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Sparky 1965 to 1973 
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this entire tale sounds like a bona-fide undiscovered gem!

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25 Mar 2009, 15:53
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Kremmen wrote:
I might be wrong, but didn't "Lonely Lad" appear twice in the Sparky? I remember that at first, he wasn't quite alone; there was an old man on the island with him and the toucan. Then, at the end of one episode, the boy came home from an adventure and found the old man seemingly asleep, but he was in fact dead. Oddly enough, that bit seems to have stuck in my mind. As I said, ISTR the strip running twice in the Sparky - I had no idea it was a reprint from the Hotspur - and in one of its incarnations the artwork used a lot of shading that made the pictures look almost like photographs; at least, that's how I remember it from over forty years ago.


Your memory serves you well K. The Sparky strip which began in No 124 (3/6/67) and ran, as Al said, for over a year was actually a combination of the first three Hotspur series published back to back and the death of the lad's old man companion is definitely in there in one of the early episodes. In the Hotspur the strip went under the title Lonely Larry - Castaway rather than The Lonely Lad of Blue Lagoon and ran to four seperate series in Nos 47-79 with art by Buzelli and then Steve Chapman, 209-219, 247-261 both drawn by Bill Holroyd ( the first being printed complete with that 'photographic' grey wash you remember) and then finally, in a strip that didn't make it into Sparky, in Nos 322-335 drawn by George Heath and Jim Bleach. Lonely Larry also turned up in the first two Hotspur Books published in the 1960's, 1966 and 1967, with artwork by Bill Holroyd's brother Albert.


26 Mar 2009, 11:38
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The last three to four months of the story when Ken gets trapped in the underground volcanic caves/ Caverns at the far side of the island are so imaginatively engrossing! It was a story I thoroughly enjoyed at the time.

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27 Mar 2009, 16:52
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Found the Sparky Book 1967 at my local YMCA charity shop last week! I assume it's teh first one. Only cost me 99p! :) It has the Moonsters on the cover, but the only other characters I recognised are those from other comics, i.e. Hungry Horace, Keyhole Kate, Freddy the Fearless Fly, Peter Piper, and Pansy Potter (and she looks different to later years and in Beano). Weird that Moonsters was the front cover star - I know from Classics that that was later on the back, presumably when Barney Bulldog took over the cover. With a character called Sparky (who judging by her costume, seems to be female, despite the captions saying "he" - she wears earrings and a skirt! :?) I'd have expected that to be the cover strip. Strange that it wasn't, since Beano, Dandy and Topper all had animals on the cover at the time, and Ginger, Beezer's cover star, has similar storylines to Sparky (fun with a soda siphon in another strip, could easily have been a Ginger story).

Adventure strip Lonely Wood appears twice, I assume that was also in the comic? Seems to be a lot of adventure stories for the era actually, there's even wildlife articles and a couple of prose stories ("Young Ben", about a super strong boy, and "Will O' the Well", the boy who makes wishes come true). Seems more like a 50s Beano or Dandy than one from the 60s. Not at all like the Sparky I know from Classics and my later Sparky books either (I have the 1979 edition, and it only has Peter Piper and Hungry Horace in common!).

I never realised that Sparky People was not in every issue either.

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28 Mar 2009, 02:25
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I had that same book for my birthday in 1967! Those were the days...

You mentioned Will of the Well. As I recall, he loved ice lollies, and looked a bit devilish in that he had pointed ears.

As for Sparky's gender, I always thought he was meant to be male - a lot of men wear ear-rings. As a youngster at the time, I also assumed that because of his appearance, he was from another planet and lived here on earth.


28 Mar 2009, 10:44
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I was always expecting to see SPARKY'S spaceship pop up in the background at some point: he even had an odd 'ariel-transmitter' [at least, that's what I mistook it for] sticking out of the top of his head.

All throughout his cover-appearances, I assumed he was an alien; later on, though, when he hosted 'FUN-FARE' [reader's letters, etc] he was depicted by another artist, and he then more resembled a caricatured stereotype of an African tribesperson.

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28 Mar 2009, 12:20
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The Moonsters actually were the front cover strip from late 1965 to September 23 1967.

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28 Mar 2009, 13:39
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Digifiend wrote:
With a character called Sparky (who judging by her costume, seems to be female, despite the captions saying "he" - she wears earrings and a skirt! :?) I'd have expected that to be the cover strip. Strange that it wasn't, since Beano, Dandy and Topper all had animals on the cover at the time, and Ginger, Beezer's cover star, has similar storylines to Sparky (fun with a soda siphon in another strip, could easily have been a Ginger story).


Sparky was the cover strip for the first several months until The Moonsters replaced it. Sparky is supposed to be a boy by the way. It was a revamp of a black stereotype from 1940s Magic comic called Sooty Snowball:

http://www.britishcomics.com/Magic/index.htm

Lew

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28 Mar 2009, 19:07
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This thread simply can't be allowed to continue without at least one image from the 'MOONSTERS' [one of the finest-ever strips in the entire 'SPARKY' back-catalogue, I thought]:

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29 Mar 2009, 15:24
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Bill Ritchie is great at the poster page...love it..hope Classics can show some more..

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29 Mar 2009, 17:25
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I have discovered 'LONELY LAD of BLUE LAGOON' through this thread, and I hope to unearth more episodes from this story; please excuse less than perfect scanning:

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30 Mar 2009, 08:55
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alanultron5 wrote:
The Moonsters actually were the front cover strip from late 1965 to September 23 1967.

When I assume Barney Bulldog, another Bill Ritchie strip, took over.


30 Mar 2009, 13:55
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The artwork of the undergrounf caverns when Lonely Lad (Ken) was trapped was just incredible! Part of that story saw him trapped on a small islet set in the underground river and lake. He was surrounded by `sentient` and hostile Seaweed! He encountered Giant Spiders, Enourmous Crabs and no end of other hazards in this part of the story! Even when he got outside; he was still stuck on the far side of the Island with a great Volcanic ridge barring his way! The giant Condor was his most dangerous and persistant foe!

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30 Mar 2009, 14:58
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'PETER PIPER' [in one of it's earlier 'SPARKY' incarnations] had a much more unusual look:

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[his dad is just about recognizable here, but his mum certainly ain't!]

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31 Mar 2009, 10:09
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I love this one a lot..very funny..and groovy..


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found another one..
March 18th 1967.

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31 Mar 2009, 10:19
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