Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Daily Mail strips 16 October 1964

Our second day's worth of Sixties newspaper strips comes from the Daily Mail for 16 October 1964.

David Wright's phenomenal 'Carol Day' has long been considered one of Britain's finest newspaper strips and one that desperately needs preserving in book form. The good news is, it might actually be happening, thanks to the efforts of an American collector who purchased many of Wright's original scrapbooks, into which he had pasted each daily strip. You can find out more about the strip by visiting the Carol Day website.

'Flook' began life as 'Rufus' as it was originally about a young boy. His bizarre pet, Flook, slowly began to dominate the strip and the strip was renamed 'Rufus and Flook' and, finally, 'Flook'. It had a tremendous run from 1949 (originally by Douglas Mount) to 1984 in the Daily Mail, followed by a twelve-month run in the Daily Mirror. The strip was famously written by (amongst others) Humphrey Lyttelton, George Melly (1956-71), Barry Norman, Barry Took and Keith Waterhouse.

'Rip Kirby' should need no introduction. The strip had a long run in the UK, originally appearing in the 1940s when it had a tremendous impact on young British artists taking their first steps into comics. I'm amazed that the early Alex Raymond stories haven't been collected properly in book form.

Alex Graham's 'Fred Basset' continues to appeal to readers of the Mail to this day, although Graham himself died in 1991. The strip was launched in July 1963 and perhaps ranks second (behind 'Andy Capp') as the longest running newspaper strip still going in the UK and an annual collection of strips is still going strong after more than forty years (see 'Newspaper Strips (Misc)' in the Comics Bibliography on the right for the covers of recent annuals).


  1. Steve

    Since you clearly like Rip Kirby and Alex Raymond, you might enjoy Dave Sim's new comic book Glamourpuss, of which the firtst two issues have been published.
    While there's too much fashion magazine parody nonsense in it, the core of Glamourpuss is a dissertation on the photorealist school of comic strip artists, especially Alex Raymond's work on Rip Kirby. Issue one has some good comments by Sim on how poorly served Raymond's work has been in European reprints.

    David Simpson

  2. Appreciate the Carol day link very much as I've always wanted to read a decent run of these.
    I find it a shame there's very little in the way of Flook online or collected, my 2 collections just aren't enough and Wally 'Trog' Fawkes artwork is an absolute joy.
    Still, that UK newspaper strips all over, thinking of all that John Burns artwork I'm missing is particularly annoying!

  3. David,

    Thanks for the recommendation. I'll definitely take a look.


    Glad you've found the Carol Day site (which is excellent... everyone should visit). It would be great to see more old British newspaper strips back in print but, outside a handful that Titan have produced, there seems to be little interest. Perhaps I should say 'faith' rather than 'interest' -- I'm sure publishers occasionally show a bit of interest but they don't have faith in the sales potential of old newspaper strips.

    We then get into a grey area where most British comics fall: sales won't be great enough for a major publisher to consider them, yet the copyright holders don't want to waste time on the near-zero profits that a small press reprint would generate. Meanwhile the strips slip further and further into obscurity, guaranteeing that no major publisher will touch them.

    It's a vicious circle.

  4. Coincidentally, Lew Stringer just posted a comment to the Comics UK blog that Titan are bringing out a Jane collection just in time for Christmas.

    David Simpson



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