Diary of a Comic Fan Part 5 – Matchwinners to bloggers! Thanks

With my fix of American DC comics increasingly limited, my age and a passing interest in Football it was only a matter of time that I dabble in sport and adventure comics.

I recall Scoop being a favourite, with Matchwinner for Hire Jon Stark – £1000 per match, £250 per goal, no payment for lost game.

Tiger was picked up from time to time and I followed Roy of the Rovers for a good few traumatic seasons. I enjoyed the soap opera of it all. Roy Race and his wife split up, Roy Race resigned, Roy Race played for competitors Walford. I think we all love a good comic soap – you only have to look at the popularity of Judge Dredd in ‘The Pit’ to understand that.

I didn’t really get into 2000AD until Prog 200 – then I picked up a healthy dose of progs until the mid 90s. That was probably reading it for a good five years longer than I should have, out of some misguided loyalty. The Galaxy’s Greatest Comic had some classic moments – a particular favourite, not often talked about, was Robo Hunter Sam Slade at the World Cup which matches sci fi with football with one of the most hilarious funny strips I have ever read (alongside DR and Quinch, of course!)

I also enjoyed the relaunch of Eagle and the new Dan Dare. I was so excited at the launch, slightly let down by photo stories rather than classic illustration but a mix of classic characters, Doomlord, cowboys, football, some drawn stories and the Collector kept me gripped.

Comics were becoming acceptable – even in the new Mail on Sunday. They had a weekly 16 page full colour comic supplement with the best in UK and US newspaper strips which was a Sunday morning hoot! Unfortunately they missed out on the fantastic Calvin and Hobbes but it was a fantastic experiment for a newspaper launch which I’d love to see today.

There was some exciting changes in the UK comic scene at that time and I supported new launches when I could – following the likes of Tornado, Starlord, Scream and Misty (hidden between all my Comics as it was perceived as a girls title!) with the likes of Classic Doctor Who, Captain Britain, Deadline, Warrior, Crisis, Revolver, Toxic, Strip, Best of 2000AD/Judge Dredd, The Megazine and later on Clint.

The list of semi indulgent creator owned Comics came and went with alarming regularity, promising so much and delivering (as a reader) not a lot. Although there are some memorable characters who came out of those titles that remain today – Tank Girl, Marvel, er, Miracleman, V For Vendetta, Marshall Law and Hit Girl.

My story isn’t that much different than many UK comic readers. Our wave of nostalgia is being fed by several excellent blogs and books worth taking a look at, and twitter feeds of some of the great comic creators, editors and observers of the day. They are all truly amazing and can wax far more lyrical than I can on this blog. Check them out – I’ve particularly enjoyed blogs and podcasts about Cheeky Weekly, Misty and 2000AD (all rather good – too many to mention!), Dan Dare and Eagle websites (an 80s Eagle retrospective started this week by Infinite Frontiers), Blimey by Lew Stringer (with honorary mention to Philip Boyce and his Oink site – a title I didn’t read myself), DownTheTubes by John Freeman, Great News For All Readers, Books on 2000AD by Steve MacManus, Pat Mills and David Bishop and boys adventure magazines like Roy of the Rovers, Tiger, Scream, Tornado and Eagle by Barrie Tomlinson.

I’ve marvelled at the back room shenanigans, nodding in agreement about the good times and the bad. Yet like Robbie and Gary and Take That you wish those crazy creator types could forgive a little and imagine all the people living for today! Colouring and repackaging a classic Comic is always welcome to the millions of readers across the Uk – but now seems the ideal time to give us the final six books of Halo Jones (take that Hollywood, Harvey Weinstein et al!) and admit that yes, it doesn’t matter how well you draw, getting rid of Rogues bio chip buddies was one of the worst ideas in comics!

Some of these books, twitter feeds and blogs touch on a time of the changes in the 80’s and 90’s too…

The time, dear diary, when I outgrew my town newsagents John Menzies….

…Nick Landau and Eagle Comics started to reprint Judge Dredd stories in the US with stories I had missed from early 2000AD….

…and top artist Brian Bolland was doing art on their covers and producing a new comic with Mike W Barr for DC (who had completely disappeared from the UK newsstands) in a format never seen before featuring King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table…

…along with other titles being written and drawn by all my favourite creators…

….and the only way to get hold of these comics was to take a two hour round trip bus journey and venture into the big city of Glasgow….

….to an unknown concept my teenage brain couldn’t comprehend or believe actually existed….

…. the (gasp) Comic Shop…

….(AKA Books and Comics)

….til next time…


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