|Publisher||IPC Magazines Ltd|
|Publication date||28 May 1960 – 4 January 2000|
|No. of issues||1,902|
Buster was a British comic which began publication in 1960, originally published by IPC Magazines Ltd under the company's comics division Fleetway, then by Egmont UK Ltd under the same imprint until its closure in 2000. Despite missing issues due to industrial action during its run, the comic published 1,902 issues in total. The comic carried a mixture of humour and adventure strips, featuring the title character Buster and a host of other characters.
The title character, whose strip usually appeared on the front cover, was Buster himself. He was originally billed as Buster: Son of Andy Capp; Andy Capp is the lead character of the eponymous Daily Mirror newspaper strip, and Buster wore a similar flat cap to reinforce the connection. In early issues Buster often referred to his father, and Andy was seen in the comic (attempting to find a gas leak in three frames of the 18 June 1960 issue; shown in two drawn photographs in the 2 July issue that same year, the first of which was displayed by Buster's mum with the pronouncement, "It's a photo of Buster taken with Andy! You can see he's got his dad's fine straight nose"). Buster's mum was often referred to by name, and was consistently drawn to resemble Andy's wife Flo.
The connection with Andy Capp was gradually forgotten over time, and Andy no longer appeared in the strip by the mid-1960s. From 1965 the strip instead featured Buster in two long-running series: as lead character in the extremely durable "Buster's Diary" (1960–68 and 1974–85) and in "Buster's Dream World" (1968–74). A Swedish edition of Buster began in 1967. At first, most of the material was taken from the UK edition; but as time went on the magazine produced more and more original material.
In its final years, the comic mostly consisted of reprints from either Buster itself or from the twelve comics which had merged with it over its 40-year run. The final strip was written by the last cartoonist for Buster, J. Edward Oliver. The last page of that final issue also revealed how every story in the comic ended, typically in a humorous reversal of the obvious, or expected, manner.
In 2009, Egmont UK intended to publish four one-off specials, celebrating the comics Roy of the Rovers, Battle, Buster and Misty. To mark this event, the website BusterComic.co.uk held a poll in which users could vote for their favourite Buster strip. The results were released in May 2009, with X-Ray Specs topping the poll. This was passed onto Egmont, and the special was due for release on 16 September. Misty and Buster then had their release-dates swapped, and the Buster special was finally released on 9 December.
On 19 March 2012, the Royal Mail launched a special stamp collection to celebrate Britain's rich comic book history. The collection featured The Beano, The Dandy, Eagle, The Topper, Roy of the Rovers, Bunty, Buster, Valiant, Twinkle and 2000 AD.
In August 2016, Rebellion Developments purchased The IPC/Fleetway back-catalogue of British comics and characters, and in July 2017 published the Buster classic The Leopard from Lime Street, with other Buster strips Marney the Fox to follow in October, and Faceache in December, with other comics characters from the pages of Scream! also going to be published.
As occurred with other British comics such as The Dandy, many other comics merged with Buster over the years, in consequence of which Buster inherited some of their characters:
- Radio Fun (25 February 1961; which itself had merged with The Wonder)
- Film Fun (15 September 1962; which itself had merged with Picture Fun, Kinema Comic, Film Picture Stories, Illustrated Chips, and Top Spot)
- The Big One (27 February 1965)
- Giggle (20 January 1968)
- Jet (2 October 1971)
- Cor!! (22 June 1974)
- Monster Fun (6 November 1976)
- Jackpot (30 January 1982)
- School Fun (2 June 1984)
- Nipper (1 September 1987)
- Oink! (22 October 1988)
- Whizzer and Chips (3 November 1990; which itself had previously absorbed Whoopee! — which itself had merged with Wow!, Cheeky and Shiver and Shake — Krazy, Scouse Mouse, and Knockout)
Jet was a short lived comic that ran for 22 issues in 1971. It contained a mixture of both humorous and adventure stories. The comic introduced the character of Faceache, one of Buster's most popular and long running characters.
List of strips
- Adam Adman — A young man obsessed by advertising, desperate to own the 'latest thing'.
- All Creatures Grunt and Smell — A vet and his family who would often find themselves in slapstick situations thanks to the misbehaviour of the animals being treated.
