Tuesday 27 April 2010

Eric Roberts and Wife's Crossword puzzle for the Dandy Book 1969

My father did sometimes produce the crosswords for the annuals, but it was actually my mother that compiled the crosswords. from Erica

Its nice how the clues are illustrated by Eric.

Saturday 24 April 2010

Eric (Robbie) Roberts by the daughter Erica Farmer

Robbie relaxing in the 1950's Robbie in RAF Studio in the Strand Eric (Robbie) Roberts 1910-1982 My father was born in South London in 1910. His family were involved with the theatre and he had one sister. My father was always called ‘Robbie’ and following theatrical tradition we were brought up to call our parents by their first names of Robbie and Barbie. His parents and sister moved to Flushing, Long Island, New York after the Second World War. My father always said he never passed an exam in his life, but obviously realised his talent was art and he was accepted and studied at (Central) St Martin’s School of Art, London. He had a studio in the Strand in a circular tower and the shape made it very difficult to fit furniture in. The building is still there today. In the Second World War he joined the RAF. Thankfully they used his talents as an artist and he soon broadened his work from technical drawings into poster and cartoon work bringing humour into instructions regarding safety and security procedures and this was officially appreciated and encouraged. He met my mother, Barbie, during the war. She was in the WRAF. They got married in a Register Office with two passers-by as witnesses in about 1947 and moved into my mother’s family house in Purley, Surrey. I arrived in 1950 and was named after my father, ERIC Arthur Roberts and my sister, Amanda, arrived in 1953. My parents lived in that same house in Purley until my father died in 1982. My earliest memory is of my nursery which had a large frieze of pictures of Disney characters like Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Pluto etc painted by my father in his style using radiant water colours with an Indian ink black outline which I loved as it was like stained glass. After the war I think my father freelanced for Amalgamated Press and in the late 50’s I can remember my father covering for other artists and drawing Billy Bunter and Sinbad the Sailor. Then he had a freelance contract with D C Thomson which included clauses that he was not allowed to work for anyone else or sign his work. He would send his work to DC Thomson by rolling it into a spool, then wrapping it in thick brown paper, tied up with string and then sealing wax was applied to the knots and it was posted by the due deadlines. He was extremely professional and he would never even let the family post his work to D C Thomson for him. If there were postal problems he would deliver and collect his work to Fetter Lane or Fleet Street. He always worked from home and his lifestyle was quite reclusive, although he had a very good sense of humour and could be extremely sociable. He usually slept during the day and worked through the night. His easel desk, plan chest etc and all the tools of his trade were in our front room, which co-incidentally was called our drawing room. He was a pipe smoker for many years, smoking Golden Virginia Rough Cut tobacco and had a collection of pipes in a bowl by his side. It was quite a large house and he had a back room downstairs as his DIY work room. He was definitely a hoarder of bits and pieces and they were everywhere that he said might come in handy at a later date. He enjoyed carpentry and was good at it and built us a very substantial see saw in the garden. He always said that being an artist did not come easily to him and I think his work shows how regimented he was and his attention to research and detail. He was his biggest critic and worked extremely hard. Because the comics came out weekly and there were the annuals to fit in, I never knew my father to take a break or a holiday and he was always working against time. When we were small he used to drive my mother and us to friends in Cornwall in the summer holidays, get the train home the next day and then come down and collect us. Latterly we went on our own. The other reason he did not take a break was if he did not work he did not get paid. I can only remember him being ill once with a very high fever and then he had a heart attack in the mid 1970’s and lung cancer in the early 1980’s, which he died of in 1982. Therefore I do not think many artists had to cover for him. His work routine was he either received scripts from D C Thomson, or he came up with some of his own scripts, which would be sent to DC Thomson for alteration/approval. When they were approved he would map out a rough pencil draft of the strip and again post it to DC Thomson’s for alteration/approval before producing the final strip on special thicker white paper in Indian inks. He worked about eight weeks ahead of publication. My father penned his own captions, which were always in capital letters. His actual writing was quite idiosyncratic. My father did not have any contact with other artists and about every 5 years he would go up to D C Thomson’s in Dundee or his boss would come and stay with us. He was called Albert ‘Bert’ Barnes and he had a thick Scottish accent and facially was reckoned to be the inspiration for Desperate Dan. We all had to be on our best behaviour for these visits and the house was cleaned from top to bottom. Bert Barnes was the only person I ever remember calling my father Eric. One bonus for us as children was if the comics ran a competition they needed a winner for the first week and we were often named as the winners......as no one could have had a chance to enter the competition, we ‘won’ and were given a collection of tartan scarves, hats and purses over the years. My father did sometimes produce the crosswords for the annuals, but it was actually my mother that compiled the crosswords. My father kept working till 1981 when he became ill with lung cancer. After my father’s death in 1982 my mother was contacted and visited by a well known collector on the TV. He took the majority of my father’s work, comics and annuals to look at them, value them and perhaps offer to purchase them. She never heard from him again and he did not return her contacts. She did not feel able to pursue him further at that point in time. Erica Farmer Nee Roberts April 2010 Dear Peter Thank you so much to you and your wife taking the time to visit us today. It was great to meet you both. Thank you also for taking the time to bring over the comics and annuals for us to see. I attach the documents I gave you. I wish you every success with your cards, we were really taken with your work. Also thanks for all your dedicated research into my father's work. Let me know if you have any queries or updates. Take care both of you. Erica I had a lovely time meeting Erica and her husband and lovely cakes..:) Was sad to hear she had none of her Dad's drawings I'd suggested she contacted DC Thomson and maybe they could do a good scan of a original work for them. Thanks Erica for your time and interesting information on top talent Eric 'Robbie' Roberts. Peter

Wednesday 21 April 2010

Tom Paterson's wrote this Jake's Seven from Jackpot annual 1982..

