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The Perishers was a long-running British newspaper comic strip, appearing in the Daily Mirror from about 1959 until its final cancellation in 2006. The strip was mostly written by Maurice Dodd, who also worked as an advertising copywriter. In actual fact, Dodd was neither the strip's creator, nor its original writer -- the strip was jointly created by its original artist Dennis Collins, and the Daily Mirror's entertainments editor, while its first writer, Ben Witham got fired within weeks after the first few strips were regarded as dismally unfunny -- but his name has always been the one most closely associated with the strip. Until 1983 it was drawn by Dennis Collins, in a highly detailed style which subsequent artists could never quite match. As of 2010 the Mirror is reprinting 1960s strips with Collins art and new colouring, somewhat squashed to fit a modern comic page and containing some updates to topical material - e.g., Maisie's references to "That nice Mr. Wilson" are now directed to "That nice Mr. Cameron".
The strip features a group of urban schoolchildren and a dog. As such it is sometimes described as a British equivalent of Peanuts, although it has a very different art style and relies on quirkily British humour in the tradition of music hall and Spike Milligan.
The Perishers provides examples of:
- The Alcoholic: Tatty Oldbitt.
- Author Existence Failure: While Maurice Dodd didn't create the strip (as mentioned above), meaning that his family had no power to prevent the Daily Mirror from appointing a new writer, the newspaper discontinued the strip immediately upon his death, because everyone involved agreed that no-one else could possibly write the strip as well as Dodd had done, and that attempting to do so would only have insulted his memory.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Marlon and occasionally Boot - the latter frequently believed himself to be an 18th century Lord transformed into a dog by a vengeful gypsy.
- Comic Book Time: Lampshaded by Wellington in one New Year strip, when he notices that he and his friends never seem to get any older.
- Depending on the Artist: After Dennis Collins retired, Maurice Dodd drew the strip for over a decade, but it was obvious that his drawing skills weren't really anywhere near those of Collins. The third and final artist, Bill Mevin didn't quite pull off a perfect imitation of Collins, but it was a pretty good one nonetheless.
- The Ditz: Marlon.
- Free-Range Children: especially when they go on holiday without adult supervision.
- Garden Hose Squirt Surprise: One mid-60s had Wellington asking Maisie to inspect the end of a hose while he went to adjust the "hydro control valve".
- It's Been Done: On one occasion Marlon took up inventing for a hobby. When his friends pointed out that his inventions (fire, the wheel and the horse and cart) had all been invented by other people, he wasn't worried because he invented them quicker and was therefore catching up.
- Keep Circulating the Tapes: or in this case, the paperback anthologies, published from the 60s to the early 90s, that were the strip's only ever print collections.
- Once a Season: Once a year, the gang would go off to the beach for a holiday, and Boot the dog would wander off to peer into a particular rockpool to see if it still had crabs living in it. Cue a string of strips about the crabs, who had developed a religion based on the recurring phenomenon of the Eyeballs in the Sky.
- Parental Abandonment / There Are No Adults: it is never made clear which.
- Personal Raincloud: Wellington. He sometimes exploits it by standing in his rhubarb patch when it's about to rain on him.
- The Pig Pen: Dirty McSquirty.
- Rules of Orphan Economics
- Running Gag: The strips penned by Ben Witham generally had Boot making some remark about "these perishing kids," usually in the last panel. This was quickly dropped by Maurice Dodd when he took over the writing duties.
- Social Services Does Not Exist
- Speech Bubble: Baby Grumpling speaks in lower-case; Fred Kilroy the Teutonic Tortoise speaks in Fraktur (German copperplate).
- Theme Naming: Wellington and his dog, Boot
- Those Two Guys: Fred the beetle and The Caterpillar.
- Thought Bubble Speech: used by the dogs, but not by the crabs or insects.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Marlon's inch-thick ketchup sandwiches - possibly the only sandwich to have a blast radius.
- The Unseen: In the 1960s, Bully Bloggs, Wellington's arch-nemesis.
- The Voice: In the 1990s, Dirty McSquirty's Cousin Worsoff (the proverbial "person who's worse off than you"); never seen because he lives in the sewers and only communicates with his cousin via street drains.
- You Do Not Have to Say Anything