Whacko! / Robin Hoods School Days

Discuss or comment on anything relating to Britain's longest running comic. The home of Korky the Cat and Desperate Dan. Has been running since 1937.

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booksandcomics
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Whacko! / Robin Hoods School Days

Post by booksandcomics »

Hi all, one of my favourite strips at the moment is Whacko / Robin Hoods School days.

I think the art is great and story funny and written well.

Does anyone know if you ever actually get to see teachers face? The one who always wears a suit of armour?

Ginger
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Re: Whacko! / Robin Hoods School Days

Post by Ginger »

Your writing about these strips as if they were one and the same, but they were two different strips. Yes, they were both set in medieaval England, but the cast of characters were different (In Robin Hood's they were junior versions of Robin and his merry men and Marion, whereas in Whacko they were more general medieval types, including a junior wizard and witch)
I'm pretty sure the strips also had different artists. I have heard said (probably here) that Ron Spencer (who definitely drew Robin Hood's) may also have worked on Whacko, but the only examples I can find of the strip don't look like his quite distinctive style to me. If anyone has any Whacko drawn by Spencer I'd be interested to see it. My feeling is Whacko was drawn by a different artist.

Do we ever see Whacko's face? I very much doubt it, but I like the idea. It'd be like the unmasking of Darth Vader or something.

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stevezodiac
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Re: Whacko! / Robin Hoods School Days

Post by stevezodiac »

And I'm pretty sure only one of them used "ye" instead of "you" (Whacko?) - which turned me off, which is strange because I was quite happy to read The Mighty Thor. But yes the artwork was excellent. I'm sure most artists don't like drawing strips with a dozen characters in most panels. I think George Perez said he was one of the few artists who was happy to work on the Teen Titans comic.

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Re: Whacko! / Robin Hoods School Days

Post by Lew Stringer »

Ron Spencer was the artist for both strips. Seems he'd become a bit typecast as an artist of school strips as he was also the illustrator on The Swots and the Blots and The Dolls of St.Dominics for Odhams.
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ISPYSHHHGUY
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Re: Whacko! / Robin Hoods School Days

Post by ISPYSHHHGUY »

I absolutely love the packed detail in these Medievel-themed strips, and they still look teriffic today...........however when WHACKO! was reprinted in the Dandy around 1983, the readers poll results on this strip wasn't great, and perhaps that's one of the reasons that these hyper-detailed strips fell foul of fashion-----possibly also due to the fact that most readers seemed to prefer 'zippier', more simplistically-designed stories, that are more immediate.

A bit of a shame, as I always appreciated this sort of strip---I used to pore over the endless detail for ages, it felt like you were getting real value from the comic. An entire comic made up of highly-detailed artwork would be off-putting, but I thought it worked well if there was ONE densely-detailed strip in among the other more modestly-mounted entries.


OOER, MISSUS!

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philcom55
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Re: Whacko! / Robin Hoods School Days

Post by philcom55 »

Here's a Whacko! page from August 1971. It certainly looks like Ron's work to me; apart from the red ink it'd be right at home in Smash!

Image

- Phil Rushton

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Peter Gray
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Re: Whacko! / Robin Hoods School Days

Post by Peter Gray »

it is Ron Spencer..

Readers polls should be banned... :P

Artists and editors are a better judge..

Ginger
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Re: Whacko! / Robin Hoods School Days

Post by Ginger »

Agreed, definitely Spencer. Thanks for posting that, Phil, it's great!

Rooting around, the only Whacko strip I can find is the one in the 'Fifty Years of Annuals' book, which is probably what I'm basing what I siad on. I didn't think that one was Spencer, but looking at it again, I think it might be after all. Perhaps it just doesn't look like his work because its in full colour, and I just associate him so strongly with one colour art like the page above.

Also agreed about this kind of detailed strip being great. I didn't know that about the survey suggesting the modern reader apparently prefers less art heavy stuff. I thought it was just that modern artists aren't paid enough to put the work in! I don't buy it. I think the modern kid would love this sort of thing.

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Jonny Whizz
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Re: Whacko! / Robin Hoods School Days

Post by Jonny Whizz »

Although I feel reader polls can useful for giving information about comic strips (for instance, if a strip becomes so universally unpopular with readers that it makes no sense for it to continue), I also think there's a danger of paying too much attention to the results.

Often readers seem to like the same types of strip, in particular strips about naughty kids have long been the most popular in the Beano, which can lead to the comics becoming more homogenised and ultimately less interesting. The system can reward 'safe' strips that most readers like but maybe don't view as favourites, over stories that are more adventurous but end up splitting the crowd between those who love them and those who hate them, and get dropped because the poll doesn't make it clear that these are probably more likely to be a reader's highlight of the comic than some higher ranked strips. In the Beano Calamity James was an obvious example of this, with Robot on the Run in the Dandy being another more recent case.
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ISPYSHHHGUY
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Re: Whacko! / Robin Hoods School Days

Post by ISPYSHHHGUY »

some good points there guys----it also says a lot for Ron Spencer that he chose to put out this sort of elaborate material, and that he probably wasn't getting paid any more for this work than he would be on a more typically 'simple' page of artwork like DINAH MO, from around the same very early 70s period.


It must have taken Ron at least twice as long to put out a page of this compared to a Baby Face Finlayson strip, which he was also doing, as well as Little plum!-----and sometimes even the Nibblers!


Lastly, it's also a testimony to Ron's great skill that the above artwork [kindly supplied by Phil] is undoubtedly heavily elaborate, but it's stil pretty easy to follow, and it 'reads' quite clearly......great composition skills, that marks him out as a master craftsman in this field.

Ginger
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Re: Whacko! / Robin Hoods School Days

Post by Ginger »

By the way, 'booksandcomics', if you're still reading, a search on this forum on Robin Hood's Schooldays throws up a couple of points of interest; try it!
First, it seems your not the first to make this mistake about the two strips (not surprising I suppose especially as it turns out it was the same artist); and second, Robin Hood's Schooldays is set for a return in the 2013 Dandy annual!

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Digifiend
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Re: Whacko! / Robin Hoods School Days

Post by Digifiend »

...which is supposed to be already on sale.

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Re: Whacko! / Robin Hoods School Days

Post by Lew Stringer »

Digifiend wrote:...which is supposed to be already on sale.
It is. I've been notified by Amazon that my order is on its way.

Try The Book Depository or Speedy Hen Ltd.
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booksandcomics
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Re: Whacko! / Robin Hoods School Days

Post by booksandcomics »

Hi all, I certainly am still reading! I will also confess to getting the two mixed up. I will do a search of the bloggs too! I'm hoping that there is a "darth vader" moment in the reviling of teacher!

As for Dandy 2013, I've been checking in my local shops but not seen it yet! In curios about how the strips will look, what the back covers like on both Beano and Dandy.

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