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Sparky's Golden Jubilee 
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Shame that site closed! Its where I bought `Sparky` no 2. While we are here Rab! you mentioned the `Granny Cupp` artist had appeared on a Tony Ingram link! I can't recall it at all 9Probably due to the illness I suffered, some memory a bit didgy) how would I find it please?

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Sat Feb 07, 2015 11:18 am
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One thing rather unique to Sparky at the time was that it had too many `Fun pals` to run every week! It had to rotate its strips with some only appearing once a month! Beano, Dandy. Topper and Beezer didn't do this in the 1960s as far as I recall!

Perhaps this might account for Sparky's not too robust sales? Having chopping & changing `fun pals` each week would surely be difficult for children to get strong sense of identification with the comic. I stuck with it- but I hazard a guess that readership got a bit confused.

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Mon Feb 09, 2015 4:05 pm
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Here's yas goes, Alan----maybe some contact with the writer Brian can provide the name of the script-writer, at least-----scroll down, please:



http://britishcomics.wikia.com/wiki/Granny_Cupp

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Mon Feb 09, 2015 6:59 pm
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alanultron5 wrote:
One thing rather unique to Sparky at the time was that it had too many `Fun pals` to run every week! It had to rotate its strips with some only appearing once a month! Beano, Dandy. Topper and Beezer didn't do this in the 1960s as far as I recall!

Perhaps this might account for Sparky's not too robust sales? Having chopping & changing `fun pals` each week would surely be difficult for children to get strong sense of identification with the comic. I stuck with it- but I hazard a guess that readership got a bit confused.



So that was in the 1960s? It didn't do that through the Seventies, though (did it?), and it was '77 when it got cancelled.


Mon Feb 09, 2015 8:53 pm
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Sadly by summer of 1977 I was so far removed from Sparky that I was completely unaware of it's demise as it happened: I was by this stage totally comic-free, more into Donna Summer, the Pistols, experimenting with booze and appreciating the mysteries of the opposite sex.

Sparky would return to my thoughts though......much later.

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Mon Feb 09, 2015 9:36 pm
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I'm afraid that I cannot find any comment from `Brian` on that page Rab! Are you sure he's on there somewhere? I wish I could recall any of this but I can't!

Back to Sparky- and Rab had losat touch by 1977. Sadly, you can see the comic was on its last legs by then. Myself, I had grown too old for it by mid 1971 and my memories are from the time it carried many adventure strips! Rab's period is the `Chiz` era! where predominatly zany fun strips held sway and serious toned adventure strips were abandoned! Both era's have their merits! I for one wish I had originally read `Thingummyblob` 1974-77 - but I was holding down a job then!

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Tue Feb 10, 2015 11:17 am
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To me, Sparky was at it's peak from Feb 1 1969 to about mid 1972: it was inventive, imaginitive, diverse, and populated with good characters and concepts.

It's main progression after this was John Geerings' astonishing artwork on Puss n Boots with it's agressive, yet Disneyesque, Grandeur: a lot of the other stories were becoming too 'safe' and over-familiar, with even the hyper-inventive I SPY demoted to an unsuitable artist [J Fox was great on Klanky and Mr Bubbles, but could not follow Barton and Walker on this character] dipping into bizarre, inapt territory.


Les Barton still worked on Sparky, on the charming 'Ah-cHOO!', a surreal back-page effort following a humanized sneeze, which wasn't bad, but I just wish Chiz put him back onto I SPY, along with scripts by Peter Clark, whose imaginitive work helped forge the genius that was early I SPY.

I bought my last copy of Sparky in mid-1975.

They had a range of really bad covers with then-pop stars, which never helped.

But at it's peak, SPARKY was vital, experimental and magnificent, and it held it's own up against any competition.

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Tue Feb 10, 2015 12:06 pm
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Sounds like you, Alan, and me gave up on Sparky around the same time. Yes, those 69 to 72 years were excellent.

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Tue Feb 10, 2015 12:59 pm
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alanultron5 wrote:
Back to Sparky- and Rab had losat touch by 1977. Sadly, you can see the comic was on its last legs by then. Myself, I had grown too old for it by mid 1971 and my memories are from the time it carried many adventure strips! Rab's period is the `Chiz` era! where predominatly zany fun strips held sway and serious toned adventure strips were abandoned! Both era's have their merits! I for one wish I had originally read `Thingummyblob` 1974-77 - but I was holding down a job then!


I've been reading some 1975 issues of late, with great, confident John Geering and (excitingly cluttered) Les Barton front covers, and think the comic is at something of a peak in this later period, with its own personality - very offbeat and nutty for D C Thomson. Puss an' Boots at its double page peak, lots of nirdles, the Sparky People, their tea lady, the story of a sneeze waiting to happen, a good sense of silliness and fun overall, and some good writing, where the writers seem to be having fun. Only the Albert Holroyd artwork is something of a downside for me - this and Invisible Dick seemed rather dated amidst such fare - though not all the strips are as good as others.

