Monday, April 11, 2016
Free with Shiver and Shake
Shiver and Shake is a much loved title among collectors. I've always found copies to be scarcer than similar comics of the time, probably due to lower sales back in the day, but a few years ago I was lucky enough to come across a near complete stack of them and they were mine without hesitation.
When the first issue came out on 10th March 1973 it was clear that this new comic, subtitled "two comics in one-double the fun", took inspiration from the hugely popular Whizzer and Chips. It claimed that "Shake was inside Shiver", the idea being that you could seperate the comic into two - two comics for the price of one. For me, Shiver and Shake didn't feel as free as Whizzer and Chips did, as its characters seemed forced to fit a formula, but I still enjoy the comic and I know a lot of people actually prefer it to its more successful counterpart. Each to their own I suppose, but perhaps readers of the '70's felt the same way as me, because the final issue, #79, came out only a year and a half later on Monday 5th October 1974.
Back to the topic of this post, the free gifts. Only three proper gifts were given away with the comic, all of them right at the start to help launch the paper. The first issue was presented with a free practical joke. "Free practical joke inside... which one will you get?" read the strapline, followed by a picture of the four gifts a reader might get. These were a joke chocolate biscuit, a trick stick of liquorice, a fake pencil and a plastic spoon with a hole in it. These, above an advert for next week's gift, were shown on page 15.
Which brings us on nicely to the second free gift - a "super spooky screamer". An annoying gift for parents no doubt, as the idea was for kids to blow into the toy to produce a loud noise. This was by no means unique to Shiver and Shake as a few years later Krazy comic would repeat the idea in the form of the 'Top Pop Hummer', as demonstrated by Cheeky on the front cover. Similar toys were given away with other Fleetway comics around this time too. I've misplaced my copy, so I've borrowed this scan from Peter Gray's site.
The gift had to be assembled by the reader, and instructions were provided inside, above an advert for the free "glow fun stickers" that were to be presented in the following issue.
There were, I think, four sets of stickers. At least, that is what the advertisement in issue two would have you believe, but I have never seen a single set either photographed or for sale. I did, however, manage to find this very poor quality image from what appears to be an expired eBay auction, but even this only shows one sticker. If anybody does have any, please do send photos my way!
Now, when I say only three "proper" gifts were given away, that is because I don't refer to a pull-out as a "proper gift". None-the-less, I shall cover them in this post for the sake of completeness. To celebrate Shiver and Shake's first birthday the 9th March 1974 issue came with part one of 'Frankie Stein's Mini Monster Comic Book'. The instructions were to remove the centre four pages from the comic and cut and fold them to produce an eight page booklet. This was just the first part, readers had to buy the following three issues in order to complete the booklet.
Even in the comics dying months, no more gifts were given away to help the failing paper. Shiver and Shake would merge into Whoopee in October, where its name would remain for another year. The holiday specials and annuals would do better, the former lasting until 1980 and the latter through until 1986, well after the weekly was long forgotten.
Of course, for those of you who want to read more on Shiver and Shake, Irmantas covered absolutely everything to do with the title a few years ago over on his excellent blog Kazoop. Here's the first post: