Sunday, March 23, 2014

Big Comic Fortnightly


Information on Fleetway's Big Comic Fortnightly seems rather difficult to find, so I've decided to write a brief summary of the information I know. Big Comic Fortnightly began with the first issue dated 11th/24th June 1988, and was a complete reprint comic using strips from Buster, Whizzer and Chips and Whoopee. As the title suggest, it was on sale for two weeks and every issue boasted 52 pages for 35p - a bargain! The price rose steadily over time from 35p to 40p, and then again to 45p, by 1991 it cost 50p, in 1993 it cost 55p and then a year later it cost 70p!


Occasionally Big Comic came with a free gift such as a badge or a balloon (as advertised above), but these were a rare treat. The first issue didn't come with a gift, unusual for a new Fleetway comic.


Most sources seem to say that Big Comic Fortnightly folded in 1994 but this isn't true, it actually changed to Big Comic Monthly in 1995. I believe there is only one issue of Big Comic Monthly, numbered #170 (to continue on with Big Comic Fortnightly's numbering), before it was replaced by BVC. Unfortunately my copy of Big Comic Monthly has had a sticker placed over the price, but I think it says £1.20. Big Comic Monthly did almost double its page count to 100 though, so the price wasn't too ridiculous.



Big Comic Fortnightly was popular enough to have a series of annuals and summer specials produced. The first of these was the 1987 annual, released for Christmas 1986. The annuals ran from 1987 to 1994, I used to have a full set of these but they got lost when I moved to New Zealand and now all I have managed to replace is the final one. The summer specials ran from 1988 to 1994. The first four had front covers very similar to the fortnightly comic but the last three had lovely full-colour illustrations by Terry Bave.


8 comments:

Phil Boyce said...

The first Big Comic Book came first and the comic then spun off from it I remember, as I got the book for Christmas (256 pages I recall!) and then was overjoyed when the regular comic came out. I collected it for maybe a year or so, and it's sister comic Funny Fortnightly, meaning they were kinda weekly for me. Good times.

George Shiers said...

I hadn't realised that! It was in reverse order to most comics then - thanks for pointing it out! :)

Phil Boyce said...

I think Fleetway had a surprise hit on their hands with the book. They must've thought all their Christmases had come at once, nothing but reprints but packaged up in huge volumes for a good price, a very cheap hit for them!

Quick question, how long did BVC run for then? Never knew what happened to Big Comic in the end before now.

George Shiers said...

BVC was a failure - it ended in November 1995. I don't know the exact number of issues since I don't have the exact ending date, but BVC went on sale every fortnight. It was replaced by Buster Classics in February 1996.

George Shiers said...

I have the flyer that was handed out to advertise BVC #1, I might upload it to the blog soon.

TwoHeadedBoy said...

I pick up Big Comics and BVC's whenever I can - they're fantastic, and great to keep in your bag for some instant comic relief. BVC even had an original character, called Big Top - a sentient glob of squirty cream.

Never seen an issue of Buster Classics before... Does that cover all of the Fleetway output or just Buster?

George Shiers said...

They just cover Buster from the 1970's and 1980's. They are practically identical to Best Of Buster Monthly, just under a different name.

Kid said...

I've been meaning to do a cover gallery of these types of comics for some time now. I'll get around to it one day.