Sunday, 21 December 2014

Christmas Post No3: Krazy 1977

Let's just get straight into this: Krazy Comic, dated 31 December 1977.
 Krazy was published by IPC, between 1976 and 1978, whereupon it was absorbed by Whizzer and Chips.

From day one Krazy set out to be different even from the other IPC titles. It wanted to be more "hip" and "now", having odder, non-lead character-driven humour features and references to pop culture or current events that others shied away from. The effect of this when reading it today is that much of it screams "It's 1977!" at you.

A fun gimmick of Krazy was the "disguised" back cover. You could, if you needed to, flip the comic over and show a full-page illustration that made it seem like you had a holiday brochure, or a record album, or a paint-by-numbers. This, being the Christmas issue, gave you a cracker disguise with this rather charming art:
 It may not come across too well in this scan but it actually looks pretty good rolled up! Inside, on the letters page, we get this dubious pranking suggestion:
 Also worth noting is that (I'm told) the April 1st edition 1977 had the back cover disguised as... the front cover!

The first strip inside is arguably Krazy's biggest stars, The Krazy Gang (not to be confused with The Crazy Gang).

A typical small-group-of-kids-with-a-clubhouse strip (see also The Banana Bunch in the next blog) the Gang were: Ed (commander and the leader), Blue (Ed's parrot), Brainy (the brainy one), Cheeky (the Cheeky one, went off to headline his own comic 1977-80), Sporty (the sporty one, also, surprisingly, a rare example of a non-white child in British comics, even rarer that he's not a stereotype) and Liz (the two-X-chromosomes one - seriously being "the girl" was often deemed a character trait in itself, see also Toots in The Bash Street Kids). And something else...
 Oh yeah, Freaky. I've read a lot of Krazy Gang stories in my life but I have no idea what Freaky is. He seems to be a hovering, talking, many-eyed flying saucer nightmare creature with spindly arms. Who hangs out with these kids in their otherwise pretty ordinary adventures. And no-one ever explains it or questions it. Freaky just is. I assume he had an origin story, probably in issue one. Maybe this was the creature that brought the Gang together, like Hulk to the Avengers or Starro to the JLA.
 It's terrifying. I mean look at it!
 Look at it!


Next up we have Paws, a talking dog named after a shark movie (it's 1977).
 The next, truly memorable character the come from Krazy is Pongo Snodgrass, a disgusting child obsessed with remaining as stinky and hideous as possible.
 Pongo had a long life in Whizzer and Chips in a self-titled strip by Ian Knox, but here he started out with a two-page advice feature Pongalonga Pongo, giving tips on creating revolting smells.
 He also occasionally popped up as an antagonist to The Krazy Gang.

There's a one-page feature, pre-empting Raymond Briggs by several years, by showing what Santa does the rest of the year.
 Half-page strip Duck Turpin is about a mallard malcontent who apparently constantly robs the same bank yet is still allowed back in and greeted with a smile.
 We had proper customer service in them days.

Micky the Mimic ("he can impersonate anybody") causes mischief with his vocal talents like a young Terry Mynott.
 For the family Christmas he pulls out some (1977) popular personalities for a postprandial entertainment.
 Not gonna lie, I love that tiny Tom Baker.

 Hit Kid was a weird strip in which a boy with no visible face would be hired to "take out" a bully or other bother-causer. In a strictly non-lethal way of course, although this issue has Hit Kid dressed as Father Christmas pulling a gun through his beard.
 Custard Pie Corner was a page whereby readers could send in picture of their teacher or little sister or anyone else they'd like to see get pied.
 Or they could suggest a celebrity, like Magnus Magnusson above or Julie Covington from Rock Follies (it's 1977!).
 And one of those readers would grow up to be Jonnie Marbles...

Next is full-colour fun with Six Million Dollar Man parody (it's 1977) 12 1/2p Buytonic Boy (he gets his "bionic" powers from a special tonic. Which he buys).

It's a pretty good strip which is worth going into in greater detail later but suffice to say in this issue Steve of the Everso Secret Service saves Christmas.
 Another one-page one-off gives us reasons why Santa may be late this year. Including:
 (It's 1977)

Oddly there's a one-page illustrated text story from Detective Fumbly's (Nut)Casebook by Willie Cook.
 It reminds me of similar page-fillers from 50s American comics like Bud Sagendorf's Popeye.
 Bung-ho indeed.

There's also actually quite good Batman pastiche Birdman and Chicken the Boy Blunder! (That exclamation mark's in the title) Here they are at the end of a serialised adventure having been banged up with the very villains they were chasing.
 The one in the top hat is called The Giggler.

Handy Andy ("his hand pictures come to life") is a little more high-concept and involves supernaturally-animated shadows.
 Every week also included hand shadow instructions:

A Krazy Look at TV puts a "wacky" spin on a current TV show. This issue feature Selwyn Froggitt (it's 1977).
 Rounding out the issue is one of the weirder concepts for a strip I have seen.

Scaredy Cat (as far as I can fathom) is about a cat who was left an enormous fortune in his owner's will and the staff of his mansion who stand to gain the lot when the cat dies. So every week they plot a new way to murder the moggy. For reals.
 Here they use a fancy-dress Christmas party as an excuse to bring out their weapons without the need to disguise them.
 Needless to say their every attempt is thwarted with Scaredy (no idea why he's called that) blissfully unaware his life is in danger.
So let's end on that lovely, murderous thought.

Merry Christmas!

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