in big bold letters, only to be easily defeated by some typical British character. This strip is somewhat different as Bouncer comes out worst here but usually characters are honoured with a medal or slap-up feed. It might just be my imagination, but to me Bounderby looks a lot like Ally Sloper in a military uniform.

Before we move on inside I thought I'd just quickly sum up the value of this comic. For 1D readers got an 8-page black and white comic that measured 11" x 14.5" and was printed on pink paper, but unusually 6 pages consisted of pictures and just two of text, instead of the familiar 50:50 ratio.

The two pages of text are made up of one text story entitled The Mystery of The Grey House written by H. Philpott Wright (probably a pseudonym). There is also a jokes and letters page that consists of a mixture of text and pictures so I've counted it as a picture page. I'll skip these pages and concentrate on the comic strips for this post, and what better way to do so than by showing the entire centre spread, which includes five comic strips and two picture jokes (I've counted the baby strip at the bottom as one picture).

Turn over and opposite Smiles from Everywhere (the jokes page) is an untitled strip about the Cheerychub family. 

And finally the back page, which is fairly typical of comics of the time, features a collection of short comic strips and jokes. There's also an advert for Picture Fun in the bottom left.

That sums up this post on The World's Comic. If anybody can clear up the mystery about the end date of it please let me know in the comments section.


Kid said...

Denis's books were great, I suppose, but even he made mistakes. He lists Fantastic as having 91 issues in his Complete Catalogue of British Comics, whereas the actual number was 89. He also tended to give values more along the lines of what he's be prepared to pay, as opposed to what dealers were actually selling them for. Well done for finding out something about this title.

Incidentally, in his 1985 book, he lists the same date for the comic ending as his earlier book.

George Shiers said...

It would be good to get the comic catalogues revised and updated with the newer titles - but of course Denis isn't around any more to do that.