Saturday, December 23, 2006

Gulliver Guinea-Pig's Happy Christmas

As this is probably the last post I'll do until some time next week, I thought I'd post something Christmassy and comicy. And nowhere celebrated Christmas like the nursery comics which were aimed at young children who were going to be more excited about Chrismas than anyone. So here's a short complete yarn featuring my favourite of all nursery comic characters, Gulliver Guinea-Pig. I have (and will continue to) bang on about how good these stories were until cows arrive chez moo.

The prequel (above) is a little bit of unique advertising -- Playhour occasionally slipped in a bit of product placement into their comic strips. Not often, maybe half a dozen times, Ovaltine had a large part to play in some of the back cover colour strips.

The author of Gulliver was David Roberts, one of the unsung writers of British comics who was responsible for many of the best strops in Playhour, including a lot of centre-spread series and a number of other favourites like 'Leo the Friendly Lion' and 'Princess Marigold'. Roberts had a marvellous flair for writing verses with just the right lightness of touch that worked so well with strips like Gulliver. The later strips had descriptive captions typical of the other strips in Playhour, one of the reasons why the early years of Gulliver are such a favourite. Coupled with the artwork by Philip Mendoza, the strip has an effervescence and charm that hasn't been seen in comics for too long. You can forget the ghosts of Christmases past, present and future... in my Christmas dream I get to invite Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman and a handful of other select writers who have a proven track record at writing verse to pen new adventures of Gulliver. And as it's my dream, I get to chose artists... so Brian Bolland, Glenn Fabry, Dave McKean, Dave Gibbons and a few others paint these marvellous little strips.

(* Gulliver Guinea-Pig © Bill Melendez Productions. Merry Christmas, everybody.)

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