the artists speak!
a gallery of
comic strips and
puppets in the UK
McGrab was most money-hungry good-for-nothing in
olde Cortown or indeed,
any town you've ever been to. He never
even had two pennies to rub together - or worse than
he'd have more than two pennies but refuse to rub, toss or
spend them. Each week he'd get a hankering for something
he couldn't afford or wouldn't pay for, so he'd attempt to
it through other gasping grasping ways.
That usually meant stealing, pinching, conning or caniving
launch him to success. Though, invariably, grimey Grasper
would come a cropper and lose his ill-gotten gains somehow...
It made a welcome change to see a "period"
strip in a
Fleetway comic. Jasper inhabited a turn-of-the-century
with Bow Street Runners instead of policemen and cart
horses instead of cars. It was a world in which every sign
started with a "Ye" (as in "Ye olde").
Jasper was actually reincarnated from Odhams Smash!
comic, a title bought out by Fleetway in the late 60s.
strip first appeared in 1965 and was originally drawn by
comics God Ken Reid. The Cor!! run began in late 1971,
and included reprints of Ken Reid's Odhams originals.
Trevor Metcalfe took it over around Christmas 1972...
In those first strips Jasper used to have great hearing
trumpets on the roof of his house, so he could hear
being dropped out of people's pockets. He had bizarre
devices on the door to trap unsuspecting visitors. He also
had a regular "enemy" in the form of a fat Rent Collector.
The Cor!! version lost some of the extremes of the original,
but old Jasper still got up to some filthy, complicated,
scheming and those hearing trumpets still featured
from time to time...
Still, be it Ken Reid or Trevor Metcalfe, both artists
went to town, filling each panel with period detail and capturing
a feel for Jasper's grimey olde worlde. In a way, the strip
a parallel to those famous graspers on tv, Steptoe &
were proving so popular on the BBC at the time...
Trivia Hounds might like to note, in the issue dated
1972 we learn that Jasper's postal address is:
13 Stingey St.
Jasper has a brother called Miles and a young nephew
Silas (22nd July 1972), and an un-named cousin 'on the
of town' (18th Nov. 1972).
Also, we know that Jasper's ancestor Eliphas McGrab
Alchemist (1st Sept. 1973) and that Great Uncle Zachariah
the family fortune in the fireplace of Jasper's crumbling
(1st Dec. 1973) - indeed, Jasper finds that his ghost
The miserly olde fool even let money ruin his lovelife
(8th June 1974). Somehow, he fixed himself up for a date
with a charming woman called Emily. But he proved so
tight she spurned him and sent him away with her
shocking half- sister Cynthia instead!
"If you're so interested in doing things
by halves... Then you can take out Cynthia...
She's my half sister!"
Jasper' strip also tells us more about olde Cortown
and its environs:
* There's a river on the outskirts of towne called
The River Spludge (3rd Feb.
* Cortown was once a great port, with its own famous
clipper ship called the Pride of Cortown
(27th Jan. 1973).
* A new-fangled iron bridge was built on the approach
to towne, reducing travel distance from
10 miles to
just 1/2 a mile - but it's a toll bridge,
and so of little
use to our scrounging Jasper (2nd Dec.1972).