Triffik? Just a Little Bit Less than Underwhelming.

The comic, Triffik, set out to become the main rival to the Beano, it was set up with about £200,000 and was published by Communications Innovations (CI). The first issue was printed on the 29th of February, 1992. It had high hopes, 400,000 issues were printed and was expected to sell over 500,000 for the first issue. The editor was Paul Cockburn, he had no experience in comic editing, but said he was a “traditional comic reader.” He was contracted by CI for twelve issues, which coincidentally was the last issue. They must have seen after twelve weeks that it wasn’t going to work and their estimations of the comic were somewhat impossible to achieve.

Perhaps one of the best characters was Buster Case drawn by Tim Perkins and Co. (who also drew Heather Hacker and Dino Swords in the comic). It was a detective strip which, instead of a story (Sheerluck and Son and Nick Kelly), it got the reader involved. You had to try and work out whodunnit , Buster would interview the suspects and they would reveal pieces of information. On the Ed’s page you could submit the three clues you saw and the culprit, if you sent in the slip, and you were the lucky winner, you would win £100. A fortune for a  7- 12 year old.

An angry Scotsman, maybe like Euan Kerr when he found out CI thought they could rival The Beano. Euan is reported saying that Dennis the Menace was ready for a challenge. Dennis hardly had to lift a finger before Triffik was knocked out. Other than Buster and Angus, many of the characters were merely copies of more successful ones, Disastrous Dick was like the second version of the Smasher, and the cover story, Dr. Blood’s Monster Hospital, similar to Hire a Horror. The comic showed promise, but sadly wasn’t able to shine. For comic fans Triffik was nothing more than a wannabe, they wanted all the success of The Beano, but did not back up this with good story lines and relatable characters. It will be remembered as a comic that promised the earth, but didn’t deliver.

Beano No.1500

The 1,500th Beano from April 17th, 1971, was scarcely celebrated, nothing mentioned in the comic, not a special front page, or a free gift. If you could not see the date and number you would have thought it was a normal comic. It has a funny Biffo the Bear cover drawn by David Sutherland. He meets a dentist named I.Tuggit and Biffo runs away thinking hes going to pull out his teeth.

From the first Beano in 1938 only one character remains, Lord Snooty, drawn by Robert Nixon, Snooty needs a quick way to get to school? In true comic style instead of catching a bus, he builds a slide to the school gate, but Aunt Mat puts stop to that in the last picture.

The comic has all the “usuals” Minnie, Roger, Three Bears, Pup Parade, Little Plum, The Nibblers, and the Bash Street Kids. The adventure storys are Admiral Jumbo and Here Come the Q-Bikes. It also features the short lived strip The Belles of St.Lemons, the sister school to Bash Street. The Billy Whizz strip, drawn by Malcolm Judge, sees Billy working as a lift attendant in the aptly named Hotel De Poshe, where he causes trouble trying to race the lift.

In another 5 years Dennis would have taken Biffo’s place on the front cover, but at this landmark Biffo is still the “top dog.” Dennis, also drawn by Dave Sutherland, is found at the back of the comic causing trouble with boot polish and coal, trying to copy Commando tactics. Need I say more?

Such a landmark for a British comic was undoubtedly not celebrated as much as it should have been. I wonder if the staff and editor thought it would still be around 41 years later?

Character Feature: Ginger

Everyone’s favourite Ginger appeared first in the first Beezer on the 21 January 1956. Originally drawn by Dudley D.Watkins, Ginger first started as the Beezer’s cover star, until 1961 when Pop, Dick and Harry took the cover, he then got it back in 1964. After Dudley D. Watkins’ death, Bob McGrath drew Ginger until 1985. Bob McGrath drew The Three Bears for the Beano as well. After 1985 he was drawn by Jimmy Glenn who drew Ginger until the Beezer merged with the Topper.

 

A Dudley D. Watkins’ Ginger from the first Beezer Annual 1958

 

Ginger drawn by Bob McGrath (I think) for the Beezer Summer Special