On this day, 22 June 1974: Buster and Cor!!
The multitalented comic writer and blogger Michael Carroll posted a wonderful Buster family tree infographic the other day. Of the twelve comics he shows as having merged directly into Buster, I would say that Cor!! was among the most significant.
Cor!! had enjoyed a healthy run as a standalone title (1970 to 1974) and – after Whizzer and Chips – was one of the first to be published by IPC as a purely humour comic. It was packed with funny strips and was distinct from Buster which presented more of a mix of fun and adventure tales. The merge in June 1974 – just a few issues before the unified comic shrank to a more tabloidy format – marked the beginning of Buster’s gradual transformation into a more purely humour title. In fact, it was to become the flagship comic of IPC’s humour group.
This is a confident merger issue. The cover looks very strong and inviting, and I like the warm ‘Welcome to Cor!! readers!’ on page three. It appears to be clear in its mission to be ‘the kind of comic you will all be itching to get your hands on every Monday’, and about how it planned to become so.
Cor!! readers were not treated as the poor cousins. There is an equal split of seven strips each from Buster (Buster’s Diary, Faceache, Pete’s Pocket Army, Rent-a-Ghost Ltd, Sammy Brester’s Ski-board Squad, Fishboy, Clever Dick) and Cor!! (The Spectre Inspector, Wally’s Weirdies, Ivor Lott and Tony Broke, Val’s Vanishing Cream, Football Madd, Chalky, The Bully Buzzard). Four completely new strips (Snooper, Uncle Ironsides, Marney the Fox, Brian’s Bike) add to the feeling of this being the start of a brand new comic. There are loads of competitions, and an eight-page mini-comic pull-out (featuring a reprint episode of Buster classic Charlie Peace) ramp up the value.