Albion British Comics Database Wiki
Sparky Moonsters 3

Cover-page cavortings in 1967

Sparky Moonsters 1

Great charm and zest from the Moonsters in Sparky's first year

Sparky Moonsters 2

More surreal frolics from those lovable Moonites

The Moonsters is one of the most memorable strips from early-period Sparky comic, a definite highlight which spanned the first four years of the publication. Although the strip missed out on the very first issue (23 January 1965), primarily due to the debut issue utilizing the complete cover page to promote a free gift, the arrival of The Moonsters in issue two introduced Sparky readers to child astronauts Peter and Penny Pleasant as they arrive by rocket on the alien-looking surface of the Moon. They are greeted by the bizarre but appealing Moonsters: an obviously alien race of tiny green moon-men (and presumably females of the species) who swamp Peter and Penny, in a friendly and well-meaning manner.

The strip was drawn with great charm and zest by Bill Ritchie, a stalwart D.C. Thomson funnies contributor with a disarmingly 'simplistic' style that nevertheless produced a great sense of mood and texture in many of his published comic sets. This classic example of his oeuvre showcases his attention to detail in the most action-packed scenes, and his zany, anarchic yet consistently benevolent sense of humour.

The layout of The Moonsters often consisted of small introductory frames to set up that week's particular theme, and a grand-scale 'splash' panel — taking up the bulk of the page — which detailed the comedic, slapstick cavortings of the industrious aliens as they set about their 'helpful' business. The setting was a craggy, cratered lunar surface teeming with activity and containing numerous items which Sparky's readers would have had no difficulty in recognising.

Indeed, for all their obviously-alien appearance, (they have one eye, speckled green skin, and 1960s-styled TV aerials sprouting from their noggins) the Moonsters lack the advanced technology normally associated with extraterrestrial beings. Indeed, their culture and customs strangely mirror the habits of boring old earthbound humans. Musical concerts, fire drills and suchlike are played out with instruments and implements identical to the terrestrial versions with which Penny and Peter are no doubt familiar.

References to 1960s pop culture are frequent in the strip. Some of the Moonsters even sport mop-top hairstyles of the kind made famous by the Beatles! Nevertheless, there are also welcome appearances of bizarre one-eyed alien dinosaurs, of the scale associated with prehistoric Earth, placidly ambling past in the background.

The Moonsters scooped the front page of Sparky before long, although their most permanent residence within the comic was that of the back page, which they occupied for most of their running time.

Sparky Moonsters 4

30 Jan 1965: The Moonsters delighted by new arrivals