was a long-running British newspaper comic strip, appearing in the Daily Mirror
from about 1959 until its final cancellation in 2006. The strip was mostly written by Maurice Dodd, who also worked as an advertising copywriter. In actual fact, Dodd was neither the strip's creator, nor its original writer — the strip was jointly created by its original artist Dennis Collins, and the Daily Mirror's
entertainments editor, while its first writer, Ben Witham got fired within weeks after the first few strips were regarded as dismally unfunny — but his name has always been the one most closely associated with the strip. Until 1983 it was drawn by Dennis Collins, in a highly detailed style which subsequent artists could never quite match. As of 2010 the Mirror
is reprinting 1960s strips with Collins art and new colouring, somewhat squashed to fit a modern comic page and containing some updates to topical material - e.g., Maisie's references to "That nice Mr. Wilson
" are now directed to "That nice Mr. Cameron
The strip features a group of urban schoolchildren and a dog. As such it is sometimes described as a British equivalent of Peanuts
, although it has a very different art style and relies on quirkily British humour in the tradition of music hall and Spike Milligan
See also this website
and The Other Wiki's Article
The Perishers provides examples of:
- The Alcoholic: Tatty Oldbitt.
- Author Existence Failure: While Maurice Dodd didn't create the strip (as mentioned above), meaning that his family had no power to prevent the Daily Mirror from appointing a new writer, the newspaper discontinued the strip immediately upon his death, because everyone involved agreed that no-one else could possibly write the strip as well as Dodd had done, and that attempting to do so would only have insulted his memory.
- Bad Liar: "Poor Girl", a kid who tries to plead poverty as an excuse for getting Wellington (who really is poor) to part with all his birthday presents. Never mind that she has a poor butler, maid, chauffeur etc. and wears a fur coat she got from the impoverished furriers.
- Cloud Cuckoolander: Marlon and occasionally Boot - the latter frequently believed himself to be an 18th century Lord transformed into a dog by a vengeful gypsy.
- Comic Book Time: Lampshaded by Wellington in one New Year strip, when he notices that he and his friends never seem to get any older.
- Depending on the Artist: After Dennis Collins retired, Maurice Dodd drew the strip for over a decade, but it was obvious that his drawing skills weren't really anywhere near those of Collins. The third and final artist, Bill Mevin didn't quite pull off a perfect imitation of Collins, but it was a pretty good one nonetheless.
- The Ditz: Marlon.
- Free-Range Children: especially when they go on holiday without adult supervision.
- Garden Hose Squirt Surprise: One mid-60s had Wellington asking Maisie to inspect the end of a hose while he went to adjust the "hydro control valve".
- Soon afterward Maisie found him leaning against a wall, and being Genre Savvy assumed that as soon as she took his place the wall would fall on her. She did it anyway, "just to go along with the gag", and a lampppost fell on her instead.
- Hollywood Magnetism: There's a strip where Wellington is demonstrating a magnet to Marlon, and he turns it backward so it will repel things. In reality, magnets will only repel other magnets, and only when their like poles are facing each other.
- It's Been Done: On one occasion Marlon took up inventing for a hobby. When his friends pointed out that his inventions (fire, the wheel and the horse and cart) had all been invented by other people, he wasn't worried because he invented them quicker and was therefore catching up.
- Keep Circulating the Tapes: or in this case, the paperback anthologies, published from the 60s to the early 90s, that were the strip's only ever print collections.
- Minor Living Alone: Wellington lives alone in a squat with his dog, even managing to go to school with the other kids. Before moving into the squat, he and Boot lived in a section of concrete sewer pipe that had been left lying around in a closed builder's yard.
- Once a Season: Once a year, the gang would go off to the beach for a holiday, and Boot the dog would wander off to peer into a particular rockpool to see if it still had crabs living in it. Cue a string of strips about the crabs, who had developed a religion based on the recurring phenomenon of the Eyeballs in the Sky.
- Parental Abandonment / There Are No Adults: it is never made clear which.
- Parody Religion: The crabs have one, worshipping Boot on his regular visits, although most of their leaders are just in it for the money.
- Personal Raincloud: Wellington. He sometimes exploits it by standing in his rhubarb patch when it's about to rain on him.
- The Pig Pen: Dirty McSquirty.
- Ripped from the Headlines: Pretty rare, but Wellington and Boot moving into an abandoned railway station bulding is made possible by the fact that that nice Dr. Beeching had closed down the line it was on.
- Rules of Orphan Economics: Mixture of Type 1 and Type 3 in Wellington's case. It's never quite explained how Wellington and Boot survive, but quite obvious they're poor and there isn't much food (except when Boot nicks the odd string of sausages) and that Wellington's friends give him handouts. That's not to mention when Wellington tries to make money by trying to fob Marlon off with yet another go-kart (much to Maisie's dismay) or trying to remind the other kids it's his birthday (and presents should be given).
- Running Gag: The strips penned by Ben Witham generally had Boot making some remark about "these perishing kids," usually in the last panel. This was quickly dropped by Maurice Dodd when he took over the writing duties.
- Speech Bubble: Baby Grumpling speaks in lower-case; Fred Kilroy the Teutonic Tortoise speaks in Fraktur (German copperplate).
- Theme Naming: Wellington and his dog, Boot
- Those Two Guys: Fred the beetle and The Caterpillar.
- Thought Bubble Speech: used by the dogs, but not by the crabs or insects.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Marlon's inch-thick ketchup sandwiches - possibly the only sandwich to have a blast radius.
- The Unseen: In the 1960s, Bully Bloggs, Wellington's arch-nemesis.
- Also Dirty McSquirty's alleged Cousin Worsoff note , who apparently lives in the drains, and may or may not actually exist.
- The Voice: In the 1990s, Dirty McSquirty's Cousin Worsoff (the proverbial "person who's worse off than you"); never seen because he lives in the sewers and only communicates with his cousin via street drains.
- You Do Not Have to Say Anything