Saturday, 10 January 2015

FIFTY-YEAR-FLASHBACK TO SPARKY & TV CENTURY 21...



Perhaps it's overstating the case to say that it's a 'little-
known fact' (I'm sure that most fans of comics from the 1960s
will know), but I'm often surprised by just how many people don't
recall that SPARKY #1 went on sale in the very same week as TV
CENTURY 21 #1, and maybe even on the same day.  One thing's for
sure 'though:  both were cover-dated January 23rd - 1965 in Sparky's
case, and 2065 in the case of TV Century 21 (seeing as how it was
a comic mainly featuring GERRY ANDERSON's 21st
century-based television puppet programmes).

Whenever I ask any of my contemporaries who remember
both comics from back in the day, none of them associate one
with the other.  It's more than likely that D.C. THOMSON & Co had
Sparky waiting in the wings, ready to compete with any new periodicals
launched by a rival, and issued it to steal some of the thunder of CITY
MAGAZINES' comic of the future when they heard of its impending
release-date.  Many a parent, acting on the entreaties of their off-
spring to "get me that new comic", must've returned home with
a different one to what was expected, which was doubtless
part of any competitive publishers' plan.

Sparky lasted a glorious twelve years, TV21 around half that
span, and both comics are fondly remembered by old duffers like
myself who bought them way back when.  (Although, to be honest, I
wasn't a regular reader of Sparky, buying it only occasionally.)  With
the upcoming 50th Anniversaries of the release of these two classic
titles, I thought I'd remind you all what their covers looked like and
let you wallow in nostalgia for your lost childhoods.  And thanks
to John Pitt for reminding me and suggesting the post.

So Happy 50th Anniversary to both comics when
the day comes - shame they're not still around, eh?

8 comments:

Gey Blabby said...

Ah, yes, the flying snorter!
Sparky came out just as I was starting primary school, so it caught me at just the right age, although I don't think I bought it for long. For a brief period the snorters (or something very similar) were all over the playground, so there's a good chance that's where we got them. Or maybe in a lucky bag, back when lucky bags were any good.

Kid said...

I think various DCT periodicals had similar balloons as free gifts from time to time, GB. Now you've gone and given me a hankering for a Lucky Bag.

SCOOP said...

Even though it's a long while back now, I do have a vague memory of my parents placing a regular order for both those comics from issue one onwards. I got TV Century 21 and my younger brother got Sparky. I, of course read both and found Sparky a slightly different read to the other D C Thompson 'funny' comics, much more modern with 'Goonish' humour.Although TV Century 21 is my all time favourite comic, I Still have aoft spot for Sparky.

Kid said...

I think anyone who ever read it has a soft spot for Sparky, Scoop. I remember it as being quite an old-fashioned comic when it first came out 'though (Dreamy Dave & Dozy Dora) - I think it became more 'Goonish' as time wore on.

Have you ordered your U.N.C.L.E. ID card yet?

John Pitt said...

Well I was a little late off the mark. My mother got Sparky for my younger brother right from the start and, naturally I would read and enjoy it too, as did our mother, who told me that she had already enjoyed the Pansy Potter, Keyhole Kate and Hungry Horace strips first time around in either the Dandy or Beano when SHE was a little girl!
( Both my parents were avid readers ofmy Beezer's too and I have memories trying to wrestle it off my dad! )
Somehow I didn't get to hear about TVC21 until #4 when I was tipped off about it by a school chum, who also told me that Doctor Who was in TV Comic ( Dalekmania was rife at this time! ). So I put in a regular order at our village post office for both comics and the Sparky for my brother, so that he would never miss a copy and I was the one who collected them every week all paid for by my mother( on TOP of our pocket money!! )

Kid said...

Interestingly, JP, The Beano's Hungry Horace looked nothing like the one in The Sparky, nor did Peter Piper, who originally looked like Oor Wullie. Good to relive happy memories, eh?

John Pitt said...

That IS interesting, because all this time I just assumed that these strips were just reprints.

Kid said...

If you track down the post on The Beano #1 on this blog, you'll see what Hungry Horace originally looked like, JP. I think he was eventually incorporated into Lord Snooty's gang.

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