Sunday, 3 January 2016

Comics of the 1950s Part One


I still read the comics of my youth.

To the despair and puzzlement of my partner I have sought out and bought entire sets of the comics and comic annual books.

It is partly nostalgia but also they are themselves a wonderful history lesson.
From Rupert the Bear and Swift, through the Lion and the Tiger, to the Eagle, I adore them all.

 But I guess it must be the Eagle which I continue to be drawn to. It came out in 1950 and ran for the next decade and a half.

It attracted some of the best comic artists of the period, and attempted to provide a mix of boyish entertainment with a touch of learning.

In its pages could be found Dan Dare Pilot of the Future, Luck of the Legion, and Riders of the Range, along with detailed cut away pictures of aircraft, ships and locomotives and biographies of the great, the good and the brave.

It had been predicated on the idea that in the early 1950s there was a need for a good quality comic which did not rely on gratuitous violence and sought to offer a positive view of the world.

So Dan Dare had a code of behaviour which meant he never relied on the bad methods of his enemies, always treated them fairly when they had been defeated and never went back on his word. Old fashioned perhaps but not I think a bad code to live by. Here too were the career paths of ordinary people from the postman to the nurse, from the milkman to the fire fighter.

And here we have an entry into that world of the 1950s. Along with adverts for jobs in the armed services there was information “To Youngster’s looking for an opportunity ... in Mining”, the “Sribbler Ball Point” pen for 2/9d or the “BSA Golden Wings” cycle.

Picture: from the front page of the Eagle February 7 1959

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