- All Humans Tall And Small — An animal vet helps out other animals who have humans as pets.
- Andy and Sandy (1961–1962)
- Andy'n'Fred (1966–1968)
- Athletes of Lost Island (1963)
- Back-Tracker Jack (1965–1966)
- Bam, Splat and Blooie (1960)
- Barney Bluffer
- Barry & Boing — The adventures of a boy and a stretchable alien robot.
- Beastenders — A spoof of EastEnders in which Albert Square — rechristened here as 'Albert Scare' — was populated by monsters (often scary variations of real EastEnders characters). In keeping with the soap opera theme, stories were often played out over several weeks rather than each strip being self-contained. A recurring theme was the efforts of Mr Grott, a council official, to get rid of the monsters so that Albert Scare could be redeveloped. In 1989 the focus changed, with the monsters seemingly leaving Albert Scare to escape Grott; however, the child monsters stayed behind to drive away the new residents, beginning a feud with two human children who now lived there.
- Benny Hill (1966–1968)
- Ben the Bad
- Bertie Bumpkin
- Bewitched Belinda (from Whizzer and Chips)
- Big Chief Pow Wow
- Big Daddy
- Big 'Ead (28 May 1960 – 18 February 1961; reprinted in Smash! in 1969) — The humorous misadventures of a Mr. Know-It-All character, summed up by the strip's catchphrase, continually bellowed at the lead character by his irate victims: "Have a care there, Big 'Ead!"
- Big One, The (1965)
- Billy Blow
- Blarney Bluffer
- Black Axe the Saxon Avenger (1960–1965)
- Bluebottle And Basher
- Bobby's Ghoul (from Whizzer and Chips) — A boy whose girlfriend is a ghost who only he can see. The fact that others couldn't see Ghoul was often used to their advantage or to cause mischief.
- Bob Morane and the Towers of Crystal (1965–1966)
- Bonehead (from Jet)
- Boris and Shimmy in Dinkle Land (1960)
- Brainsly — A very intelligent friend of Buster's, he appeared in the main Buster strip before being given his own spin-off. Although his almost genius-like abilities meant he could achieve great things, he usually became over-ambitious, with disaster striking as a result.
- Boy Who Knew Too Much, The (1963)
- Brenda — Brenda Bagg; a large, aggressive girl who appeared in the main Buster strip before being given her own spin-off. Often portrayed as an antagonist towards Buster, the two would occasionally be friendly. Initially she was part of a gang with two similar-looking girls, Phyllis and Veronica, but the characters were discontinued after Brenda was given her own strip. Plots usually focused on Brenda's angry reaction to a perceived insult, or occasionally her (failed) attempts to become slim.
- Brayne Drayne (1965)
- Brett Shane frontier scout (1964–1965)
- Brian's Bike
- Bright Hunter
- Bruce Forsyth (from Radio Fun, 1962–1963)
- Bruise Brothers — A spoof of The Blues Brothers (possibly inspired by The Two Rons sketch from Hale and Pace), this strip focused on two physically imposing but somewhat dim-witted brothers who worked as bouncers, and the various ways in which relying on brawn rather than brain backfired on them.
- Bumpkin Billionaires, The (from Whizzer and Chips) — A family of poor yokels who discover vast quantities of oil beneath their farm (based loosely on The Beverley Hillbillies). Whilst their long-suffering bank manager would constantly attempt to persuade them to invest their money, the family wanted to return to 'the simple loife' and would do all they could to rid themselves of their fortune, usually inadvertently making even more money in the process.
- Buck Rogers (1961–1962)
- Bully Buzzard, The (1974)
- Bungle Brothers, The (1965)
- Buster himself
- Buster's Bedtime Tale (1965)
- Buster's Diary (1960–1968, 1974–1985)
- Buster's Dream Time
- Buster's Dream-World (1968–1974)
- Buster's Good Deeds (1961)
- Busters of Bygone Days (1960–1961)
- Buster son of Andy Capp (1960–1961)
- Byrds of Paradise Isle
- Calamity Kate (1966–1968)
- Captain Crucial — A superhero with the power to make things, and people, 'cooler' — although this would often backfire (for example, having helped a policeman to earn a promotion and therefore 'wear stripes', Captain Crucial transformed his uniform into a more fashionable spotted outfit).
