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.