Friday, July 23, 2021

Comic Cuts — 23 July 2021

I have spent most of the week beavering away on the next section of my history of wartime comics, concentrating on the 100+ issues published by Arthur Soloway during and just after the Second World War. This week I was concentrating on the three 'F's — Fullerton, Farningham and Fraser. I've written about Len Fullerton before, but there is next to nothing known about Alf Farningham and Alan Fraser outside of a list of their contributions to various comics (which I also had to do myself, as no other bugger has done it before). Hopefully I can shed at least a little light on their lives outside the pages of comic books.

The only bit of excitement this week came on Tuesday when I journeyed into Colchester to have a filling. I'm pleased to say that everyone seems to have treated "Freedom Day" with the same caution that I'm treating it, i.e. ignoring it completely and sticking to the same precautions I have for the past sixteen months — keeping well away from others, wearing a mask on the bus and in any shops I went into, and liberal use of hand sanitizer where shops were offering it.

Here's another mystery artist from the wartime publications of Arthur Soloway. He signed a couple of pages with the initials J.G.H., although poor printing made me wonder whether it might be J.C.A. The signatures are small, but hopefully you'll agree with my conclusion of J.G.H.

Whoever he or she was, J.G.H. worked for the comics only briefly, contributing to four issues of All Fun Comic in 1945-46. The contribution of seven half-page sets featured all-different characters, including 'The Good Ship Mary Ann', 'Jungle Jim', 'Mike and his Magic', 'Spick and Span the Merry Messengers', 'Bully Boy Binks', 'Victor the Vanman' and 'Nick and Ned'.

They seem typical of what was appearing in the Amalgamated Press's in the 1930s, knockabout humour featuring a cast of typical types — sailors, schoolboys, magician, jungle explorer, army messengers — and a cheery end to each six panels where the bully or crook gets his comeuppance.

Please note that these are from 75 years ago and depictions of 'savages' are typical of the racist caricatures that appeared in many comics in that era. 


  1. I wouldn't say the caricatures are necessarily 'racist', Steve. After all, they're not meant to represent all black people, just a few savages (probably cannibals) who were still living in primitive conditions somewhere. I just see funny drawings that serve the story, not an attack on black people.

  2. It's a tricky one, I'll admit. As I'm not the person being caricatured, it's not possible for me to judge whether these are mildly or hugely offensive. Such caricatures have a tremendous weight of history behind them, so I think it better to put in a little warning up front and trust the readers of this blog to understand we're publishing historical artefacts.

  3. From the sample pages, old comics offer gratuitous violence & racism, followed by a slap-up feed. For entertainment like that nowadays, kids need to visit the kebab shop after the pubs close.

  4. It would be interesting to find out whether mountains of grub was rewarded during the war years, or whether feasts were slimmed down by wartime rationing. A quite fancy a kebab now...



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