Friday, 21 December 2012

A Sparky Xmas

Ah, Sparky - a comic that ended before I was born, and that I've only recently been able to "get into" properly through the wonders of eBay. There was always reprints before then, of course - through Classics From The Comics and the various annual hardbacks put out by DC Thomson under the Dandy Beano banner (or The Beano & The Dandy in more recent years).

One such annual, published in 1993 and given the title of Magic Moments is possibly my favourite of the lot. Here it is:

Got this on Christmas Day, 1993 (get it yourself for a penny - another last minute gift idea!). A big colourful book collecting memorable (or just plain good) bits from the Beano, Dandy, Beezer, Topper and Sparky, including a whole bunch of festive-themed bits for each comic. I've been reading this book every December now for a good few years - it's like a nostalgic look back at a book full of nostalgia (ha!). Anyway, this book is, as far as I can remember, where I first encountered anything to do with Sparky. And here are several of the Xmassy-Sparky strips that are featured in this book:

Gordon Bell's Spoofer McGraw there (every single one of these is a classic) - that fireside chat in the opening panel remains one of the cosiest scenes I've ever seen in a comic.

Dreamy Daniel (also from Gordon Bell), like the Beano's Les Pretend only with less costumes and more dangerous departations from reality (his Easter-based adventure in the same book's also a goody, but it's not Easter right now so we're not allowed to talk about it).

Malcolm Judge's Baron Von Reichs-Pudding - an aerial battle between the Kaiser's dopiest baron and Father Christmas himself. Great punchline on this one! 

John Geering's Puss an' Boots - not only does it look the business, the dialogue's just as hilarious as the drawings (particularly Puss's plea of "DON'T HIT ME!").

L-Cars, a couple of inept (yet ingenious) police officers from Bill Hill - nice little twist at the end of this one.

The thing with Sparky (L-Cars and Puss an' Boots in particular) is that the characters are a lot less one-dimensional than their contemporaries - Puss an' Boots go through extremes of rage, cowardice and sarcasm, whilst Cedric and Frederic of the L-Cars go through childlike idealism, utter despair and, occasionally, moments of true heroism. Sort of like comparing Bugs Bunny to Mickey Mouse, in a way. Providing we survive the end of the world and make it through to 2013, I endeavour to get more Sparky into my life!


  1. Ah, Sparky - a much-missed comic. I think I've got that book - must dig it out.

  2. I love the dog's exclamation as he runs towards Daniel.

  3. Does it look like Korky's done up his stomach as a Christmas pudding and let the mouse eat him alive as part of some sick suicide pact?