Fudge the blue-green-suited elf embarked on his
first adventure in 1938, in the
pages of the Manchester Evening News. He and all
his Pixieville pals were
created by the then young and eager Ken Reid, who
was only 17 at the
time. He would later go on to scale the fun
comic heights with Odhams,
DC Thomson and latterly, Fleetway/IPC, with his work
on strips like Jonah,
Dare a Day Davey, Queen of the Sea and Faceache,
plus those magnificent
Creepy Creations and Worldwide Weirdies. But Fudge came
The Fudge strips featured panels with the text presented
below (in the same
manner as those Rupert tales in the Daily Express).
At first, the strips
were self-contained affairs, but about six weeks
into the run, Reid was
asked if he could turn the strip into an ongoing
serial. That meant Fudge's
realm had to expand. Principally, he was presented
with a friend and
sparring partner in the form of a another elf called
Speck. He soon
established himself as the more adventurous of the
pair, and he loved
to dabble with inventions, but those traits all-too
often served as
catalysts for trouble.
The Fudge strips proved hugely popular with the
Evening News readership.
and were published through to the War. Indeed, two
were also made available during this period - the
first featuring all-new
stories and interspersed art, and the second republishing
News strips in one handy volume. But it was in the
Postwar period that
Fudge truly came of age. The University of London
Press presented the
public with annual compilations that found their
way in to many a young
boy's Christmas stocking, and for each publication
there were associated
book signings and press engagements. There were
also a popular licensing
spin-off in the form of cute Fudge dolls for folks
Together, Fudge and Speck flew to the moon in a
rocket made of silver
sixpences, they met Lolly Pop the toffee-man who
led them to Toffee
Town, and Bubble the friendly amphibian from Bubbleville.
tackled the mighty Black Dragon of Cragg Valley...
But sadly, in 1962, Ken fell ill, which prevented
him from drawing new
strips for a while. He had previously been juggling
his Fudge endeavours with
with other employment for DC Thomson, but during
his sojourn he was courted
by the folks at Odhams comics. They gave him an
offer to work exclusively
for them, and it was one he simply couldn't afford
to refuse. Thus, poor
Fudge was put into retirement... And yet... He wouldn't
Early in the 1970's the Evening News reprinted Ken's
old strips and
come the 80's Savoy Books put together two very
editions which reached out to Fudge nostalgists
and newcomers alike,
because by now, Ken had aquired a whole new generation
of fans via
his work on the later fun comics like Buster, Shiver
& Shake and
And nowadays? - Well, we can look at Fudge at simply
marvel at the
creativity and craft of display. Some of Ken's panels
are quite breathtaking.
Like Little Nemo, or the best of Rupert Bear, we
are shown fantastic
dreamlike realms inhabited by an array of fantastic
characters - these
really are strips to savour for all time...
"Fudge is a little elf who has been invented
to amuse you each day..."
And with those words, Fudge stepped in to the pages
of the Evening News.
Originally, Reid had conceived a strip centered
around a budgerigar
called - um - Budge. Drawing budgies proved tricky,
however, so our
budding cartoonist decided to introduce an elf friend
in to the strip.
Pretty soon, however, Budge was dropped from the
pairing, and Fudge
the Elf struck out for stardom on his own.
Fudge's look changed over the years as Reid developed
and the panels themselves blossomed into extraordinary
with exotic and exuberant flora and fauna from each
of the strange new
realms our hero encountered. In his often-referenced
interview with David
Britton (published in Savoy Books' "Fudge and
the Dragon" facsimile),
Reid points to Walt Disney being his main point
of influence for the
strip, and he shows how his elfin star shares the
same "cap" as
Mickey Mouse. But this sits at odds with those early
seem to have much more of a Fleischer influence
about them. The
busy, bustling characters appear quite Lilliputian
at times. But the
scrunged up critters who began to enter the later
tales - well - these
are indisputably Reid's own creations, immediately
familiar to fans
of his fun comic strips...
Fudge doesn't live in Pixieville itself.
Instead, he resides in a charming
cottage nearby, in Leafy Wood...
Fudge project that never saw the light of day was a proposal
for a Fudge the Elf Cut-Out Book...
Hodder and Stoughton
The first Fudge book featured all-new stories.
It was predominantly text,
with illustrations interspersed...
1939 - The Adventures of Fudge
University of London Press
These Fudge books featured compilations
of strips previsously published in
the Evening News, edited down for their
new appearance, and occassionally
featuring new replacement panels (the
originals having been lost or damaged)...
1941 - Frolics With Fudge
1947 - Fudge's Trip to the Moon
1948 - Fudge and the Dragon
1949 - Fudge in Bubbleville
1950 - Fudge in Toffee Town
1951 - Fudge Turns Detective
There have also been two facsimile editions from
Books, with additional notes and an interview
with the author...
1981 - Fudge and the Dragon
1981 - Fudge in Bubbleville
A splendid fan site, with lots of info about
and his history ...
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