Saturday 28 June 2008

Printing comics before computers. How did they do it?

Image form Dandy and Beano Magic moments annual.
Drawn of course by Leo Baxendale.

The fact that from the late 1950's onwards Thomsons stored a version of the original artwork on film made no difference to how they produced the comics. It was only a secondary and more easily accessible method of storing artwork that had already been used.
In the 1930's and 1940's and indeed the 1950's, 1960's and 1970's the actual production of a comic from the original artwork began in Thomson's process dept in Dundee. It was here that the original artwork was photographed and reduced onto a light sensitive metal plate and it was from this plate via chemical etching that the final printing plate was produced.
Once the printing plate was produced it was then used, if colour needed to be added to a page, to stamp out a very thin piece of papier mache called a flong and any colours that needed to be added, four for covers and usually single colours elsewhere would each be added, a colour at a time, to a seperate version of this flong.
The printing plates and the flongs would then be sent, from Dundee, to Thomson's two main printing works in Manchester and Glasgow were they would be used to set up the presses for printing.
If anyone has copies of old Dandys and Beanos in their possession you might well find if you peruse some of them that any added colour is sometimes offset a little from the artwork beneath and this is almost always because of the shortcomings of using papier mache flongs. Thomsons sent the printing plates and flongs to their printing works by train and in very cold weather or hot humid conditions the flongs had a tendency to expand or contract a little while in transit and as a consequence any plate produced from them at the printing works was similarly wrong-sized from the original art plate from which it was produced, thus making the colour either bleed or contract in the finished comic from its position on the original artwork.
Thanks Kashgar for the info.

In the very early days, i beleive they took a picture and engraved the lines into wood (or else the picture was engraved into wood to start with). Metal (melted antimony) was then poured over the wood block and when it was solidified the lines of the picture where "facing downwards" from the block, which could then be added to the press. I should think they had a slightly more high-tech process by the 30's, though. thanks felneymike

A close up of a Pansy Potter in wonderland panel by Jimmy Clark.
Notice some colours are slightly out due to what was mentioned by Kashgar.

Friday 27 June 2008

Eric Roberts- The super picture posters 2

I like over the top driving...crashing maybe on to the ice...
scriptwriters ignored health and safety in those days...
Hey its a comic kids there is a difference between the comic world and the real world!!!

Real life in comics is boring....this is so much more you agree!!

Wednesday 25 June 2008

Eric Roberts- What comic characters he drew and for how long

Hi Peter, As promised a quick resume of Eric Roberts' comic strip work.

First known work Podge in the Dandy in 1937, followed in 1938 by three strips in the Beano Helpful Henry, Good King Coke and Rip Van Wink.
By 1942 he seems to have dropped out working for comics, probably due to some type of war work. He next surfaces in AP's Knockout in 1945 with the strip Mike which would run until 1957 (becoming Mike and Dimps in 1954). His other original work for the AP being Biily Bunter (1958-1959) and Sinbad Simms (1957-1958) both also Knockout and Niblo Nibbs (1960) in Film Fun. Mike would then be reprinted in Big One and then Buster (1964-1972) under the title Smiler and then latterly Smiler and Dimps while Sinbad Simms would follow the same reprint route Big One / Buster (1964-1965).
Niblo Nibbs would resurface in Giggle (1967) and in Cor (1971) with his Cor appearances coming under the slightly altered title Nippy Nibbs. More anon.

Eric Robert's first work for Thomson's after the war was Smudge in the Dandy (1947-1949) (reprinted as Hy Jinks (1955-1957)).The Dandy being the comic for which he would draw all his subsequent Thomson work. This was followed by the first of his many strips for the paper in the comic adventure strip format Willie the Wicked (1953) then came The Wee Black Scallywag (1954), Willie's Whizzer Broom (1956) Rip Snorter (1956-1957) and Ginger's Super Jeep (1958-1959).
When the Dandy expanded its page count in 1960 Eric Roberts was given the comic strip Dirty Dick (1960-1967) to draw and from that point on he never worked for any other company, not least because the strip to which he devoted more of his career to than any other, Winker Watson, was just about to go into regular production. Between 1961 and 1979 Eric Roberts providing 775 episodes of the Winker Watson saga spread over twelve series with his only other comic adventure strip work in that time being Moe, Joe and Daddy-O (1965).

