In Review: Classics from the Comics Issue 170

The latest issue of DC Thomson’s Classics from the Comics sports a new look, complete with revamped cover masthead reflecting it’s ‘retro’ appeal, but the line up of humour and adventure strips inside is the usual engaging mix of material from yesteryear that again reminds readers of how vibrant British comics used to be. While not every story was a memorable hit – this issue’s The Space Kids, from Beezer, drawn, I think, by Ron Smith, being one example – experimentation and enthusiasm for the work positively oozes from most pages.

Highlights this issue include an archive look at 50 decades of Desperate Dan, from an incredibly detailed 15-panel one page story from 1940 (Dan wins a makeover but filing his nails proves near-impossible) through to 1985 (just how will Dan quench his thirst?); a single page of Ken Reid’s creation, Jonah, the jinx-ridden sailor (more, please!); Little Plum turns rock star, a barbed tale about celebrity that proves timeless; Davy Law’s loose style wonder of a 1967 episode of Corporal Clott; L Cars from Sparky… There’s even an episode of the quickfire half pager Desert Island Dick from Topper, as well as more General Jumbo adventure, up against a gang of terrorists with his toys.

Overall, there’s a much stronger sense of editorial selection to this issue and somehow it seems less ‘scattergun’ than recent editions. The continued inclusion of background info on characters such as Desperate Dan is welcome feature material.

The only thing lacking for me is a list of creator credits, even if only the artists, perhaps included in the contents page. While I know that traditionally, DC Thomson never allowed creator credits in the past, it does these days in The Beano etc. I’m sure readers of this title would be fascinated to know more about the character and creator history behind some of DC Thomson’s most fondly-remembered strips.

This title offers a well put together example of how a regular ‘classics’ package could look, and it’s one Egmont should be looking at, and, although it’s sadly unlikely ever to happen, IPC.

Classics from the Comics, published by DC Thomson, is on sale now in all good UK newsagents, price £2 Click here for subscription information

The founder of downthetubes, John works as a comics editor, writer, as Creative Consultant on the Dan Dare audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing for over 30 years, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. He’s the writer of “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood for digital comic 100% Biodegradable.



Categories: British Comics - Current British Publishers

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