Which comics felt more "real" to you?

Talk here about just about anything associated with British comics or story papers and the industry that does not fit in any other forum.
There are separate fora open to registered members for discussing specific comics, artists, websites etc.

Moderators: AndyB, colcool007

tolworthy
Posts: 229
Joined: 27 May 2007, 18:55
Location: Highlands
Contact:

Which comics felt more "real" to you?

Post by tolworthy »

I love Niblet's posts on Cheeky - it was the comic I always identified with as most "real." Me and my friend wore our Cheeky jerseys all the time (remember that knitting pattern?) Then in another thread someone said they didn't feel Cheeky was a "real" comic. And it got me to thinking how I we classify comics mentally, as real or not. For me, growing up in the 1970s, it was:

DC Thompson: very real, but never grabbed me.
Though thinking back I must have had the Beano for a while, as I joined the Dennis fan club. But it didn't hold me. Except for Buddy Comic; I bought every issue. I didn't care much for any of the Buddy characters, but every strip was well drawn and well written, and it was all such fantastic value. Every panel was worth reading slowly. For me it was a tribute to all that was best about DCThompson: real history, craftsmanship and value (yes, I was 12, I think that says a lot about me!)

Marvel: very real, but overpriced.
Except at jumble sales, which led me to the Perez' Fantastic Four (in MWOM) and I was hooked on the FF.

IPC: the normal, standard definition of a real proper comic.
(BTW, action comics and girls' comics never interested me, so these are just ignored.)
These comics came under several categories in my mind:

Transcendent for other reasons: My first ever comic was Monster Fun, so it defined what was normal to me. It taught me to read. The Badtime Books were always magical, and the numbering and style means it was just not like the others. Not so much a comic as my literary garden of Eden.
The king of comics: Whoopee: for some reason I saw this as being about fifty years old - I was shocked in later life to find it only lasted a few years. For some reason it screamed quality to me. I think the World Wide Weirdies and Frankie Stein gave it the edge. If my pocket money was a tiny bit more I would have bought this every week, but it never quite hit the "must buy" button.
Solid and respectable:Buster and Whizzer and Chips. These were just generic good comics to me. The kind of thing I would buy lots of at jumble sales, and enjoy them, but never buy new unless there was some really good reason. Jackpot and those others all fell into this category.
Specials: Annuals, summer specials, and Krazy comic. I bought every issue of Krazy. Like Buddy, the characters didn't really interest me, but it was so full of ideas! Loads of reader participation, stuff to cut out, flick strips, back cover disguise, intelligent humour, lovely printing. Special in every way.
and finally..
MY comic: Cheeky Weekly Cheeky ht me at just the perfect time, As a Krazy fan I was ready for it, I was the ideal age, I bought it for all the "proper" comic reasons - the stories were funny, I identified with the main character, and for me, Frank McDiarmid showed how comics should be drawn. It also had a structure and scale that gave it meaning to me: the seven day thing, the recurring friends, and the Tuesday attic that gave it a link with a noble past. And my best friend bought it too. TI was the only "normal" comic that I bout as a "Normal" comic reader. My connection with normality. :)

and finally...

Exotic comics: very real for other people. comics I'd pick up at jumble sales from before I was born, or not old enough to read, or (like the big Beezer and Topper) they were just the little bit different. Mickey Mouse comics come into this category, as do the occasional odd collection and foreign comic. 2000AD came into this category: action comics weren't my thing, but this was clearly something special and worth getting second hand.

Special mention goes to Shiver and Shake: its connection with my two most respected comics (Whoopee and Monster Fun) always made me stop when I saw a copy, even though, rationally, it really wasn't anything special. Oh, and Sparky always stood out as well, as the only Thompson comic that was like an IPC comic, but I never had enough issues to really get into it.

Wow, I never expected this post to be so long! I really just anted to say that Whoopee felt "solid" and only Cheeky felt "normal." Which I suppose is a bit weird really. I doubt anyone else saw them that way.

Phoenix
Guru
Posts: 5349
Joined: 27 Mar 2008, 21:15

Re: Which comics felt more "real" to you?

Post by Phoenix »

I very much hope I can assume, tolworthy, that once you have recovered from the effort you put into producing the above post, that you will hotfoot it back to the Why does nobody do compressed comics? thread in order to respond to the request I made to you last Sunday for an explanation of your choice of the masquerade image?

User avatar
Peter Gray
Posts: 4222
Joined: 28 Feb 2006, 00:07
Location: Surrey Guildford
Contact:

Re: Which comics felt more "real" to you?

Post by Peter Gray »

I think Dennis the Menace and Gnasher by David Sutherland my era..felt very real to me..they often talked to the reader in the story...enjoyed the free gifts just as much as you did..the letter page answers by Dennis..

