No, you won't find strips here. They're big,
clunky things to scan.
They're printed media from a different era. You
can't do 'em justice
on-line, and anyway, there's a little thing called
there to stop that kind of thing!
Toonhound's database features character images
scans as part of a guide and review of each strip.
If I've written 'em right
you'll be out there in no time, scouring charity
shops and car boot
sales up and down the country, looking for the
comics and issues.
The Fleetway titles aren't particularly valuable,
but they're worth a
fortune in nostalgic memories. In time, you'll
be able to check out
a strip, read the spiel on the comic it came
from and cross-reference
other strips by the same artist - handy, eh?
Before the internet, before home computers,
the PlayStation, Lara Croft,
Buffy, Pokemon et al, there was the wonderful world
of Fleetway's British
fun comics. More playful than the Beano and
Dandy, with a cheekier edge
and a sillier grin, the Fleetway weeklies
were a top-quality collection of
two-colour strip cartoons. Whoopee!, Krazy, Cheeky,
Fun and the rest were launched with free giveaways, they
passed their strips around and installed themselves
as a nostalgic
highlight of our wasted youth.
For 52 weeks a year these titles would be pushed
through British letterboxes.
Then there were the Summer Specials - bumper
editions of your favourites
during the long August break. And then, why then
there were those annuals.
Every Christmas you'd get one from your Auntie
or Uncle - that familiar flat
pressie, half an inch thick, with that certain
weight - you knew what it was
soon as you clapped eyes on the wrapping. But which
title was it likely to be?
Nostalgia aside, what is amazing looking
back from today is the technical
quality of these comics. No, not the pixellated
printing which frequently
smudged or double-blurred a strip into some insane
3-D image, but the
actual drawing talent on show. The Fleetway artists
frequently drew several
strips in different weekly titles, others were
drawn by several different artists
over the years, all to amazingly tight deadlines,
and whilst the actual concepts
on display may have suffered from a certain
familiarity (witness Ivor Lott & Tony
Broke, Fit Fred & Sick Sid etc, etc), the artworkremained
The artists themselves were often unaccredited
apart from the occasional
pen-name or initials etched in to the background
detail - what a world away
from the "stars" of Marvel and the
back from these cynical times, it's easy to dismiss these comics'
naivety, their cultural and social blindness. The
Fleetway titles wrapped us
kids up in a snug blanket of playground pranks,
red-faced park attendants,
and slipper-wielding parents - a world all but
gone now in these more aware
times. I actually feel a little sorry for kids
nowadays. There's just no time
for them to wallow in the joy of being a kid. And
outside of that old stalwart
the Beano, the only comics available for the modern
ten year old are the
hard-edged shades of 2000ad, Spawn and the X-Men,
or those tie-ins to
the latest toddler franchise.
So here's to a little window of wonder. Pull
on your parka, straddle that
Chopper bike and take a spin with Sweet Tooth,
Kid Kong, Mustapha Million,
Odd Ball et al, back down memory lane, to Fleetway
strips » artists »