UK comic strip artist Mike White passed away this month and his loss was felt in the comic book realm as fans and former collaborators wrote glowing praise for his contribution to the British comic art form. His career is massive and runs the gamut from sports to science fiction, horror and even violent urban drama. His name is well known to most British cartoonists, it seems that he is known either by his run on Roy of the Rovers or from 2000 A.D. (with Alan Moore), depending on the age of the fan. Nevertheless, he made a mark on his readers and influenced artists who followed him later on.
One of the more off-beat projects that White illustrated was Kids Rule O.K.! which had a very short run in Action. Set in a dark future terrorized by vicious street gangs of wild teens, the strip caused a furious outpouring of mail from concerned citizens’ groups (thank you Mary Whitehouse). As a publication, Action was somewhat notorious for striving to reach the young readers through violence as titillation, but this was something else entirely. Even by today’s standards, it is bleak, grim and shocking.
A strange epidemic strikes at the old, causing them to die suddenly. Left in the wake of a decaying society, the young of the world transform the landscape to one long alley where anyone is fair game. A more cynical view of the world that trumps even the film Harry Brown, Kids Rule OK! struck a cord with the public and it was quickly pulled.
The strip was wrapped up in a brutal encounter with the police that ends with a shark-toothed copper ordering each kid to be beaten within an inch of their lives before they are brought before ‘the chief.’ The following installment was a turnabout humorous meeting of law and crime as the kids admitted defeat before a squad of British police, wondering aloud if ‘law and order deserved a chance.’
The last panel shows the formerly feral teens gleefully looking forward to a career in social services.
For the whole story, I highly recommend this site.
(Special thanks to Johnny Caples)