Saturday, 14 April 2012


Images copyright D.C. THOMSON & Co., Ltd

It had worked for WHIZZER & CHIPS for 21 years over at rival
publishers FLEETWAY/IPC - so why not for D.C. THOMSON's two
declining weeklies from the 1950s, The BEEZER and The TOPPER?
The only real difference being, of course, that Whizzer & Chips had only
ever been one comic (despite the cover claim), whereas Beezer and Top-
per were two distinct publications.  However, the decision was passed
down from on high - henceforth the two comics would become one -
with both logos sharing almost equal prominence on the cover.

The Beezer started life as a tabloid-sized comic in 1956, the first
issue being cover-dated January 21st, whereas The Topper had pre-
ceded it by three years, the first issue being cover-dated February 7th,
1953.  The latter was likewise tabloid-sized, switching to A4 size in 1980,
with the former following suit in '81.  The combined result in 1990 man-
aged to survive for three years before some of the most popular
strips were split between The BEANO and The DANDY.

Here, then, is selection of some of the colour strips from the first
combined issue (cover-dated September 22nd, 1990) of two once-
great classic comics.  Hard to believe it's nearly 20 years since it
disappeared from newsagents' shelves.  Tempus fugit.


baab said...

I have a fondness for the topper in its tabloid size for some reason....
I liked also the content,especially krik and krak .The Whizzers from Ozz,Danny's Tranny,Peter Piper but possibly his earlier incarnation in the sparky,(I read that dudley d watkins drew him originally,which may account for that fondness)
Being brought up in a scottish household I was exposed to Dudley D. Watkins of course.

Tell me Kid,what are your thoughts on Frank Quitely's style,which is heavily influenced by Dudley and is now admired by a large American audience because of his work on X-Men..

Kid said...

As you no doubt know, Peter Piper was drawn by Watkins when the character first appeared in The Magic comic back in 1939, but it was a different artist drawing him by the time he was revived for The Sparky in 1965.

I know Frank Quitely slightly (under his real name), being an occasional visitor to the studio where he works. The man can certainly draw from what I can see, but - I haven't really seen enough of his work to give a considered opinion. However, I've never really associated his style with Dudley Watkins - I'll have to give his work a closer look some time.

moonmando said...

My Gran bought the Topper and the Beezer in broadsheet form,along with the Victor and the Hotspur every week,back in the mid sixties,with the intention of sending them over to my Canadian cousins across the water.Before she wrapped them up for postage though, she would let me read them and i have fond memories of lying in front of her wee gas fire mulling over the latest exploits of the many characters inside.In return my cousins would send over Comics that were poular with them,like Superman and the Archies and such like.I always thought them so much more sophisticated comics because of their glossier covers and seemingly more vibrant colours.
Anyway Kid,love your Blog.It`s a veritable time machine for me as i`m sure it is for others to.

Kid said...

Glad you enjoy the blog, moonmando - and thanks for the nostalgic comment. Nice to revisit yesteryear, ain't it?

baab said...

im going to check that magic comic out because it would not then have been dudley d watkins that gave me that liking for peter piper.And then I will go and look at the sparky for the real mcCoy,(well it would be from my point of view/original exposure)

I think that is an important factor ,original exposure,in the formation of our personal tastes,(of course it is ! says the wee voice in the corner)
see ya.

Kid said...

Vic Neill was the artist on Sparky's version of Peter Piper and, like yourself, I regard this incarnation as the 'real' one.

It's the same with Hungry Horace, who was originally a Dandy character, but looked entirely different in his Sparky revival. Once again, I regard the latter version as the definitive one.

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