Thursday, 15 September 2011

Me and me comics...

Got into a little discussion about comics on Twitter earlier today. And when I say comics, I mean 'proper' comics. I've never really gone in for those American super-hero type comic books, or the big graphic novels, to be honest. I've always preferred the traditional, British stuff.
Now, when I was growing up in the 80's, I got The Dandy and The Beano every week, and most of the other stuff coming out of the DC Thomson and IPC/Fleetway stables. I was a member of the Dennis The Menace and Desperate Dan fan clubs (and Gnasher's Fang Club, of course). And my over-riding memory of my childhood would probably be the summer that Gnasher went missing.
I haven't bought comics for years now. I toyed with 2000AD for a short time in 1995 - I'd left school, and was studying Art A Level at College, and thought I ought to 'grow up' a bit. I had young siblings (born in 1990,1992 and 1995), and my Mum and Dad still bought them The Dandy and The Beano every week for a few years yet, but once I hit 16, I didn't bother so much. And I regret that *so* much now.
I started buying The Dandy again when it relaunched in October 2010. I admit, I was alarmed at the new looks for classic characters, but I'd seen 'Dandy Xtreme' on the shelves, and been a little alarmed - The new look of Cuddles and Dimples, for example, just wasn't to my taste (although I think Nigel Parkinson is a great artist) - I hankered for those heady days of the mid-late 80s. It's like Doctor Who: the Doctor you grow up with is '*your* Doctor'. Well, the mid-late eighties was '*my** era of comics.
But The Dandy relaunch caught my eye. It was a return to silly strips and memerable characters. I understand that sales have fallen recently, and some of the artists (who, I'm pleased to say, I've become quite friendly with via Twitter and Facebook) have had their say on their blogs - there really are some awful people out there, raging war against individual artists and slagging off The Dandy...
Anyway, the relaunch also made me want some of my old comics back. Sadly, my younger brothers and sister had long since scribbled on and destroyed the comics I used to have in my own collection 15-20 years ago. God knows what happened to all the Oink! Comics I adored (though I'm pleased to say I have both sides of the flexi-disc on my MP3 Player). I'd love to find some of them at the second hand market I frequent, picking up bundles of my childhood favourites, half a dozen or so comics for just a pound at a time (all of the Nuttys below were in one bundle. A quid for ten Nuttys!). I've bought a few on eBay as well, but that costs a fortune.
I've now managed to pick up about 60 old comics - 1970s-1990s - which may not sound many, but when I only manage to get some every two or three months, it's quite an acheivement.
Anyway, because I'm a boring bastard, here's a list of what I've got at present...

(Presented as: Comic title; Issue number; Issue date)
LATEST UPDATE: 15/6/12 - total of 98 'old' comics
UPDATED UPDATE: 17/6/12! While adding my new additions from this week to 'The Pile', I noticed a few comics from the last trip to Chesterfield that hadn't been updated to the list, which gives me a total of 109 'old comics!
ANOTHER UPDATE: 27/6/12 -  I'm updating this list every week now as I get the new Dandys and Beanos, but I figured that it was worth noting that my brilliant little sister surprised me with four issues of Oink! that she'd bought for me on eBay. I adored Oink! as a kid, so having some of those is pretty special. So that's 113 old 'uns. As I haven't bought today's issues yet, that's exactly half of my collection...
YET ANOTHER UPDATE: 23/8/12 - The sad news broke on the 16th August 2012 that The Dandy will be ending it's printed run at the end of the year. The final issue will be released on the comic's 75th Anniversary, 4th December 2012, and will include a facsimile of issue one from 1937. Such a shame, as, in my humble opinion, The Dandy is in the best form it's been in for years. There are plans for it to continue in some form online at
Meanwhile, I managed to get hold of some great Fleetway classics from Chesterfield Market recently - some 1970s Whizzer and (plural?), and whilst investigating some old bags in cupboards, I found some Dandys and a Beano, all from 2003. With the addition of this week's issues, I now have over 250 comics.
SEPTEMBER UPDATE: 1/9/12 (NB: from now on, all 'update' posts, including this one, will be posted on my new Wordpress Blog. I'll carry on updating the list below, but the long, wordy bits like this, will be found there. This September update can be found at - On Thursday, my Dad and sister went to Chesterfield Market and promised to get me some more comics. I was fearing that, with the print run of The Dandy nearing it's end, prices may go up. And while they hadn't gone up, they had gone. No Dandys available at all, and certainly none of the 80s comics I'd requested (I always ask them to keep a look out for some Beanos from the Summer Gnasher disappeared). So, I was brought a dozen or so Beanos from the early noughties, plus some annuals from the early eighties. Meanwhile...THE PARENT TRAP: Also, three or four weeks ago, The Beano had a slight redesign. Gone were the recent 'retro-esque' covers of recent months, to be replaced with a bright, almost fluorescent, cover with a BeanoMax feel to it. The last couple of weeks also featured no issue number on the cover, something I'm glad to see has been resolved with this week's issue. However, I've noticed that they've started 'youthing' the character's parents. It started with Roger The Dodger's parents a few weeks ago. His mum was younger, different, certainly, but it was his Dad which was a fairly drastic makeover job. Gone was the moustache and the grey hair, and Roger's younger looking Dad had the same Roger-y hairstyle, but it was black, and he was clean-shaven. However, I thought it could be reasonably explained away by him simply having a shave, and buying a bottle of Just For Men.But a couple of weeks ago, Gok Wan popped up in Dennis's strip, and took away Dennis's Mum and Dad. They reappeared last week with drastic new looks.These changes were one of the subjects in a questionnaire in the issue, which I thought was a good idea with regard to letting The Beano gage how much their young readers are actually bothered about the strip characters' parents. But then, this week, Minnie The Minx's Dad, who last week had been as thread-bare up top as ever, is suddenly younger and has a full head of ginger hair! Now, I realise, given the way I've moaned about people complaining that The Dandy's changed too much, hence it's closure, that I could come across as something of a hypocrite. But all these changes in less than a month just seems a bit much to me. I'm still hoping for a big end-of-year strip, where it turns out all the kids have had their minds altered while aliens have kidnapped their real parents... If that doesn't happen, I can deal with it, but if I turn to The Bash Street Kids next week, and Teacher's suddenly 20 years younger, I'm not going to be happy...

The full list can now be found on The Brog, where it's regularly - and more easily - updated...

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