Also the colours red and black stripes became very important colours....I used to add them everywhere to my own cartoons......like a dinosaur with spikey black hair and red and black stripes...when a teacher put a smiley face if I did well on a text book..I used to turn it into Dennis face...in the end the teacher drew Dennis face..

Dennis the Menace really was a strong character to a young boy..

tolworthy
Posts: 229
Joined: 27 May 2007, 18:55
Location: Highlands
Contact:

Re: Which comics felt more "real" to you?

Post by tolworthy »

Phoenix wrote:I very much hope [you will] respond to the request I made to you last Sunday
Whoops! Off to do that right now. I thought that thread was turning into a conflict zone so I ran away like a coward. Er, I mean, I spent a week thinking how to answer your excellent question.
Peter Gray wrote:the colours red and black stripes became very important colours.
Regarding colours, I felt that way about spot coloured pages (e.g. black and white and green). They somehow always seemed to me more artistic, as if the colorist had paid more attention. :)

Lew Stringer
Posts: 7041
Joined: 01 Mar 2006, 00:59
Contact:

Re: Which comics felt more "real" to you?

Post by Lew Stringer »

tolworthy wrote:
Phoenix wrote:I very much hope [you will] respond to the request I made to you last Sunday
Whoops! Off to do that right now. I thought that thread was turning into a conflict zone so I ran away like a coward. Er, I mean, I spent a week thinking how to answer your excellent question.
It was just a debate rather than "conflict" as far as I was concerned and I'm sure Phoenix and myself were just trying to get to the bottom of what your proposal was about as it sounded intriguing but not clearly defined.

As for "real" comics, again I'm afraid I don't quite get your point. If it's about characters/situations you could relate to as a kid I suppose The Bash Street Kids came closest but only on a peripheral level. Perhaps I've misunderstood your meaning. Then again I tended (and still do) to read comics for escapism, never to relate to them. The more outlandish the better IMHO (TV21, Marvel Comics, The Nervs etc).

Lew
The blog of British comics: http://lewstringer.blogspot.com
My website: http://www.lewstringer.com
Blog about my own work: http://lewstringercomics.blogspot.com/

User avatar
chrissmillie
Posts: 536
Joined: 06 Mar 2006, 14:22
Location: Cairo, Egypt
Contact:

Re: Which comics felt more "real" to you?

Post by chrissmillie »

DC Thomson:
I never bought these religiously. I know Paul Scott of Solar Wind used to refer to these as 'Dull Comics' Thomson. I did pick up these occasionally but only Warlord and Bullet were ever on order (and Plug for a while)

Marvel:
Probably my favourite comics. Mainly, the black-and-white weeklies. I have read these Silver/Bronze Age classics time and time again. Many of these get better with the hundredth read.

IPC:
Again, these get better and better, especially when Pat Mills/John Wagenr joined, i.e. the Action/Battle comics, but the likes of Valiant and Lion really did have some good stories.

My first ever comic
I can't remember but I do know I had some Planet of the Apes, MWOM, Platic Man, Shazam etc kicking about. I remember Whoopee! launching and 2000AD but the first comic I ordered was Captain Britain.
The king of comics:
Probably StarLord. The first 12 issues were awesome. I especially rate Ian Kennedy's RoBusters for art but the stories were just terrific. I also think Tornado is horrendously under-rated.
Solid and respectable:
Tough one. Probably the likes of Bullet and Victor. Couldn't hold a candle to Action, Battle or Warlord but some good stories all the same. Alan Class' comics were also decent but not spectacular.
Specials:
Not really sure what this means. I used to get around 10 or 15 comics a week. I especially loved StarLord, Tornado, Captain Britain and Krazy/Cheeky.
MY comic:
Krazy and StarLord was pretty close but again it'll have to be Captain Britain. The characters were very real life, even if they had magic staffs or rocky orange skin. Plus it was the first comic I absolutely had to have every week, even though I was ordering a load of comics.

and finally...

Exotic comics:
For some reason, Whizzer & Chips was a bit difficult to get until it merged with Krazy, so I always looked at that as something special. My local post office had DC Comics, so I could pick these up occasionally and the next town had it's first comic shop in the 1940s (where my mother bought her Captain Marvel comics), so they weren't unknown.

PS I reserve the right to change my mind for each and every category.
STARSCAPE
http://www.StarscapeComic.co.uk
Classic British reprints and all-new comics

User avatar
Jonny Whizz
Posts: 1079
Joined: 03 May 2009, 14:17

Re: Which comics felt more "real" to you?

