Monday, 3 April 2017

A Bit of Comic Strip Nostalgia - Part 1

My father used to get two daily newspapers in the 1970s, the Telegraph and the Daily Mirror, so I certainly grew up with news given both a right and left wing point of view. The Telegraph was rather boring, as it didn't have any cartoons. The Mirror, however, had a section on comic strips, that strange 3 or 4 frame story (or part of a story) and that used to be the first part of the paper I turned to. Occasionally the Daily Mail would come our way, and I'd enjoy its comic strips as well. Here's a nostalgic look at some of those.

Andy Capp

Reginald Smyth (10 July 1917 – 13 June 1998), known by his professional name Reg Smythe, was a British cartoonist who created the popular, long-running Andy Capp comic strip in the Daily Mirror. Television tried a series with James Bolam as the titular anti-hero, but I never felt it really worked well. Bolam was just too far from the old soak with a fag dropping from his mouth.

Andy Capp was very much a reflection of how the North of England was seen at the time, where men where in pubs, women at home with rolling pins and hair in scarfs when out, or curlers when in, and belongs to an era that has largely vanished, although Jeremy Corbyn and his cloth cap does have a distant echo.


The strip belonged to the action-adventure genre and recounted the exploits of the title character, an immensely strong hero who battled various villains throughout the world and many different chronological eras.

The art work I remember most came from 1971 when Eagle comics' Dan Dare artist, Frank Bellamy, took over the art with John Allard writing the scripts

Some of Bellamy's art was very erotic for a tabloid newspaper! Although for a teenage boy, with hormones beginning to fire off, they were certainly something to look forward to! I liked the mix of the science fiction and history, and the stories were all very good as well.

Bellamy also did some notable artwork for Radio Times Doctor Who:

Martin Asbury became Garth's artist after Frank Bellamy's death in 1976, drawing the strip and writing many of the stories until its final episode in 1997, but it never was quite as good.


Walter Ernest "Wally" Fawkes (born 21 June 1924 in Vancouver, Canada) is a British-Canadian jazz clarinetist and a satirical cartoonist. As a cartoonist, he generally worked under the name of 'Trog' until failing eyesight forced him to retire from cartooning in 2005 at the age of 81 to concentrate solely on his clarinet playing.

Fawkes' most creative work as a cartoonist was 'Flook' – the unlikely and increasingly satirical comic-strip adventures of its small and furry eponymous hero, which first appeared in the Daily Mail in 1949.

Fawkes's role was chiefly as illustrator, and he had a strong team of collaborators on the scripts for Flook over the years, including George Melly, Barry Norman, Humphrey Lyttelton and Barry Took

Flook is a strange surreal creature, with elements that look like a pig, but not exactly. The cartoon both poked fun at society but also on occasion made sharp social commentary. The idea that a lot of consumer goods server no real purpose apart from getting people to buy is the topic of this strip. How much of what we are persuaded to buy is really junk?

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