In the signature at the bottom of the first page Tom has said he had written this story..I've not seen this before so thought it would be fun to show..the idea feels like a classic cartoon...
Tom certainly shows the future looking very run down..:)
One of the kids looks like a tramp!!

Tuesday 20 April 2010

More info added...Cheeky Comic had a great way of introducing old comic pages

Cheeky goes up to the attic and looks through his Dad's old comics...a neat way to show a reprint in a comic..

Jim Jolly is by Roy Wilson. Thanks klakadak-ploobadoof

The Dicky Duffer strip is by Albert 'Charlie' Pease. thanks Kashgar for the info..

Rudolf was the work of the underrated Arthur Martin, the artist who drew Chalky for Buster many years later. Thanks Kashgar

Heres a song which goes with the Reg Parlett's The Beaver Patrol comic strip in an earlier blog post found by ajsmith
This brought to mind the garage rock standard by The Wilde Knights.



Friday 16 April 2010

Mike Western's Partridge's Patch from Jet comic

I got this from Buster Holiday Fun Special 1978. I don't know the artist But this is a reprint from Jet comic early 70's..unless this is never been in Jet and was a left over?

I like the Counry Policeman and dog getting the better of the Townie Policeman...also the reader participation in solving the case.

A delightful strip maybe it should of carried on in Buster.:)

Sunday 11 April 2010

Ian Knox's 6 Million Dollar Gran to Robot Gran and lastly Gran's Gang..

When the robot lands on his tummy who didn't feel that!!! Kerr-rrump!!

22nd October 1977
Cheeky Weekly comic number 1

25th April 1981
Whoopee and Cheeky

Check out those animal heads on the wall very weird looking..also love the way Ian draws egg and chips!!

13th November 1982

2nd July 1983
Whoopee welcomes Wow for the first time..

9th July 1983
Whoopee and Wow

I recently got hold of Cheeky number 1 and what a treat to see the first episode of how it all started..Gran sure looks weird as a robot..
Of course its loosely based on the 6 Million Dollar Man/Woman from the 70's telly program...
In the 80's the strip got changed to Robot Gran as the program wasn't shown anymore..
Also Gran got a new job as a Nanny looking after a group of children.this is my era in reading this strip..the kids are very strange looking especially the gorilla type tattoed girl one!!!!!

When Whoopee and Wow came together the strip got reduced to one page..shame..also now called Gran's Gang a kind of oldies v's the newies..what is interesting is Gran seems like a real human no more robot antics...she is real! It would make Pinocchio proud..



Thursday 8 April 2010

UPDATE..The Iron Hand!! The three different versions..

The Dandy 29th October 1960
Bill Holroyd

The Dandy 24th June 1971
Paddy Brennan

Cracker number 1
18th Jan 1975.
Paddy Brennan

'The Boy with Iron Hands' this was an idea and a title that Dandy editor Albert Barnes used on three seperate occasions in three different contexts. In 1939 a boy with these attributes was the star of a strip set in medieval times drawn by Fred Sturrock, then there was the 1959-1961 WWII Bill Holroyd effort and finally in 1971 a strip with a modern setting, drawn by Paddy Brennan, with the slighly truncated title 'Iron Hands'.
Come to think of it Paddy Brennan also drew the adventures of a secret agent called simply 'Iron Hand' in Cracker/Beezer between 1975 and 1979. In this final instance though the eponymous hero did actually have an 'iron hand' a la Valiant's Steel Claw. Thanks to Kashgar for info


I love Paddy's work But Bill gives a different feel to the story..
A really great concept for a character..it is full of energy and high drama..artists and writers can learn a lot from this strip..maybe Iron hands could come back for a fourth time!
Hi Peter,
I am a big fan of your blog devoted to old British humour comics, and
I wondered if you could give my latest venture a little plug? It's an
online humour comic in the Viz vein called Better Than Nothing. You
can find it at http://www.btncomix.blogspot.com
Don't forget to let me know what you think!
Best regards


Well I'm not a Viz fan personally But I'm sure other people will enjoy it..it is well drawn and good style..Peter

Monday 5 April 2010

Whoopee!! its Easter!!

Jack Clayton

Terry Bave

Nick Baker

Mike Lacey

Jim Petrie

Robert Nixon

Terry Bave

Frank Mc Diarmid

Joe McCaffrey

Sid Burgon

Robert Nixon

Inspired by Lews blog on his Easter comic cover theme I'd thought I would just focus on one issue. Whoopee and Cheeky 1981.
This is how comics celebrated Easter and its great...whether its egg rolling, winning huge Easter eggs, Easter parades, Easter Fairs, Easter egg hunt,Going to the seaside and visiting Aunties recieving Easter presents. Also Easter bonnets are featured in the Cheeky story and of course the Baker boy is carrying hot cross buns!!
As you can see Easter can cover many topics..

Changed wording to my own thoughts-
The Beano and Dandy today should celebrate Easter more in there comics....
To give The Beano a little credit at least the Dennis story was on the topic of April Fools day..


In the issue was a toothpaste advert!!!...after all that chocolate me thinks...:)