Sunday, December 31, 2017

The New Year COR!! (1973)

If my settings are right, this post should go live around midnight so a Happy New Year for 2018... and for 1973 in this case! Here are a few examples from the New Year edition of Cor!! which introduced The Goodies as a new strip, based on the very popular TV show of the time.

The cover art is by Joe Colquhoun, proving that he was as adept at humour as he was for adventure strips. Amongst many other strips, Joe was the original artist on Roy of the Rovers in the 1950s, drew the adventures of fighter ace Paddy Payne in the 1960s, and the gritty anti-war strip Charley's War in the 1970s/80s.

He'd used his lighter touch on strips such as Cap'n Codsmouth and Football Family Robinson for Jag so was ideal to draw The Goodies strip for Cor!!

Cor!! was mainly a humour comic, with an occasional light adventure strip. One of the funnies was Whacky, a boy fated to find himself in situations that led to him being whacked on the backside. (It was the 1970s.) The sadistic teacher in this strip gets his just desserts, but it really does read like a very peculiar strip to modern sensibilities with "Sir" obsessed with whacking the boy for no other reason than the teacher obviously gets a kick out of it! Art by Mike Lacey...
5 Minute Wanda was another new strip that began in that issue. Some IPC humour characters were based on a very flimsy premise. In this case, a girl who gets bored after five minutes. Art by Graham Allen...
Jasper the Grasper had started out as a very short lived series in Wham! in the 1960s, drawn by Ken Reid. This revived series for Cor!! was drawn by Trevor Metcalfe. That's still Ken's old logo though.

Donovan's Dad was originally by Terry Bave but this one is drawn by Les Barton (who'd been the original artist on I-Spy for Sparky). I don't know if this was a fill-in or whether Les was the permanent replacement, but it's a very nice page. 
Eddie - He's Always Bored was so similar to 5 Minute Wanda that I'm surprised both characters appeared in the same comic. Both strips even had the same artist in Graham Allen. It was always good to see Graham's work though, as he'd been one of the regulars on the Odhams comics and the first artist on The Nervs for Smash!
Most of these strips are now ©Rebellion Publishing. I think Jasper the Grasper may be still owned by Time Inc. though (as it originated in Wham!) and The Goodies are presumably still owned by... The Goodies! 

The New Year LOOK-IN (1972)

There's time for one final post this year so here are a few pages from the issue of Look-In dated 1st January 1972 (published at the end of 1971). Look-In had proved to be the big hit of 1971 when it was launched. I always preferred rival comic Countdown (also launched that year) but Look-In had its own distinct style and I can understand why it was so popular. 

The cover is by Arnaldo Putzu, who contributed many painted covers for the comic over the years. You'll notice it's issue No.1. Look-In renumbered itself at the start of every year, presumably to entice new readers. It didn't seem to do it any harm.

Inside, Leslie Crowther tries to keep up his New Year's Resolution in Crowrther In Trouble, drawn by Tom Kerr...

This issue featured three pages of horoscopes for the TV stars of the day. One of whom has definitely fallen from grace in recent times. Here's one of the pages...

The Please Sir! strip now featured the less distinctive class of 'Four C', as the original cast of 'Five C' had left to spin off into their own TV series. Artwork by Graham Allen, who until a few years earlier had been drawing The Nervs for Smash!

Follyfoot had no connection to a New Year theme but I couldn't resist showing artwork by Mike Noble...

The aforementioned class of 'Five C' had left school to star in their own TV show The Fenn Street Gang, so Look-In featured a strip based on that too. Artwork by Tom Kerr...

Even On the Buses had its own strip. Artwork by Harry North...

Subtitled 'The Junior TV Times', Look-In always featured selected highlights of ITV schedules for the week, focusing on the times children would be watching TV. Most of these regional TV stations have merged into others now...

Here's the schedules the right way up so you don't have to tip your computer on its side. ;-) 

The back page of that issue featured a teaser for an Apollo badge offer that was coming in the following issue. Did any of you have these badges? 

All that remains to be said is to wish you all a Happy New Year again and thank you for following this blog. Whatever you're doing this evening, have an enjoyable time!

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Time for change!

As from the New Year there'll be a few changes coming to this blog. Nothing that should really worry anyone I hope! I've been running Blimey! for 11 years now and I never planned on doing it forever, so most of the changes are to retain my own interest in it and hopefully those of the readers.

