When Comics were more than Guns and Ammo

Posted on by Chris Hewitt


I found these little comic books at a flea market in London last year. They were all published by Brockhampton Press which was a British publishing company based in Leicester from about 1940.




Elizabeth Chapman’s Marmaduke, was a series of tales about a red truck. They were written by Elizabeth and illustrated by eccles Williams. Brockhampton began publishing the series in the 1950′s.




Vilhelm Hansen (May 6, 1900 – December 23, 1992) and his wife Carla Hansen (September 19, 1906 – December 6, 2001) were an artistic couple and responsible for Bruin – The Deep Sea Diver. Vilhelm worked mainly as an advertising artist between the two World Wars, and only started making comics and illustrating the tales written by Carla in the 1940s.



Their collaborative comic Rasmus Klump (Bruin) about the adventures of a bear, a pelican, a penguin, and some other animals, debuted in Denmark in 1951 as a daily comic strip. It soon became one of the most popular European children comics, being translated and distributed into many languages and countries.


Dora Thatcher was born on September 14, 1912 in Abertillery, Pembrokeshire, Wales. In She wrote short stories for the BBC and small magazines and is noted for her stories about “Henry,” a helicopter that travels to different countries and a tugboat named “Tommy.”



Neville Main was behind Jimmy’s tales, he created Jimmy in 1948. Neville began illustrating children’s books Brockhampton around 1944. While Main was to return to Jimmy a number of times over the years, he quickly became associated with a number of other characters like Matilda Mouse and Muffin the Mule.




3 Responses to When Comics were more than Guns and Ammo

  1. Kellie Strøm

    I have Bruin The Deep Sea Diver somewhere in the house, though I can’t find it in the chaos. It was pointed out to me that the key panel showing the parrot’s mother leaving it as an egg on the deck is missing from the Danish books.

    Different editions made varying selections from the original newspaper strips. I’ve posted some of the english language strips from the Glasgow Evening Times here:


  2. John Gough

    Growing up in Australia in the early 1950s, books were few, at least for me.
    This strange little book is one I had (now lost), and remember fondly.
    I was able to buy “Jimmy at the Zoo” as an adult, a battered old copy, with torn pages. I have just re-read it.
    “Jimmy at the Seaside” is (from memory) very similar.
    The format is bizarre, by modern standards: landscape layout, about 8 cm high by 16 cm wide, each page having two square frames.
    The story is simple, but interestingly twisted.
    Jimmy is a little boy, who lives with his great-aunt (or some similar elderly female relative).
    He is rather ordinary, except that he has personal access to a tiny steam engine that runs on a railway of his own.
    One day he travels to Boytown, a nearby village where all the “adult” jobs are handled by boys, several of whom have faces strikingly like Jimmy’s.
    I suspect that Neville Main was not able to draw more than two or three distinct faces.
    Boytown is also unsual in that a talking monkey, called Joe, is one of the responsible adult-like workers.
    Jimmy has gone to Boytown to offer the boys, and Joe, a day at the seaside.
    Off they all chuff, and have a great time at the seaside, doing all the traditional things.
    Then they all go home.
    What could be sweeter?
    Similar day-at-the-beach adventures feature in many books of the era, such as “Rupert Bear” or “Noddy”, or “Sooty”.
    This is the kind of book that will probably never be reprinted, and is unlikely to ever catch the attention of children’s literature critics and enthusiasts.
    But it has a peculiar charm that I am sure modern readers would appreciate.
    Why only 4 stars?
    Well, the artwork is plain, and workmanlike.
    The narrative is similarly plain.
    This is not GREAT children’s literature: but it is a delight!
    It is part of a series, known as the “Mary Mouse Series”.
    Two of the other titles in this series are “Muffin the Mule” books, and I think there are also some silhouette retellings of Arabian Nights fairytales.
    John Gough – jagough49@gmail.com

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