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Comic Book / Buster

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Buster was a long running British Anthology Comic. A Spin-Off of sorts of Andy Capp (at the time it was launched Fleetway was owned by the Mirror Group, and Andy's strip appears in the Daily Mirror), with Buster, the comic's eponymous main character supposedly being Andy's son, although the two characters rarely met in the comic and never in Andy Capp's Newspaper Comic strip.

Buster ran for 40 years, starting in 1960. It merged with a great many number of comics during it's run and was the last survivor of IPC's note  humour comics.

The comic's most popular strips included The Leopard from Lime Street, X-Ray Specs, Faceache, Ivor Lott and Tony Broke, Rent-a-Ghost, Cliff Hanger, Mummy's Boy, Sweeny Toddler, Tom Thug, Clever Dick and School Belle.

This comic (and its strips) provide examples of:

  • Age-Inappropriate Dress: The boy in Mummy's Boy was dressed like a baby although he was obviously much older.
  • Alpha Bitch: School Belle began as this (she actually started in the short-lived comic School Fun before it was merged with Buster.) Originally, she was entirely without redeeming qualities being spectacularly vain and underhanded and her strips always ended in humiliation. Somewhere along the way she was given a more likable characterisation and a nastier rival ('Grotty Glenda'), ending up a Lovable Alpha Bitch.
  • Art Initiates Life:
    • Almost done in the Chalky strip: His drawings, although they don't come to life, do appear indistinguishable from reality to anyone who sees them.
    • Played straight in the Handy Andy strip, provided that hand shadows count as art.
  • Art Shift: During its early period, Buster included more realistic adventure strips alongside the cartoony strips, which eventually came to make up most of its content.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The one-shot strip Incredi-Bill had a man named Bill create a Power Armor suit and become a Superhero, performing such daring feats as batting meteors away from the Earth with a frying pan. Unfortunately, he soon discovers that the cost of actually powering the suit is, in the strip's own words, Unafforda-Bill.
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: Odd Ball; a round, red floating ball with arms who could change shape. His race also had an illness which caused them to turn into cubes and could only be cured by drinking a huge amount of freshly boiled water (...or just waiting the illness out).
  • The Bully: Tom Thug.
  • Captain Ersatz:
  • Chameleon Camouflage: It wasn't the only thing he did with his powers, but Ricky Rainbow often used his colour-changing ability to this effect.
  • Comics Merger: Buster merged with probably the largest number of comics during its run than any other comic; the final merger was with Whizzer and Chips in 1990. Many of the comics it merged with had already merged with other comics, especially Whizzer and Chips, which had merged with four comics during its lifetime; one of those four (Whoopee!) had, in turn, also merged with another three comics.
  • Creator Cameo: Jack Edward Oliver used to insert himself into Vid Kid strips, which was lampshaded with weekly challenges to find him. Terry Bave would also occasionally insert himself (and occasionally his wife) into his Odd Ball and Melvyn's Mirror strips.
  • Eagleland: Of the mixed variant; Several of the strips had arcs or one-shot comics which involved the characters visiting America portrayed Americans as somewhat excitable but overall, quite pleasant (aside from the odd villain).
    • Despite being a parody of Dallas, Junior Rotter mostly averted the trope.
  • Private Detective: Crowjack was a crow and a private detective.
  • Distaff Counterpart: Martha's Monster Makeup and Faceache both involved Voluntary Shapeshifting and both were drawn by the same artist Ken Reid.
    • Ivor Lott and Tony Broke and Milly O'Naire and Penny Less — the latter started life in Jackpot in 1979, but when that comic merged with Buster in 1982 the two strips were combined due to their similarities.
  • Downer Ending: The last issue provided some rather mean-spirited endings to some of the comic's strips, including one character actually dying.
  • Dumb Muscle: Tom Thug was a brainless bully who tended to brutalise other students, but generally got stymied by his own stupidity.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: X-Ray Specs was about a boy and his X-Ray Specs, which gave him X-Ray Vision.
