Poetry By The Panel
Thinking further about British comics, I remember taking the Dandy, Buster, Topper, Lion, Beezer and the rest, delivered every Wednesday, along with my parents’ then-broadsheet Daily Mail. My favourite stories concerned The Steel Claw, a man with a metal hand who turned invisible (except for the hand) whenever he was electrocuted. The strip required its hero to walk into power cables at the same rate that normal people crossed the road.
There were other oddities – ‘Kelly’s Eye’, clearly not just a bingo call but an amulet that protected the wearer from harm, and ‘The Jellymen’ who invaded earth and imprisoned people in unbreakable glass bubbles.
The greatest genius of the comics age had to be the censor-baiting Ken Reid, whose intricate drawings becaame increasingly surreal and deranged. In ‘Jonah’ the hapless sailor was required to sink a ship every week, and in ‘Dare-A-Day Davey’ the hero responded to readers’ requests to do something ludicrous in each episode. Isn’t it time someone brought out the best of Reid’s work in a single collectors’ volume?