Front page of the free comic for The Countryside Commission for Scotland stand at the Glasgow Garden Festival in 1998.
The Scottish Word:


[The ace countryside ranger and the case of the vanishing eggs!!]
“Hi! I’m McPhiz and this is Gloria my assistant … and Spud the squirrel.”
“Hi! I’m just NUTS aboot this job.”

“Me and Spud are going oot tae catch a birdnester wha’s been nicking eggs and getting the birds really upset.”
“Birdnesting’s illegal you know.”

[Meanwhile Gloria’s aff tae check the fishermen’s permits.]
“Hi Gloria ….”
“Dearie me … Gloria must hae something on her mind, she usually stops for the clatter.”

“OK Spud you nip up the tree and let me know what you see.”
“Okay dokay!”
“W-E-L-L … there’s Gloria at the Loch.”
“Let’s see what else I can see using my – SUPER SQUIRREL VISION!”
“AH HA!”

Mummy bird:
“My bairns my bairns.”

“QUICK McPHIZ over there eggsnitch in progress.”

McPhiz running:
“I’ll get the scunner this time!”
“Jings! There goes McPhiz, he’s no talking today either….”

Mummy bird:
“My bairns! Saved!”

“Well! I’ll be … Gloria and the junior friends of the park have got to him first! They had the area staked oot!!”
[The End.]
View a larger version of the comic cover here.


clatter: gossip, scandal, defamatory talk, confidential talk.

Rather than unnecessarily translate the whole transcript; oot: out, wha’s: who has been, hae: have, birdnester: a person who steals birds eggs for his collection, loch: lake, bairns: babies, scunner: repulsive person, jings!: gosh!

The Scottish Word: clatter with its definition and its meaning illustrated and captioned with the word used in context in the Scots language and in English.

Scottish Comic Book Day.

I’ve resurrected this comic because today is the first Scottish Comic Book Day.

This idea was launched by Colin Maxwell a Dumfermline based artist and writer for Commando who has marked today as the debut Scottish Comic Book Day. The day will be celebrated on the last Saturday of November each year.

Glasgow Garden Festival.

This is a the cover from the free comic I wrote and illustrated in 1988 for the Countryside Commission for Scotland (CCS) to be given out free from their garden in the Glasgow Garden Festival.

Clatter has replaced blether otherwise the comic is much as it was published.

Scots in an Official Publication.

It’s credit to the CCS management and board who approved the comic that the question of it containing a bit of Scots never came up. Probably because DC Thomsons, home of Oor Willie and the Broons, was just ‘up the road’ from our headquarters.

The Garden Festivals back then were for the whole of the UK and also attracted international visitors so a full on Scots language comic would have defeated its purpose.

Non Digital.

The artwork was put together in a pre computer age, all done by hand, ink and Letraset.

Pre digital meant that I had to consult colour tables to see what percentages of screen mixes would give me the greys, browns and pinks I wanted out of my two colour print run of red and black. Keeping cost down was policy.

I had then to mark up two overlays for every page of artwork and annotate each area with the relevant screen percentage mix to get the particular colours I wanted.

Then worry like hell until I had a final printed version in my hand that by some miracle turned out correct. The print run ran to multiple thousands. Digital now makes life easy.

One of my childhood influences was the Dundonian Sydney Jordan who drew the Jeff Hawke (Science Fiction) strips. Never dreaming at the time that I’d actually use the techniques he used often with dots from screens to create tones and colours in his work in a work of my own.

Also the year of the Garden Festival was also the year my boss bought us Macintosh IIcx computers, Photoshop, Freehand and Pagemaker. Woohoo.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.