On this day, 29 May 1982: Eagle
On this day, 29 May 1982 … ‘Eagle Magazine gives you the opportunity to let off steam!’ And then gives you a ‘Dad lecture’ to make you wish you’d kept all your steam to yourself. So, Eagle’s ‘Big Mouth’ column advocates corporal punishment, school uniform and hypocritical scout leaders, does it? Whatever happened to the spirit of ’76, guys? Dredger, Hook Jaw and Lefty Lampton must have been turning in their inky graves.
I've written previously that there was a lot to like about 1982's new Eagle (in spite of the photo-stories), and I'll hold to that, but in hindsight there was also a rather patriarchal, sermonising tone that annoys me now I can see it. 'Big Mouth' is just part of a traditional, militaristic, muscular evangelical outlook that undergirds the whole comic, from the 'boys' own' clean-cut heroes of Dan Dare and Sgt Streetwise (a latter-day PC49), to the features on warships, mountaineers and America's Man of Steel. That I wasn't particularly aware of all this preachiness and duty at the time suggests that Eagle's content was in keeping with the majority of other social and cultural influences around me: at home, school, Radio 1, the BBC, Thatcher and a Britain at war. It was also true to the ethos of the original Eagle, founded in 1950 by a vicar, Marcus Morris, with the express intention of upholding traditional 'Christian' values that would have included, in the latter half of the twentieth century, decency, order and patriotism. So in those senses I suppose I shouldn't be especially surprised or outraged, but it does all feel a bit of a shame following the anarchic revolution in IPC's comics of the late 1970s - this after all is the publishing range that brought us Action, 2000AD, Charley's War, Krazy, Cheeky and so many cock-a-snooking comic stories and serials.