Sunday, April 20, 2014

A Jackpot Easter (1981)

Yes, it's that time of year again which means we're going to take a look at an Easter themed comic! This time, we head back to 1981 for the slightly Easter themed issue of Jackpot. The strapline promises 'Easter Fun Inside' and it doesn't lie for we do, but not very much of it, as just four of the 21 strips are themed. The first of those four strips is Laser Eraser. For those of you unfamiliar with the strip, Laser Eraser is about a boy named Ernie who has a special laser that can make things disappear and reappear, but what he doesn't know is that he is actually zapping them up to the alien spaceship that dropped the laser, and then bringing them back again. Illustrated by Bob Nixon, Laser Eraser seemed a popular strip in Jackpot and survived the 1982 merge into Buster.

I was expecting 'It's A Nice Life' to be Easter themed but I was wrong, for the second of the four strips comes two pages after that in the form of Milly O'Naire and Penny Less. Along with their counterparts Ivor Lott and Tony Broke (who don't appear in this strip, but do in their own and combined strips), they are amongst the better strips that have a rich vs. poor theme, and, illustrated by Sid Burgon, they four of them proved very popular for many years.

Next up is Sporty, illustrated by John Geering. Sporty is about a lad who is good at all sports, in fact - you name it, he's done it. For an Easter theme I'm sure you can guess what sport he participates in this week.

Finally, the last Easter strip for another year is Sample Simon. Usually Simon will test free samples but this week's strip seems to avoid that, or perhaps he somehow found a free rabbit costume sample? Who knows - anything can happen in the world of comics! I believe the artist might be Mike Green, but I'm not sure.

And that rounds up this Easter post for 2014. All that's left to say is... Happy Easter!

Friday, April 18, 2014

The Phoenix Presents

The Phoenix have launched 'The Phoenix Presents', a series of books in which they will be publishing collected comic strips. The first two books have been announced, Jamie Smart's first six months of Bunny Vs. Monkey and the first year of Von Doogan, by Lawrence 'Lorenzo' Etherington.

The Bunny Vs. Monkey Book is 64-pages and the Von Doogan book is 48-pages, and they are both to be released in June this year. Pre-orders are available and if you pre-order you can get them for £5.99 each, £1 less than the full price. The Phoenix have announced that they will be producing nine books this year, and the third book will be Corpse Talk coming out in July. The other books will include Star Cat, Gary's Garden, Pirates of Pangaea and Long Gone Don, but I am unsure of the final two titles. The Phoenix will be having a proper announcement some time in the next week, which I'm sure will reveal more details.

The first two books can be pre-ordered from the Phoenix website, just click on the link below.

I Spy in Whoopee!

A few days ago in the comments section of my previous post, Irmantas mentioned that I Spy, a D.C Thomson character from Sparky, appeared in a Scream Inn strip, in IPC's Whoopee comic, in the issue dated 26th October 1974! Here is that strange, inter-companies crossover in full, illustrated by Brian Walker.

Is it I Spy though? I'll leave that for you to decide...

This wasn't the only crossover mentioned. A few months earlier in the 2nd March 1974 edition of Shiver and Shake, Timothy Tester, a Whizzer and Chips favourite, leapt out of the pages of Whizzer to test Scream Inn, and to try his chances of winning the million. Here is the two-page strip. The menu boards in Scream Inn are always interesting, so be sure to take note of it in this strip.

Many thanks for Irmantas of Kazoop for informing me of these crossovers and providing the scans. As you may already know, Irmantas writes a very interesting blog that mostly focuses on cataloguing entire comics. He started off with Cor, then Shiver and Shake and is now beginning on Monster Fun. He covered Scream Inn's run in Shiver and Shake in four posts last year, the first of which can be found here:

And whilst you're there, be sure to check out the whole blog - there's lots if interesting stuff!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Tiny Tycoon in Whoopeetown

Crossovers between characters aren't a rare occurrence in British comics; I've shown a number of them on this blog. It is rare, however, for a character to cross into a companion comic published by the same company. Sure, the Beano and Dandy characters have done it a few of times, but I can think of only a handful of times it has appeared in an IPC comic, one such time being this one from 1975, when Tiny Tycoon, a resident of the Whizzer half of Whizzer and Chips, walked into Whoopeetown, right up to the front door of Bumpkin Manor! Here is the appearance in full; the art is supplied by Tom Williams.

Should you wish to buy yourself a copy of this issue, here is the front cover to look out for - dated 21st June 1975.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Best Of Buster Monthly

Buster Monthly was late to the shelves, and was the final of IPC's 'Big Three' to get a monthly collection in its name. Whizzer and Chips was the first, with issue one appearing in November 1984. I'm yet to investigate Whoopee's Best Of Monthly comics, but the earliest I have is October 1985 - well before Buster. In fact, despite being IPC's most popular and longest running title Buster didn't get it's first 'Best Of Monthly' comic until May 1987. Here are a few adverts promoting the launch. The last one is just an edited version of the first.

As with all the monthlies, it went on sale about half a month ahead of the cover date, this one hitting the stores on 11th April. Here's the finished product that kids would have seen on the shelves.

As with the Whoopee and Whizzer and Chips monthlies, Buster continued until January 1995 (dated February), when they were merged together to produce the short-lived BVC. Ninety one issues of The Best Of Buster Monthly were produced.