Here we go...

1: Anonymity a no-no. A change you may have noticed already is the block on anonymous comments was resumed recently. I'd lifted it a while ago but it still led to spamming and the occasional silly trolling, so I've changed the settings again to prevent abuse. I'm sorry if it inconveniences genuine visitors who don't have an account with Google etc., but it needed to be done.

2: Back to basics. My original intention for Blimey! was to focus on British comics of the past; to remind people of what they used to read, and introduce them to even earlier strips they may have never seen. Not out of some old fashioned patriotism but simply because not a lot of blogs were covering old British stuff and the material deserves to be remembered. In 2018 I'll be going back to that original intention to focus more on the classic comics and less on the new.

3: There will be less reviews and previews. Over the years, and especially in 2017, I've focused a lot on current comics. While I'm happy to review some comics I've liked, this blog isn't really the place for people to send me their comics out of the blue. (And people I've never heard of sending me PDF's demanding FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE with no social graces such as a please or thank you get their emails sent straight into the bin.) Some reviews and previews will continue, if I have time, but you'd be better off sending your comics to John Freeman for his excellent Down the Tubes blog or to the Forbidden Planet International blog. Both of which are far better at covering the current comics scene than I am. 

4: It's about time. Blogging can be very time consuming. Unlike some blogs that just take images from the Internet, I scan pages from my own collection. (Unless it's a press release from 2000AD or Commando etc of course.) Researching a subject takes time too, and I'm not getting paid for this. From now on I'm just going to focus on the stories I want to cover, and there'll be less postings. I'm sure I'll still post a few times a week though, but it's unlikely to be every day.

5: Work and life comes first. My work in mainstream comics has been steady in 2017 but I do need to prioritise it way above blogging. The drawback with running a blog is that some people consider that as being what defines you, and sometimes blogging, like journalism, can have negative connotations. (Anyone who knows me knows I never break anything told me in confidence, but some see a blog as akin to a redtop scandal sheet and it makes them wary.) In 2018 I'll be focusing more on my career and when I do have spare time it'll be more likely spent in the company of friends, or having a walk, than at a keyboard reviewing a comic. 

In a nutshell then, Blimey! will continue, but there'll be less posts, and more emphasis on the past, but not entirely to the exclusion of new comics. I hope you'll stick around. And if you do want more, remember that there are over 2,500 posts on this blog dating back to 2006, so have a rummage around and you might find some you've never seen or have forgotten.

Happy New Year!

(My other blog, which is solely about my own work, will also continue, and you can find that here: )

Preview: 2000AD Prog 2062

2000AD returns from its three-week festive break next week. Here's an advance preview...

UK & DIGITAL: 3rd January 2018 £2.75
NORTH AMERICA: 3rd February 2018 $7.99

In this issue:
JUDGE DREDD: ECHOES by Michael Carroll (w) Colin MacNeil (a) Chris Blythe (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)

SAVAGE: THE THOUSAND YEAR STARE by Pat Mills (w) Patrick Goddard (a) Ellie De Ville (l)

BRASS SUN: ENGINE SUMMER by Ian Edginton (w) INJ Culbard (a) Ellie De Ville (l)

ABC WARRIORS: FALLOUT by Pat Mills (w) Clint Langley (a) Annie Parkhouse (l) 

BAD COMPANY: TERRORISTS by Peter Milligan (w) Rufus Dayglo (a) Dom Regan (c) Simon Bowland (l)

Available in print from: UK newsagents and all good comic book stores via Diamond 

Jim Baikie R.I.P.

I've just heard that the artist Jim Baikie has passed away. Most of you may remember Jim drawing Skizz, written by Alan Moore, that appeared in 2000AD in the 1980s, and on his work on Judge Dredd.  He also illustrated many other strips, such as New Statesmen in Crisis, and for American publisher DC Comics he had stints on Batman and The SpectreJim also drew numerous serials for the girls comic Jinty in the 1970s. 

He had an accomplished style and was one of those artists who could draw anything and make it look natural. Whether the scenes required action scenes or quiet character pieces, Jim could master it and deliver the goods. 

My sincere condolences to Jim's family and friends for their loss.

