Hot Shot Hamish and Mighty Mouse
Hot Shot Hamish and Mighty Mouse were two popular British football-themed comic strips, which later merged together, and which appeared in various publications from the 1970s to the 1990s. Hamish in particular is amongst the best remembered football characters from the "golden age" of British boys' comics.
Mighty Mouse in action in the 1984 Roy of the Rovers annualBoth strips were written by Fred Baker and usually drawn by Julio Schiaffino. Mighty Mouse first appeared in the Roy of the Rovers comic in June 1979, and featured Kevin "Mighty" Mouse. Mouse was a successful and highly skillful First Division footballer despite the fact that he was very short, extremely overweight, and wore thick spectacles even whilst playing. He also managed to divide his time between playing for Tottenford Rovers and studying at St Victor's Hospital as a medical student. At the hospital he lived in fear of ferocious matron "Mad Annie", and his superior was the cantankerous Dr Mender, who also ran the hospital football team, for which Mouse played. As he was also a professional player, whilst all his team-mates were amateurs, he was vastly more skillful than anyone else on the team.
Hot Shot Hamish's first appearance, in the 25th August 1973 issue of ScorcherHot Shot Hamish, meanwhile, followed gentle Hebridean giant Hamish Balfour, the man with the most powerful shot in the world, and began its days in Scorcher, before relocating to Tiger when the two titles merged. Hamish was brought from his remote island home to play for Princes Park in the Scottish Premier Division, under manager Ian McWhacker, and was famous for being able to hit the ball so hard that his shot could (and often did) burst the goalnet. His powerful frame was emphasised by the fact that he always played in a shirt which was far too small for him and which did not reach the waistband of his shorts. Hamish's regular supporting characters were his eccentric father and his pet sheep McMutton.
In 1985, after the cancellation of Tiger, most of its strips moved to Eagle, but Hamish was re-located to Roy of the Rovers and the two strips merged to form Hot Shot Hamish and Mighty Mouse (later shortened to simply Hamish and Mouse). The first episode of the combined strip appeared in the Roy of the Rovers comic dated 6th April 1985. In the storyline, Mouse was deemed surplus to requirements at Tottenford Rovers after the signing of a more skillful player who played in the same position. On a trip to watch Scotland playing, he met up with Hamish, who persuaded him to sign for Princes Park (conveniently Mouse was also able to transfer to a Scottish hospital to continue his studies). In later years, the pair transferred to Glengow Rangers, where they were later joined by McWhacker (who promptly signed a number of their former Princes Park team-mates).
The strip ran until May 1990, returned in July of the same year, and finally came to an end in January 1993, with reprints appearing in the remaining issues of the weekly Roy of the Rovers comic.
A rarity among the genre of football strips, the Hamish and Mouse story was extremely humorous in nature, with unbelievable and exaggerated tricks and skills shown by the two lead characters, although they never degenerated into out and out pastiche in the style of Billy the Fish. Many characters had humorous names, for example the manager of the Scottish national team was called Mr McBossy. Storylines were often comical and highly far-fetched - one notable example saw Mr McWhacker attempt to intimidate the Princes Park players into playing better by secretly disguising himself as a monster called "The Claw" and haunting the club corridors, bursting out and warning startled players that they would be devoured if they did not win matches.