The Perishers was an English comic strip about a group of urban children and a dog. It began in the Daily Mirror on 19 October 1959 and was written for most of its life by Maurice Dodd (25 October 1922 – 31 December 2005). It was drawn by Dennis Collins until his retirement in 1983, after which it was drawn by Dodd and later by Bill Mevin. After Dodd’s death the strip continued with several weeks’ backlog of strips and some reprints until 10 June 2006. The strip returned, again as reprints, on 22 February 2010, replacing Pooch Café.
Many Perishers strips are polyptychs—a single continuous background image is divided into three or four panels and the characters move across it from panel to panel. The story is set in the fairly drab fictional town of Croynge (sometimes spelled Crunge), which is apparently a South London borough. The name is a portmanteau of Croydon and Penge. The location often resembles an industrial Northern town and may have its roots in how Croydon, Penge and the towns between them appeared in the 1950s. Collins’s artwork in particular gives the town detailed, realistic architecture and a consistent geography.
Thematically, the strip draws upon nostalgia for childhood experiences, and often has a static, almost limbo-like atmosphere, in a similar manner to its companion strip, Andy Capp. The main characters largely exist independently of ‘the real world’, and adults are rarely seen; for example, every year the Perishers go on holiday but always get thrown off the train home, forcing them to walk and arrive home several weeks late (a joke on how a short scene in comic book time can take several weeks when told in daily installments), yet with seemingly no repercussions.
A final, specially drawn strip appeared on the Daily Mirror’s comic page on Saturday 10 June 2006. The strip depicts the silhouetted figures of Maisie, Baby Grumpling, Wellington, Boot and Marlon walking down a street into the sunset. Wellington says, “Well, dear readers, it’s taken almost fifty years for you to see the back of us. In sayin’ goodbye we hope that you remember us with the affecshun we feel for you.” The tone of the strip is reminiscent of Charles M. Schulz’s final Peanuts strip, from which the Perishers strip took its inspiration.
The strip was initially replaced by the short-lived Ronaldinho, during the then-ongoing World Cup. After the tournament, the American Pooch Cafe appeared as a more permanent replacement.
After a gap of nearly four years, the original cartoon strip returned to the Daily Mirror as reprints, on 22 February 2010.
Additionally, over the years there have been a number of cheaply printed reprint collections in paperback, all of which went out of print quickly.
Around 1980 an LP record album entitled THE PERISHERS SING! (WELL SORT OF) was issued by Response Records. The lyrics written by Maurice Dodd and the music by Trevor Evan Jones. An instrumental version of the final track “It’s Great to be a Kid” was also the theme music for the Animated TV version. Dodd’s official website claims 12 songs were penned, but the finished album only contained 10 tracks. It featured narration by Bernard Cribbins, and also credits Nicky James and Barbara Sexton with vocals.
98 pages/strips Perishers 20 1978
9 strips 1959
147 strips 1960
180 strips 1961
204 strips 1962
194 strips 1963