The style of British comics has changed many times over the years. The type that we grew up with were the picture strip weeklies which were heavy on comic strip pages and light on non-strip pages, while today many British children’s comics are light on comic strip pages and heavy on non-strip pages be they quiz, info or pin-up pages.
While weekly humour comics always had a lot of comic strip pages, in the days before original Eagle appeared in 1950, boys weekly adventure comics were light on comic strip pages and heavy on text story pages and were known as “the story papers”.
Yet for most comics fans the story paper era is an all but forgotten mystery, dating as it does from the time when their grandparents were young, while the intervening years, as well as wartime paper recycling, have left few copies of the titles available for collectors to find.
Information on them is equally hard to find and much of it comes from the older comics fanzines such as Alan Clark’s Golden Fun which ran on and off for 19 issues between 1974 and 1989. Alan also wrote various comics reference books published in the 1980s and 1990s.
So it came as something of a surprise that now, over twenty years after the last issue of Golden Fun appeared, Alan is back with a new comics fanzine entitled The Sloperian which concentrates on those early days of British comics.
Taking its title from the first recurring British comics character, Ally Sloper, The Sloperian is an A4, mainly black and white, highly illustrated 44 page fanzine. Issue 1 has articles on Ally Sloper artist WG Baxter, early 20th century humour artist Harry O’Neill, humour artist and scripter AT “Charlie” Pease, DC Thomson adventure writer Gilbert Dalton, Black Bob artist Jack Prout, and Illustrated Chips’ various tramp characters. In its style and content issue 1 of The Sloperian is effectively issue 20 of Golden Fun and, like Golden Fun, it will be published occasionally.
At the moment, The Sloperian is only available from Alan Clark via eBay and the cost is £5 including UK postage. Hopefully it will soon have a website or a blog that we can point you to but, until then, if this eBay link is outdated by the time you use it just try searching for ‘Sloperian’ on the sales site – we doubt that much else other than this fanzine will appear for that search.
News, reviews, interviews and features for print and on-line: Spaceship Away (since October 2005), Bear Alley (since February 2007), downthetubes (since June 2007), and Eagle Times (since October 2008). Plus DC Thomson’s The Art Of Ian Kennedy, Titan’s Dan Dare and Johnny Red reprints, Ilex’s War Comics: A Graphic History and 500 Essential Graphic Novels, and Print Media’s The Iron Moon and Strip magazine.