Friday, August 20, 2021

Scoops (1934) and Advertisements for Some Rare Comics

The front cover of Scoops #1, from Compal Comics 
Auctions LTD.

The other night I was browsing through the latest British Comics and Artwork catalogue available on Compal Comics when I came across an interesting title at lot #14, the very first issue of Scoops, dated February 10, 1934. Now, anybody who knows me or has been following my blog for some time will no doubt know that I am fascinated with obscure titles, and this "amazing new wonder weekly" was certainly no exception. The striking front cover stood out to me; I simply had to know more. 

A fantastic illustration from issue #1. I wish I knew the artist's name - if you do please don't keep it to yourself!

Scoops was published every Thursday by Pearson and ran for just 20 issues from 10th February to 23rd June 1934, costing 2D for 30 pages for issue #1, 32 pages for issues #2 - #11, and 28 pages for the remainder of its run. Only the front cover had any colour, with a stunning use of red ink (throughout its short run Scoops had some absolutely spectacular front covers), and its contents were made up of text stories with an accompanying illustration or two. Alongside this were the occasional editorial pages and some full page illustrations. Here are a couple of examples to show you what I mean, both taken from issue #16 dated May 26, 1934. The 'Go-Anywhere Flying Boat' page takes my mind to the cutaway illustrations that would so wonderfully grace the pages of Eagle a couple of decades later. 

Despite its obscurity, Scoops is quite collectable as it is "regarded as the very first specialist anthology of science fiction stories for the UK market" - in fact issue #10 carries the bold strapline 'Britain's Only Science Story Weekly'. It is particularly notable for its publication of the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's 'The Poison Belt', serialised from issues #13 through to #18. Here's the cover for #13, promoting the first chapter of the story with quite a horrific and graphic illustration.

Indeed, sometimes Scoops is referred to as a comic, which is why it piqued my interest, yet as far as I have seen not a single comic strip was ever printed within its pages. But that's not to say it doesn't contain anything of interest for those of us interested in the comic side of things. As you may know, C Arthur Pearson produced "a comic for all the seasons" (as Denis Gifford put it), and indeed a few of them were advertised within the pages of Scoops. Here's every advert for such a comic I could find, although admittedly I don't have access to every issue I think this is a nice little collection. As with all images on this blog, click on them to view in full size.

From #9

From #11

From #19

From #20

These comics were produced sporadically until the War put a stop to such practices due to paper rationing, and I'd certainly like to dedicate a full post to them at some point in the future but sadly I don't own any issues (if you do and want to sell them, or even just send me some scans, please do get in touch!). In the meantime though, I highly recommend having a flick through a few issues of Scoops. Even if science fiction isn't your thing, admiring the front covers is certainly worth a few minutes of your time. All the scans from here are taken from Comic Book + (I've provided the link below), which has a number of full issues you can download, you'll just need a program to open the files - I used DrawnStrips Reader (but you can even read them without downloading on the website). Scoops was a wonderful magazine with some fantastic writing and illustrations, and certainly a publication lightyears ahead of its time. It really was "the story paper of tomorrow". 

1 comment:

Kid said...
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