Sunday, June 30, 2013

The Dandy Book 1956

We head back now to the Christmas of 1955 and take a look at a book hundreds of thousands of children up and down the country would be flicking through excitedly - the 1956 Dandy Book. As did quite a few of the Dandy books from the 1950's and 1960's this one had a Korky the Cat comic strip on the cover, this one where the mice play a harmless joke on Korky!

As always, the book was advertised in various places including, of course, the weekly Dandy comic. This advert comes from a November 1955 issue.

So - what was inside? Well the first thing we are greeted with is a two-page spread by Eric Roberts. This was the "before" spread, and the "after" one was shown inside the back cover, but I've shown them both here together.

Dudley Watkins was of course drawing Desperate Dan at this time, and had four Dan strips inside the annual. Here's a nice three-pager, based around Dan's pocket watch.

Ken Reid also had a few pages in there drawing Little Angel Face. Angel Face was a long way off being one of his best characters, but it's still good to see some of his art. Here are two of the three strips that were inside.

And we'll end our look at this annual with a four-page text story called Pie-Face Pete's Secret Pal.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

75 Years Of The Beano - Part 1

There's just about a month to go until the Beano celebrates its 75th birthday, and so I'll dive straight into the celebrations and take a look a various issues and strips from its many decades. This time we head back to 1957, and take a look at the Biffo the Bear strip from that issue, illustrated by Dudley Watkins.

And from the same issue, feast your eyes upon Leo Baxendale's Minnie the Minx! I love the angle of the last panel here - great artwork!

And finally, from issue #793, a full-colour Dennis the Menace strip by Davy Law!

There will be some more Beano mayhem soon, so stay tuned!


Other posts in this series:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Friday, June 28, 2013

One Week Until The 2014 Annuals!

Don't forget - there's just one week to go until the 2014 annuals from D.C Thomson go on sale! Here is just some of the stuff to look forwards to inside:

  • My Dad's A Doofus by Jamie Smart
  • Big-Bang Benny by Mike Donaldson
  • Keyhole Kate and Biffo the Bear by Lew Stringer
  • Bully Beef and Chips and Brassneck by Steve Beckett
  • Figaro by Alexander Matthews
  • Winker Watson and Jack Silver by Will Dawbarn
  • Send for Kelly, Corporal Clott and Jibber and Steve by Nigel Aucherlounie
  • The Banana Bunch by Nigel Parkinson
  • Hyde and Shriek by Nick Brennan
  • Ollie Fliptrik and The Tricks of Screwy Driver by Karl Dixon
  • Greedy Pigg by Paul Palmer
  • Hyde and Shriek by Nick Brennan
  • Professor Popalot by Lorenzo Etherington
All this and more will be appearing in the Beano and Dandy annuals, which both go on sale on the 5th July. Here are links and prices to all of D.C Thomson's 2014 annuals:

The Beano Annual - £7.99

The Dandy Annual - £7.99

The Beano and Dandy Silly Sing-Along - £12.99

The Broons - £6.99

The Broons and Oor Wullie Mair Music Please - £12.99

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Week's Beano - #3690

The latest Beano has arrived on my doorstep - this one with a superhero themed cover. Apart from the small mistake that Gnasher called Dennis SuperDen instead of SuperMenace on the cover it is a good issue throughout. I love Nigel Parkinson's Dennis the Menace and as always we're lucky enough to get three whole pages of it! As suggested by the cover illustration Dennis is a superhero who can fly, and Gnasher can talk. Walter has also, by pure coincidence, become the world's brainiest boy on exactly the same day! A great strip!

A corner of this week's Dennis -
without revealing too much.
Tricky Dicky has been back for several weeks now and as always is up to his old tricks. The headmaster, who the students refer to as "Terminator", is desperate to catch him and bring his pranks to a swift end. Tricky is now drawn by Laura Howell, and rather well too.

As always there's a good selection of mini-strips in there but my favourite this week is Lew Stringer's Rasher. I love the final panel with the side cut-out to show Rasher's tunnel - brilliant!

All this and much much more in this week's Beano - out now for just £2!

Monday, June 24, 2013

The Beano on Mock The Week

As you may have heard, The Beano was recently mentioned on Mock the Week. Now, for those of us outside of the U.K. who couldn't watch it on T.V. or on BBC iPlayer fortunately someone has put the full episode on YouTube.

Mock the Week is always a good show but if you just want to watch the Beano part it starts at 22:40 and lasts for about two minutes.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Junior Rotter Holiday Special (1986)

A fantastic, bright, well-drawn, attention grabbing cover!

The time has come to take another look at a holiday special. This one has a lengthy title: Whizzer and Chips Presents Junior Rotter Holiday Special, and it went on sale in the summer of 1986 for 65p. For sixty-five of your pennies you got 64 pages of comics, puzzles and posters and eight of those pages were in full colour. The paper is also of a much higher quality than other specials, printed entirely on smooth glossy paper throughout, similar to the type the Beano is printed on now (although I've forgotten what it's called).

