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Toonhound presents...





British Comic Strips

 Fudge the Elf as he appears in "Fudge and the Dragon"

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  the Elf
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        artist/creator: Ken Reid
   1st appearance: Manchester
                             Evening News
                             April 7th 1938


   Fudge the blue-green-suited elf embarked on his first adventure in 1938, in the
   pages of the Manchester Evening News. He and all his Pixieville pals were
   created by the then young and eager Ken Reid, who was only 17 at the
   time. He would later go on to scale the fun comic heights with Odhams,
   DC Thomson and latterly, Fleetway/IPC, with his work on strips like Jonah,
   Dare a Day Davey, Queen of the Sea and Faceache, plus those magnificent
   Creepy Creations and Worldwide Weirdies. But Fudge came first!
   The Fudge strips featured panels with the text presented below (in the same
   manner as those Rupert tales in the Daily Express). At first, the strips
   were self-contained affairs, but about six weeks into the run, Reid was
   asked if he could turn the strip into an ongoing serial. That meant Fudge's
   realm had to expand. Principally, he was presented with a friend and
   sparring partner in the form of a another elf called Speck. He soon
   established himself as the more adventurous of the pair, and he loved
   to dabble with inventions, but those traits all-too often served as
   catalysts for trouble.

   The Fudge strips proved hugely popular with the Evening News readership.
   and were published through to the War. Indeed, two Fudge books
   were also made available during this period - the first featuring all-new
   stories and interspersed art, and the second republishing those Evening
   News strips in one handy volume. But it was in the Postwar period that
   Fudge truly came of age. The University of London Press presented the
   public with annual compilations that found their way in to many a young
   boy's Christmas stocking, and for each publication there were associated
   book signings and press engagements. There were also a popular licensing
   spin-off in the form of cute Fudge dolls for folks to purchase.

   Together, Fudge and Speck flew to the moon in a rocket made of silver
   sixpences, they met Lolly Pop the toffee-man who led them to Toffee
   Town, and Bubble the friendly amphibian from Bubbleville. They even
   tackled the mighty Black Dragon of Cragg Valley...

   But sadly, in 1962, Ken fell ill, which prevented him from drawing new
   strips for a while. He had previously been juggling his Fudge endeavours with
   with other employment for DC Thomson, but during his sojourn he was courted
   by the folks at Odhams comics. They gave him an offer to work exclusively
   for them, and it was one he simply couldn't afford to refuse. Thus, poor
   Fudge was put into retirement... And yet... He wouldn't stay there...
   Early in the 1970's the Evening News reprinted Ken's old strips and
   come the 80's Savoy Books put together two very popular facsimile
   editions which reached out to Fudge nostalgists and newcomers alike,
   because by now, Ken had aquired a whole new generation of fans via
   his work on the later fun comics like Buster, Shiver & Shake and
   Monster Fun.

   And nowadays? - Well, we can look at Fudge at simply marvel at the
   creativity and craft of display. Some of Ken's panels are quite breathtaking.
   Like Little Nemo, or the best of Rupert Bear, we are shown fantastic
   dreamlike realms inhabited by an array of fantastic characters - these
   really are strips to savour for all time...

   Savoy Books' "Fudge and the Dragon"   Fudge & Speck meet The Giant in "Fudge and the Dragon"

   "Fudge is a little elf who has been invented
    to amuse you each day..."

   And with those words, Fudge stepped in to the pages of the Evening News.
   Originally, Reid had conceived a strip centered around a budgerigar
   called - um - Budge. Drawing budgies proved tricky, however, so our
   budding cartoonist decided to introduce an elf friend in to the strip.
   Pretty soon, however, Budge was dropped from the pairing, and Fudge
   the Elf struck out for stardom on his own.

   Fudge's look changed over the years as Reid developed his skills,
   and the panels themselves blossomed into extraordinary things, filled
   with exotic and exuberant flora and fauna from each of the strange new
   realms our hero encountered. In his often-referenced interview with David
   Britton (published in Savoy Books' "Fudge and the Dragon" facsimile),
   Reid points to Walt Disney being his main point of influence for the
   strip, and he shows how his elfin star shares the same "cap" as
   Mickey Mouse. But this sits at odds with those early strips, which
   seem to have much more of a Fleischer influence about them. The
   busy, bustling characters appear quite Lilliputian at times. But the
   scrunged up critters who began to enter the later tales - well - these
   are indisputably Reid's own creations, immediately familiar to fans
   of his fun comic strips...
   • Fudge doesn't live in Pixieville itself. Instead, he resides in a charming
     cottage nearby, in Leafy Wood...

• One Fudge project that never saw the light of day was a proposal
     for a Fudge the Elf Cut-Out Book...


     The Fudge books

    Hodder and Stoughton

     The first Fudge book featured all-new stories. It was predominantly text,
     with illustrations interspersed...

    1939 - The Adventures of Fudge

    University of London Press

     These Fudge books featured compilations of strips previsously published in
     the Evening News, edited down for their new appearance, and occassionally
     featuring new replacement panels (the originals having been lost or damaged)...

    1941 - Frolics With Fudge
    1947 - Fudge's Trip to the Moon
    1948 - Fudge and the Dragon
    1949 - Fudge in Bubbleville
    1950 - Fudge in Toffee Town
    1951 - Fudge Turns Detective

     Savoy Books

     There have also been two facsimile editions from Savoy
     Books, with additional notes and an interview with the author...

    1981 - Fudge and the Dragon
    1981 - Fudge in Bubbleville



    On the web

    A splendid fan site, with lots of info about the character
    and his history ...

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© Ken Reid / F2008