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Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Yesterday's Papers - The Lion

Lion was another long running British comic - a bit before my time really - it ran from 1952 until 1974 though I can remember reading it from time to time in its latter years. It was originally produced to compete with The Eagle. It did this well and readers were attracted to its grittier style though it's Dan Dare clone Captain Condor was something of a failure. Dare himself would appear in the comic when the Eagle was merged into the title.

The issue pictured is from August 1969 (I was heading for my third birthday then) and, as always, the letters page offers a snapshot of the time. One reader claimed to be the comic's oldest reader and at 62 , Thos Adams of Ayreshire had no-one ready to dispute his claim. Reader Christopher Herman wrote to the comic with something that had been troubling him - "I was cycling up a hill one day, with the sun shining, when I saw some puddles in the road. But as I got nearer they vanished! Is there any explanation for this?" The editor answered, "Yes they were mirages."  Whew, glad they cleared that one up! There was a voucher that would entitle the lucky ready to a free day in a Butlins Camp (think prisoner of war camps with red coats) of their choice. The reader snipped the voucher and sent it to the address given and then free tickets would be said for the reader and their mother and father. Ahh such different times, when Butlins seemed exotic.

Lion, like many British comics, was made up of mixed genres - adventure, horror, sci-fi and humour. And the comic's closing strip was Mowser the Priceless Puss which ran for the length of the comic's life and was popular enough to survive Lion's eventual merger into Valient.

Ahh, those were the days!

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