- Chalky (from Cor!!) — A young graffiti artist with incredible ability, to the point where other characters might have conversations or arguments with his drawings of people. Chalky would often use his drawing skills to get out of trouble or avoid confrontations with bullies; however, it would on occasion get him into worse trouble than he was in initially.
- Champion the Wonder Horse
- Charlie Drake (from Radio Fun)
- Charlie Peace, The Astounding Adventures of
- Class Wars (from School Fun) — Thanks to a merger the pupils of an upmarket private school (The Toffs) and a rougher Comprehensive (The Scruffs) find themselves in rivial classes (in more than one sense) in the same school. Both groups would attempt to get the upper hand over the other, but occasionally they would join forces where necessary (often against a teacher).
- Cliff Hanger (a different strip of the same name ran in Thunder from 1970–71)
- Consternation Street (9 January – 23 October 1965; reprinted in Smash! in 1969–71) — A collection of unlikely neighbours rub shoulders on a very small street. The Snobbs and the Ardupps, Colonel Curry and Caesar (his dog), Miss Primm and her pets, Cutprice the Grocer, and Roger the Lodger are watched over by the dim-witted Constable Clott.
- Crabbe's Crusaders (from c. 1969) — Four shipwrecked orphan boys wash up on an uncharted island where Professor Crabbe enlists them as "crusaders for peace," sending them on dangerous missions.
- Cruncher — the tiny Termite with the B-I-G appetite!
- Deadly Hedley
- Delbert the Dynamite Dude — Buster's best friend, he initially appeared in the main 'Buster' strip before being given his own spin-off. Obsessed with coming across as cool and trendy, fate would often conspire to make him look foolish.
- Dinah Mite
- Disappearing Trix — A girl capable of invisibility at will.
- Dizzy Dimwitty
- Double Trouble (from Nipper)
- Dozy Derek — Buster's slow-witted friend, he initially appeared in the main 'Buster' strip before being given his own spin-off. Well-meaning but incredibly dim, his utter lack of common sense would frequently cause trouble for himself and others.
- Dracula Dobbs — An ordinary boy, Derek Dobbs, who became a vampire at night — but with an insatiable appetite for food rather than blood. Most strips focused on Dracula Dobbs' attempts to steal food from Roland Butter, a fast-food vendor. Usually, Dobbs would win, but occasionally Butter got the better of him. Derek was unaware of his secret identity, but his long-suffering parents (who often ended up with the bill for his massive food consumption) knew the truth and would frequently try to keep him awake or indoors. In 1991 the focus of the strip changed when Dracula Dobbs bit both his parents, turning them into a family of food vampires.
- Drifter Long
- The Drowned World
- Elmer (29 October 1960 – 17 October 1964; reprinted in Smash!, as 'Wacker', between 1969 and '71) — The crazy antics of a Royal Navy Mis-leading Seaman, who is forever driving the captain of HMS Impossible to a nervous breakdown.
- Faceache (from Jet) — A boy with the ability to morph his face into a variety of shapes, something he called a 'scrunge'. Capable of producing amusing or frightening faces, but also specific faces on occasion (allowing him to pretend to be someone else), Faceache would use his powers for mischief, comic purposes or to get himself out of trouble — often causing extra problems for himself in the process.
- Faulty Towers — The Oldest School In The Land
- Fishboy — a British boy abandoned on a desert island as a baby who survives as a feral child by learning to breathe underwater and talk to shark and other sea creatures. He also develops webbed fingers and toes which gives him the ability to swim as fast as a car. The strip follows his adventures as a teenager as he travels the world's seas searching for his long-lost parents and helping people in trouble.
- Fuss Pot (from Knockout) — A snooty young woman obsessed with perfection and good manners, which usually proved her downfall. Her cousin, Scruff Pott, appeared in many stories and was her polar opposite.
- Freddie "Parrot-face" Davies
- Fright School (1985–1987) — A haunted school whose staff and pupils constantly battled against the attempts of the live-in spooks to force them out.
