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Sparky's Golden Jubilee 
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alanultron5 wrote:
Well! It looks like i've put this `thread to bed` so to speak! Raven pondered if the comics had their own offices at DCT. According to Leo Baxendale in his superb book- in the 50s-60s- they did!


Yes, I was wondering if even the "non flagship" titles might have had their own offices, too, by the Seventies, or if they had to apologetically set up shop in an unused corner. Would there have been a Buzz office and a Cracker office? A Spike office?


Sat Feb 14, 2015 12:35 pm
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Lew Stringer wrote:
ISPYSHHHGUY wrote:
Did the artist usually use red ink, or was the black lines tweaked by the printers, somehow, later?
If Lew or anyone knows anything about this technique back then, I am interested to hear it.


The artist would draw everything in black ink and the art department would sort it out when they added the spot colour overlays. I think they'd highlight which lines should be dropped out as red and make pencil notes in the margins to instruct the printer.

At least that's how it was done for Oink's spot colour pages in the mid 1980s. I presume the technique was the same 15 years earlier.

('Spot colour' meaning pages that had only one colour. Acetate sheets would be placed over the artwork and areas filled in where the spot colour should go. The art dept would fill the areas with solid black but the printer would use that as the template for red or blue or whatever. If you wanted a lighter shade of colour as well, you'd fill those areas in on another acetate sheet but indicate to the printer that it should be printed at 30% or whatever was required.)





Great response as ever, Lew: yes, my own feelings is that everything on Ali's Baba was inked in black, then adjusted by the printers later......it is not easy using coloured ink for drawing characters, as I am sure you know, my fellow cartoonist.


Although I sometimes lament the state of todays comics industry, I do concede that the flexibility offered by new digital techniques......once you get used to it......it is a whole new World.

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Sat Feb 14, 2015 5:29 pm
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Raven wrote:
ISPYSHHHGUY wrote:
one very good ghoster actually turned down the Broons because of all the detail involved: We Are The Sparky People could not have been all that far behind, there are at least 7 regular characters in there , not including shots of SIR! on the golf course, with the other D C T Sirs!!


But ... gasp ... splutter ... you can't have actually SEEN Sir!

I like those front covers featuring readers' ideas of what Sir looked like, which gave the comic a very distinctive look.





Sir!! was often depicted as legs and feet only, with a complete private torture chamber in his office, ready to inflict unjustified savagery upon poor Throg.

Some of the more imaginitive views we got of Sir!! outside the office was of He on the distant golf course in silhoutte with the other D C T Editors, enjoying a sporting round......this used to cut to an extreme close-up of the Editors on the green, their footwear only showing, ______with handy labels attached to each editor to identify who he was.............discussing smalltalk about how to deal with Throg's inept editorship between putts.



Very sophisticated stuff for a juvenile comic, more on the same plane as MAD magazine.

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Sat Feb 14, 2015 5:38 pm
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Baxendale does give a rudimentary description of `Chiz` in his book! can't say that I can see where our arachnid friend in the `I.Fly` strip matches that- but i'm no Sparky artist!!

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Mon Feb 16, 2015 10:18 am
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Spider out of I Fly was truly repulsive: if this was a caricature of Chiz, that would have been quite an insult.


At least I Fly himself looked cute [for a fly]!

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Mon Feb 16, 2015 11:26 am
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I dare say it would! I'll never know if Douggie was fantasising- or those folks in Dundee `having him on` but that's how I came to hear of it! Iain did recieve mentions by Jim Petrie in the `Sparky People` strip! One episode when they are watching a Western on the telly a charcter states "I'm coming to get Ya MacChisholm"

In another episode- the staff become convinced that `Sir` is a "Chiznian" Spy!

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Mon Feb 16, 2015 3:49 pm
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Great 'Chizology' observations, Alan.

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Mon Feb 16, 2015 5:15 pm
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Here's another! Only once are readers informed of the "L.Cars" `Inspector's` first name! its in issue 314 Jan 1971 - his wife calls him "Clive".

Back to `Sparky` and though the comic evolved over the years; it did have (to my mind) two distinctive `era's` The first was -what I term- the `Surrealistic` period where, though many of it's `fun` strips` wern't what you'd call `cutting edge knockabout zany fun` it did have lot's of `way -out` stuff; especially in many of it's `adventure` strips!

"Dreamy Dave and Dozy Dora" (fun strip) "Cuckoo in the Clock" (fun strip) "Will O' The Well" (Prose) "Davy Spacer" "Year of the Vanaks" "Willy the Woeful Wizard" a cornacopia of ideas and surrealism.

