Thursday, December 23, 2010
Christmas 1937: The Skipper
It seems that Frolix wasn't the only publication to celebrate Christmas early in comic land. Back in 1937 the "Special Xmas Number" of The Skipper came out in November! The cover features all the usual Christmas stuff; snow on the logo, a winter scene, and a tramp stealing Santa's trousers.
Also published around that week were the Christmas issues of its companion papers Adventure and The Hotspur:
(Incidentally, this issue came out the week before The Dandy No.1 was published. There's no ad for the comic inside so it must have appeared in a long-lost insert.)
The Skipper wasn't a comic of course. It was a story paper, with 28 pages of text stories, as were its companion titles. It's sad that these story papers died out over the years, but with children experiencing more visual-orientated entertainment this was inevitable. (Same applies to recent times, with the dwindling number of comics. Why would a child read an adventure comic when he can motivate the excitement himself in a video game? But that's a topic for another day...)
There is one strip in this issue of The Skipper. A short six panel gag called Wishbone Wuzzy drawn by Allan Morley:
The rest of the issue is taken up with seven text stories ranging from three to four pages in length. These story papers, avidly purchased by kids of the time, must have kept them quiet for hours.
For your winter evening's entertainment, here's a complete Christmas story from the issue, with one of the funniest black-comedy titles I've seen in a comic:
Enjoy that? Right, now don't forget to buy your kids a Meccano set for Christmas. Assuming you have a room big enough in which to fit the massive crane they'll build with it. No wonder we won the war a few years later. You could probably build tanks with that kit!