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British Eighties “Funny” Comic Books

Posted by Big Boo on July 12th, 2010

Dennis and GnasherI’m sure most of us, at some point in their childhood, had a period where they were an avid reader of a particular comic book. Of course there are several kinds of comics, and you may well have been a fan of one or more of these at different times.

There were comics aimed more at boys (e.g. The Eagle, Roy of the Rovers etc.) and those aimed at girls (e.g. Twinkle, Bunty etc.). There were the more US style of comic book, normally smaller in size and generally about superheroes, but my particular favourite genre was the good old fashioned British “funny” comic, such as The Beano, The Dandy and Whizzer and Chips.

Some of these comics had already been running for decades by the time I started reading them, and some are still going strong today. Changes have obviously occurred as the years have gone by, with some titles merging with other comics, characters being dropped (and possible reinstated) and of course the move from newspaper style paper and two colour images to the glossier, full colour pages a lot of comics have today.

Without doubt the two prime examples of this style of comic book were The Beano and The Dandy. The Beano tended to appeal to the more mischievous child, what with its lead character being Dennis the Menace. The Dandy was more likely to appeal to the more well behaved youngster, as its main characters were Desperate Dan and Korky the Cat, who tended to get into trouble accidentally rather than on purpose!

These subtle differences in the characters meant that a lot of kids would become devotees of a single comic only, and arguments in school playgrounds over which comic was “the best” could get quite heated!

Desperate DanWhilst personally I enjoyed both of these comics, and dipped into both, the first comic I truly consider myself to be a fan of was Nutty. This comic was launched in 1980 and its cast of characters was led by Bananaman. I found this character appealing as I enjoyed superhero stories (although strangely I’ve never been a reader of the DC/Marvel style of comic books) yet it was still quite funny.

I don’t remember how long I stuck with Nutty, but I do remember my interest waned after a while, but was piqued again when a new comic called Wow! was released. This appeared in 1982 and unusually didn’t really have a main character as such. It did have a couple of comic strips that I remember really enjoying though, which were Boy Boss, about a young lad who was the millionaire owner of a company that did everything he wanted them to do, and Kids Band Radio, which had a gang of kids riding round on BMX Bikes and talking to each other on Walkie Talkies using CB Radio slang, which was quite popular at the time.

I bought Wow! every week for what to me seemed like ages, but it obviously wasn’t actually all that long because it only survived for about a year before it merged with another comic called Whoopee! whereupon I think I must have stopped buying it.

Did you have a particular favourite comic book as a child? Was it a “funny” on or something else? I’d love to know, so please post a comment below!