And so Christmas continues....
Presenting: The Topper, dated December 25th 1976:
Oh yeah, The Topper, like The Beezer and few other comics was published in the tabloid format until 1980, i.e. about twice the size of the other comics, folded in the middle. Which means it's going to be a pain fitting it in my scanner.
The part of the cover you can't see has the first part of the cover star's adventure which ends with this promise:
What? No! We've been through this! Danny's Tranny was a strip about a boy with a magic transistor radio!
The LW button made things larger, SW made things smaller, MW, er, made things float and VHF made things invisible. It's probably best not to ask.
Anyway, The Topper was DC Thomson's third or fourth best loved humour title (depending on how you feel about The Beezer) and ran from 1953 to 1990 (when it was renamed "Topper '90" because the '90s felt "cool" and "now") before being transformed into "Beezer and Topper" which limped along until 1993.
If you have any memory of The Topper try to remember any of the strips you read in it. Chances are however many you remember half of them were Beezer strips. Neither of them had an identity of their own the way The Beano or Sparky seemed to.
Probably the best remembered character, however is Beryl the Peril, pictured here sticking a pipe in her dad's ear:
I love Dad's expression here. It says "Welp, I guess this is a thing that's happening now, another day as the parent of a DC Thomson scamp, no point fighting it."
Beryl was the creation of Davy Law and is pretty much the Rule 63 Dennis the Menace, created by Law just two years earlier. She survived several creative teams over the decades, occasionally appearing in The Dandy right up to the end. I like Beryl a lot.
The problem is when it comes to describing most Topper (or Beezer) characters. There seem to be very few "high concepts" and a large amount of strips can be summed up as "a kid gets into scrapes".
Or, in the case of Tiny ("The World's Biggest Dog" - actually much smaller than Digby or Clifford) "a terrifying man-shaped dog gets into scrapes".
Also, that last speech balloon is not a play on "smash n grab" which seems like a missed opportunity.
New to me is Nobby, a kid who gets into scrapes.
Originally published in Buzz (1973-5) before The Topper consumed it, Jimmy was created by Ken Harrison and stuck around till 1989.
In this story Jimmy pulls some pranks using an anchor(!) which ends with him saving Christmas by strangling a horse.
Also, inexplicably long-running character Mickey the Monkey (also created by Dudley Watkins) was there. And, as I've said before, he's not a monkey, he's an ape. An ape that gets into scrapes.
Tricky Dicky (a kid who gets into scrapes with increasingly elaborate joke shop props) is the last surviving Topper character (he lives on in the Beano albeit looking quite different) and is still quite a fun strip.
ghosts! In this case there's loads of them "living" there and in spite of the owner's best efforts to hide them when potential buyers come round it always goes wrong.
In this seasonally atypical story Mr Fear ends up feeling sorry for the undead horrors and throws them a slap-up Christmas party!
(Caesar and Boudicca never met and, according to Quiz Kid, there were no turkeys "in those times". This doesn't sound right to me but who am I?)