Tag Archives: anniversary issue

Buster 30th Birthday Issue 26 May 1990

Birthday Buster 1

Contents in this issue:

  •  Buster (artist Jimmy Hansen)
  • Tom Thug’s Schooldayz (artist Lew Stringer)
  • Rodney & Dez (artist Gordon Hill)
  • X-Ray Specs (artist Mike Lacey)
  • Beastenders (artist Reg Parlett)
  • Specky Hector’s Totally Crucial History of Buster Comic! (artist and writer Lew Stringer)
  • Vid Kid (artist Jack Edward Oliver)
  • The Vampire Brats (artist Lew Stringer)
  • Adam Adman (artist Barry Glennard)
  • Buster Survey for Kids and Adults
  • Chalky (artist Gordon Hill)
  • Ricky Rainbow (artist Jimmy Hansen)
  • The Winners (artist Jimmy Hansen)
  • Double Trouble (artist Terry Bave)
  • The Leopard from Lime St (artist Mike Western, writer Eric Bradbury)
  • Melvyn’s Mirror (artist Terry Bave)
  • Mad Mac (artist Mark Bennington)
  • School Belle (artist Tom Paterson)
  • Nightmare on Erm St. (artist Vic Neill)

Sunday 28 May 2017 marks what would have been Buster’s 57th birthday. To honour the anniversary I am discussing how Buster celebrated his 30th birthday in 1990, as it is a Buster birthday issue I have to hand. I have also included a gallery of the pages that marked the occasion. Sadly, Buster was cancelled just a few months short of his 40th birthday and never got the chance to celebrate his ruby anniversary.

Specky Hector kicks off the celebrations by pulling out his vintage Busters for fans to read. Tom Thug steals the comics (and later the birthday cake), but it all explodes in his face, as usual. Buster also steals the opportunity for a blast from the past by slipping some old Buster characters into Tom’s pages, which gives Tom nightmares. Later on in the comic, Specky Hector presents a one-page history of Buster, with Tom providing some humorous asides.

“The Winners”, “Chalky” and “Double Trouble” also join in the celebrations. The Winners compete in the Editor’s contest for the best Buster birthday cake. The Winners make a birthday cake that is so huge they need a cement mixer to make it. Too bad the cake ends up like cement as well and just about breaks the poor old Editor’s teeth! Still, the Editor awards them the first prize anyway – a cookbook – as he believes they really need it. The Winners say they will use the next 30 years to practise, so we expect a perfect birthday cake from them when it’s time for Buster’s 60th birthday. The twins in “Double Trouble” present the Editor with a huge present, which is full of the Buster characters they have rounded up to join the party, and the characters have all brought the food for it. Chalky decorates a wall with a wall-sized version of Buster’s first issue to commemorate Buster’s 30th birthday. According to bustercomic.co.uk, the page was re-used for Buster’s 35th birthday in 1995 and 39th birthday issue in 1999.

Lastly, Buster has recycled a parents & kids survey from 1985 and updated it in order to compare the generation of 1960 with the generation of 1990. The kids of 1990 would answer the questions on the first page, and an adult from the family would answer the questions on the second page. The purpose was to compare the lifestyles, likes and dislikes of the children of 1990 and the children-now adults of 1960. Of course there were prizes to be won. It is funny to think that the children of 1990 who responded back then would now be old enough to respond as the adults of 2017. How would their likes, dislikes and lifestyles of 1990 compare with those of the kids of 2017? Does anyone fancy trying out the survey out with their kids? It’s been uploaded in case anyone does.

“The Leopard from Lime St” is also a reflection of how times and readership had changed. When the strip ended in 1985 it marked the end of an era for Buster, namely the adventure strips that used to abound in the comic, such as “Fishboy” and “Galaxus”. From then on it was funnies all the way. The year 1990 was the year Leopardman enjoyed a brief revival, with a collection of reprints from his old strip. But Leopardman did not seem to be as popular as he was before. His 1990 revival came to a definitive end, with a reprint of the story that ended with him losing his mask while pulling a rescue, so he had to fake his death to protect his secret identity. Thus he did not make it to the merger with Whizzer & Chips the following week. Despite a closing line that said “The Leopardman lives on – to return again sometime!”, he did not come back during the last nine years of Buster’s run. However, the assurance that the Leopardman would “return again sometime” is going to be fulfilled after all, with the upcoming Leopardman reprint volumes.

A discussion of Buster’s last nine years and his final issue can be found here.

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Hip hip hooray! Jinty (would have been) 43 today!

This is a post covering more than one celebration. It is the 600th post on this blog, posted on the 11th May, the day that Jinty was first published 43 years ago. And while we normally don’t make much of the anniversary of the blog itself, it has been a little over three years since it first started, back on 15 April 2014.