The two big overhauls of Sept 1967 and feb 1969 set the comic on it's way to it's second era-that of `Zany fun` and the period 1969 to 1972 as both Rab and Lew have confirmed -saw the comic even outstrip both Beano and Dandy in sheer quality featuring such as `I.Spy` and Puss and Boots` arguably the cream of DCT fun creations circa 69-72.

Even though I felt from 1973-77 (when it ceased) the comic `tailed -off` a bit: for others such as Raven, this was a glorious `Indian summer` of its life and it carried a stream of humour you just did not get in any other Thomson fun comic that period!

"Thingummyblob" "Snip and Snap" "Planet of Nirdles" for me- stand as superbly funny creations- worthy of any comic!

Sadly by late 76 into 77 you could see `cost-cutting` in five reprints "Mr Bubbles" "Invisible Dick" "Sparky People" "Spoofer McGraw" and only in black & white (It was originally a full colour centre page strip) "Rudolph the Red Coat Mountie" these-plus the cheaper (Than making their own) strip of "Circus of P.T Bimbo" did signpost what the comic's fate would be- the merger with "Topper"!

Sadly, after 12 years and very nearly six months "Sparky" bit the dust, but it had been a fantastic journey!

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Tue Feb 17, 2015 4:04 pm
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alanultron5 wrote:
AH!! It was previously in `Bunty`? Yes! just Five episodes in `Sparky` Phoenix. I think as with the "David Copperfield" run that it had been `truncated` in Sparky. In early 1966 a new set of `free-gifts` and `New strips` were introduced and `Pocahontas` was ended quicker to make way! I wonder who the artist was.


Just noticed this Alan. I may be picking you up wrong, and if I am I apologise, but you seem to be interpreting from an earlier post by Phoenix that you are under the impression that Pocahontas in Sparky was a curtailed reprint of the earlier Bunty version. This was not the case. The Sparky strip was new and drawn by Gordon Mowbray.


Wed Feb 18, 2015 5:16 pm
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Kashgar wrote:
you seem to be interpreting from an earlier post by Phoenix that you are under the impression that Pocahontas in Sparky was a curtailed reprint of the earlier Bunty version. This was not the case.
I certainly didn't intend to give that impression. I was just surprised that the serial in Sparky was so short when Bunty had dealt in much greater detail and at much greater length with a story that needed plenty of instalments for its telling. Furthermore, although I do have about half a dozen late issues of Sparky as examples, as it is a comic rather than a story paper I've never actually read any others. I have, however, read Alan's excellent Sparky File.


Wed Feb 18, 2015 8:31 pm
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Thanks for that update! I'll correct it in my `file` There was another five episodes only story in Sparky "Raiders of the Red Planet" that `Was` original!

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Thu Feb 19, 2015 11:09 am
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As this is the `Jubilee` year for Sparky; I will post my own `tribute`. This will be a thread concerning the comics Nine `overhauls` wherein the comic had `Free-Gift` promotions and new `Fun Pals/Adventure strips` intake!

I suppose its really for Sparky `Die-hard enthusiasts` but I hope a few might post a comment- or two! I'll start (Hopefully!) Monday afternoon!

Before I go- two things SteveZodiac mentioned there were never any Sparky Summer Specials! sadly, true! Its down to sales really! The comic seemed to struggle sales-wise and the cost of a summer special for it must have baulked Thomsons! Correct me if i'm wrong- but Topper and Beezer didn't have Summer Specials till the 70s?

I found two lovely bits of "Monty Python" inspired lunacy in the comic circa early 1972! Firsat- there is a `Puss and Boots` `Pet Shop` episode which is so close to the Python classic!! Second; in a John Geering drawn Pansy Potter sketch Pansy arrives at a logging camp where two Lumberjacks are actually singing "I'm a Lumberjack and i'm All-right!"

FANTASTIC!!

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Sun Feb 22, 2015 3:13 pm
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The Geering-era Pansy Potter was often intentionally silly, with Python-like wordplay: perhaps the same writer on Puss an Boots provided the PP scripts?

The strip often contained then-recent song lyrics like:

up, up and away, with my beautiful balloon.....

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Mon Feb 23, 2015 9:15 am
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I'm amused by little touches, like in a 1975 Peter Piper, a teacher, cycling past, is singing "I like to go.../a-whacking-oh...!" Just that a teacher would be singing that in his spare time.

It's a casual, throwaway whimsy, which seemed to come easily to the writers of the day, but absorbing yourself in those joyful realms of humour was very pleasing, and I'm not sure where kids would get to encounter that kind of thing quite so much now.


Mon Feb 23, 2015 10:45 am
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This goes way back to 1966 where the "Willy the Worful Wizard" featured parodies of pop songs!

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Mon Feb 23, 2015 3:27 pm
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