Sunday, 22 April 2012

BUSTER, SON OF ANDY CAPP - PART ONE...


Images copyright relevant owner

BUSTER comic first appeared in May of 1960, cover-dated the 28th - meaning it actually came out on or around the 21st of the month.  The star of the comic was Buster, initially billed as the "SON Of ANDY CAPP", the boozing, smoking, wife-beating, cloth-capped Northern working-class layabout from the DAILY and SUNDAY MIRROR, as immortalized by cartoonist REG SMYTHE.

The tag-line was soon dropped, but - interestingly - on the 35th anniversary of the comic in 1995 - a framed pic of Buster appeared on Andy's wall in the newspaper strip*, seemingly reaffirming the connection.  (Though it was obvious that it had been added and wasn't part of the original art.)  Andy had even appeared in the Buster strip itself back in 1960 - in the June 18th and July 2nd issues, so now his son was returning the favour. (In some early issues of the comic, Buster was referred to as Buster Capp.)

DAILY MIRROR, Saturday, May 27th, 1995

I'll be taking a look at a 1968 copy of Buster in an upcoming post, which will contain the first instalment of the complete issue (give or take a couple of ads).  Stay tuned - same Buster time, same Buster channel...

(Now where have I heard that before?)

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*Thanks to ALLEN CUMMINGS (Buster Editor from 1981-'99), who sent me the Buster strip from the Daily Mirror back in 1995.  Good man, Al.

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For those of you who can tolerate my self-indulgent reminiscences, May 28th, 1960 was the official tenancy commencement date for our new house in a new town all those years ago.  (Doesn't mean we necessarily moved in on that exact day, though it's possible.)  Previously, in the late '50s, we had lived in the West End of Glasgow.  I probably didn't see Buster until 1966 or '67 and, although then living in our third house in the town, it was in a house across the street from our first one that I became aware of the comic when we were visiting friends in our 'old' neighbourhood.  I probably saw VALIANT, LION and various ALAN CLASS comics there also (that's where I associate my first sight of them), as WILLIAM NODWELL, the son of my mother's friend and someone with whom my brother had once palled about when we lived there, always had a stack of them lying around.

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See Part Two here.

11 comments:

B Smith said...

I'd have never known that Buster existed if i hadn't picked up a dozen or so old copies at a church fete around 1972 (and those copies have been read many many times)...if they ever run out of things to reprint in deluxe volumes, I'd be happy to see a reprint of the "Zarga: Man of Mystery" strip.

Kid said...

I liked Rent-a-Ghost, Galaxus, Charlie Peace and Fish-Boy - and of course Buster. They're the strips I mainly associate with it.

baab said...

saturday morning,my dads going to a shop to buy rolls and the papers,I must have been about 5 years old( I will check) I am watching kids tv .
Its an episode of Marine Boy..
My dad asks if I want a comic brought in,In my childish naivety I ask for a marine boy comic(dont think it has ever been a thing,maybe in Japan)
He comes in with a copy of Buster,I was disappointed for about an hour..well until kids tv finished.

I am talking 1969/1970,was it whizzer and chips by then?
Was it whizzer and chips that Buster was in?

Kid said...

In Japan, Marine Boy was known as Undersea Boy Marine - whether there was ever a comic I'm not sure.

Buster was in his own comic from May 1960 until December 1999. Whizzer & Chips was absorbed by Buster in October 1990. (W&C first appeared in Oct '69.)

Biffo the Bear had a pal called Buster, but obviously it was a different one.

Any help?

baab said...

No I am totally confused,cant kick the memory bank into gear,may have been any of them.
My dad wont remember so no point in asking him.

filed away as a wee mystery.

Im away to research Undersea Boy Marine ,did not know that so should be fun.

Kid said...

Perhaps there was an ad for Buster in Whizzer & Chips (or vice versa) and that's why you're not quite sure which is which? Could that be the case perhaps?

Isn't it annoying when you can't remember things?

SteveJailbirdMatt said...

I was introduced to IPC Magazines as early as 4 years of age thanks to my older sister! Not being able to read - I studied the artwork (the earliest comic I recollect is 'Corr!') and from the age of 6, I always wanted to be a cartoonist. In 1985 I was awarded 'Young Cartoonist Of The Year' by The Daily Star and met fellow cartoonist Lew Stringer in the 90's. Through him I finally achieved my life's ambition in contributing a couple of strips to 'Buster Comic' as well as 'ghosting'. Sadly, it appeared I was born too late and missed the 'IPC Boat', and soon found myself out of a job when the majority of the comics industry in this country plummeted approximately 10 years ago! My favourite artist was Robert Nixon and my top three comics were 'Krazy', 'Monster Fun' and 'Buster'. Let's face it - each time IPC dropped a comic, it was always incorporated into 'Buster' or 'Whizzer & Chips'! I still have approx 5,000 comics in my collection. Happy days!!! (sigh...)
I'm currently posting info about 'Buster' on the 'Andy Capp' strip at 'GoComics.com' where my username is 'Number Six'. Be seeing you?

Kid said...

I have to be honest - although I always liked Buster, I was never much of a fan of Andy Capp. Had a look at your link - good to see my blog images were of use to you.

SteveJailbirdMatt said...

Thanks for checking out my posts at 'Andy Capp'. Your images proved invaluable since the subject of 'Buster' recently came up. People are often surprised that Andy and Flo had a son. Almost as surprised as Reg Smythe. Personally, I loved Smythe's original strips (I was a strange child!) and it's fitting that the longest serving 'Buster' artist was another 'Reg'! I think Buster Comic reprinted the front page of issue one in 1975 to mark its 15th Anniversary (I was 8 years old) as it's around about then that I first realised Buster was the son of Andy Capp! When I read 'Son of Andy Capp' my whole world suddenly seemed to make sense and I immediately realised the significance of the cap. It was a joyous moment! Until then, not even Buster's mother had provided a clue as she was a lot thinner than the 'Flo' I was familiar with, but suddenly I could see the likeness. I also loved 'Whoopee' and 'Shiver & Shake' but never was attracted to D.C. Thompson. Personally, I think giving Buster a 'Dennis the Menace' hairstyle was a mistake. I'd have either made him bald or kept up the mystery.

Be seeing you...

SteveJailbirdMatt said...

I have fond memories of Alan Cummings. I contributed strips to Buster in the 90's. The demise of comics is so sad.

Kid said...

It's sad indeed, SJM, as it was one of the longest-running non-DCT comics going. The last time I spoke to Alan, he was working as, I think, a landscape gardener (I think it was his own business) and he was really enjoying himself. After Maxwell took over the Youth Group and the budget on the comic kept getting cut, I think the last few years on Buster had lost their shine for him.

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