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SPARKY "Writers" 
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alanultron5 wrote:
I hadn't though of that Raven! Nice to know that Rab fought in `Sparky's` corner when visiting DCT! The staff there might not have rated Sparky that highly- but they wern't the one's shelling out their 5d pocket-money each Friday for the comic! The customer counts!

Just a few years ago neither Rab or I knew who wrote the `I.Spy` strip! Thanks to the 26 Pigs site and Ray (Kashgar) we know that Peter Clark wrote it in its hey-day 1969-71 and George Unwin Glencairn wrote it 1974-76 (Rab tracked that info down) It's not absoloutly certain- but likely that Les Barton May well have wrote the initial eight "I.Spy" episodes himself- plus the three `extra` early episodes run over Xmas/New Year 1973-74 in the comic!


Interesting stuff about the comic as always Alan. Sad to hear that Sparky wasn't regarded so highly by some staff but as we know, it certainly made a mark on the readers. I know several people who work in comics now who rated it very highly from when they were kids. For me, it seemed a natural comic to progress to after the much-loved Odhams comics folded as by 1969 it had a similar sort of barmy humour in some ways (but in its own distinct way). A great comic.

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Fri Apr 10, 2015 2:01 pm
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Certainly was Lew. Personally, I think Sparky from 1969 to 1972 was DCT's finest fun title! Beano, Dandy and the rest had nothing like "Puss and Boots" and "I. Spy" even post 1972 the comic had a really `wacky` style the other DCT fun comics could not match! What other DCT fun title would have published (mid 1975) a readers drawing full on its cover of a monsterous looking `humanoid`? stating "The Only Comic With A Freak For An Editor!" It was in a league of its own in this area!

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Fri Apr 10, 2015 2:09 pm
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alanultron5 wrote:
Certainly was Lew. Personally, I think Sparky from 1969 to 1972 was DCT's finest fun title! Beano, Dandy and the rest had nothing like "Puss and Boots" and "I. Spy" even post 1972 the comic had a really `wacky` style the other DCT fun comics could not match! What other DCT fun title would have published (mid 1975) a readers drawing full on its cover of a monsterous looking `humanoid`? stating "The Only Comic With A Freak For An Editor!" It was in a league of its own in this area!


Yes it definitely tapped into the humour of the time. From 1969 through the early seventies we'd be talking in the school playground about Monty Python, The Goodies, and Friday night classic horror movies and Sparky reflected that sort of stuff.

That said, I liked The Dandy too. Back then its old fashioned imagery of a landscape of long brick walls, factory chimneys, milk floats, blokes in cloth caps and mums wearing aprons, etc were all still part of everyday life in small towns.

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Fri Apr 10, 2015 4:26 pm
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The Dandy had previously been my favourite `junior` comic Lew till Sparky came along! I still got the Dandy as well as Sparky for a few years to 1969 - I carried on with Sparky till mid 71! I always felt that both Dandy and Beano (Which I only sporadically bought) lost something when (Of course I found this out years later!) Leo Baxendale and Ken Reid left DCT to join Odham's!

To me- Dandy; and Especially Beano became a bit `bland` after 1963-4 Late 50s these comics were unbeatable!

I am guessing, but I think Iain Chisholm and staff were given free reign to experiment with Sparky `because` it wasn't the banner comic like Dandy & beano and hadn't their big sales to jeapordise if the far out humour alienated readers! I always feel Lew that because Sparky was viewed at DCT as a `lesser` light of their `Fun` comics that it was given a bit of leeway to experiment!

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Sat Apr 11, 2015 10:22 am
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The whole lot of the DCT cartoon comics were great in 1969: and this is not just rose-tinted nostalgia---I have revisited the'69 TOPPER/BEEZER/ BEANO/ DANDY and much of this material still looks great today, what with Hovertank/ General Jim/ Island of Monsters/ Jiffy and the Glyphs and many other wonders to behold.

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Sat Apr 11, 2015 5:27 pm
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I could not warm to the Beano at all after 1964! The Dandy had "The Smasher" and "Corporal Clott" plus it ran superb `adventure` strips, so I kept with it more than the Beano. I did leave the Dandy mid 1969 but stuck with Sparky to about mid May 1971.

