Friday, April 21, 2017

Billy Bunter's KNOCKOUT (1961)

Knockout had been around since 1939, and Billy Bunter had always featured in a strip inside the comic but presumably the success of the Billy Bunter of Grayfriars School TV series (1952 to 1961) encouraged Fleetway to revamp the weekly into Billy Bunter's Knockout for a while. Therefore, Bunter became the lead strip in the 20 page comic, with his story taking up four and a half pages. 

The artwork was by the superb Albert Pease, who had previously been known for his splendid Casey Court illustrations on the back of Chips for many years. The drawings are fantastic examples of top class cartooning, although the racial caricatures are uncomfortable to see today. Nevertheless, here was Fleetway giving a character plenty of room for a decent story. A pity that these sort of longer stories didn't become the norm in British humour comics, instead of the single page / double page (or less) format that most strips still have to this day. 

This example from Knockout dated 9th September 1961. 




6 comments:

Peter Gray said...

Dennis and the gang have a 4 pager each week in The Beano which does lead to surreal stories...so that is good...

Lew Stringer said...

Yes, but the norm is still for the rest of the comic to have shorter strips. Imagine a humour comic in the format of 2000AD, with six stories of five pages each. It'd allow for more characterisation and richer plots than the short slapstick themes that have been the norm since the days when strips has to be short because the comics themselves only had eight pages.

We have the Danger Mouse comic that has a long story (8 pages I think), but it'd be nice to see a humour comic with several longer stories in it.

Anonymous said...

Being a big fan of all things connected with Billy Bunter this is an amazing read. The big fat bunter book must have only scratched the surface. Surely time for volume 2!

Lew Stringer said...

No chance of a volume 2 I'm afraid. At least not from the same people who did the first book.

Peter Gray said...

love the trail of rice pudding...
comic libraries are a the long stories...they were good...

Lew Stringer said...

True, but most didn't develop the characters as such, but were a series of slapstick events until they reached their conclusion. Basically a long version of a single page. Still, they were popular enough for quite a while and were fun to work on.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...