How do kids get into Comics today.
Not dissimilar to the ‘70s, it seems, by TV tie ins and now computer game and online app medium such as Mindcraft or graphic novels by the odd YouTube vlogger.
In the 70’s you had to watch the programme. You couldn’t record it and watch back later on video or your Smart Box. Nor could you buy a Blu Ray disc and binge watch to your hearts content.
If you wanted more from your favourites you had to buy the novel or enjoy your weekly digest of two page strips in weekly instalments via the Youth TVTimes ‘Look In’ magazine.
In between reading the odd girls comic at my cousins to alleviate the boredom or a quick gander at a Victor or Warlord at a friends house (which didn’t seem to sit well with their anti establishment punk rock Sex Pistols posters on the wall) I lived for my weekly dose of Look In. Looking back at the covers it’s an absolute treasure trove of Classic TV that I watched religiously every week.
I don’t remember Catweazle at all -but apparently I watched it all the time!
I watched Follyfoot and Black Beauty – Black Beauty because I could stay up that extra half hour on a Sunday. Our weekend had started with Crackerjack, featuring Ed Stewart, a regular columnist and presenter of Junior Choice and the Chart show on Radio 1 but Sunday was a school night that you needed to stretch no matter what the cost may be! We even stayed up for the Muppet Show!
Saturday night early evening TV strips dominated Look In – Kung Fu was an early favourite.
Lee Majors as the Six Million Dollar Man closely followed by Lindsay Wagner as the Bionic Woman was a stalwart strip and cover stars for many years.
There was also Space 1999, the Man From Atlantis (Patrick Duffy from Dallas), the Incredible Hulk (Don’t make me angry Mr McGhee, you wouldn’t like me when I’m angry), Chips (Jon and Ponch!), The A Team, Battlestar Galatica, Planet of the Apes, BJ and the Bear (I’m BJ McCabe and this is my best friend Bear) and Charlie’s Angels.
There was UK drama too – The New Avengers – Steed, Gambit (pre coffee ads) and Joanna Lumley as Purdey (Who launched a thousand haircuts), Joanna Lumley again in Sapphire and Steel and Dick Turpin.
Along with that there was the usual mix of kids, comedy and music programmes of the time – Magpie, Tiswas, the Famous Five (Julian, Dick and Anne, George and Timmy the Dog), Oliver Twist, ABBA, The Bay City Rollers, Marc Bolan, Flintlock (all had their own music programmes), Worzel Gummidge (with a post Dr Who Jon Pertwee and a pre Sherlock Una Stubbs as Aunt Sally) Benny Hill, Happy Days, Mork and Mindy, Man About the House and my own personal favourites every Wednesday evening – the fabulous Tomorrow People (why Tim, jaunt belts and and a base in the London Underground did not feature heavily in the two reboots of this series is beyond me!)
Films also featured – including Grease, Star Wars (we’ve shared the covers on other posts), Bond and yes, you will believe a man can fly!
The Look In strips were (and still are) great, including work by John Burns and Arthur Ranson. Some of Ransons work was recently collated into a book – The Beatles Story. He also illustrated the Elvis Story too. You can see some of his work online here
Look In continued to 1994, a pale imitation of its former self at the end (more akin to Smash Hits it Number One pop mage), but it did manage to outlast a number of copycat publications such as TV Tops (although that had a fantastic Adam and the Ants time travelling strip).
By the 90s (and 80s) my interest had long waned in Look In. I’d graduated to the funnies. Not the Beano and Dandy, which occasionally my Dad brought home from work from the ‘comic man’ who popped by now and again. No – I may have been a Swap Shop rather than Tiswas viewer but my Comics were a little more adventurous. No DC Thomson for me – it had to be Fleetway and IPC Magazines all the way with an added bit of the old Cheeky Weekly!
Dear Diary, til next time….