Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Fido #1 (1950)

I won't be surprised if you haven't heard of this comic before. Fido was a short-lived comic from 1950 published by Hotspur Publishing Co (as you can see above, they wrote 'A Hotspur Comic Book' on the front cover). Just four issues were produced and each had a different title. The first issue, the one I'll be looking at today, was entitled 'Fido the Pup'. Issue two is known as 'Fido's Fun', #3 as 'Fido at the Fair' and #4 as 'Fido at the Seaside'.  Each issue cost 3D for eight pages. The front and back covers were in full colour, as was the centre spread. Everything else was printed with blue ink. It was a lot smaller than I was expecting - I thought it had big A3 covers but instead it's very small - measuring 8" x 11". The front cover features, obviously, Fido himself, as well as a Micky the Monk short at the bottom. Denis Gifford illustrates both. This comic is aimed at a younger audience to titles such as The Beano. The Beano has an audience of 8 - 12 year olds however Fido had the upper limit set at 10 years, as the age limits on the competitions confirm.

Not only did the lucky pup have the comic named after him but had no less than four strips, one text story and also writes a short letter to the readers on page three. Also on the page are Tropical Tricks by Harry Banger and Willie Wander, another strip by Gifford.

The centre spread is very bright but the number of colours used is very limited. Apart from another Fido strip (again illustrated by Gifford) this page also features Alleykat, Giddygoat and Bunny Boys, all by Wally Robertson

I'll wrap up this post with a half-page Polar Bear and Flippy strip, illustrated by Harry Banger (pronounced Bainjer). Banger is probably best remembered for his work on Gerald G. Swan's comics - I'd say Stoogie was his most famous character, who appeared on the cover of Coloured Slick Fun.


Kid said...

Good to see an example of Denis's early style. It's more traditional than his later work, which was reminiscent of Mad's Harvey Kurtzman.

Raven said...

That colour centre spread is rather nice.

George Shiers said...

It's a pity Denis isn't more remembered for his art, instead mostly recognised for his brilliant research into comics. And his ten-tonne collection of course, but it seems somewhat forgotten that he was also an artist.

Lew Stringer said...

Many of us do remember him as an artist but the problem is his contributions to mainstream comics seemed to have dried up by the 1970s. So the generations that discovered comics after then would only know his name for being an historian.

It's a shame because he had a very distinctive and appealing art style. I really liked his pages for Whizzer and Chips, but IPC tended to prefer a certain look. Mike Higgs for example was told that if he drew more like Reg Parlett he'd get lots of work. Mike preferred to stick to his own style, (which had proven very populsr at Odhams) and subsequently the IPC work dried up. I don't know if Denis was told the same thing but it wouldn't surprise me.

TwoHeadedBoy said...

That's absolutely beautiful... Never seen any of Gifford's earlier stuff, now I'm wishing I had sooner.

Well, I HAVE seen some, but not this "cute" style. Are you aware of his Streamline Comics? More traditional superhero/adventure type stuff, but his style makes it more appealing than the "usual" stuff of that genre.