  • False Teeth Tomfoolery: Gums was a Threatening Shark with a pair of False Teeth which he always managed to lose.
  • Forgetful Jones: This was the gimmick in the Memory Banks strip. In the last issue, the strip's main character forgot to breathe and died.
  • Gamebooks: Cliff Hanger contained elements of this with readers being able to choose endings for the strip. note .
  • Grand Finale: Somewhat unusually, the last issue featured a strip showing the fates of some of the comic's characters (such as Sweet-Tooth's tooth going bad from all the sweets he'd eaten and the above-mentioned Bernie Banks's death) and the revelation of what Buster's hair is like under his cap - it's exactly like Dennis the Menace's spiky hair.
  • Henshin Hero: Alf Witt of Master Mind was able to turn into the titular superhero by running into a phone box and saying the magic word "Pass!".
  • Invisibility: This is what Val's Vanishing Cream did in the eponymous strip.
    • Disappearing Trix also had this power. Normally her clothes vanished with her whenever she blinked, but on at least one occasion, she blinked to get something out of her eye, and accidentally became an Invisible Streaker.
  • Lazy Bum: This was Lazy Bones' gimmick. He eventually got insomnia in the last issue.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Lampshaded in one Tom Thug strip, which notes that he even wears his boots in bed.
  • Living Toys: Roy's Toys routinely came to life when Roy left the room, so as to thwart his latest plan to send one of them to a jumble sale.
  • Never Bareheaded: Buster himself. Fans did ask what was under the cap and, much like Fleetway's at the time stablemate Judge Dredd, they teased it out a lot. The finale did reveal that Buster had the same haircut as Dennis the Menace.
  • Newspaper Comic: In addition to having his own comic, Buster also had a long-running strip in the Scottish newspaper, Sunday Mail (also part of the Mirror Group).
  • Self-Deprecation: In the final issue, it was revealed that Ivor Lott's father lost all his money by investing in Buster.
  • Self-Parody: "Judge Dudd" was a parody of Fleetway stablemate Judge Dredd.
  • Shout-Out: Master Mind was about a young boy who was given the power to turn into a superhero by a wizard - in addition, the transformation was caused by lightning, and the magic word was actually an acronym of other words. While there are differences (for one thing, Alf Witt lacks an Older Alter Ego), it's very similar to Shazam!.
  • Slobs Versus Snobs: Apart from Ivor Lott and Tony Broke (which featured a rich boy and a poor boy) and their female counterparts Millie O'Naire and Penny Less (rich girl, poor girl), there was also Store Wars, which featured Bloggs and Son's corner shop and Mr. Superstore's ... superstore (and the latter's doomed efforts to get the community to love his shop as much as the former's).
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: Faceache could scrunge into any shape. Odd Ball was also capable of changing shape (although he always retained his bright red colour).
  • Walking Armory: Parodied in Judge Dudd. Dudd grabs a hilarious number of BFGs and armour from the armoury with the intention of using them to improve his capability on the street. It turns out to be too heavy for him to even move. So heavy, in fact, that the street collapses underneath him and lands him in the middle of a gang's hideout.
  • Wealth's in a Name: Pun example, with Ivor Lott and Milly O'Naire ("I've a lot" and "millionaire") who are wealthy. Conversely, Tony Broke (a pun on "stony broke") and Penny Less ("penniless") are poor.
  • Wicked Toymaker: The Toymaker from the "Toys of Doom" strip. The Toymaker is a scientist who transformes toys into remote-controlled weapons of destruction. Ostracized by the rest of the scientific community, who think his ideas are inhuman, he vows revenge on humanity, and creates an army of killer toys in a remote Scottish castle. But his plans are stumbled on by Joe and Sandy Douglas, and in spite of initial skepticism, they manage to alert the suthorities to the plot. Thus begin several years of them battling against the Toymaker's evil plans.
  • Wild Child: Fishboy, raised by fish and able to breathe underwater. He usually wears seaweed swimming trunks. Despite the absurdity of the concept, this was a 'serious' strip.
  • X-Ray Vision: X-Ray Specs.
  • You No Take Candle: Fishboy.