Before April 1950 when Eagle comic arrived on newsagents shelves in all it's four color rotogravure glory, there were comics that haunted the UK's corner shops and newsagents, which were unlikely to win the approval of all but the most indulgent parents. These comics which were largely the provenance of Bolton born illustrator Denis McLoughlin were far less appealing to middle class parents than Eagle comic and it's flagship hero, Colonel Dan Dare. While both Frank Hampson and Denis Mcloughlin may have shared an enthusiasm for U.S. comics artistry, their take on the subject matter was entirely different. Hampson's Dan Dare reflected a post war optimism and belief in the doctrine of peace and intergalactic harmony, whereas McLoughlin's comics were very much rooted in the familiar themes of guns, knives, violence and the kind of women that would drive a man to ruin.
These comics which were published by T.V. Boardman from 1948 onwards looked very much the poor cousins of the four color U.S. comics that they sought to emulate and in some cases (Blackhawk and The Spirit) repackage. As can be seen the Boardman budget did not extend as far as four colors and the two color compromise printed in orange and green/ grey looked about as drear as the post war austerity that still held a bankrupt Britannia in it's iron grip.
Once again I must extend my profound thanks to Malcolm Norton for providing the scans of these now incredibly scarce comics.
1938 "Weekly Illustrated"
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