Christmas through the Decades: Eagle, 24th December 1954

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Christmas 1954… and it was a Boys’ Own kind of Christmas in the pages of classic British weekly paper Eagle. While most of the regular characters like Dan Dare Pilot of the Future, P.C. 49, Western hero Jeff Arnold and Storm Nelson – Sea Adventurer continued in their ongoing serials, untouched by the festive season, there were notable Yuletide concessions elsewhere in the comic.

The  bumbling Harris Tweed, Extra Special Agent got into a scrape with some Christmas pudding sixpences, and Norman Thelwell’s Chicko gets a gorgeous centre pages spread (partially shown below). Perhaps the most fun strip in this edition, though, is a one-off piece of 1950s metafiction entitled The Editor’s Christmas Nightmare wherein the Eagle characters all find themselves not just depicted in each other’s clothes but inhabiting the wrong comic strips. Investigating further they discover their editor has over-indulged during the holiday season and let standards on the comic slip. The only solution, of course, is a slap-up Christmas meal for all as way of apology! All jolly good fun and there’s something almost sublime about seeing Harris Tweed depicted as The Mekon…

What really struck me about this issue, however, was the following paragraph in editor Marcus Morris’s Christmas-themed weekly letter to the readers addressed to those for whom the holidays might not be as happy a time:

To those of you in hospital and orphanages or who, for some reason, feel a bit lonely, my very special thoughts. Write to me if you feel it would help and I’ll send a letter back.

In a week, sixty years later, where the relationship between comics professionals and comics readers has descended to the new low of death threats this is a sentiment, surely, to melt the heart of even the hardest, and most cynical of Scrooges…?


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