As the name suggests, the comic is based around the popular Chips centre spread character Junior Rotter, who was illustrated by Trevor Metcalfe. Whereas most of the special is filled with reprints, there is some new stuff in there both from Trevor and Jack Edward Oliver. It starts of with a new strip by Trevor, revealing how J.R and his family went from rags to riches. As it turns out, it was all one of J.R's get-rich-quick schemes.

Now, for those of you who are unfamiliar with this character, Junior Rotter was a sort of American Roger the Dodger who appeared in the Chips section of Whizzer and Chips. J.R was based on the character J.R. Ewing from the television show Dallas, who also wore a big cowboy hat. Each week our J.R would try various schemes to get out of school, dodge work and win money in some crazy ways! He was a very popular character, appearing on the centre spread of Chips each week and even continuing in reprints through to the very last issue of Buster. He really was one of Fleetway's greatest characters, up there with Sweeny Toddler and Joker! Here are a couple of examples of his strips, reprinted in this holiday special.

One of the highlights in the comic is the centre spread, as it displays a wonderful full colour poster called "The Dreams Of J.R.", illustrated by Trevor Metcalfe. In a way, his first dream came true, as on the back page of the last Buster he turned good and became Prime Minister, although how that happened I don't know as he was born and lived in America. 

Jack Edward Oliver drew quite a few puzzles throughout the comic, but my favourite is this very attention grabbing board game, called J.R.'s Jet Race Game. It was very similar to most board games; the first player to get from the start to the finish wins; in this case a free ticket for a flight on Concorde (no, not really - just in the game!). It's very good fun and would definitely pass some time on holiday, which is what the special is designed to do!

This holiday special has always been one of my favourites and I've read it many times, and as a result it's beginning to fall apart, but that's really no surprise looking at the quality of the stuff that's inside.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The BeanoMAX Folds

#79 - the last one.

Despite the fact it has been reported elsewhere, I thought I'd bring you the news that, after 6 years, the BeanoMAX has folded, and the last issue will be No. 79, which is on sale now.

Although I haven't bought the BeanoMAX since I moved to New Zealand due to its expensive price tag in the shops, I remember its launch and did buy the occasional issue up until 2009.

The BeanoMax will be replaced by Dennis the Menace magazine, and we've been promised 32 pages each issue from "Dennis' comic stash", but what that means we'll have to wait and see.

I wonder if this new comic will be anything like the mysterious Dennis and Gnasher Puzzles, which came out in 2010. I only ever saw one issue of this, No. 4, and although I kept my eye out, never saw another issue again (and there seems to be nothing about it anywhere on the internet).

Issue one of the Dennis the Menace magazine will go on sale on 24th July, just in time for the Beano's 75th birthday on the 30th.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


Besides comics I also enjoy darts - not as much as I love comics, but darts can still be fun. Darts has appeared in comics a lot and I thought it would be fun to collect as many strips as possible into one place. As always, click on the pictures, and then again to view in full size.

For our first darts strip we head back to 13th February 1988 to take a look a True Brit, the cover star for The Beezer who was illustrated by the great Robert Nixon.

We head back even further now to 1969 where Biffo the Bear attempts the game on the cover of The Beano, with little success. Art by Dudey Watkins.

In Buster dated 11th October 1986 Anthony Hutchings drew a School Team strip where the team participated in a darts competition in Borneo!

Although not directly about darts, this Sparky strip from the Sparky book 1968 does show the comics' staff having a game.

School Belle gave the sport a go at the school club.

The strip that inspired me to write this post was this Winners strip from 1983. I originally read this story a long time ago, and after flicking through a good number of comics I finally found it - in the last comic I was going to look in!

And finally, I also found this competition to meet the great Eric Bristow, and win up to £360!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Doctor Who Yearbook 1994

Earlier today I came across a book I'd completely forgotten I had - the Doctor Who Yearbook 1994. The first Doctor Who Yearbook was published in 1992 and after only a short number of years the last one was released in 1996. This one appeared slap-bang in the middle of that run in 1994. The book, published by Marvel UK, is split evenly between text stories, information and comic strips. For £4.50 you got 64 pages, all of which are in full colour.

There are two adventure strips, each eight pages long. The first,  'A Religious Experience', is drawn by John Ridgeway and written by Tim Quinn and the second, 'Rest and Re-Creation', is drawn by Charlie Adlard and written by Warwick Gray. A Religious Experience is my favourite but these alien primitives look far too human. If it wasn't for the Doctor saying it, or perhaps the two moons in the sky, you wouldn't know they were alien at all!

There was one humour strip in there by Dicky Howett and "informed" by Tim Quinn. This strip shows just some of the different points in time the Doctor has been.

There were seven text stories in the book, one for each of the seven doctors that had appeared up until 1994. Here's Colin Baker's story, which is written by Andy Lane

I'm not sure if the Doctor Who Yearbooks had anything to do with the Doctor Who annuals, which ran from 1966 to 1986. A Doctor Who annual still runs today, and one has been published every year since 2006 (which was released in 2005 when Doctor Who returned to our screens).