- Frozen Summer
- Galaxus — The Thing From Outer Space
- George's Germs
- Good Guy — A conscientious young man who always did the right thing, to the frustration of the villainous Big T — head of Big T (Big Temptation) Ltd. — who would constantly try to tempt Guy into bad behaviour. This always failed, partly due to Guy's innate goodness, but also the ineptitude of Big T's minions.
- Gums (from Monster Fun) — A shark who believed himself to be very scary, but who had quite literally lost his bite due to losing his teeth. Most of the strip's humour came from his attempts to replace his teeth with a large set of dentures, which would usually meet some comical fate by the end of the strip, leaving Gums as toothless as ever.
- The Happy Family
- Ivor Lott and Tony Broke (from Cor!!) / Ivor Lott and Tony Broke with Milly O'Naire and Penny Less (Milly and Penny from Jackpot) — A very rich young man (Ivor) who constantly showed off his wealth to the very poor Tony, often splashing out on outlandish items to impress. However, this would normally backfire on Ivor, while Tony would end up better off despite his lack of money. A traditional feature of the strip would show the two calling a truce at Christmas. Featured in Jackpot comic, Milly and Penny were essentially female equivalents of the boys, and were later merged into the Ivor and Tony strip as their respective girlfriends.
- Jack Pott (from Jackpot) — A boy with exceptional luck and ability at winning bets, something which would frequently save his skin at the last minute when in trouble. However this would sometimes boomerang to his disadvantage, such as winning a large cake on a game show by getting a full house at bingo, only to see a bunch of friends, neighbors and wellwishers trying to take a slice, with Jack remarking "I've got another full house!"
- James Pond (Agent 008½)
- Jelly — Another friend of Buster's who initially appeared in the main Buster strip before being given his own spin-off. Very easily scared even by everyday objects, he would shake like a jelly (hence his name) when frightened, to the point that he literally jumped out of his skin and ran around as a skeleton in one strip.
- Joker (from Whizzer and Chips) — A boy obsessed with practical jokes, to his own great amusement but to the annoyance of most others. However, his pranks would often backfire, meaning the joke was on Joker.
- Junior Rotter (from Whizzer and Chips) — A comical junior version of J.R. Ewing, always seen in a cowboy hat. Junior would often get involved in dastardly schemes for personal gain, something which his virtuous sister, Sue Helen, would usually attempt to prevent.
- Kid King (from Jackpot) — A young monarch who would rather behave like a normal boy than take part in royal duties, much to the frustration of his minder.
- Kid Kong (from Monster Fun) — A large ape with the personality of a young boy, looked after by a kindly (human) grandmother. A friendly but somewhat slow-witted character, Kid struggled to understand why his stature scared people, and would often accidentally cause severe damage as a result of it.
- The Kids of Stalag 41 (from Jet)
- Laser Eraser (from Jackpot)
- Lazy Bones (from Whizzer and Chips) — Benny Bones, a boy who took every opportunity possible to sleep, much to the annoyance of his parents and teachers.
- The Leopard from Lime Street (1976–1985) — Billy Farmer, after being scratched by a radioactive leopard, gains leopard-like strength, speed, reflexes, and tree-climbing abilities. Written by Tom Tully, and drawn by Mike Western and Eric Bradbury, the strip bears numerous similarities Marvel Comics' Spider-Man)
- Lucy 'Lastic — A girl with the ability to stretch her body (including individual limbs) at will. Although rarely ill-intentioned, she would often inadvertently cause damage through her stretching.
- Mag Max
- March Of The Mighty Ones (reprinted from Monster Fun)
- Marney The Fox
- Martha's Monster Make-up (from Monster Fun) — drawn by Ken Reid, about a girl with a mysterious jar of magical cosmetics cream that temporarily transforms someone's face into that of a hideous monster.
- Master Mind — A seemingly ordinary boy who would transform into a superhero with amazing powers of deduction. A key feature of the strip was that readers would get a chance to solve the mystery too.
- Masters of the Loonyverse
- Maxwell Hawke
- Melvyn's Mirror — A boy capable of walking through his mirror into 'Mirrorland', where everything was backwards (for example, Christmas was the most miserable time of the year). Melvyn's reflection would also come to life and help guide Melvynn through Mirrorland.
