Veteran comics archivist Alan Clark has just published The Fun Factory of Farringdon Street, another fascinating book detailing the early years of British comics history – this time telling the story of the comic and story papers published by Harmsworth and Amalgamated Press from its headquarters at Fleetway House, London, between 1890 – 1960. It’s another first class release.
Alan very kindly sent us a copy of the book, and it’s a thoroughly fascinating tome, nicely complementing his other recent releases such as comics writer Gertrude Wilson’s wonderful A Life with Comics, still available, which in my opinion deserves wider publication, and Edwardian Comic Papers.
Running to over 260 pages, this is surely one of Alan’s most ambitious projects yet, offering information on artists and writers that include Tom Browne, Harry O’Neil, Tom Wilkinson, Frank Holland, Roy Wilson, Reg Parlett, Bertie Brown, H.S. Foxwell, Charlie Pease, Eric Parker, Frank S. Pepper, Charles Hamilton and many more. Fully illustrated, the range of comics offered, including Comic Cuts, Wonder, Magnet, Gem, Schoolgirls’ Own, Pluck, The Marvel, Film Fun, Tiger Tim’s Weekly, Rainbow, Knock-Out and more only serves to illustrate how diverse the British comics industry once more.
As ever, Alan hopes his book will serve to promote and provide information about the editors, artists, writers and publisher of Amalgamated Press comics and story papers, and once again, I’m hugely impressed by his research and depth of knowledge on this admittedly perhaps specialist subject.
Throughout, Alan not only provides information on the many titles published and the creators who produced them, but also furnishes delightful details, too, noting, for example, how celebrities had often driven sales, long before today’s BEANO featured them in cameo, or The Dandy was the domain of comedian Harry Hill. Alan deftly charts a fascinating story of the ups and downs of British comics publishing at a time when the circulation of weekly comics for both boys and girls were in their millions, and his enthusiasm for the subject matter shines through.
This is another darn fine and indispensable guide to early British comics, enthusiastically told – and a most welcome addition to Alan’s many appreciated publications.
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.