Monday, August 25, 2014

Whizzbang Comics

Whisk yourself back in time and imagine being a young boy or girl waking up on the Christmas morning of 1942, slap-bang in the middle of the war, and being given a bright comic annual with the fantastic name of Whizzbang. Yes, the first Whizzbang Comics annual came out in 1942 and is known as the 1943 annual. It was the first of two and both are now quite scarce as due to paper shortages and restrictions print runs were very low. It was published by Amalgamated Press and was not based on any existing comic. There was a one-shot comic called Whizzbang Comic published by Philmar in 1948 but it is unrelated - I wonder if it took inspiration for its name from this annual.

The front cover is illustrated by Roy Wilson and features something that would not be allowed nowadays - smoking. I can spot no less than 5 cigars and pipes. Roy illustrated a number of inside strips as well - I'm fairly certain this Whiskers page, also about smoking, is by him.

As you would expect with an annual from this time there is a good mixture of comic strips and text. Of the 114 pages (including the covers) 6 are blank, 46 1/2 are comic strips/illustrations, 1 (the back cover) is an advert and the rest is text. I'm afraid I can't give the original price, as, unless my copy is missing the front page, it isn't mentioned. Here's the advert from the back cover.

Let's head back to the start of the book, and take a look at the first comic strip. Roy Wilson illustrates The Lad With Taking Ways, underneath a nice header.

Throughout the book there can be found several adventure strips, the first entitled Red Rider. It's four pages in length but I'll only show the first page. I've no idea who the illustrator is; it's a shame the panels were printed so small - it's hard to see all the detail.

The last pages I'll show come in the form of this two-page spread. It features no less than three comic strips and a puzzle at the bottom.

This was a generally enjoyable book. I'd recommend trying to find a copy but going by the price reached earlier this year on Compal Comics of £220 for both books it looks like you'd have to have deep pockets, unless you're lucky enough to stumble upon one in a second hand bookshop or somewhere similar.


Lew Stringer said...

Great find, George! Lucky you! What a brilliant cover.

There was an American publication called Captsin Billy's Whizz Bang in the 1920s so the phrase seems to have been around for a while before 1942. Apparently taken from the noise of a shell or bomb whizzing through the air before it bangs on impact.

Lew Stringer said...

Captain not Capsin. Sorry for the typo.

George Shiers said...

It's a fantastic cover isn't it, and also has one of my favourite names ever given to a comic - probably coming second only to Wham.

roymeboy0 said...

I was lucky enough to find the 1st Whizz bang annual at a car boot sale in Near Mint condition , it was in a suitcase wrapped in brown paper, so had been protected from the light. I paid £2.50 for it. It is one of the best annuals I have , and I have hundreds.