Post by Jonny Whizz »

Oddly, I actually find that I prefer the later versions of Billy Whizz, where he seems less real. When he first appeared, he was just a normal kid wearing normal clothes for the time (shorts and T-shirt), usually doing fairly normal things - the only odd thing about him (other than his hair) was his speed. I feel that David Parkins in the early 1990s redefined him, giving him the futuristic thunderbolt tracksuit, and making his whizzspeed far more destructive to its surroundings. He also seemed to be even faster than before. He became even less real when Vic Neill changed his hairstyle into the lightning bolt, but that's my favourite version. In the Mal Judge strips, Billy is a boy who can run exceptionally fast; later on, not only does he run fast, but he doesn't look real.

However, I can't say I've ever really felt that some comics were more 'real' than others, it's never occured to me before.
'Michael Owen isn't the tallest of players, but his height more than makes up for it' - Mark Lawrenson

tolworthy
Posts: 229
Joined: 27 May 2007, 18:55
Location: Highlands
Contact:

Re: Which comics felt more "real" to you?

Post by tolworthy »

Lew Stringer wrote:As for "real" comics, again I'm afraid I don't quite get your point. ... I tended (and still do) to read comics for escapism, never to relate to them. The more outlandish the better IMHO (TV21, Marvel Comics, The Nervs etc).
And that's the sensible way to approach it. It's the way the editors approach it. I think most people see them that way: temporary, for entertainment. Worth remembering, but time moves on.

But to me they mattered in a real way. it's like how some people get passionate about certain music - it defines them. I'm that way with some comics. They had a significance in my mental landscape that other comics (and TV and other media) did not. I learned to read with comics. I grew up with them. I collected annuals, and they were gateways into the past. To me, comics were more real than anything else: because they defined the world of ideas. I never cared for the pure entertainment strips - the ones about kids like me who did anarchic things. I liked the stories about ghosts and monsters and aliens and geniuses and the past and future and other worlds and culture. All of which was new to me. Of course I knew these were just stories, but the ideas were real enough. Comics were like an illustrated Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: all the ideas that mattered, in a witty format.

I think that's why Buster and Whizzer and Chips didn't appeal to me so much - they seemed to be mostly stories about ordinary kids doing silly things. (At least Cheeky was a kid just like me, doing things I could do.) But I do love the older Busters, the ones with adventure strips, and I love Valiant for its non-war and non-sport strips. Charlie Peace, Janus Stark... mind expanding stuff.

For me, Whoopee was like my calendar. Its reliability and consistent quality was a permanent anchor to each week in history. So it was a real shock when I found out it only started in 1974. And when I saw it decline into reprints (how can a calendar have reprints?) and fade away. I could never see it as just another comic. It was part of me! Similarly, Monster Fun was like the cradle of life. Krazy was Art with a capital A. Old comics like Eagle were a mythical lost golden age. American Marvels were this exciting real worlds "out there" somewhere. These things mattered. (Which incidentally is why I'm one of those Marvel fan boys who cared about continuity and believe the Marvel universe declined and died between 1973 and 1991.)

So it's really weird now to hear Whoopee and Krazy described as just two in a long list of comics that came and went. To me they had a reality, a solidity, a towering permanence. Schools and friends and the news and everything else was always changing, but these things stood forever. In my mind at least. I just wonder if anyone else felt the same way? Did any comics had a gravity and meaning beyond the weekly laugh?

tolworthy
Posts: 229
Joined: 27 May 2007, 18:55
Location: Highlands
Contact:

Re: Which comics felt more "real" to you?

Post by tolworthy »

chrissmillie wrote: The king of comics:
Probably StarLord. The first 12 issues were awesome. I especially rate Ian Kennedy's RoBusters for art but the stories were just terrific. I also think Tornado is horrendously under-rated.
I only ever saw a few issues of this, but for me it was head and shoulders above 2000AD. Though 2000AD clearly had the edge in grittiness and energy.

I remember some Ro-jaws and Hammerstein trip where they were standing on a space ship that was stuck half way through a building (a long time pre 9/11 of course). It was beautiful art, and what a concept! Loved it! But my budget only stretched to one new comic a week, or two was a real push. Which probably helps explain why I felt so attached to certain runs.

felneymike
Fence Sitter
Posts: 1901
Joined: 30 Sep 2007, 15:03
Location: Cambridgeshire
Contact:

Re: Which comics felt more "real" to you?

Post by felneymike »

Hmm, well the only "proper" comic i got regularly when i was young was The Beano, i came too late into the world... however i remember reading it repeatedly when i was young, and also trying to draw my own strips (very very young... i started doing my own stories later on, one called Cart Wars went for ages). I knew a few other people at school who got it too but i don't really remember talking, or caring, about it much beyond when i was reading it.