- Mervyn's Monsters (a.k.a. Mervyn's Undercover Monsters)
- Memory Banks (from Whizzer and Chips) — An incredibly forgetful boy whose poor memory would lead to a variety of sticky situations. His family would also regularly appear, and would prove almost as forgetful as him.
- Mickey Marvel's Multigun
- Micro Chip
- Mighty McGinty (1964; reprinted in Smash! as The Fighting Three in 1970–1971) — The misadventures of three men: globe-trotters McGinty, Hambone, and Weasel are traveling the world, trying to raise enough money to start their own construction company, but get into fights – and jail – wherever they go.
- Milkiway — The Man From Mars (28 May 1960 – 10 March 1962; reprinted in Smash! as Monty Muddle – The Man from Mars in 1970–1971) — The misadventures of a spaceman who flies about in his small bubble-domed spacecraft trying to make friends with the Earth people. However, due to his misunderstanding of Earth customs, his every attempt at contact ends in disaster; and each strip typically ends with the catchphrase "I'll try again next week!"
- Mike's Bike
- Mr Crabbe
- Mummy's Boy (from Monster Fun) — A young boy still treated like a baby by his over-protective mother, to the point of still dressing him as a baby and pushing him around in a pram. He would often try and escape from his mother in order to behave like a normal boy of his age, but usually ended up being babied again.
- Nightmare on Erm Street — A child version of Freddy Kreuger who would regularly attempt to scare others — particularly a group of local girls — but usually ended up embarrassing himself instead.
- Nits Of The Round Table
- Odd Ball (from Whizzer and Chips)
- Old Nick
- Park, The (from Jackpot)
- Pete's Pimple (from Oink!) — A boy with severe acne, including one particularly gigantic pimple, which would sometimes burst at particularly awkward moments. Strips would either focus on Pete's failed attempts to rid himself of his pimple, or see him somehow using it to his advantage.
- Pete's Pocket Army
- Pete's Pop-Up Book — A boy with a magic pop-up book which could 'pop up' real-life versions of most things he desired — although sometimes with unplanned consequences.
- Phantom Force 5 (28 May 1960 – 7 March 1964; reprinted in Smash! in 1969–1970) — Adventures of a handpicked group of six specialists assigned to unusual missions that require special expertise both in the air and on the ground.
- The Pirates
- Rent-A-Ghost Ltd
- Ricky Rainbow (from Nipper)
- Rodney and Dez — A teenage version of Rodney and Del from Only Fools and Horses, initially simply titled 'Rodney'. The conscientious Rodney would usually try to do the right thing and prevent his crafty brother Dez from getting involved in dodgy get-rich-quick schemes.
- Sammy Brewsters Ski Board Squad
- School Belle (from School Fun) — An appearance-conscious schoolgirl who proved very popular with her male classmates, much to the chagrin of her nemesis, the unattractive Grotty Glenda. Most strips focused either on Belle's latest romance or Glenda's attempts to destroy her popularity, sometimes with the help of her boyfriend, Beefy Bernie (who was secretly attracted to Belle himself). A feature of the strip was 'Know your Nurks', a small breakout box which each week featured a different comically named 'nurk' (the term given to the unpopular boys who often nursed crushes on Belle).
- School Team (from School Fun)
- Scrapham Junction
- Shrinker, The
- Sid's Snake (from Whizzer and Chips)
- Skid Kidd by Rod McKie
- Slow Coach (from School Fun)
- Smiler and Dimps
- S.O.S. Squad
- The Sparrows Go to War (9 January – 24 July 1965; reprinted in Smash! in 1970) — Three Cockney children are stranded in occupied France in World War II. The Sparrow children – Tommy, Jan and Podge – are on the run from the Germans.
- Stan Still
- Star Wreck
- Store Wars (from Whizzer and Chips)
- Stupid Street
- Superman (from Radio Fun)
- Sweeny Toddler (from Shiver and Shake, Whoopee!, and Whizzer and Chips) — gag-a-day strip about a mischievous toddler (the name being a play on Sweeney Todd).
- Sweet Tooth (from Whizzer and Chips)
- Thundercap — by Mike Higgs
- Tin Teacher
- Tomboy (from Cor!!)
