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   "Buster" celebrates its 5oh birthday - IPC Magazines
   A Big Busting Birthday!    (21.05.10)


   "Buster" comic is celebrating it's 50th birthday this week. Or at
   least it would be, if it was still being published

   The first issue hit UK newsagents fifty years ago, dated 28th May
   1960, with a cover price of 4d. "Buster" was Fleetway's equivalent
   of DC Thomson's "Topper" and was the first comic the company
   published after they bought out Almalgamated Press. It's funny that,
   today, folks tend to bracket the title as being part of the "fun" comic
   genre (Hell's bells, The Hound is guiltier than most with that) but
   when it started the comic predominantly featured adventure strips,
   with just a smattering of funsters inbetween each riproaring tale.
   So we had the likes of "Turtle Boy", "Phantom Force Five",
   "Sea Lord" and "Warlord of the Sioux" rubbing shoulders with
   "The Terrors of Tornado Street", "Uppsy Daisy" and "Bam, Splat
   and Blooie".

   And then there was the titular cover star, Buster, Son of Andy Capp.
   At least, that was how he was billed in the beginning. The comic's
   first three issues even got their own promo ads in "The Daily
   Mirror", cementing the Smythe connection. Bill Titcombe, Nadal,
   Hugh McNeill, Reg Parlett and Tom Paterson took turns at drawing
   our flatcapped favourite over the years, during which time he stopped
   skulking from beneath that checked creation, and aquired a cheeky
   smile and an ever-more outgoing personality. Indeed, when
   Mr Paterson eventually got his hands on the lad he transformed
   him into a bug-eyed, freaked-out, gibbering wreck, most weeks!

  "Buster" comics through the years - 1974, 1980, and 1987 editions

   Ah, Buster. What a comic. The title was in print for four whole
   decades, and it survived a whopping twelve mergers before it
   finally drowned in a sea of reprinted content, just a week shy of
   its 40th birthday. The Hound fell upon it just after merger number
   seven, in 1976, when the stars of Monster Fun entered its pages.
   And he continued to buy it each week until 1985, whereupon he
   turned seventeen, and fun comics where no longer the main
   agenda for the week. But those nine years were a tip-top treat.
   So much so, he's revisted them again and again, as an adult...

   Pinning down highlights is tricky, what with all the comings and
   going in the comic's line-up over the years, as it swallowed up
   some favourite stablemates, but The Hound loved "The Leopard
   From Lime Street", "X-Ray Specs" (a Monster Fun holdover) and
   Ivor Lott & Tony Broke (they were from Cor!!, of corr-se). Best
   of all there was Ken Reid's indominatbly disgusting "Faceache",
   who came to the comic via "Jet" and scrunged his way to strip

   Though the comic folded just shy of its 40th birthday, the title has
   lingered long in the memory, and last year, current rights holders
   Egmont published a special "Best of Buster" edition that certainly
   rekindled old flames. So it may be gone now, in its old guise, but
   the name is still out there, swirling around, threatening a returrn
   some way, some how.

   "Buster" artist Lew Stringer has posted a fab celebratory entry on
   his blog, looking at the comic's original launch in more detail.
   And Matt at has put up the bunting and spoken
   to a several of the folks involved with the title over the years -
   Fleetway St. stylee. Which brings us to The Hound's own li'l guide
   to all-things Fleetway-related. Guess it's time we added some
   more strips and info, eh?

                                                              More: Fleetway Street


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