Saturday, 24 May 2014

Devastated? The Prequel!

Not long after starting the write-up on Gutted, I found out that Gutter was actually the comic that was out BEFORE Gutted, and also from the same company - Humour Publications. That's my explanation for the lack of chronology here. I have no explanation for the amount of time that's passed since the last update here. Just call it an inflammatory lung disease or a broken arm or whatever.

Gutter then. A very similar name to Gutted, but it couldn't be more different to it. Well, it could, but we're only talking about it in terms of rude British comics for the time being. For the sake of documentation, I think we're looking at a start date of around 1990 here - the earliest issue I have is number eight, and that's got 1991 on it, so we'll go with 1990 for now unless I'm corrected.

Carry on reading to see just how "different" it is, if you're interested at all...

Alright, now that I've got you to carry on reading, it was a slight ruse. Whereas Gutted was a stab at surrealism, Gutter is, for the most part, another comic in the line of unpleasant reading that also features Smut, Zit and Spit. Like those comics, it DOES have a few saving graces, but it also has an unhealthy amount of stuff by Phil Neill. Stuff such as Barry, the Bastard on the Bus:

Doctor Sprog:

Further homophobic insecurities with PC Dick Scratcher:

Terry's Turd:

Phil also did a similar character for Acne, but that's a story for another day.

And Albert Wazum's Untimely Spasms:

Yeah, Phil got a lot of work into Gutter. On a brighter note, a DIFFERENT Phil, this one called Phil Baber (who we've met before) had a character in Gutter, and what a character he is. It's Hecky Slork, Human Bodybag, and this is every example of him I have available:

Hecky there was deemed bizarre enough to carry on into Gutted once Gutter was folded, and he'd go on to appear in other titles as well. And speaking of characters appearing across multiple publications...

Yep, Nigel Maughan's in this one as well!

Just to keep things balanced, here's some more crap stuff. It's Anthony Smith with more of his cut-and-paste characters:

Smith did this same character later on in the pages of Spit, if you remember.

Something that Gutter seems to do often is the tried-and-tested trick of taking a pub joke then converting it into a comic strip. Sometimes the results are nicely drawn at least, with these two examples from Joe Shepherd:

Other times they're just plain horrible, like this anonymous thing here:

Anyone going to own up to this one?

And this pair, credited to Moggy Smith:

Oh, single-panel gags also feature a fair bit throughout, in two flavours - Dave Colton:

And Biff Grimknob:

Further nastiness comes courtesy of Paul Palmer, latterly of Beano and Viz fame. Here, he presents us with the creepy innuendo of Mandy Map & Her Pussy Flaps:

Oh, does anyone remember Lew Stringer's Postman Prat from the last few years of the Dandy? Well here's another character with the same name, only in a more obvious piss-take sense, this one by Will Kevans:

And while we're on the subject of the Dandy, Wilbur Dawbarn did a fair few things for Gutter as well:

He does Billy Whizz for the Beano nowadays, last time I checked.

A noticeable "trend" throughout these comics has been the flogging of T-shirts. Not so with Gutter, surprisingly, although this one here's advertised on the back of every issue I have, so it's only fair to show it I suppose:

Whilst on the FRONT covers... I'd just like to highlight them, as they could almost pass for a Spitting Image comic, at a glance from the unwary rack-browser:

Yep, they had a summer special - nothing to get excited about though, just a "best of" compilation, sort of.

Now, back to the innards - a couple of anonymous strips first, both of which seem to be infuriatingly familiar-looking. If anyone can put a name to them, go for it!

First up is Penile Dementia - I'll always find anthropomorphic penises funny, so this one's a winner (sorry):

And next is Skippy the Ribbed Exciter:

I'm fairly sure we've met this artist before, in Zit, but even then there's still a name missing.

Only semi-anonymous this one, signed by "Pad" but try searching Google for THAT. It's a fairly funny story though, so let's just enjoy it for that:

Back to the more familiar names now (well, familiar in the sense that they've appeared in more than one comic). Remember Gary Whitlock? As featured in the pages of Adroit? No? Well, he was in Adroit, as well as Acne and the somewhat dodgy Fizz, and here he is in Gutter:

Another somewhat prolific cartoon-drawing-person is StiK, alias of Bill Greenhead. He's got a fair few things in here, such as this guide to understanding body language:

Bent coppers The Pigs:

And the episodic quest for death of Grandad Bill - this is one of the later episodes, and just from reading the plot summary you can see how increasingly ridiculous this one is:

Almost done with Gutter now - and as always, after spending far more time reading these things than would be considered healthy, I eventually grew to consider putting it in amongst at LEAST the top fifteen Viz-ish titles. It's a shame that the bad stuff outweighs the good stuff by such a margin here, but there's one name that can always be relied on if you're looking for some quality cartooning, and at the risk of sounding disgustingly sycophantic, that name is Kev Sutherland. He's in this one as well!

