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On this day, 16 February 1980: Nutty

On this day, 16 February 1980: Nutty

 Cover artwork: Wacky by Steve Bright; Doodlebug by Gordon Bell

Cover artwork: Wacky by Steve Bright; Doodlebug by Gordon Bell

I do recall buying this first issue of Nutty on one of my Saturday morning pocket money redistribution trips to my local town of Bishops Stortford, 38 Februaries ago. It was rare for me to buy a DC Thomson title, and I can’t have stuck with it for long because I have only the vaguest of memories of any of the strips apart from the brilliant Bananaman. But I do recall the free Space Dust, and the electric cackle of it on my tongue (and I can’t think of this peculiar confectionary now without thinking of my very good (nameless in this instance) friend’s story of how he fed Space Dust to his or his neighbour’s cat, with hilarious results)).

While I didn’t become a Nutty regular, its relative success on the DC Thomson ranks suggests that many of my contemporaries did. It ran for five years and seven months before finally being merged into The Dandy. John Geering’s Bananaman was the genius creation who headlined the comic for the majority of its later run, and who must have been responsible in large part for Nutty’s popularity and endurance, but there’s a confidence and a bounce to the rest of the title too. In fact, I suggest that it’s the last to have launched of the really great British humour comics, and – just making it into the start of the decade – the very best of those to have started in the 1980s.

An interesting sidenote, thanks to a comment by the artist and writer Steve Bright on the comicsuk forum: regular Wacky artist Mike Atwell had drawn the main picture of schoolboy inventor Wacky and his space rocket for the dummy issue of Nutty, but for this actual launch issue the picture was redrawn by Steve himself (then a 19-year-old sub-editor at DC Thomson).

Nutty 160280 002.jpg
 Scoopy: Gordon Bell (artist)

Scoopy: Gordon Bell (artist)

 Wacky: Mike Atwell (artist)

Wacky: Mike Atwell (artist)

 The Wild Rovers: Ken Harrison (artist)

The Wild Rovers: Ken Harrison (artist)

 Doodlebug: Gordon Bell (artist)

Doodlebug: Gordon Bell (artist)

 The School Belles: Evi de Bono (artist)

The School Belles: Evi de Bono (artist)

 Bananaman: John Geering (artist)

Bananaman: John Geering (artist)

 Bananaman: John Geering (artist)

Bananaman: John Geering (artist)

On this day, 15 February 1975: Valiant and Lion

On this day, 15 February 1975: Valiant and Lion

On this day, 14 February 1987: Buster

On this day, 14 February 1987: Buster