Here we go again!

The other day, as people were enjoying their Christmas holidays, the print and TV media stirred them into an uproar by announcing that the Beano's Dennis the Menace will no longer be called a Menace and that his supporting cast will include a girl in a wheelchair. 

Fact is, the "Menace" part of the title was dropped from the strip over a year ago! The "girl in a wheelchair", Rubi, has been in the Beano for a while now too. Also, the strip was simplified to Dennis and Gnasher for a while back in 2009, and the media stirred the pot back then too:

So... either none of the reporters remembered that they'd covered the same story eight years ago or they simply needed something to fill their papers and distract people from shady politicians and corporate bankers. Either way, it worked, and their readers hammered their opinions into their keyboards. The opinions were pretty much the usual blathering about "political correctness" and "snowflakes" as you can see from these examples...

Although the news items had included reassurances from Beano's publisher Mike Stirling that Dennis "still dances to the beat of his own drum as a mischief-maker and is very much a leader amongst his pals" the public were having none of it...

Dennis and Gnasher writer Nigel Auchterlounie stepped in to explain things further...

Beano artist/writer Kev F. Sutherland went on Sky News to put the record straight too:

Writer Cavan Scott (whose work includes the Beano) also posted a very good piece on his blog about it:

Phil Boyce had a thing or two to say about the silliness of the reactions on his blog too:

A few things occurred to me about this whole hoo-ha:

1) A lot of people seemed upset that Dennis was no longer a bully. That says a lot about their personalities.

2) If you think a comics character in a wheelchair is a sign of modern "political correctness" perhaps you've forgotten Professor X from the X-Men and The Chief from Doom Patrol. Both of whom debuted back in the early 1960s. Also, if you have a downer on people who aren't able-bodied you're not very nice.

3) If you think Dennis shouldn't have a black friend you're a racist. 

4) People who got annoyed about it this week clearly haven't been reading the Beano for a long time or they'd have noticed the changes over a gradual period of years. So who cares what they think? The changes took place a while back and the actual readers accepted it and carried on enjoying the stories.

Here's the thing that most of these stories ignored or didn't bother researching: the main reason that the cartoon series is called Dennis and Gnasher and not Dennis the Menace is so that it can be sold internationally and not be confused with the American Dennis the Menace. By coincidence, both the British Dennis and the American one debuted in the same week in 1951. (Over here, the U.S. Dennis was sometimes called "The Pickle" so it's always caused problems.) I guess the practicalities of a business decision were too boring for the media so they chose to blow things out of proportion and pander to their readers by claiming it was all about "political correctness gone mad".
Thing is, once a rumour gets out, no matter how wrong it is, it's hard to counteract it. Thankfully, most of the people moaning about the "de-Menacing" don't buy the Beano anyway so their opinion is irrelevant. Trouble is, such nonsense could generate an unease about the comic, and could put some parents off buying it for their kids. On the other hand, it could also encourage more independently-minded parents to look out for it and see for themselves what the fuss is about. If they did, they'd find a comic that's still funny, still full of wild characters, and still enjoyed by children. In the end, the children it's aimed at are the only audience whose opinion matters. 

The Beano returns to the shelves after its Christmas break on Wednesday 3rd January. Check it out and have a laugh.

New COMMANDO comics out now

5083: Home of Heroes: Terror on the Tundra

With German Alpine troops and Finnish Sami soldiers prowling the Russian Tundra, the Eastern Front was a hard place to fight – but that didn’t stop British Navy Engineer Gavin Wright and Royal Artillery Corporal Jim Nolan from joining in. Marooned in the Kola Peninsular, their search for engine parts to fix their ship was held up by a new terror on the tundra – a German Landwasserschlepper equipped with a sPzB 41, that certainly packs a punch. Now, working with the Russians to defend their line, Gavin and Jim may have uncovered a secret weapon of their own…

With stylish interior artwork by Castro and Morhain complimenting George Low’s hyperborean story, the bleak snowscapes and thunderous blizzards of the Russian tundra come alive. Meanwhile, David Alexander’s cool cover shows these awesome winter terrain vehicles in action, their guns at the ready! 

|Story | George Low | Art | Castro & Morhain | Cover | David Alexander |

5084: Gold Collection: Strike Swift Surge Sure

They called Archibald Bull an assassin. It wasn’t the first time an officer had died on one of his missions. But Bull didn’t have time for these men. He was an explosives expert Commando and he didn’t let anyone tell him what to do. But with a lifestyle like that, it wasn’t long before Bull made enemies in high places. Now, tongue lashed Bull is told that some Royal Engineer Sergeant has come to take his place as explosives expert… but we’ll see who the real boss is!

