Monday, 16 March 2015

Come and get your lollipops!

Welcome back to another blog dragging out weird old British comics in order to poke fun like we're SO superior.

Today, the odd trope that is "Magic Lollipops".
The Magic Lollipops ("Suck 'em and see") was a strip from the early days of The Beano, created by Allan Morley (he of Keyhole Kate and Hungry Horace) about a kid with... well, a jar full of magic lollipops.

These lollipops had unpredictable results, sometimes giving the licker superpowers, sometimes turning the licker into something else or even turning the lollipop itself into something else, as in this strip from 1943. We start in typical fashion with a bully stealing a stick-sweet.
 Then, the magic starts with the first lick (ladies....)
 In this case the boy in question uses this unexpected twist to his advantage like a good free-market capitalist, immediately selling it to the first tobacco-junky he finds. However the magic effects are only ever temporary...
Now, you might think that would be it as far as magic lollipops go but you would be quite wrong. There seems to be an alarming amount of them in popular culture.

There's the lollipops infused with North Pole magic in Santa Claus the Movie, for example.
Or there's beloved American comics character Herbie, who, among so much besides, wields his own magic lollipops. Here he is turning Merlin into Jimmy Durante with one:And if you don't know anything about Herbie Popnecker.... Hoo boy, that is definitely a story for another time.
Also there is the utterly appalling cartoon special "The Magic Lollipop Adventure".
All this brings us to Mr Licko.
Mr Licko and his Lollipops was a strip that ran in The Beezer from 1978 to 1981, drawn by Ken Hunter. It adds a post-Star Wars sci-fi twist to the Beano original by have the conjuring confectionary belong to an alien who requires a boy called Billy to help him retrieve his lost cargo.

Typically, a story starts with somebody (usually an adult man) finding a lollipop ON THE FLOOR and deciding to lick it.
And this was in the time before dog-fouling laws.

 Then, the magic would kick in exactly as before. In this case (from The Beezer Book 1979) the licker gains super-strength.
This (of course) leads to clumsy kerfuffles that Billy needs to put right.
And a cameo from the British Cleveland Brown...


An inevitable jewellery shop robbery is thwarted and all is put right.
The 1980 annual starts off with  a much better introductory illustration.
You'd think those lollipops would burn up, but let's not concern ourselves with real-world physics.
On the way into the sauna, Bert finds a lollipop (again, ON THE FLOOR) and decides to take it in with him. Whereupon...

He becomes a snowman! Panicked, he dashes outside, leaving even his towel behind. No hoopy frood he.
Angered by strangers taunts he starts to TEAR OFF LUMPS OF HIS OWN FLESH and throw it at them.
"I am not an animal!" Billy, a child of the video nasty generation, simply laughs at this scene of grotesque body horror.

Mr Brown is melting and, while they wait for the effects to wear off, Billy and Mr Licko sneak him into a butcher's cold storage.
Which leads to this, frankly amazing panel.
After being chased out of the butchers and an ill-fated attempt to use an ice-cream van, some passing children waft him with their Beezers.
The oversized tabloid format making it ideal for such a job. He's lucky they weren't mere Sparky readers. Or Nipper, which was even smaller (and, admittedly not published until 1987).

And still he melts. He needs to get to somewhere cold fast before he turns into this nightmare fuel:
KILL IT WITH FIRE! Wait... This time we actually can kill it with fire!

An attempt to get him to the skating rink leads to a fun Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em style scene of carnage.
Until Bert returns to humanity.
Wait... Shouldn't he be naked? I mean... I'm not exactly complaining but.... I feel slightly cheated.

So it all works out that Mr Brown has melted off his fat and not lost any vital organs. So far as we can tell. Maybe it will take a couple days before he realises his kidneys no longer work.

Billy and Mr Licko go back to the Browns for a slap-up feast, which even Bert can tuck into now!
Ha ha ha! He has learnt nothing. NOTHING!


  1. How did the man in the bath end up outside his house?

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