Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Recommended Reads: Happy Days by Denis Gifford

For me, Happy Days was one of the harder books of Denis Gifford's that I tried to track down, mostly due to the ridiculously expensive postage everybody seemed to charge. However, I finally found one in a reference section of a library and not long after quickly skimming through it I found a copy in a bookshop, standing next to D.C Thomson's 'The Legend Of Lord Snooty And His Pals' from 1998. Naturally, I snapped it up and, regardless of what I say in the title of this post, there isn't an awful lot to read. Well, not by Denis Gifford anyway. Although he does place annotations next to many images of the comics he doesn't write particularly much apart from the introduction at the start of the book.

There is a lot to see in the book though, and all the images (if not all, then 99% for sure) come from Gifford's collection, which as I'm sure many of you know, exceeded 20,000 individual comics by the early 1980's. One particular image that stood out for me is the full colour Autumn Number of Comic Cuts. Although it doesn't mention it in the book, this particular issue is Britain's very first full-colour comic (although the first regular full colour comic would come a few years later and was aptly called The Coloured Comic)!

There's dozens of comics throughout the book, albeit mostly front covers, printed in both full colour and black and white. Jupiter Books originally published it in 1975 although my copy was published in 1988 by Bloomsbury Books (who are now best known for the Harry Potter books, or course). If you can, I'd recommend tracking down a copy of this book, and others by Denis Gifford too - they're all smashing reads!


Gary James said...

There isn't a single Gifford book that lets the reader down - sure, he went over the same ground a bunch of times, but when dealing with such beautiful comics, you can see why.

If only his collection hadn't been split up...

Lew Stringer said...

I miss the days when Denis was producing his books. His information on the 'Golden Age' of UK comics was invaluable.

I first saw this 'Happy Days' book in my local library when I was about 15. I borrowed it several times and was fascinated by the old comics shown within. Later, the book was remaindered or reprinted, and I bought a copy from a bookshop.

Another one of Denis' books from around that time was 'Discovering Comics', a slim little paperback but full of info and perfect for new collectors.

George Shiers said...

I haven't read that one but my favourite one so far is The International Book Of Comics - a fantastic and in-depth read!