A Big Busting Birthday! (21.05.10)
"Buster" comic is celebrating it's 50th birthday
this week. Or at
least it would be, if it was still being published.
The first issue hit UK newsagents fifty years ago, dated
1960, with a cover price of 4d. "Buster" was Fleetway's
of DC Thomson's "Topper" and was the first
comic the company
published after they bought out Almalgamated Press.
It's funny that,
today, folks tend to bracket the title as being part of the
genre (Hell's bells, The Hound is guiltier
than most with that) but
when it started the comic predominantly featured adventure
with just a smattering of funsters inbetween each riproaring
So we had the likes of "Turtle Boy", "Phantom
"Sea Lord" and "Warlord of the Sioux"
rubbing shoulders with
"The Terrors of Tornado Street", "Uppsy
Daisy" and "Bam, Splat
And then there was the titular cover star, Buster, Son
of Andy Capp.
At least, that was how he was billed in the beginning.
first three issues even got their own promo ads in "The
Mirror", cementing the Smythe connection. Bill Titcombe,
Hugh McNeill, Reg Parlett and Tom Paterson took turns
our flatcapped favourite over the years, during which time
skulking from beneath that checked creation, and aquired
smile and an ever-more outgoing personality. Indeed, when
Mr Paterson eventually got his hands on the lad he transformed
him into a bug-eyed, freaked-out, gibbering wreck, most
Ah, Buster. What a comic. The title was in print for
decades, and it survived a whopping twelve mergers before
finally drowned in a sea of reprinted content, just
a week shy of
its 40th birthday. The Hound fell upon it just after
seven, in 1976, when the stars of Monster
Fun entered its pages.
And he continued to buy it each week until 1985, whereupon
turned seventeen, and fun comics where no longer the main
agenda for the week. But those nine years were a tip-top
So much so, he's revisted
them again and again, as an adult...
Pinning down highlights is tricky, what with all the
going in the comic's line-up over the years, as it swallowed
some favourite stablemates, but The Hound loved "The
From Lime Street", "X-Ray Specs" (a Monster
Fun holdover) and
Ivor Lott & Tony
Broke (they were from Cor!!, of corr-se). Best
of all there was Ken Reid's indominatbly disgusting
who came to the comic via "Jet" and scrunged
his way to strip
Though the comic folded just shy of its 40th birthday,
the title has
lingered long in the memory, and last year, current rights
published a special "Best of Buster" edition that certainly
rekindled old flames. So it may be gone now, in its
old guise, but
the name is still out there, swirling around,
threatening a returrn
some way, some how.
"Buster" artist Lew Stringer has posted a
fab celebratory entry on
blog, looking at the comic's original launch in more detail.
And Matt at bustercomic.co.uk
has put up the bunting and spoken
to a several of the folks involved with the title
over the years -
Fleetway St. stylee. Which brings us to The Hound's
own li'l guide
to all-things Fleetway-related. Guess it's time we added
more strips and info, eh?