DESPITE HAVING spent my entire working life with typewriter then computer, I have mustered only two great claims to literary immortality. One was being featured in a Norwegian newspaper crossword – Clue 7 Across. The second is writing a script for Pansy Potter, the famous strongman’s daughter of comics fame.
This came about when I was a Courier whippersnapper. I was having a chat with the legendary DC Thomson comics editor Ian Chisholm, then in charge of the Sparky.
Sparky had been launched in 1965 as Sparky ‘For Boys and Girls’, but by the late 1970s it was titled Sparky Comic and was on the way to being merged with The Topper.
I had never worked on the comics and, with a wee twinkle in his eye, Chiz asked me to try my hand at a script.
Writing something witty was beyond me, but I leafed through Sparky and decided that Pansy Potter was a possibility, on the basis that she had fewer frames to fill than the other strips.
Lo and behold, the script was accepted and appeared in Sparky as my one and only intrusion into the comics world.
Back to business. Earlier this month, London-based Comic Book Auctions offered a copy of the Beano from 1938. It was No 21, the first-ever ‘Xmas Number’ – and thus a valuable collectors’ edition.
But it also marked the very first appearance of Pansy Potter, brilliantly drawn by Hugh McNeill with biceps that would make Popeye go spinach green with envy.
Estimated at £650-£750, this rare issue took £1879.
A copy of Beano No 21 is currently on show at The Beano: Manual for Mischief exhibition at the V&A in London.