Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Christmas Post No6: Nutty 1982

Right then, one more time this year and that's it. Probably.

Presenting Nutty, dated December 25th 1982.
 First the basics: Nutty was published by DC Thomson between 1980 and 1985 (it merged with The Dandy) and was their best attempt at rivalling IPC's more anarchic comedy style.

Not that you'd know that from looking at the covers of early issues - Characters like Doodlebug (a small mouse-like creature who loved drawing), Wacky (a wacky inventor) and Scoopy (see below) would appear promising more fun inside and might as well have been Korky the Cat or Biffo the Bear.

However there was a character who appeared on the back cover whose popularity would speedily eclipse all others and take over not only the front cover but eventually the centre two-page spread too. I am, of course (as you can see from the cover depicted above), referring to Bananaman. Which is a really fun word to type. Bananaman.

Bananaman is probably one of the top 5 most important characters in British comics history so I'll analyse him in detail at a later time but here he is almost a year before his TV cartoon debut.

So on to the rest of this issue. First up Jay R. Hood ("he's anything but good!") is another comics bad boy, named after the then-popular villainous character from Dallas. He debuted about the same time as Junior Rotter in Whizzer and Chips who had the same gimmick. And oddly both JRs had a nemesis called Sue Helen.

Here he is trying to trap Santa:
 Peter Pest is your standard-issue annoying little brother character, usually scaring away big sis' potential boyfriends.
 The Snobbs and the Slobbs is another class war strip between neighbours at opposite ends of the social spectrum. This is something IPC comics had already had a long history of (Ivor Lott and Tony Broke, The Upper Crusts and the Lazy Loafers etc.) but DC Thomson had few. This may be a good thing as in spite of art from John Geering it feels quite mean-spirited in its depiction of poverty.
 Nip and Rrip is a sort-of Dennis and Gnasher-ish pairing of a bad boy and his bad cat. And oddly has two thirds of the names of Korky the Cat's nephews from The Dandy.
 Incidentally, I just did a Google search for Nip Lip and Rrip and Google checked I didn't mean to search for "nip slip". I did not, Google, I did not.

Next up is Scoopy "The runaround hound with a nose for news", a newspaper's literal office dogsbody who, after a long day running errands for the editor, finally gets his Christmas reward.
 Then we get another in a long line of DC Thomson food-obsessed characters. After Greedy Pigg, Hungry Horace and Tom Tumm comes the unfortunately-named Nosher.
 Yep. Nosher. And that's him in his bedroom full of cook books and food marketing posters. That's why James Corden left Hollyoaks, you know. No really, look it up.

There's also weird superhero parody Supergnat, deservedly forgotten.
 And Sports Fan, a girl called "Fan". Who liked sports. This week: Curling!
 I'm genuinely worried about Snoozer, a narcoleptic with alarmingly unsympathetic parents.
 Seriously, your kids got a problem. Maybe it's his thyroids. Stop being annoyed by him and get him to a doctor!
 The Wild Rovers is a fun strip, not a million miles from The Beano's Pup Parade, featuring a bunch of stray dogs with distinct (and in some cases racially-insensitive) personality types constantly trying to avoid capture by the mean old dog catcher. Who would take them to the pound. Where they would eventually be humanely destroyed.
 I assume that happened in the final issue.

The School Belles is about a tough gang of private school girls who really feel like they belong in Bunty.
 And on the back cover, the only other long running character from Nutty (other than B-Man): Cuddles.
 The toxic toddler lived on for years in The Dandy as ret-conned twin brother of Dimples but not before being the cover star of Hoot! after the demise of Nutty. It's interesting to see from this strip just how far Barrie Appleby's style evolved.

So on to the main feature: Bananaman!

The centre pages here give an insight into Christmas back where he comes from...
 Yes, that's right: The Moon. In the beginning Bananaman's origin had him being rocketed to Earth from the Moon, not to save his life, his parents were just fed up with him!
 He gets his powers from bananas because "The Moon is banana-shaped" apparently.
 Of course, all this got wiped out of continuity after the TV show.

Merry Moon Christmas!

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