Unlike Sonic The Comic, i was in the last year of primary school (around age 9-11) around the time of issue 100, and the people that read it would actually discuss the storylines in class, bring in issues to show around, and even trace pictures from.

Right at the end of primary school a few people in the class got into Judge Dredd, mainly because of the film and videogame, and bought a few collected books in (i vaguely remember Joe getting his eyes poked out). My brother later started getting 2000AD and i got the Megazine (my first 'run' with it), but we'd left the school by then. To us 10-11 year olds in the 90's those violent 70's stories seemed "adult" and like something "we shouldn't be reading" even though they'd been aimed at the same age group when they were first written. How times changed in those 20 years!

Lew Stringer
Posts: 7041
Joined: 01 Mar 2006, 00:59
Contact:

Re: Which comics felt more "real" to you?

Post by Lew Stringer »

tolworthy wrote: But to me they mattered in a real way. it's like how some people get passionate about certain music - it defines them. I'm that way with some comics. They had a significance in my mental landscape that other comics (and TV and other media) did not. I learned to read with comics. I grew up with them.
Ah, so basically you're asking how important comics were to people and which ones. My feelings about comics are the same as those you described (albeit different comics 'cos I grew up in an earlier decade). I suspect most members of this forum feel the same or we wouldn't be here. :)

Lew
The blog of British comics: http://lewstringer.blogspot.com
My website: http://www.lewstringer.com
Blog about my own work: http://lewstringercomics.blogspot.com/

User avatar
chrissmillie
Posts: 536
Joined: 06 Mar 2006, 14:22
Location: Cairo, Egypt
Contact:

Re: Which comics felt more "real" to you?

Post by chrissmillie »

I have of course missed out some great later comics, like Warrior, Marvel Super-Heroes, St Swithin's Day, early Crisis, Revolver, mid-2000AD, Jack Staff, Ghost Rider...really, the list goes on to the present day, with Captain America and Thor being especially good over the past few years (Cap America's a weird one - terrible plots, such as bringing Bucky back, killing Steve Rogers, bringing GA Human Torch back as a slave, making Bucky the new Cap, bringing back Rogers - yet Brubaker and the art team really make it work)
STARSCAPE
http://www.StarscapeComic.co.uk
Classic British reprints and all-new comics

User avatar
colcool007
Mr Valeera
Posts: 3858
Joined: 03 Mar 2006, 18:06
Location: Lost in time, lost in space
Contact:

Re: Which comics felt more "real" to you?

Post by colcool007 »

chrissmillie wrote:I have of course missed out some great later comics, like Warrior, Marvel Super-Heroes, St Swithin's Day, early Crisis, Revolver, mid-2000AD, Jack Staff, Ghost Rider...really, the list goes on to the present day....
Chris, you are not that old. So stop pretending and enjoy the comics we have/had. :lol: Plus, I saw your stall at many a Bristol expo, so you have had a better than even chance that you have seen these comics. :D
I started to say something sensible but my parents took over my brain!

User avatar
chrissmillie
Posts: 536
Joined: 06 Mar 2006, 14:22
Location: Cairo, Egypt
Contact:

Re: Which comics felt more "real" to you?

Post by chrissmillie »

I meant missed out of my list, as I only chose childhood comics. I've read all of those and are indeed amongst my favourites.
STARSCAPE
http://www.StarscapeComic.co.uk
Classic British reprints and all-new comics

STARBOY
Posts: 696
Joined: 12 Oct 2008, 22:05

Re: Which comics felt more "real" to you?

Post by STARBOY »

For me so many comics were "important" at different times in my life -generally the ODHAMS Comics (Wham, Smash, Pow especially)were my favourite, they were different and had a real edge to them (great wierd scary stuff- to 6 year old me- by Reid plus the US Marvel strips ) they were the first comics (IMHO in UK) that "spoke" to the readers as fans not just "pals! - then again I also loved the IPC/Fleetway books Valliant, Smash(when it went ot IPC) Thunder, Lion again some quirky strips that were of the time (65-73) and great art on nice paper. UK Marvel of course especially the 72- 75 period was of major importance to me (my fanboy days). I never was a massive fan of DCT adventure/boysd comics (love the kids comics whenI was very young BEANO, Dandy and especially the Beezer and Topper which I always liked and Oor Wullie) the boys books to me were always (even at the time th emid 60s - 72 when i read them on and off) to be really old fashioned and dull printed on poor quality paper (of course I looka t them today and some of the stuff is really amazing) - I' d have to reiterate the great WARRIOR (seems tohave been forgotten it seems by fans) and ALan Class comics (US comics also they were my all time favourite pured over them and still , sadly do)

Post Reply