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The dc thomson bumper fun book 
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And to finish off. There you go!


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23 May 2016, 00:43
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Phoenix wrote:
I think you would prefer to read the article, comixminx, rather than a summary of it, so I've scanned it for you. As it is on seven double pages I will need three posts. Here are the first three pages.

Thank you very much, Phoenix! Odd sort of format it's in, all tall and skinny. Anyway, eagerly reading it now (with this swift break to say thanks).

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23 May 2016, 07:09
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Looks like my copy was a bargain...a quid brand new from a discountinued line store in Edinburgh Princes Street around 1982.

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23 May 2016, 15:02
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I don't suppose there's a mention of `Sparky` in there somewhere?

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23 May 2016, 15:04
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If I remember correctly they describe the artwork in Sparky as indistinguished and indistinguishable which I thought was very unfair.

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23 May 2016, 15:23
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Unfair!? That is utter gibberish! Who ever wrote that wants both their eyes and head tested! :twisted:

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24 May 2016, 14:50
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And this is my 1600th post! :)

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25 May 2016, 14:50
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ISPYSHHHGUY wrote:
Let us know your verdict, Raven.


I thought the essays had varying merits and quality of research.

Some are certainly pretty good. It wasn't quite the Comics Babylon I was half-expecting, but the darker side comes through with elements like the union ban and NUJ contacting staffers to tell them what they could and should be earning, the ongoing refusal to allow any public Dudley Watkins tribute, the right wing/deeply conservative traits, etc.

I don't agree with Kashgar about the Owen Dudley Edwards essays being "artsy fartsy." A few criticisms of the comics in the book seem a bit Mary Whitehouse-ish. But, then, it's an interesting point to ponder about the claimed "anti-intellectualism" of the comic papers, and the comments about, say, some of the unpleasant aspects of The Dandy (Bully Beef and Chips really was quite unpleasant), and the comics' fixation with domestic violence ("The preoccupation with corporal punishment, specifically the spanking of children's bottoms, is by now at the obsessional levels in both journals") seems valid enough. It has good things to say, too.

The material about the newspapers and magazines, and some of their parochial, oddball aspects ("Reading The Sunday Post is a bit like having a bath in a tub of thin, lukewarm porridge... ") is quite entertaining.

Overall, it's certainly an interesting read.


29 May 2016, 22:06
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I obviously enjoyed the article The Famous Five by Owen Dudley Edwards although I didn't learn anything from it, but the most interesting were Jo Gable's Wee Words Rule O. K. and Julie Davidson's Speak Softly And Say Yes Please. The most disappointing was Mary Cadogan's Horse Sense, Heroes And Hero-Worship, which did not reveal a great deal about girl characters in the Thomson comics.


29 May 2016, 22:54
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I wasn't too impressed by Edwards' opening admission that he hadn't actually looked at any of the Five titles he was writing about since 1955, and he was relying heavily on E. S. Turner's book and the "pioneering insights" of George Orwell's essay. Wasn't Orwell's essay fairly error-strewn, though?


29 May 2016, 23:12
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For anybody used to the high profile comics have gained in recent years it's hard to remember how ground-breaking that original article in the Sunday Times Magazine was.


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29 May 2016, 23:42
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Raven wrote:
I wasn't too impressed by Edwards' opening admission that he hadn't actually looked at any of the Big Five titles he was writing about since 1955, and he was relying heavily on E. S. Turner's book and the "pioneering insights" of George Orwell's essay.
Perhaps he hadn't had his brief explained to him properly. He has no real excuse for limiting his range of comments to the papers he read between 1945 and 1955 because he could have gone to the British Library to look at papers outside his narrow focus. I'd already made a couple of exploratory visits there myself by the seventies to look at issues of The Wizard in order to do precisely that. Perhaps he simply wasn't the best person to ask to write the article. Furthermore I can't see Orwell's Boys' Weeklies being particularly relevant anyway to The Big Four as he was looking at Frank Richards' output. I still feel able to stand by my view though that the article is interesting, which I'm well aware is not a judgment on its quality.


30 May 2016, 01:10
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Phoenix wrote:
Furthermore I can't see Orwell's Boys' Weeklies being particularly relevant anyway to The Big Four as he was looking at Frank Richards' output.


Yes, and wasn't it Richards who took him to task in a lengthy follow up letter, pointing out all the mistakes he'd made?

I agree that if you're commissioned to write a piece for a book, doing some decent research should be expected.


30 May 2016, 01:19
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The thing is that when the book appeared (and even more when Orwell's article was written) most serious journalists and academics still thought that comics were completely beyond the pale, and only worth commenting on as a minor social phenomenon. The idea that individual creators could have any artistic or literary merit was entirely novel.


30 May 2016, 08:37
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philcom55 wrote:
The thing is that when the book appeared (and even more when Orwell's article was written) most serious journalists and academics still thought that comics were completely beyond the pale, and only worth commenting on as a minor social phenomenon. The idea that individual creators could have any artistic or literary merit was entirely novel.



This was broadly true of many aspects of popular culture. Even ten years later, you'd still encounter a belief that nothing of any artistic merit could be done on television. You'd be fortunate to come across any serious cultural studies pieces on comics, TV, horror films, theatrical animated cartoons, etc. The focus away from the 'high arts' towards taking popular culture seriously came much later.

You can understand why there'd be such an attitude towards the old text story papers featured in this book. The stories were written anonymously and to the clock, so they'd be considered hackwork. People would question why would any writer of merit or ambition would work under such conditions, unidentified. Art would be considered something you took time over, not hacked out to a weekly deadline. (If, say, Frank Richards was turning out 80,000 words a week, could this stuff really be much good?)

But their sheer popularity makes them worthy of investigation, talent can rise under such circumstances, and if, say, artists are producing consistently good work at this intensive level, that should have made them worthy of some praise and approval.


30 May 2016, 09:23
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