On this day, 10 March 1973: Shiver and Shake
On this day, 10 March 1973 … Here’s the very first issue of Shiver and Shake, a title which lasted about a year and a half in weekly comic format, but the legacy of which was sufficiently enduring to get it a namecheck in Doctor Who: Doomsday in 2006 (it was a slightly odd reference, to be honest – the Doctor tells Rose that they are like ‘Hope and Glory, Mutt and Jeff, Shiver and Shake’, and when she asks who’s who, he replies ‘Oh, I’m Shake!’ – and all I take from it of any significance is that writer Russell T Davies was a reader of the comic between 1973 and 1974; but it’s still a cool mention!). In fact, it’s possible that fewer people remember the comic as those who remember the annual, which ran for 13 consecutive years between 1974 and 1986 and must have been quite a cash cow for IPC.
Half of this comic is extremely good. The Shiver section gave us some excellent strips – Sweeny Toddler, Frankie Stein, The Hand and Scream Inn among the best of them, not to mention the brilliant Ken Reid poster format (here Creepy Creations, later World-wide Weirdies) – and had a strong identity in its horror schtick. Shake … well, it’s difficult to say quite what Shake was supposed to be. It had some fun enough content – Lolly Pop was one which lasted for many years – but seems a bit bland alongside (or within) Shiver. The comic(s) were merged into Whoopee! in October 1974, and it was the spooky strips of Shiver that brought the real value to the deal.
Slightly odd concept aside, Shiver and Shake is also a great showcase for some of the most talented and prolific humour artists that would contribute such diverse and brilliant illustration to the House of IPC in the 1970s and most of the 1980s. In addition to Ken Reid, this first issue is blessed with the work of so many wonderful creators, including but certainly not limited to, Robert Nixon, Reg Parlett, Sid Burgon, Mike Lacey, Terry Bave, Norman Mansbridge, Tom Williams, and – I think, but am not certain, on Ye Haunted Lake – Ian Knox.