Jinty likewise also didn’t make much of its anniversaries. There is a celebration cover for its 200th issue but that mostly consists of an Easter picture and some text stating that it is a celebration issue. And while the cover of its 5th anniversary, above, is at least specially-drawn for the occasion, there is nothing much more inside to remind readers of the exciting times from the previous years. We can do more than that, in this blog post!

Well of course on this blog you can go back and read posts on individual issues, either in the order in which they were originally posted or (rather more conveniently) as an index, in date order. This also shows you how far we’ve got through the list of all 383 issues of Jinty ever published. For much of the run, we have now got long unbroken streaks of consecutive issues. There are gaps here and there of two or three issues together where we still have to fill in issues not-yet-blogged, but these are much fewer than used to be the case. (To give you context of the publishing of the time, there is also a much shorter list of issues of other titles which we have written about. It’s an area we focus on less, of course, but we will continue to add to nevertheless.)

We are still plugging gaps in the list of stories, too, but there again the gaps are narrowing. If you look at the list of Stories by Publication Date you can easily see which stories are yet to be posted about. Most of the key stories have already been covered, but there are still some crackers to come. Mistyfan is promising us “Tears of a Clown”, and on my own list I need to get to “Somewhere Over The Rainbow”, the popular and extremely long wartime tear-jerker from Alison Christie and Phil Townsend.

In terms of other sorts of blog achievements, of course 600 posts is itself a really good number to have got to, in as little as three years. I would have been happy to manage about one post a week, but thanks to Mistyfan’s energy and our combined bright ideas on new things to tackle over that time, we have managed three or four times that rate. (I must give due credit to Mistyfan, who writes about one and half as many posts as I do!) The readers of this blog will be glad to know that even though we are closing the gaps on individual issues to write about, we still have many creators to cover as well as the story gaps mentioned. And although issues of other titles have featured previously as context for Jinty‘s family tree, I can see that we might need to cover more of these so as to continue to trace the path of different creators, story types, and themes throughout the years.

Jinty never had a chance to continue even as far as its 8th birthday issue, alas. I wonder what it would have been like if it had lasted longer? There would certainly have been a lot more great stories and excellent art to read and enjoy, but would it have stayed as inventive and energetic as 2000AD has done in its 40th year? Bunty lasted from 1958 to 2001 and had strong stories even to the end, but I think it would be hard to class the latter-day content of the title as ranking with its heyday. A longer-lasting Jinty would have had to reinvent itself more widely: I’m not sure how that would be possible in the constraints of the British comics market, especially with comics marked out as being more and more ‘for boys’. Esther, the Spanish “Patty’s World”, managed it, with stories being written specifically for the Spanish market and grown-up readers still seeking out the title of their childhood and sharing it with the next generation. Perhaps not a coincidence that it succeeded so well: Esther was always down-to-earth and realistic, compared to stories about boarding schools or ballet, so it stood more of a chance to tap into the mainstream urge for everyday stories that lies behind the popularity of soap operas. Not that soaps are the only way to produce popular entertainment, of course: Jinty and the like could perhaps have tapped into the science fiction or fantastical elements that worked so well in their pages. For sure, something  different would have been needed. Wouldn’t it have been great to have seen the publishers give it a go!

Tammy’s 5th Birthday Issue 7 February 1976

tammy-cover-7-february-1976

Cover artist: John Richardson

  • Sarah in the Shadows – first episode (artist Mario Capaldi)
  • Return of the Silver Mare – Strange Story (artist Veronica Weir)
  • Lights Out for Lucinda – last episode (artist Ken Houghton)
  • Bessie Bunter
  • Molly Mills and the Aviator – first episode (artist Tony Thewenetti, writer Maureen Spurgeon)
  • A Monumental Detective – Strange Story (artist Tony Higham)
  • Wee Sue (artist John Richardson)
  • A Lead Through Twilight – first episode (artist Douglas Perry)

It is now 46 years since Tammy was first launched, on 6 February 1971. The first Tammy and Tammy’s 10th birthday issue have already been covered on this blog, so we will commemorate the anniversary with Tammy’s 5th birthday issue.

The Cover Girls are the first to honour the occasion, in their usual humorous style. Let’s hope they managed to sort out that little glitch with the birthday cake. Or maybe the Tammy team saw the funny side, just as the readers did.

As soon as we open the cover we see the first of Tammy’s “birthday gifts” to us, which is the first episode of “Sarah in the Shadows”. Tammy is celebrating her 5th with five new stories, two of which start this week, two next week, and the fifth the week after that. In Victorian times Sarah is thrown out into the street after her unfortunate uncle is thrown into debtor’s prison. All she has to survive on is her gift for paper cutouts and shadow play. The other birthday gift story, “A Lead Through Twilight”, is the last story in the issue (talk about bookends!). Carol Trent is losing her sight but won’t speak up about it or seek treatment because she is terrified her sourpuss uncle will send her away. But can she seriously expect to get away with hiding the fact that she’s going blind? And if the uncle finds out, will he do what Carol fears? Carol befriends a dog, Twilight, who could be her guide dog, but there is a definite mystery about him.

