posts goes into far greater detail about my love of D. C. Thomson comics and the annuals that I have amassed over the years. The annuals feature mostly comic/ cartoon based stories but they also contain three or four adventure-based stories too and even though I tended to favour the humour-based stories there was one adventure story that I remember fondly, The Iron Eaters! Illustrated by Ken Hunter (1917 – 2008) for the Beezer. The Iron Eaters story ran in the comic from 1963 to 1964 and told of pink, extra terrestrial sponge like weeds that devoured metal! It was the 1966 annual that introduced me to this amazing series reeling me in with this fantastic hook!
“Months had passed since the Iron Eaters invaded Britain. Weeds from outer space, they were, strange, sponge-like objects that had descended like a plague of iron eating locusts. In a week they had paralysed the country. But all that was over. Every Iron Eater in the land had been wiped out- or so folk reckoned. They were wrong. One had escaped. In a disused old warehouse in Hartford town, where the iron eaters first appeared, lay a solitary space sponge- a giant of its kind, bloated by the iron it had gorged in the warehouse, too big to leave by the window it had entered. So there it lay, covered by cobwebs, for month after month after month…”
Each story started with a similar back-story that would also introduced us to our characters “Strange iron-eating weeds from outer space had invaded Britain. For many months they had caused chaos up and down the country. But a team of scientists led by Professor Jim Robertson had worked long and hard to rid the country of the menace and now it looked as if they had succeeded. No Iron Eaters had been seen for days…” In all the stories I read it seemed that it was the professor’s son Tommy that did most of the work, which usually revolved around an Iron Eater showing up and causing all manner of chaos until Tommy captured or destroyed it. The image of these sponge like beings have remained with me ever since, as a child it would be inevitable that I would take a ball of Plasticine and pierce it several times with a pencil to make it resemble an Iron Eater! So, with such an endearing memory my collection of artifacts would simply not be complete without an Iron Eater specimen amongst it so here it is, preserved in a Perspex container (safety precaution) with a label that reads, ‘Iron Eater’ Donated by Mr. Ken Hunter of D. C. Thomson & Co Dundee, Scotland 1963.
EXTRA: Also in the collection is an Iron Eater that once belonged to Tommy Robertson!
© Arfon Jones 2013. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.
But can you close the matchbox without squashing the Iron Eater? Interesting stuff, AJ.ReplyDelete
You could but it would create a slight bump in the box… I rather like it being open :) Thanks KidDelete
The Iron Eaters was my second favourite Beezer centre spread story after the Jellymen. Really wish I could get hold of these strips again!ReplyDelete
Ah the Jellymen! Brilliant! I'm with you, love to see them entire run republished! Happy New Year!Delete
A belated Happy New Year to you, Arfon.ReplyDelete
Hey, I've had a brilliant idea for a follow-up to your Iron Eater!
How about BRIAN"S BRAIN?!?!
Thank you sir! BRIAN"S BRAIN! Now there’s strip I haven’t seen in years! Hmmmmm, a follow-up you say? BY Jove! what a brilliant idea!Delete
I remember the iron eaters. What I never understood is that although they ate iron they were as light as a feather - floating through the air like thistledown going where they will to cause mayhem and disaster.ReplyDelete