On this day, 6 May 1972: Knockout
On this day, 6 May 1972 … My copy of this Knockout is in pretty good nick for its age: the pages are nice and crisp and it appears to have been hardly read (maybe its original intended owner, ‘Thompkinson’, never picked it up from the newsagent – I wonder what happened to him or her!). However, the see-through on some of the pages is really poor so I apologise for the quality of some of the scans below. I’m not sure whether this is an effect of paper deterioration or ink seepage over the course of the last 44 years, or whether it would have been like this when new, but it seems indicative of the fact that Knockout was fairly cheaply produced. It pronounces itself proudly as an ‘All colour comic’, but most of the strips are two-colour rather than full, and the thinner page count (only 20 pages) and bargain cover price – at 2½p, lower than that of any of IPC’s other humour comics – all suggest that the production costs were low in order to make the comic affordable for those with less pocket money.
If that’s the case, I wonder whether it’s also true to say that Knockout’s content was steered towards a more working class readership. This is the case for most of the humour comics of the 1970s, I think – there was a strong seam of the ‘have-nots’ making good while the ‘haves’ are brought down to earth in most titles – but I reckon the grass roots oomph is more overt in Knockout. The Toffs and the Toughs is the obvious strip to back this up, but there’s also a strong ‘us against them’ feel to Son of Sir, The Super Seven, Shrimp (literally, the little guy against the rest) and Boney. Pete of Pete’s Pockets is positioned as from an impoverished background in this week’s story which sees him taken to lunch by rich pal Percy. The large family crammed into a small home in The Full House has working class overtones, and The Haunted Wood – a community of trees constantly battling back against exploitative visitors – is a rousing political tale.