The birthday gift stories starting in the next issue are “The Fairground of Fear” (Diane Gabbot’s first serial for Tammy) and “Sit It Out, Sheri” (which will give John Armstrong a change from Bella). To make way for them, “Lights Out for Lucinda” is being finished off with a double episode. Lucinda has discovered the reason for the bizarre town of Blackmarket where everyone is being drugged into thinking it is still World War II and being forced to live that way. This peculiar ruse is all so the commander can provide a cheap workforce that are being paid 1940s rates instead of modern ones – to none other than Lucinda’s father! Fortunately for Lucinda it turns out he was a dupe and then a victim of blackmail before he finally manages to help put things right.

The last “birthday gift” story, starting 21 February, is a Hugh Thornton-Jones story, “Claire’s Airs and Graces”. Claire pretends to come from a posh background because of the snobby girls at her new school. This was the only Thornton-Jones serial in Tammy; his artwork was otherwise confined to Wee Sue episodes and Strange Stories.

It looks like the Storyteller is celebrating too because he is presenting two Strange Stories this week. Molly apparently is celebrating with a new story, but the title really should say “aviatrix”, not “aviator”. Although Bessie’s caption says “Bessie celebrates our birthday in her own special way”, her story has no bearing whatsoever on the celebrations or even on birthdays. She’s trying to help catch bank robbers but has forgotten the licence plate number of their vehicle. The police are trying to jog her memory but of course she is more interested in eating. Wee Sue’s story also has nothing to do with the celebrations. It’s all hijinks when Miss Bigger gets herself locked in a ball-and-chain because she disregarded a “do not touch” sign: “I’m a teacher. It doesn’t apply to teachers.” Silly woman!

Of course there is a competition to mark the occasion too, but this won’t be until next week.

Jinty 12 May 1979 – birthday issue

Image

  • Alice in a Strange Land (artist Terry Aspin)
  • Bizzie Bet and the Easies (artist Richard Neillands)
  • The Forbidden Garden (artist Jim Baikie)
  • A Girl Called Gulliver – first episode (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • I’ll Make Up for Mary (artist Guy Peeters)
  • Daughter of Dreams
  • The Four-Footed Friends (artist Peter Wilkes)
  • Children of Edenford (artist Phil Townsend)

This was Jinty‘s one and only birthday issue, and how did she celebrate? A birthday cover, a birthday competition with prizes up to £350.00, and a page telling us the things that happened on 11 May in history. The same page also featured another competition, based on Jinty‘s star sign, Taurus. Readers were invited to send short letters or poems describing how they best fitted their own star sign, and the best ones would receive £5. As an example, Jinty composed one for herself:

“Jinty is a Taurean,

Exciting, strong and true,

Packed with goodies you all love,

It’s best for me and you!”

Yes, Jinty saw herself as having the characteristics of a real Taurean – “strong, determined, confident, interesting, dominant and unbeatable!”

But of course Jinty has to carry on with her usual business too. Things get stranger for “Alice in a Strange Land” when she is rescued by a man who claims to be from Victorian times. And it gets even more strange when Alice discovers that his daughter is the masked High Priestess – who claims to have discovered a Spring of Life and is out to build a new Incan empire!

Laika finally finds her own source of water for her “Forbidden Garden” and can get things going without her water wages from Gladvis’ father. But she is still being blackmailed by Gladvis. Then comes a hope of freeing herself when she finds Gladvis’ wall safe. But how to get into it?

A new story, “A Girl Called Gulliver” starts. Gwen does not know she is a descendant of Lemuel Gulliver until the last of the Lilliputians come into her life. Their home was destroyed by airport construction, so now it’s up to Gwen to take care of them.

Ann Ridley has vowed “I’ll Make Up for Mary”, but her latest bid has turned to disaster once more thanks to nasty Beryl. Mary’s last present to her mother has been broken, and Ann runs off when she is wrongly blamed for it. The vicar sorts things out, but Ann still ends up feeling inadequate in comparison to Mary. Things are not much better for shy Sally Carter when “Daughter of Dreams” tries more attempts to instil assertion into her.

In “The Four-Footed Friends”, poor Riley is threatened with euthanasia again when he causes some breakages. His arch-enemy Mrs Marshall is delighted. Josie needs to find a way to pay, but how?

The powers of Miss Goodfellow are showing how strong they can really be when “Children of Edenford” go into a trance that freezes them like statues, and then all the parents start succumbing to the power as well. However, Patti and Jilly at last figure out how it works and start working out temporary measures against it. But they have not figured out how to break in to destroy it.