Firstly with Uncle Rolf, He's Crap at Golf:

And secondly with the somewhat special Dennis Destiny. I recommend holding down "CTRL" whilst clicking on these two pages, so that you've got them both open in different tabs. You'll understand why once you start reading it...

And there's Gutter, which was a spin-off of Zit and later became Gutted, a fine example of the inbred nature of this kind of thing.

Coming up next... Something fairly surprising? Or not. But maybe.

Mr. Straightman in the comments there alerted me to Blackie the Bastard Guide Dog, also by Phil Neill. Apparently a death threat was received for one such adventure starring this character (which I don't have), but there's this one at least:


  1. 'Barry, the B*st*rd on the Bus' is a title ripe with potential, I think. (I always was a sucker for alliteration.)

  2. I knew Philip Neill quite well back in the early nineties, and he made a steady living from his contributions to Smut and Gutter. I was a big fan of his characters from the early issues of Gutter, Blackie the Bastard Guide Dog (for which he received a death threat!) and Father Franklin - He's Forever Wanking.

    1. Personally, I like his stuff in Acne a lot better - he seems better suited to whatever audience that comic was going for (although that's not to imply any pretensions about the sort of humour I enjoy).

      Meanwhile, a death threat? I'll have a look for that guide dog one, sure I happened across it whilst reading them - that's got to be worth a scan at least!

    2. Well done for putting a Blackie strip up there! Always loved the loathesome little bastard.

    3. 'Tis a pleasure! Couldn't let something like that pass.

  3. Well, Blackie did cruel things to his blind, female owner... like shagging her.
    'Nuff said?

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  5. I was surprised to see this old stuff of mine here. A lot of it I don't remember at all, so I guess it was written by someone else and I drew it up. Other stuff I remember all too well!
    There was a death threat made over the first 'Blackie' story, according to Russell Church, who published Gutter. I think it was aimed at him, rather than at me as the artist.
    The brief to me from Gutter especially was to be more outrageous than Viz, so there was little point in sending in scripts about nice fluffy bunny rabbits hopping around a field. So they got what they asked for. It's offensive crap. Maybe that should have been the name for the comic!
    It is of its time. I don't think you could do this sort of stuff now and get it into newsagents. The internet is another thing all together, there's way more offensive things on that than this stuff.
    I think most artists who were involved with these magazines just did it to get some cash.
    Unfortunately the lovely people at Humour Publications, (Zit, Gutter, Gutted) ripped people off. They took me for nearly two grand!
    The same can be said for Top Banana, who had me, (and probably a few others) working to get an issue out, fully knowing it was to be the last, and they had know intention of paying anyone.
    Still. You live and learn. Don't think any of us would get involved in this kind of shit these days, but it was the early 90s, and nobody batted an eyelid back then.

    ps I think Russell Church ended up in the clink for ripping other people off with one of his other great scams!

    pps Thanks for liking my stuff back in the day Mr Straightman :)

    1. Hi Phil, thanks for commenting!

      From that brief you were given, I can understand why a lot of your strips ended with one character calling another one a cunt, in massive letters - this also explains why I prefer your stuff from Acne and Fizog. But then, as you say, it's just for the cash, so fair play to everyone involved.

      Nice to sort of know what fate befell Mr Church in the end as well, ha!

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    3. Wow, I don't know if it's worse thinking you wrote all that horrible shit for comics (since you filled a lot of Smut's pages) and meant it, or you did it without any respect for your readers and wrote shit on purpose.

      Is there a middle-ground that doesn't involve hateful nasty old shit? I actually despise Smut the comic, and it's just a bit of paper with ink on it. The scripts seem written by someone you wouldn't expect to be able to read. Some horrible pervy old bigot.

      I suppose if you were forced to make every joke either an insult toward gay people, or a badly-drawn fanny, that'd explain why you could never get more than a 9-year-old's level of humour into it.

      Ahhh, "Norbert's Knob", takes me back. Man with a big cock that ejaculated a lot.

  6. 'Penile Dementia' looks like it was drawn by Russ Carvell. Wouldn't swear to it though.

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    2. Hmm, possibly... Just been comparing it to a load of stuff on his website, and there's a slight resemblance, but he seems to have a wide range of "styles" so it's a bit hard to tell. He lists Zit, UT, Kack and Sweet FA on his client list but there's no mention of Gutter - I could always try and ask him directly, I suppose?

  7. I remember the first time I read that Doctor Sprog strip, the double whammy of "SPLUTTER! FUCK! HACK!" and "Down any of that and I'll bleedin' crown yer" made me laugh rather a lot. It was just the way I used to be when I was young and stupid.