- Tom Thug (from Oink!) — Billed in Buster as 'Tom Thug's Schooldayz' and later 'Tom Thug: The Brainless Bully', this strip told the story of a somewhat physically imposing but stupid bully and the various scrapes he became involved with. Although Tom's brute strength meant some of his classmates (and even teachers) were scared of him, his lack of intelligence meant they could normally outwit him. Tom's parents regularly featured in the strip, with Tom's father an adult version of him, frustrated at his son's poor bullying 'skills'. By contrast, his mother was sweet-natured and respectable and genuinely believed Tom was a nice boy.
- Top of the Class (from Jackpot) — A one-room schoolhouse in a small town contains a classroom divided into two rival gangs, "the Scroffs" full of shabbily dressed kids and "the Toffs", full of smartly dressed kids. Both gangs feel themselves superior to the other, the Toffs due to their status and the Scroffs due to their roughness they can handle anything. Although the strip varied which gang of kids "won", often both would be made to face the anger of the young teacher who presided over the school.
- The Toys of Doom (7 February 1965 – 13 January 1968; reprinted in Smash! as Threat of the Toymaker in 1970–1971; reprinted in Buster from 3 May – 6 September 1986) — Criminal scientist Doctor Droll escapes from Garstone Prison with the aid of an army of remote-controlled mechanical toys he has constructed, along the way taking the Prison Governor's children, Pam and Peter Keen, as hostages. Hampered by the children at every turn, Droll finds himself on the run, pursued by the police wherever he goes.
- Twister, Trail of the
- Val's Vanishing Cream (from Cor!!)
- Vampire Brats
- Vid Kid — A boy whose video remote control worked on the real world; for example allowing him to pause time to escape from a bully, rewind time to prevent a mishap, or record an event for evidence.
- Von Hoffman's Invasion (from Jet)
- Walt Teaser (from School Fun)
- Watch Out Beagle's About
- Watford Gapp (from Whizzer and Chips)
- Winners, The (from Jackpot)
- Wizard of Football, The
- Wonder Wellies 17 Sept. 1983 to August 1985
- World Wide Wheelers
- X-Ray Specs (from Monster Fun)
- Young Arfur (from School Fun)
- Zarga — Man of Mystery
Here is a list of how the strips came to an end in the final issue:
- Benny Bones of Lazy Bones tells the doctor that he is suffering from insomnia.
- Joker reveals that his real name is Jeremy Beadle.
- Chalky is arrested for vandalism.
- Captain Crucial has a bad hair day.
- Odd Ball bursts because he hides inside a thorn bush.
- Sweet Tooth suffers from tooth decay because of all the sweets he's eaten.
- Tom Thug is horrified to discover that he has passed his exams with flying colours, meaning he is no longer a brainless bully.
- Bernie Banks of Memory Banks dies because he forgets to keep breathing.
- Junior Rotter becomes the Prime Minister.
- Tony Broke is happy because his parents have won 90 squillion pounds on the National Lottery, making Tony and his family mega-rich. Ivor Lott has broken down in tears because his father has lost all of his money investing in the Buster comic, making Ivor and his family very poor. Thus, Ivor Lott and Tony Broke have swapped places, with Tony being rich and Ivor being poor.
- Melvyn of Melvyn's Mirror breaks the mirror, resulting in seven years' bad luck, but in Mirrorland, it's the opposite (seven years' good luck), but unfortunately, it also means that Melvyn will never see his family again and will be stuck in Mirrorland forever.
- Bobby of Bobby's Ghoul has grown old, so his ghoul-friend (who never ages because she is a ghost) breaks up with him.
- Watford Gapp can't think of a word rhyming with "oblige", so he cannot finish his poem.
- Fuss Pot is too fussy to appear in the comic.
- Ray of X-Ray Specs has his specs taken back by I.Squint, the optician because he says that he only lent Ray the specs in 1975, and that he couldn't keep them.
- Jon and Suzy of Double Trouble have started to like each other. Also Sweeny Toddler says that he is going to like everyone from now on.
- Buster takes off his cap to reveal a Dennis the Menace-style haircut.
- The Millennium Bug affects Vid Kid's remote, resulting in the entire universe being turned off.