Alf, the character created for 'Rover' comic by Bill Blaine, written by Gilbert Dalton & illustrated in the 'Victor' comic by Pete Sutherland has appeared in several British Comic guises over the years. DC Thompson staff Editor 'Buff' Halley ( who recently was featured in the BBC Radio 4 feature on Alf ) was intimately involved with the character over the years, particularly as Editor of the Victor & a short Q&A with him can be read HERE.
The 1950's (The Rover - No. 1303) version of Alf was variously, a Millwright at Graystone Aviation Factory & (The Rover - No. 1338) a plumber in the employ of Charlie Chipping of Gas Street, Graystone.
Vic Whittle of the British Comics website tells us that...
“Alf Tupper was eighteen years of age when he first appeared in the ROVER in 1949 & he continued his adventures in the VICTOR in the early 1960's. He lived with his Aunt Meg in Anchor Alley, Greystone. The house had one room upstairs and one room downstairs; Alf's bed was a mattress on the kitchen floor. He was employed as a welder working in Ike Smith's welding shop which was located under a railway arch, his wages were £1.5s (£1.25p) per week of which he paid his Aunt £1.2s.6d (£1. 12½p) for rent. This meant he had 2/6d (12½p) for himself. Following a bust up with his Aunt Meg, he moved into Ike Smith's welding shop, sleeping on a mattress by his workbench. Alf joined the Greystone Harriers paying a subcription fee of half a guinea; he was only a member of the Harriers for three weeks and was instructed to return his membership card by Bob Richards the Hon Secretary, following an ontrack fight with Vic Mason in the 440yards at the Greystone Harriers Sports meeting. Alf's staple diet was fish & chips wrapped in newspaper"
The 1968 version of Alf, (in 'The Victor book for boys') is a self-employed welder : "Welding done here" & is still located under the railway arches. Some stories, show Alf going out for a training run from the welding shop (right) which is next to the canal, but others (below ), show us it was on slightly drier land ! But who cares about such lapses in continuity when we have one of UK’s most well loved Comic hero’s to remember.
By the 1970's, some of the early 1950's storylines were being re-introduced to a new generation. There was even a 'prequel' series about Alf's 'Rough tough boyhood' & his struggle with the authorities as an orphan.
Whatever his job & wherever it was located, Alf was the eternal underdog. Regarded as a 'Guttersnipe' by the posh blokes from the AAA's, he was at his best following the previous night on late shift, lifting heavy objects & getting little sleep. His journey to the track (often White City) almost invariably involved falling asleep on the train & missing his stop.Sometimes his tardiness was caused by skulduggery of the worst kind by 'stuck-up' rich boys from a University somewhere, but many times, it was because he could not stop himself from rescuing people in distress or just generally being a selfless chap. Regardless, he always got there in the nick of time, and, having just finished his Fish & Chips, went on to win the Championships or even, in 'end of series' stories, break the world record for the mile & utter his famous catchphrase "I ran 'em all".
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