With Penalva’s gritty barbed wire cover, the tone is immediately set for Eric Hebden’s story of one headstrong Commando with a knack for demolition. This is only solidified in Bellalta’s detailed interior art – you can almost feel the heat of the explosions!

|Story | E. Hebden | Art | Bellalta | Cover | Penalva |
Originally Commando No. 441 (November 1969) Reprinted No. 1287 (January 1979)

5085: Action and Adventure: Devil Dogs

The Germans called them “Teufel Hunde” or “Devil Dogs”. It was thanks to their fearless tenacity that the U.S. Marine Corps earned this iconic nickname, as they marched straight into German machine gun fire in their battle to reclaim Belleau Wood in the First World War. And leading one such squadron was Johnny Diamond, a professional riverboat gambler from New Orleans, but one way or another, he would have to learn to trust his fellow Marines and take charge if they are to survive.

Janek Matysiak’s dynamic cover showcases the gritty action of the issue, which really hits hard in Richard Davis’ story, portraying the battle as relentless from the moment the Marines reach France, never stopping until victory – or death take the men. And, completing the triad is debut illustrator for Commando, Paolo Ongaro, whose interiors are incredibly stylistic, combining halftone shading and unique compositions – one standout panel showing the silhouetted Marines viewed through the long grass, the moon acting as the only source of light.

|Story | Richard Davis | Art | Paolo Ongaro | Cover | Janek Matysiak |

5086: Silver Collection: Blood Hostage

Trapped on a German-occupied Channel Island, three unlikely allies must work together if they are to rescue an imprisoned British Officer who may have key Intelligence regarding something called “Operation Torch”. One man is a Russian prisoner of war, whose hulking appearance makes him a formidable foe for the Germans; another is a wheelchair bound local, mistakenly underestimated by the Nazis; and the final member is just a young boy, who happens to possess an ace shot with a catapult…

Taking on the Commando writer mantle, like his father before him, Alan Hebden’s ‘Blood Hostage’ may feature tongue-in-cheek wit, but remains grounded as the threat always feels real. Likewise, interior artist Garijo’s faces are charmingly expressionistic, while the quintessentially English villages on the Channel Islands are incredibly detailed and lifelike.

|Story | Alan Hebden | Art |Garijo | Cover | Ian Kennedy |
Originally Commando No. 2721 (December 1993)

Monday, December 25, 2017


Here's my final choice in this year's Christmas selection, and instead of another weekly comic I thought I'd show some pages from an annual instead. Golden Fun and Story Book 1939 (published 1938) was the first annual for Golden comic weekly. Sadly there'd only be one more book a year later before the effects of World War 2 led to cutbacks on paper and the end of several comics.

Many children would have had this book as a present on Christmas Day 1938, so its 108 pages included some festive strips and references, such as on the cover.

The book featured a packed mixture of humour and adventure strips and prose stories. I suspect some were reprints from the weekly, as was often the practice of publisher Amalgamated Press. Here's a selection of a few of the interior strips, some festive, some not...

The Mountain Raiders strip was illustrated by Reg Perrott, a standout adventure artist of the times whose work still looks impressive today. Tragically, Reg's career was cut short with his death in 1947...

The Lieutenant Daring strip featured some pleasant artwork by Roy Wilson, but also sadly some unpleasant racist slurs, typical of the period...

I'm not sure who drew the other strips, but if anyone out there does know, please leave a comment.

Towards the back of the book there was an advert for the weekly Golden comic...

...and the back cover featured an advert for beef suet! A bizarre choice of ad in a children's annual by modern standards but quite common back then.

If you want to see what the weekly Golden comic was like, click on this link to see an old posting of mine...


I hope you've enjoyed this year's selection of Christmas comic pages. Thanks for dropping by. I'm taking a break from blogging for a few days now but I wish you all a Merry Christmas of slap-up feeds, and a Happy New Year!

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