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Tue Apr 14, 2015 3:17 pm
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It's no surprise that the older characters in Sparky such as Hungry Horace and Keyhole Kate reused old stories in the early years of "Sparky" as they often have two quite unrelated episodes making up one story. Which is a dead giveaway considering the stories were originally only half page or a third of a page, and the Sparky strips were a full page.

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Tue Apr 14, 2015 10:26 pm
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Interesting how each of the five DCT humour comics had their own personality. I never really liked The Beezer. Not sure why. I didn't really care for Little Mo, Ginger or Baby Crockett so perhaps that's what did it. I liked The Iron Eaters and Colonel Blink but it wasn't enough to keep me buying it regularly. On the other hand I really liked The Topper, and had that for quite a few years around 1967 to 1972 or thereabouts.

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Tue Apr 14, 2015 11:13 pm
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Toppers- like Beezer were devils to keep in fine condition! I had a few as I did prefer Topper over Beezer too; but I never bought that many! Can't recall if Topper ran the "Spacewhacker" strip- I really liked that!

Beano and Dandy were the rather `staid` adults of the family, Topper and Beezer the children growing into early adulthood and Sparky the unruly adolescent to use `family` analogy!

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Wed Apr 15, 2015 11:55 am
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Lew Stringer wrote:
Interesting how each of the five DCT humour comics had their own personality. I never really liked The Beezer. Not sure why. I didn't really care for Little Mo, Ginger or Baby Crockett so perhaps that's what did it. I liked The Iron Eaters and Colonel Blink but it wasn't enough to keep me buying it regularly. On the other hand I really liked The Topper, and had that for quite a few years around 1967 to 1972 or thereabouts.


I thought Ginger, as cover feature, seeming quite a dull character and strip, made Beezer seem a little duller. It had some standout strips, though: Colonel Blink, and The Numskulls. I also used to like Black Bun, Young Sid the Copper's Kid - and Dicky Burd!

Overall, Topper seemed to indulge in a more eccentric, nutty, sharper sense of humour - a little closer to Sparky. I was quite keen on Figaro, Beryl the Peril, Mickey the Monkey, Plum Duffy.

Sparky never went the whole way in its '70s incarnation, though. The wilder, grittier, more lateral thinking humour was always counterbalanced by some very old fashioned seeming strips like Mister Bubbles and Hungry Horace.


Wed Apr 15, 2015 1:03 pm
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Getting back to writers for a second -and I hope both Lew and rab with their knowledge of DCT can help. Was their any demarcation that prevented Artists writing their own strips? I would be surprised if union hostile DCT accepted such- but it might have been a rule from R.D Low that artists just drew and writers just wrote! Did they allow this?

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Thu Apr 16, 2015 2:36 pm
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All I can say on this Alan is that an Editor started my first-ever story [it was 64 pages, like in the Fun sized Dandys] and he went abroad on holiday and I was left hanging in the air------rather than sit twiddling my thumbs, I pencilled in the second half of the story and showed it to him when he got back---he asked:


'did you write this?!'



---but in a nice way, and when this first story was done I got paid for the full story [script and artwork] which was very nice of him.

I wrote quite a few scripts there which I enjoyed immensely---imagine getting paid for thinking up silly stories, then seeing it in print. The drawing side takes much longer [the inking stage]

Some artists like John Geering wrote their own stuff at times, [at that time it was on a typed script, today I expect it is all e-mails] but other artists were not that good----or-interested in ----writing scripts.


I never heard of any artist getting his scripts blocked , the impression I got that if someone was talented in both drawing and scripting, they were encouraged and if their stuff proved popular they were given further leeway.

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Thu Apr 16, 2015 7:47 pm
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That's Rab!

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Fri Apr 17, 2015 1:44 pm
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My Typing! I meant "Thank's Rab" ! Back when Sparky started working conditions about who did what might have been different-but I just don't know! Anyhow thanks for the info Rab!

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Fri Apr 17, 2015 1:50 pm
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yes Alan as time goes on, the freedom for contributers has loosened up a lot---they can sign their names now of course if they want---I can only report on what I saw there in the 80s, I can't speak for the 60s / 70s Sparky or further back.

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Fri Apr 17, 2015 5:37 pm
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