Apart from the adventure serials, some of which look quite good and appealing (we had a fantastic thread where samples were posted) I don't much like the 1960s Sparky - most of the fun strips seem quite dry and archaic to me. I think its Seventies version - and the later annuals are Sparky at its best.


Tue Feb 10, 2015 1:20 pm
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About 1975, they had a feature called TELLY FUN that satirized current programmes, which was pretty good.......the John Geering covers with a single sight gag by him was fine---------absolutely agree that Johns' work alone was reason enough to keep buying the comic---to me, he drew as well as a Disney animator once he got into his stride.


I personally quite liked the Les Barton wraparound cover [s] from about 1975.

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Tue Feb 10, 2015 7:26 pm
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alanultron5 wrote:
Back to Sparky- and Rab had lost touch by 1977. Sadly, you can see the comic was on its last legs by then.


I don't get a sense of that from the 1977 issues. The most impressive strips: Puss an' Boots, Spoofer, The Sparky People, Ali's Baba... still seem on top form, and you have typically offbeat strips like Planet of the Nirdles and The Circus of P.T. Bimbo (which was more like a newspaper strip). Some Mummies Do 'Ave 'Em was quite an interesting one. Peter Piper and Mr. Bubbles still seem to be going strong. I don't see any obvious sense of desperation in there.


Tue Feb 10, 2015 11:49 pm
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Raven wrote:
alanultron5 wrote:
Back to Sparky- and Rab had lost touch by 1977. Sadly, you can see the comic was on its last legs by then.


I don't get a sense of that from the 1977 issues. The most impressive strips: Puss an' Boots, Spoofer, The Sparky People, Ali's Baba... still seem on top form, and you have typically offbeat strips like Planet of the Nirdles and The Circus of P.T. Bimbo (which was more like a newspaper strip). Some Mummies Do 'Ave 'Em was quite an interesting one. Peter Piper and Mr. Bubbles still seem to be going strong. I don't see any obvious sense of desperation in there.


I'd stopped buying humour comics for a while in the mid to late seventies but from issues of Sparky I thumbed through I seem to recall they had less panels per page on some strips, and huge logos taking up space. Or am I misremembering?

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Wed Feb 11, 2015 12:38 am
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Lew Stringer wrote:
I'd stopped buying humour comics for a while in the mid to late seventies but from issues of Sparky I thumbed through I seem to recall they had less panels per page on some strips, and huge logos taking up space. Or am I misremembering?


I just checked a June 1977 issue from about three weeks before its merger and there's no difference at all, except for the Circus of P.T. Bimbo single-pager, which typically has nine panels and a big title box naming all the characters - it has more the feel of a US Sunday newspaper strip, but works quite well, adding a different flavour. Otherwise, though, the pages are typically packed. Puss an' Boots does have a big title panel at this time, but there still ten very impressive text and action-packed story panels on the same page.

So what are alan's "last legs" signifiers, I wonder.


Wed Feb 11, 2015 12:54 am
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There were definitely reprints in the 1976-77 issues though, Raven: I bought all these copies later , picking them up cheaply in seperate runs.

We are the Sparky People definitely contained reprints [albeit good ones] in the later issues and also the very good Rudolph the Red Coat Mountie double-spreader by Mike Lacey was rerun in '76 [I think][ in black-and-white] , losing a lot compared to the impressive 1970 two-page colour spread definitive.

I do agree that material like Planet of the Nirdles had a good Terry Gilliam-like siliness, the P T Bimbo import was a nice change, and of course John Geerings' peerless work was a winning ingredient, which we all seem to agree on.

I myself thought the comic paled after losing the Barton I Spy especially, but this is just my personal taste.


The layouts on Puss n Boots with the big picture at the end of page 2 were magnificent.....not sure if this format continued into the later entries of this strip.

The large title intros to each Puss n Boots story was a stroke of genius: it resembled a vintage animation title-card.......unforgettable.

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Wed Feb 11, 2015 9:50 am
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ISPYSHHHGUY wrote:
There were definitely reprints in the 1976-77 issues though, Raven: I bought all these copies later , picking them up cheaply in seperate runs.

We are the Sparky People definitely contained reprints [albeit good ones] in the later issues and also the very good Rudolph the Red Coat Mountie double-spreader by Mike Lacey was rerun in '76 [I think][ in black-and-white] , losing a lot compared to the impressive 1970 two-page colour spread definitive.


I hadn't realised there were quite a few reprints appearing, though D. C. Thomson seemed to be relying on reprints more in the Seventies as a general thing.

ISPYSHHHGUY wrote:
the P T Bimbo import was a nice change


So it was an American newspaper strip import!
http://www.toonopedia.com/ptbimbo.htm


Wed Feb 11, 2015 10:00 am
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