On this day, 15 October 1983: School Fun
On this day, 15 October 1983 … ‘The happiest read of your life!’ School Fun can’t be low-marked for enthusiasm as it launched into a near-full school year of 33 issues in October 1983. Producing a comic that focused on desk, blackboard, school bus and mortar board jollity must have been a tough call for creator Graham Exton but this first issue is not so much baggy trousers and dark sarcasm in the classroom as playground pratfalls and staff room slapstick. Clever headlining stories from the off included two TV tie-in strips – Coronation Street School (featuring juvenile versions of Ken, Eddie, Mavis and Deirdrie) and Grange Hill Juniors (featuring the stars of the contemporary version of the show: Roland, Gripper, Jonah, Zammo, Fay and Annette, nicely drawn by Brian Delaney) – the full-colour exploits of E.T.T. Extra Terrestrial Teacher, Schoolditz (a 1980s version of Buster and Jet’s The Kids of Stalag 41), and three strips that would graduate to Buster after it and School Fun merged in May 1984 – Young Arfur, Walt Teaser and School Belle.
This first issue launched with a ‘slippy sticky snake’ free gift which I’m lucky enough to have, still sealed in its bag and sellotaped to the front cover. It’s a rather feeble looking item, to be honest, which looks as though it might disintegrate if I threw it at a mirror rather than ‘slither down the glass’ and frighten Teach into shaving off half his ‘tache, but still more fun than smashing up the woodwork tools or going to fight with next door’s school.