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Friday, June 30, 2017

Comic Cuts - 30 June 2017

Taking a brief break, I was out with family on Friday and out in the garden on Monday. We had lunch in the pub with my sister's dogs staring intently at every bite; later in the week we had fish & chips. Add the pleasantly warm weather – better than last week's thirty plus temperatures – and this is the closest I've come to a holiday in years.

Feeling nicely revived, I spent a couple of days on the Valiant index reading 'The Astounding Adventures of Jason Hyde', the text story that ran in the paper in 1965-68. I'd been looking forward to it, as this is the first time I've had a chance to read all the stories, in order, all the way through. About 300,000 words of insanely inventive science fiction written by someone who actually knew how to write science fiction. Crazy doesn't begin to describe it! They're old-fashioned, pulpy fun, filled with weird characters and wild action.

Being a long-time fan of Paddington Bear, the loss of Michael Bond, at the age of 91, was particularly heartbreaking. I still have quite a few of his Paddington books, picked up a few years ago when the urge to re-read them became overwhelming.

I wrote – or, rather, co-wrote – an article about Paddington for a magazine twenty years ago which I posted here on Bear Alley in 2008... so if you want to find out more about Paddington just follow this link.

Bond, of course, wrote a great deal more than Paddington. His books included the adventures of the Thursday, a mouse, and guinea pig Olga da Polga (both for children) and the crime-solver and gastronome Monsieur Pamplemousse (for adults). He wrote a Paddington comic strip for the London Evening News in 1976-78, drawn by Ivor Wood, who was responsible for 'The Herbs' and its spin-off 'The Adventures of Parsley'. I'm not sure whether Bond had any involvement scripting the comic strip versions that appeared in Playland in the late Sixties and early Seventies, but the strips predated the characters' appearance on TV so it seems likely.

Ivor Wood was responsible for turning Paddington into a TV star in a series narrated by Michael Hordern, which used a "real" Paddington Bear against hand-drawn, two-dimensional backgrounds, muted in colour. An example of Wood's cartoon version of Paddington can be seen over to the right.

Paddington comic strips also appeared in Blue Peter Annual for many years, drawn by Harry Hargreaves. Both The Herbs and Parsley had their own annuals which may have also had some contributions by Bond.

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