Publication Dates: 1960 – 2000
Number of Issues Published: 1906 (#1 – #1906)
Dimensions: Tabloid size
Paper Stock: Newsprint
Publishing Format: Was Ongoing Series
Buster was a long-running British comic (28 May 1960 – 4 January 2000) which carried a mixture of humour and adventure strips, although the former increasingly replaced the latter. It was originally published by IPC Magazines Ltd; but in consequence of the sale of that company’s comics division, Fleetway, in the 1980s, Buster passed into the ownership of Egmont UK Ltd, who thereafter published it under the Fleetway imprint.
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).
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.
Throughout, it was never revealed what Buster had under his cap, until the very last issue, when he took it off to reveal the same hairstyle that Dennis the Menace has.
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. Here is a list of how the strips came to an end:
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 now possesses great intelligence because he has passed an exam with flying colours, much to his disappointment.
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.
This final strip was written by the last cartoonist for Buster, J. Edward Oliver.
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. See Buster (sport comic) for more information.
On 19 March 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 March 2009, Egmont UK announced they were intending 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 2009. Misty and Buster then had their release dates swapped, and the Buster special was finally released on 9 December 2009.
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 (25/2/1961) – which itself had merged with The Wonder.
Film Fun (15/9/1962) – which itself had merged with Picture Fun, Kinema Comic, Film Picture Stories, Illustrated Chips and Top Spot.
The Big One (27/2/1965)
Monster Fun (6/11/1976)
School Fun (2/6/1984)
Whizzer and Chips (7/10/1990) – which itself had previously absorbed Whoopee! (which itself had merged with Wow!, Cheeky and Shiver and Shake), Krazy, Scouse Mouse and Knockout
6 different issues 1960-1970
7 different issues 1970-1972
8 different issues 1972-1975
7 different issues 1975-1977
7 different issues 1977
7 different issues 1977
8 different issues 1977,1978
8 different issues 1978
9 different isstes 1978
9 different issues 1978
9 different issues 1978
10 different issues 1978,1979
10 different issues 1979,1980,1982,1983
11 different issues 1983,1984
10 different issues 1984,1985,1986,1988,1989
3 different issues 1991,1992
4 different issues 1992,1993
Best of monthly 1987-06, 1987-10, 1988-10
Best of monthly 1989-02, 1991-02
Best of monthly 1991-07, 1992-01
Best of monthly 1992-02, 1993-01
Best of monthly 1993-07, 1993-11
Book of spooky stories 1975, Book of thrills 1963, Christmas special
Comic library 10
Holiday special 1983,1984,1989, Puzzle holiday special 1984, Countryside spotter book
1960-07-02, fortnightly 32,41,53,57,85,86
2 issues 1982, 3 issues 1983
7 different issues from 1960,1961
6 different issues from 1961,1962
7 different issues from 1962
6 different issues from 1962,1963
7 different issues from 1964,1965
5 different issues from 1965,1967
4 different issues from 1967
6 different issues from 1967,1968,1969
8 different issues from 1969
5 different issues from 1970,1971,1972
7 different issues from 1973,1976
11 different issues from 1977,1979,1980,1981,1982,1983
11 different issues from 1983,1984,1985,1987,1988
7 different issues from 1988,1989 monster fun holiday special 1985
Buster Book 1962,1967,1968
Comic Library 1-4
Comic Library 5-9
Comic Library 11-15
Comic Library 16,17,19-21
Comic Library 22-26
Comic Library 27,28,30, Holiday Fun Special 1969