Long before The Young Ones deigned to (dis)grace the TV airwaves, and longer before I’d even heard of Monty Python’s Flying Circus, my comedy heroes were Bill Oddie, Graeme Garden and Tim Brooke-Taylor, AKA The Goodies. They were silly, inventive, childish, slightly subversive, much more accessible to younger people like myself, and above all they were tremendous fun.
Their long-running half-hour show was part sitcom, part sketch-show, all anarchy, and crammed with gags and daftness.
And Bill, Graeme and Tim appeared in comics, too, with a strip in IPC’s Cor!! that ran from issue #24 (6 Jan 1973) to issue #74 (29 Dec 1973)…
Most of the strips were two-page standalone adventures crafted by a rotating crop of uncredited artists, with the Goodies themselves receiving a copyright tag. The licence to create the strip only ran for a year, expiring in December 1973. Cor!! itself only lasted for another six months before it was absorbed into Buster (regular readers might recall that the cover of Cor!!’s final issue appeared recently on this blog).
You can find lots more about The Goodies’ comic strip on the excellent Goodies Rule OK site, but in the meantime — in one of those moments where the creators risked the universe destroying itself in an infinite recursive loop — here’s a shot from the fourth-season episode “Camelot” in which we see Bill reading the issue of Cor!! cover-dated 5 May 1973:
Their appearance in Cor!! wasn’t their only foray into comics-related material. All three Goodies contributed their voices to the Bananaman cartoon, based on the strip that first appeared in issue #1 of DC Thomson’s Nutty in February 1980.
(Additionally, Bill and Tim respectively performed the voices of Asterix and Cacophonix in the British release of Asterix and the Big Fight in 1989, plus Tim played an astronomer in an episode the the Dennis the Menace cartoon in 1996.)
Recently I was invited to participate in a couple of episodes of A Walk in the Black Forest, a podcast recorded by a collection of Australian Goodies fans, and while preparing for the most recent episode I dug out my collection of Goodies books. See, back in the 1970s and 80s it was common for successful comedy shows to have accompanying books and other ephemera. Amongst the many Goodies-related goodies was this, The Goodies’ Book of Criminal Records from 1975…
Though the copyright of the book is credited to the Goodies, there’s no indication that they had much of a hand in its creation, but it’s fun nevertheless Like many similar tie-in books, the contents are a mish-mash of silly things — sketches, cartoons, the characters posing in silly costumes, etc. — very loosely wrapped up in a theme. I haven’t looked at my copy in many, many years, so I was pleasantly surprised to discover the spoof comic within…
I particularly like that the title features two exclamation marks, just like Cor!!, which I’m fairly sure was the only real British comic ever to do that (even though my inner pedant cringes at the very idea: one exclamation mark is enough, folks!).
The second page of Goody Goody!! features an avian mascot that is possibly intended to evoke memories of the masthead from Eagle…
Sadly we only get those two pages, and I’ve no idea whether any input from Graeme, Bill or Tim occurred, but it’s a cute addition to the book and an excellent example of exactly the way comics weren’t back in the day. (And quite possibly a subliminal inspiration for one of my own bits of silliness on this very blog.)
Update 20201009: Eagle-eyed reader Sheridan has spotted the buried deep inside The Goodies Book of Criminal Records the book’s real credits can be found: the contents pages of one of the fake magazines within contains this box:
The Goodies appeared twice more on the cover of Cor!!…
The image from The Goodies’ first cover of Cor!! was re-used as the cover of one of two Goodies Fun Books in 1977, which featured selected strips from the comics alongside puzzles and games. These were not on general sale, but available via a special offer from Cadbury.