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Saturday, 16 January 2010

The Main Players

Drawn by Dudley Watkins from 1956 until 1969. Ginger starred on the front cover for eight months in 1956 and returned to the cover in 1964. He was very similar to 'Oor Wullie' only taller and without the Scottish accent. Ginger had no special powers and he wasn't particularly badly behaved but at least he wasn't an anthropomorphic character like those that graced the covers of 'The Beano', 'The Dandy' and 'The Topper'.

Each of Watkins' Ginger strips started with Ginger getting out of bed, and ended with him getting back in it at the end of the day. This detail was dropped when McGrath took over, and while Jimmy Glen occasionally made use of this device, it tended to be more in relation to the storyline rather than a visual device.

Ginger actually grew older as the strip went on, though only until he became a teenager, which he remained as for the rest of the strip's life. In 1970 illustration of the strip was taken over Bob McGrath
The Badd Lads

Fingers, Knuck and Boss were inept crooks. Always getting caught, escaping jail and then finding themselves incarcerated again. Fingers was your quintessentual spiv with the pencil thin mousthache, Knuck was the thick set, soft goon and Boss was the short but smart brains of the outfit. 'The Badd Ladds' was illustrated by the superb Mal Judge from January 19671 through to 1987. Later artists who worked on the strip were John Dallas, Mervyn Johnston and John Geering.

The Jellymen

The Jellymen were grey, five-legged humanoids who had suckers instead of hands. These suckers produced giant bubbles that could solidify and imprison humans. Science teacher “Potassium” Roberts knew of a chemical that would dissolve the incredibly strong “prisons” and with six of his students he set about releasing entrapped people and foiling the Jellymens' plans for world domination. The story was illustrated by Ken Hunter and it was reprinted in 1970.
Scruffy urchin; the product of his own upbringing. His parents were every bit as scruffy as he was and did nothing to smarten him up or keep him away from junkyards and backstreets. Although he was always getting into scraps and scrapes he was well meaning and resourceful, always finding a way to make an extra bob or two.

The strip was illustrated by Bill Ritchie and ran from 1968-1988.

Pop, Dick and Harry
Dick and Harry were always unkind to their fat but otherwise harmless oaf of a Dad. Twins, Dick and Harry, sported the most ridiculous hairstyles ever seen in a comic strip (not dissimilar to Mike Scores' of A Flock of Seagulls). They always made the most unreasonable demands on their poor father. Of course in every case he could never deliver and so the twins would always go ahead and do their own thing. For example, in one episode when they asked for a swimming pool and poor Pop explained that he couldn't afford one, they simply dug a crater in the garden and syphoned off the water supplies from all other houses in the neighbourhood. Invariably they would triumph though never deservedly so. The strip was drawn by Tom Bannister until 1981.
The Numskulls

Forget what you were taught in biology; according to the Beezer the human body is controlled by small people who live inside every one of us. The strip concentrated on beings who lived inside a man's head called the Numskulls. The man was never named, but the Numskulls referred to him as "our Man". There were six Numskulls, Brainy, who controlled the brain, Blinky guided the man with a steering wheel while looking through his huge eyes, luggy controlled the hearing and Alf and Fred worked in the mouth where they shovelled food down a hatch. Mal Judge drew the strip from March 1962 until September 1990.
Colonel Blink

Colonel Blink first appeared in November 1958. The strip was drawn by Tom Bannister for the majority of its run, with a few later strips being drawn by Bill Ritchie in the same style as Bannister.
He was disastrously short-sighted and yet incredibly stubborn, utterly convinced at all times that he was heading in the right direction. With the usual comic disregard for foolish internal consistencies, every other story involved his driving down the road in an old, clapped out banger. He lived with an ever-patient "Auntie," who acted as housekeeper, and who, despite her name looked considerably younger than the Colonel. He had a dog called "Rover" who needed to be even more patient as he's often mistaken for lions, bears, rugs or insurance salesmen. His next door neighbour was called Cartright who was often the innocent victim of some misunderstanding or other.

The Banana Bunch

Brainy, Dopey, Lanky, Thatch, Titch and Fatty, collectively known as the 'Banana Bunch', lived out every kid's dream. Although they wore their school uniforms, we never saw them go to school. Instead they ate, slept and hung out in their wooden hideout in the woods. They were constantly at war with Milligan's gang who lived in another hideout in the same woods but who were altogether a scruffier lot. Every meal the Banana Bunch ate was like a banquet and where they got their copious amounts of food from was never explained. Leo Baxendale drew the strip from 1956-1964 and from 1964-1987 it was drawn by Bill Hill.

Baby Crockett

One of the longest running comic strips that ran from the Beezer 34 (September 1956) t0 Beezer 1809 (September 1990). Baby Crockett also appeared in young children's comic 'Bimbo' from 1961-1972 and its successor Little Star 1972-1976. In both cases the strip was drawn by Bill Ritchie. Baby Crockett himself being a character derived from the earlier 'Wee Fella'; a strip drawn by Davy Law for Thomson's magazine/newspaper, 'The Peoples Journal' from 20.04.1946 to 6.02.1954


Anonymous said...

This brings back loads of great memories, Simon......I loved the vast scale of the comic-frames in the BEEZER, which are even more startling when seen today, in light of today's mostly smaller-scale comics art.

Also great how half of the comic was in full-colour. I only have a few original 60s BEEZERS, but definately fancy getting some more before long.......

cheers, RAB SMITH.

Peter Gray said...

Robert Nixon and Tom Paterson sure cheered up the later small scaled Beezer of the late 80's But I take your point it looked great large and so did Topper..

Hope your blog goes well..feel free to use any scans I have up on Beezer...just put a link back to my blog..

Banana Bunch and Baby Crockett are the best characters in The Beezer..though there are many to like hence why the line up kept them..

All the are on my blog list at my blog hopefully getting more people to come to see yours..

Anonymous said...

The Banana Bunch were lot more numerous while Leo Baxendale was drawing 'em - at least one strip centred on how overcrowded the hut was becoming.

And just the once there was evidence that they did - or had - come from families with proper houses. It was Brainy's birthday and he was determined to have his cake all to himself. The last few frames showed him sitting in his house waiting for his mum to bring in the cake, with rest of the Bunch pressing their noses enviously to the window. But as he'd got so dirty in carrying out his schemes to exclude them, the only cake he got was a cake of soap!!

BTW, I seem to recall the rival gang was called Mulligan's Mob.

Anonymous said...

I still have my Bimbo annuals from about 1969/70-72.

I'm 43 now and for the first time I really miss bits of my childhood.

I'm gonna scan these and get them on line for my kids or others

John Pitt said...

I'd love to see more of the jellymen! Wish I could find reprints of their stories somewhere!

Jay said...

Me too. It really scared me!

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