GOODIES COR COMICS SYNOPSIS #18
(by Linda Kay)
(from C&G 90 – June 2003)
5th May, 1973 No. 41
When a comic artist / writer sits down and tries to decide what subject they're going to tackle, they have to come up with a situation which will hopefully provide some interesting artwork, a bit of action and some good puns, all tied together in a story that hopefully has a good payoff at the end. Trains are always a safe bet ... kids love trains and artists love to draw them, and the comic possibilities are plentiful. I'm sure the thought of the Goodies running a steam locomotive engine was too good for the artists and writers to pass up, and we're certainly glad they didn't, as it provided a very good comic for this month's review.
Header: THE MISSION IS TO GET A STEAM ENGINE - THE GOODIES ARE REALLY "CHUFFED"!
The Goodies are in their office playing with a model train set (Tim is dressed as a conductor and blowing a whistle while Bill is pushing the buttons to control the train). A man in a bowler hat has entered the office and holds up a sign which reads "Save Cortown Railway Line!" He cheerfully addresses them.
MAN: We've permission to re-open the local branch line as long as the first train runs by midday today! But we've nobody to fetch the engine!
GRAEME: Coo - I've always wanted to drive a real train!
The Goodies hop on their trandem and head down to the engine shed where they see an old steam locomotive waiting. Tim is still dressed in his conductor's outfit, and Graeme has donned one as well while Bill is wearing a Palace Guard's beaver on his head and waving a small flag.
TIM: Is that *the* train or is that an oversized kettle?
BILL: (To Cor!! audience) Bags I'm the guard!
Graeme checks the coal bin but finds only a cat and her kittens inside. Tim is looking at the engine while Bill stands by defiantly.
GRAEME: There's no coal to get up steam! You'll have to fetch some from the coal-yard up the line, Bill!
BILL: What me lug heavy bags of coal? I'm not nuts!
Tim is next seen taking the tyres off the trandem.
TIM: I've an idea! We'll take the tyres off the bike and tow the *engine* to the coal!
Placing the trandem on one of the train tracks, Bill and Tim pedal the engine to the Free Range Coal yard (the workers there are singing "Sospan Fach ... Etc."). Graeme seems very happy and content riding on the engine while the others pull the train!
TIM: Puff! The bike may not be "tyred", but I sure am!
The Goodies are busy driving the steam engine and shoveling coal into the furnace. It's chugging along the track and coming upon a bridge where a policeman is holding up his hand to motion them to stop. Graeme is blowing the train's whistle which goes PTOOEEE.
GRAEME: Hooray! We'll soon get up a head of steam!
COP: No you won't! This is a smokeless zone!
As the train goes under the bridge the policeman finds himself lost in a cloud of steam.
COP: Where's they go? Where'd they go?
UNKNOWN GOODIE: Phew! Thank goodness this old thing hasn't run out of puff!
The hot and exhausted Goodies pause in their hot and tiring work.
TIM: Hey! We'll never make it to the terminal by twelve at this rate!
BILL: You're right! But what's the alternative to following the line the long way round?
Graeme jumps off the train and moves a switch so the train can move off of the track.
GRAEME: I know - I'll switch the points and we'll take a short cut across country!
The Goodies are now driving the engine down the middle of a small country town, causing cars to slam on their brakes at intersections, knocking people over with the steam and forcing others to run for their lives (even through the walls of buildings!). They're also riding the bumper of a poor farmer driving a haycart (as the farmer likewise rides on the tail of a frightened cat). The train lets out a happy Whee! Wooo! as it charges through the village. Tim is looking out the window at the commotion going on around them.
GRAEME: We'll pick up the line again at the level crossing!
TIM: What's up, you lot ... haven't you seen a train before?
The engine continues on its noisy path as a farmer throws up his milk containers and his farm animals scurry for safety. The man driving the haycart makes a dive to escape and Bill's hanging onto the back of the train for dear life as a chicken sits contentedly on the engine's coupler as it goes along for the ride.
TIM: Just passing through!
FARMER: I'm just passing *out*! Swoon!
THEY WERE SOON BACK ON THE RIGHT LINES AGAIN, BUT ...
The engine (covered with hay on the front) has come to a stop as the Goodies stare at the empty coal car.
BILL: This train's got a bigger appetite than me - we're out of fuel!
TIM: What are we going to do?
GRAEME: We're going to *feed* it, that's what!
At Graeme's insistence they begin taking off their clothes and throwing them into the furnace.
GRAEME: No arguing - it's all in a good cause!
BILL & TIM: *Mumble*!
The Goodies are down to their t-shirts, socks and boxer shorts when they finally approach the Cortown station.
GRAEME: Hooray! We're almost there!
BILL: Thank goodness . . . I'm down to my vest and pants!
TIM: Here's my last sock - just for luck!
The engine pulls into the station to a cheering crowd.
MAN ON PLATFORM: Hurray, the Goodies made it!
TIM: At last we've done a job *without a hitch*!
GRAEME: Now we can ride back in comfort and collect our bike!
As the train is getting ready to pull out with a full load of passengers, a conductor rudely holds up his hand and keeps the Goodies from boarding the train.
CONDUCTOR: Where do you think you're going? No one gets on this train without a ticket!
THE GOODIES: Oh, no!
The final panel sees the scantily clad Goodies trying to hitch a ride back to their bike, Graeme's glasses flying off as a car whizzes by. A woman hitchhiking up the street is having better luck as a car has already stopped for her.
GRAEME: Bah, so much for things going without a "hitch"!
Sign-Off Line: Will the Goodies be taken for a ride again next week?
RATING (using the BLACK PUDDING RATING SYSTEM):
III - Goody goody yum yum.
Now this is more like it! While the puns and jokes are typically painful and silly, this outing provides a good setup, some terrific comedy action and a satisfying payoff. It's fun to see the Goodies in costume running an old-fashioned steam engine, and the artwork is rich and very enjoyable. When the train runs through the small town and upsets everything there is great detail in those panels, giving readers a lot to look at and find! A good action sequence in a comic really helps it to live up to its potential. The reverse twist ending in which the Goodies have apparently pulled off a job "without a hitch" (don't ask the folks whose town they ran through, though!) only to find themselves left behind because they don't have tickets for the ride is very funny (although I wonder why the writer wouldn't have gone with the obvious and had the conductor keep them off the train for being underdressed, which would have provided an even more ironic ending). All in all this is a fun comic and one both Goodies fans and train enthusiasts can appreciate equally.