Wednesday, 9 January 2013

75 Years of The Dandy -Ken Reid's Big Head and Thick Head- thanks to Phil Rushton for the scans and his thoughts..UPDATE pictures now on blog..

 Post subject: Re: Becoming Ken...
PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2013 10:01 am 
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'Big Head and Thick Head' was one of Ken's last creations for DC Thomson before he defected to the greener (and better paying) pastures of Odhams' newly-launched Wham! in the Summer of 1964. Surprisingly this means that Frank MacDiarmid went on to draw twice as many episodes of the strip which continued under his hands until June 1967. Here are a couple of Ken's pages from 1963 and 1964, followed by an example of the MacDiarmid version from 1966 (it's interesting to see that, while the latter was able to ghost Reid's central characters almost to perfection, his conceptions of adult figures like the sewer inspector and the burglar are quite recognizably his own).

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Like so many of Ken's characters Big Head and Thick Head were both pathetic losers whose misconceived exploits regularly ended with them being beaten up by outraged bystanders (like the rugby team shown above). While the comic violence they suffered could be just as extreme as anything endured by the equally accident prone Bing-Bang Benny or Jonah, however, this series was unusual in that the two lead characters shared a genuine friendship that gave the strip a surprising sense of humanity (in this it was very different indeed from the later 'Banger and Masher'). Although they constantly argued and bickered like an old married couple there was always a sense in which they stood full-square together against a hostile world. In fact I'd go so far as to say that their chemistry was closer to the classic 'odd couple' partnership exemplified by Laurel and Hardy than anything else in the long histories of Dandy and Beano.

Although Ken was long gone from DC Thomson by Christmas 1964 there was one final treat to be found by his fans in the 1965 Dandy Annual which featured no fewer than eight 'Big Head and Thick Head' strips that he must have completed earlier in the year. In my opinion these contained some of the best work he ever produced for his old employers - to the extent that the pages shown below serve as a fitting postscript to the first half of his comic career; besides which, it's nice to take our leave of the two mismatched pals as they enjoy one of their rare happy endings...! :D

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Though others may disagree about the point at which Ken Reid became the 'Ken' whose pre-eminent genius outstripped the achievements of all his rivals, I personally have no doubt that it was in that halcyon Summer of 1964 when he finally slipped the traces of his autocratic masters in Dundee and began work on the sublime Frankie Stein!

But of course, that's a story for another day...! :)

- Phil Rushton



Thank you Phil..

http://www.comicsuk.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?f=127&t=5017&start=45

My scanner is on the blink so will be using peoples scans for the blog for now...






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