Victor Comic and me (1)

When I was just a lad in the early 1960s, I read comics at every opportunity.
To be honest, I eventually decided that a comic with only pictures in it was too quickly consumed and for that reason it didn’t give a great deal of value for money. Eventually therefore, I settled on “Wizard” as my comic of choice, because it had only text stories inside and it therefore took a lot longer to read. My favourite characters included “The Wolf of Kabul” a ripping yarn about English intervention in Afghanistan involving a man armed with a cricket bat:

Political correctness was not first and foremost in anybody’s mind in these stories, but at least they did always win:

I also recollect “The Scarlet Skull”, a series about a First World War pilot in a Bristol Fighter who was armed with a Mauser revolver and who brought German aircraft down with just one bullet through the pilot’s head:

There wasn’t anything that he couldn’t do. He inspired me. If there’d still been an RFC in 1962, I would have joined it.

This cover mentions “Wilson the Wonder Athlete” but given my attraction to ice buns and chocolate bars, I wasn’t particularly interested in stories about running around very quickly or about living in a cave on the Yorkshire moors eating nuts and berries:

Another favourite story of mine was about a tree in Kenya that was so high that it had whole tribes of people living in it. No, really, I do remember it, but nobody else seems to!
I did buy other comics with my pocket money though. I can still remember waiting impatiently for a new comic called Victor to come out on February 5th 1961. I went up to the newsagent’s in High Street, Taylors, and asked Albert Taylor to make sure he saved me one. I even returned to his  shop on several occasions to make sure that he had not forgotten what I’d asked him to do:

There was a “Super Squirt Ring” as a free gift, but I just don’t remember that:

What I do remember was the edge of the comic where a machine had cut it. It was heavily and stiffly serrated and very, very tactile as you rubbed your finger across it. Ten years later, I would have a university lecturer telling me about French novelist, Marcel Proust and his madeleine cake but this famous literary event didn’t even come close to Victor Comic around 9.30 am on February 5th 1961.
The free gift from Victor Comic, which I  do definitely remember, was the plastic wallet which would eventually contain more than 20 postcard sized pictures of the ‘Star Teams of 1961’. This is a wallet like the one I had, but I can’t find an exact match:


The Star Teams included England, Tottenham Hotspur and Ipswich and Scottish teams such as Glasgow Celtic, “The Rangers” and Kilmarnock:

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There were also Northern Irish teams such as Glenavon and Portadown whose results, in those days, were featured on BBC TV on Saturday afternoons. Rugby League was not forgotten with Wigan and St Helens. The England and Scotland Rugby Union XVs were there as well. This is Wigan:

Nowadays, the Star Teams of 1961 are almost permanently on sale on ebay, but that’s not the same thrill as going up to the newsagent to buy the comics with them in, straight after breakfast.

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14 Comments

Filed under Aviation, Criminology, History, Humour, Literature, Personal, Writing

14 responses to “Victor Comic and me (1)

  1. I don’t think anything will ever be as grand as we remember our childhoods. I know I miss mine.

    • Yes, and I wish that I had kept more of the things I treasured but they seem somehow to have disappeared over the years. I am keenly awaiting the invention of the time machine which will deposit me outside my parents’ house at 7.30 am on February 5th 1961. I wonder if I’ll be able to watch myself come out and go to buy “Victor”?

      • I completely agree. Interestingly enough I’ve been through another recent space of decluttering where old magazines and toys have survived. However this time I was ruthless to throw anything that was broken.

  2. We also grew up with comic books of all types. They’re a wonderful way of encouraging young readers to explore other books.

    • Yes, they are, although things are a lot more difficult with the children of today. I’m afraid that the computer, with it’s fantastic games and its non-stop contact with others, is proving to be a greater negative force than we anticipated. It certainly stands firmly between most children and a good book.

  3. I used to like the free gift cardboard league tables that had to be manually and tediously updated.

    • I fully agree with you. I can remember getting one virtually every year and dutifully putting all the teams in the right order for a couple of weeks, but then giving up. It was pretty much the same with the Lett’s Schoolboys’ Diary I got every year. After January 9th it looks as if the world must have come to an end!

  4. Those comics really were terrific for young children. I remember mine fondly and some of the free gifts were out of this world (for a 60s child)!

    • Yes, they were. My favourite was the wallet I described in my post but I also have dim memories of one which was made of two circular cards and you twisted it to get information, but about what, I have no idea! I remember that I played with it for a long time. Lots of the old free gifts are still available on ebay, of course.

      • I can’t say with any certainty I remember those either. There were certainly quite a few different gifts, how many sell on eBay is baffling they must have cost pennies to make! Everyone collects something I suppose!

  5. Wow! I never saw a issue of “Wizard”, but from looking at the posted covers, I feel as though I missed something good.

    • Absolutely! I used to enjoy Wizard and Victor enormously. At the same time, though, as a nine year old in England, I used to think that the relatively infrequent American comics such as Superman and Superboy were absolutely wonderful. And as for “Famous Monsters of Filmland”, well, that transported me to a completely different world!

  6. Chris Waller

    I had completely forgotten The Wizard. A consequence of increasing age perhaps. I do recall that my dad said that he used to read it so it must date back to the late 20s.

    • Yes, I think it did. My Grandad used to read a comic called “Chums” during and after the First World War. I saw it myself for the first time when, as a boy, I read the bound volume that my Dad had read in the 1930s when he was a boy. Most of the old magazines and comics are available extremely cheaply on ebay and I even found a replacement copy of Volume XVIII of “Chums” on abebooks. What titles they had to the stories! My favourite was ““Mamette and the Moose : A Strange Ally in a Quest for Vengeance “ They don’t write them like that any more.

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