What’s your favourite comic?

Wayne Hemingway has created brand guidelines for classic children’s comic The Beano. What is/was your favourite comic and why?

The Blonde Phantom

‘My favourite comic is the 1940s The Blonde Phantom by Marvel, because I am… drumroll… her (shh). The Blonde Phantom had no superhuman powers. She was trained in martial arts and carried a .45 caliber pistol. She also had excellent secretarial skills, as the secretary for the Mark Mason Detective Agency, and later as the secretary of New York City District Attorney Blake Tower. She wore a black domino mask and a sexy, skintight, slit-leg red evening gown and high heels, and ventured out at night to fight crime. Just like me.’

Jenny Theolin, founder, Soapbox and Son (AKA The Blonde Phantom)

Jon Daniel

‘As a child I loved the Roy of the Rovers weekly comic, even though I wasn’t much of a football fan. As I moved into my early teenage years I then graduated onto two comics in particular; Jonah Hex and Sgt. Rock. However, my favourite comics, which I only discovered much later as an adult, are those of Black Lightning and Lobo. Both are landmark comics in terms of their representation of African-American superheroes, and if I had been able to consume them as a child I would have done so with pride.’

Jon Daniel, independent creative director

Algy Batten

‘It’s kinda funny being asked this question, as I was named after a character in The Boy’s Own Paper – a comic my dad read as a kid. The comic that really grabbed me was The ‘Nam, about the Vietnam war. As comics go it was really vivid and reality based. What I loved was that it played on that reality by happening in “real time”. When thirty days passed for a reader (each issue), thirty days passed for the characters. I’ve never been much into fantasy, or superheroes and I’m constantly reminded at work by a young Adam Ding (yes Adam I hope you’re reading this), that we have no mutual cultural references. Basically he means I haven’t seen Jurassic Park 25 times, in fact not even once.’

Algy Batten, partner, Fivefootsix

Mike Reid

‘Has to be The Broons.
Another childhood (and beyond!) favourite from D.C. Thomson & Co.

I am also hugely partisan because I had a great summer job there while at art school in Dundee.
It’s written in Scots language and follows a large, slightly dysfunctional family who live in a tiny wee flat in “Auchenshoogle”.

A great game (for some!) is to think who would play all The Broons characters if Hollywood got their hands on it!

Ewan McGregor as the ladies’ man Joe Broon surely?
Judi Dench as the formidable Maw Broon.
Sean Connery as the “loveable old rogue” Granpaw Broon.
Jedward as The Twins? Er, maybe not…’

Mike Reid, head of design, Havas Worldwide

Mark Lester

‘Never had a particularly favourite comic, more favourite characters – Desperate Dan, Minnie the Minx, Gnasher… For some reason though, the Numskulls continue to have a particularly lasting impression on me: Brainy, Blinky, Luggy, Nosey and Cruncher were their names (as far as Brainy will let me remember).  Can’t help thinking I have five funny little bald blokes in my head, frantically pushing buttons and helping me to brainstorm ideas, talk in fancy meetings, write Design Week voxpops, etc…’

Mark Lester, creative director, Mark Studio

Matt Baxter

‘Disclaimer: I must declare an interest. I draw every week for what I believe to be, hands-down, the most awesome comic available at the moment: children’s weekly, The Phoenix Comic. Here’s why I think so. When I was a child, my favourite comics were the ones available weekly. The Eagle, Beano, Dandy, Whizzer & Chips and later Oink and 2000ad. Ultra-vivid shots of inky story power every Saturday morning. The choice available was huge and the quality was mostly great. Now, I don’t know if you’ve looked at the comics section of your supermarket recently, but those halcyon days are long gone. Stories are out. “Licensed properties” are in. The Beano has been re-invented (very nicely) as a nostalgia brand. Enter The Phoenix: contemporary, aimed at young readers, chock full of stories and characters, thrills and spills. Kids love it and so do I.

Did I mention my disclaimer..?’

Matt Baxter, creative director, Baxter and Bailey

Sam Farrow

My nine-year-old daughter’s Saturday-morning treat is to stay in bed with a drink, a biscuit and the Beano. These routine escapes into another world are what childhood is made of: I think there’s something really healthy about comics’ wildly inventive stories. As a child, I read comics voraciously. I loved characters like Pongo Snodgrass, a disgustingly stinky boy in Whizzer & Chips; and the Bumpkin Billionaires, a family of hillbillies in Whoopee who endlessly tried (and failed) to lose their fortune, but were thwarted at every turn bytheir greedy bank manager.My favourites, though, were the girls’ comics, where the heroines came out fighting and justice was always served. They dealt with real issues and concerns: in June, Bessie Bunter preferred cake to netball (something I could definitely identify with); Bella Barlow, the orphan gymnast in Tammy, overcame homelessness, cheating rivals, heartless relatives, and even wrongful arrest. Comics have the power to transport you to places where your own childish imaginings don’t seem so very strange. There’s a sense of infinite possibility and (sometimes wicked) delight running through them: something we grown-ups must be careful not to lose.

Sam Farrow, creative and managing director, Farrow Creative

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  • Roger Fuller November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    No question about it – The Eagle. Where else would I have ever learned about the life story of Churchill, drooled over the most amazing cut-away illustrations of trains and boats and planes, learned about the rest of the world – and been introduced to the future via Dan Dare, surely the comic version of BBC Radio’s ‘Journey Into Space’, listened to every Monday evening on my Dad’s knee? Wonderful stuff and quite likely one of the biggest influences on my eventually becoming a designer.

  • Simon Bromley November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    I still buy the Beano, even at 34 years of age, because I enjoy the artwork, and I bought The Dandy for the last couple of years of it’s printed life, too – I was very sad indeed to see that go.
    As a kid, I read The Dandy, Beano, Beezer, Topper, Nutty, Hoot, Whoopee, Whizzer & Chips, Nipper, Buster and, my favourite comic ever, Oink! It may have only been around for two and a half years, but that comic had such an impact on my seven year old self, and rereading it 27 years later, it’s actually even funnier.
    However, what’s sad is that, Beano aside, all these comics are no longer available. The comic strips I copied every week just aren’t there. Digital archives are fine, but nothing compares to drawing these characters straight from the printed comics. :/

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