How IPC comics celebrated the Silver Jubilee
Forty years ago this week, much of Britain was celebrating the Queen’s Silver Jubilee. On 7 June 1977, over one million people turned out in London to try and catch a glimpse of Her Maj ride a ceremonial carriage to St Paul’s Cathedral. My memories of week are of that a happier, sunnier, simpler time, but then I was only just approaching my seventh birthday and life was generally happier, sunnier and simpler for me in my cosy little Home Counties village. Everyone seemed to be getting on with each other – I’m absolutely certain that that wasn’t the case – the world was bedecked with bunting, there was beer, fags, welly boots, tractors and long hair, and my family and neighbours took part in an inter-village It’s a Knockout competition involving sack races and greasy poles. Rod Stewart’s I Don’t Want to Talk About It/First Cut is the Deepest was top of the charts, just ahead of those pesky Sex Pistols with God Save the Queen (banned from the BBC playlist, as has is Captai Ska’s Liar Liar today) and Kenny Rogers with Lucille.
IPC’s comics range marked the Jubilee with special issues of their humour and girls’ comics cover-dated 11 June. Compared to the obsequifest that was the publisher’s celebration of the 1981 Royal Wedding, this could be described as a downbeat affair. None of the boys’ titles (Tiger, Roy of the Rovers, Battle, Action and 2000AD) mentioned the event at all. The girls’ titles featured it on their covers, in a couple of feature articles and in their one-off humour strips, but it was really only the fun comics that went to town, suggesting that IPC thought the Jubilee was likely to hold more interest for younger readers.
Buster and Krazy revealed themselves to be the most royal-friendly. I haven’t included scans from every single story to feature the Jubilee, but there’s a fair selection below, mostly based around characters attending 1952-style street parties. Interestingly, Whizzer boasted far more Jubilee-themed strips in this week’s issue than chippy Chips, while in Whoopee!, Sweeny Toddler and Dads as Lads were the only stories to mention it (although Whoopee! did run a fab Robert Nixon parade poster in its centre pages). I wonder whether deadlines on different titles had something to do with the varying approaches – perhaps Whoopee! and Chips had got most of their stories for this week in before the forelock-tugging memo arrived.