Just for completeness sake Peter I forgot to mention that in the late 1940's (1948-1949) Eric did a series of one-off strips for a series of one-off and short run titles published by Philmar publications.

Thanks Kashgar

Monday 23 June 2008

Eric Roberts- The super picture posters

1959 Dandy annual..

Bunnies strike back..1957 Dandy annual...Eric drew a lot of these for The Dandy annials in the 50's. Nice use of the red colour!

1956 Dandy annual inside end page..Eric was great at the surprise picture..
the first picture showed the confident pirates about to take the ship...then this is what happens...its magic!

Saturday 21 June 2008

Eric Roberts- Winker Watson and Dirty Dick Dandy artist

Eric Roberts comic work is a joy to read.

60's Dandy annual. Eric loved drawing monkeys!

first Beano annual 1940.

From the first Dandy Annual 1939, Also surprisingly there was a Podge in the first Beano annual 1940.

1966 Dandy annual.

Wee Black Scallywag 1957 Dandy annual.

1959 Dandy book.

Back cover of Dandy monster comic 1950.

Dandy Monster comic 1950

1957 Dandy book..Smudge later became Hy Jinks may of been reprints with a different name!

The last work before Eric retired due to bad health. The 1981 Dandy annual. Eric drew many puzzle pages for the Dandy Annual. Wonder if he created the puzzles as well.
His last published work of all was in the 1981 Dandy Book where he drew three comic features including 'Batty Books from Winker Watson's Library' and 'All the Nutty Neighbours who live up Korky's Street'. thanks Kashgar for info

A very creepy story...a very long story and you only got to see who they were at the end. The hooded men did some awful things to both teachers and students. They got arrested for there crime in the end.

Dandy 7th Feb 1970 this story about Winker hiding his younger brother also repeated in the 1982 Dandy comic which I read. Love these epic long stories that Eric did.

From Giggle comic 27th May 1967. Eric liked this look for a can see the same appearance in Winker Watson, Willie Whizzers Broom and Dirty Dick.

Its always fun seeing what the future could be like.often wrong.sometimes it does come true...

Eric drew quite a few strips in Knockout e.g. Sinbad Simms (anyone got an example of this so I can show it here thank you)...Even Billy Bunter. See here at Lews blog.,

Next blog post will show Eric Roberts comic poster drawings he did for the Annuals and comics. These are great fun to look at.

Friday 20 June 2008

Shamus O'Doherty.Dandy artist for Big Beardie!

The Dandy comic 10th November 1956.

Peter Gray asked on another strand who the artist was who drew Big Beardie in the 1957 Dandy Book, the answer is an Irish artist with an extremely Irish name, Shamus O'Doherty.
Shamus began working for the Dandy in 1955 after being talent-spotted by Albert Barnes as an artist he thought showed promise. Sadly this early promise failed to flower into anything much more substantial but, even so, Albert Barnes stuck with is protege,in the shape of four strips, on and off for 16 years. Those strips being Big Beardie (1955-1956), Roger and his Lodgers (1960-1962), Butch and his Pooch (1967-1968) and Bodger the Bookworm (1968-1971). Like another Albert Barnes discovery Jimmy Hughes Shamus O'Doherty never worked for any other Thomson comic, or for any other comic publisher as far as I am aware.
Thank you Kashgar for the information.

Thursday 19 June 2008

Bob Dewar who drew Joe King in the Beano

Love the way Joe is pointing to Luke as he is talking about him...breaking the frame between the two.

Joe King from Beano annual 1999. In the Beano comic readers sent in there jokes for Joe King to say.

A great long story about The Beano bugs in the Beano annual 2001. Great fun all the many legs and arms!

The Numbskulls in the Beano annual 2001. You need to read the story across 2 pages..

Another Lumpy Gibbon from Plug number 11 1977. Love the surrealness of it.

Bob also drew Bimbo inside the Bimbo comic 60's early 70's.

Anyone know any info on Bob please let me know in the comments. When he started...whats his first comic work...other characters he drew in comics..etc..