The trumpeted ‘superhero’ theme – which includes a competition to win Batman and Superman audio discs – doesn’t extend to every strip featured in this issue of Classics from the Comics, and in the case of ‘Jack Flash, The Flying Boy’, published in The Beano in 1949, even editor Garry Fraser admits the superhero description is slightly nebulous. But that said the selection is again full of gems, with an increased number of adventure strips, including ‘Billy the Cat’ and the ‘The Danger Man’ from 1959 and a 1944 episode of ‘Mr X’.
The inclusion of ‘Mr X’ from the second world war years indicates that superhero-styled characters, perhaps inspired by US comics such as Superman, were clearly quick to percolate into British comics, perhaps sooner than some fans realize.
There’s good news, too, for fans of DC Thomson material who wanted to see creator credits in this ‘retro’ title – Gary responded to our suggestion in our last review and has begun including some artist details.
Alongside the superhero section strips such as a ‘General Jumbo’ story from Buddy and ‘The Space Kids’, from Beezer sit alongside nicely with a huge range of humour stories, including the always enjoyable ‘Sparky People’ (a personal favourite as I grew up), ‘Minnie the Minx’, ‘Dennis the Menace’, ‘Baby Crockett’, ‘Curly’s Commandos’ and ‘Corporal Clott’. And who couldn’t enjoy some of the carefully selected feature pages, such as ‘My Home Town: Nuneaton’? (whatever happened to pop combo Pinkerton’s Colours who hailed from there, we wondered?*)
Classics from the Comics increasingly seems to be adopting a format combining both adventure and humour strips long popular in British comics but dropped by modern publishers in favour of more focused titles that favour adventure or humour, but rarely both. It’s simply a delight – a reprint package that works, in spades, and deserving of your measly £2 to try it out.
• Classics from the Comics, published by DC Thomson, is on sale now in all good UK newsagents, price £2 Click here for subscription information
• More about Pinkerton’s Colours on Wikipedia, in case you were wondering, too!
Cover image © 2010 DC Thomson, published with full permission
The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. He is currently editor of Star Trek Explorer, published by Titan – his third tour of duty on the title originally titled Star Trek Magazine.
Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Babylon 5 Magazine, and more. 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 “Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies” for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.
Categories: British Comics - Current British Publishers