Saturday, September 06, 2008

Sun strips 4 December 1967

Back in the 1960s, between its launch in September 1964 and its relaunch as a tabloid in November 1969, The Sun was a newspaper rather than the 'news'-paper it has become today, best known for insensitive headlines and long-lens photos of Z-List celebrities. It was very much in the style of the Daily Herald, which it replaced. This explains why one of the strips from the Herald, 'Better or Worse' was continued in The Sun. The daily domestic gag strip was taken over by Frank Langford in around 1964 and he was still drawing it in our example from 1967. I've no idea how long it ran, possibly until the change to tabloid in 1969. In July 1976, The Sun began featuring a more up-to-date (i.e. lots of nudity) domestic strip featuring George & Lynne, still going strong today.

The strip was originated by Peter O'Donnell (see comments) but I believe the writing was later taken over by Les Lilley at some point. O'Donnell himself has said "Better or Worse was a comedy strip about a typical young couple who start out as newlyweds. It was gag-a-day stuff and each strip was self-contained. I took this on reluctantly because I don't regard myself as a comedy writer as such. I wrote it for the Daily Herald ... which was later replaced by the Sun."

'Frontiers of Science'... anonymous... er... no, that's all I know. This is the one example I've seen.

UPDATE (later that same day...): According to Wikipedia the strip was the creation of an Australian physics teacher, Professor Stuart Butler, of the University of Sydney and documentary film maker Robert Raymond of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in order to make science accessible and comprehensible. The strip, drawn by Andrea Bresciani and launched in 1962, was syndicated around the world for about 25 years. (Thanks to John [see comments] for pointing out it was a widely syndicated strip.)

There's a long interview to be found with Bresciani here.

(* strips © News Group Newspapers Ltd. Scroll down if you'd like to see an earlier example of 'Better or Worse'.)


  1. Hi Steve,
    Frontiers of Science is a common sight in American and Canadian newspapers. I'm quite sure it originated in the US.

  2. Frontiers of Science is also notable for its appearance as a double page spread in later issues of the the original Eagle comic.

    Phil Rushton

  3. Phil,

    I've also heard directly from someone who believes this is the same strip that appeared in Eagle. According to my notes, the strip appeared between v.18 no.38 and v.20 no.5 (16 Sep 1967-1 Feb 1969) so it had quite a substantial run of 18 months.



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