Thursday, March 3, 2022

Look And Learn #1000

Any title that reaches 1000 issues is impressive and Look and Learn achieved such a feat on 9th May 1981. The celebrations began a week earlier in #999, with a full page advert promoting the big number. As you can see, the issue came with a free chess board, now long absent from my copy. It's also interesting to compare the cover shown in the advert compared with the finished product - a lot more writing was added including the subtitle 'With World of Knowledge' - which had folded and merged into Look and Learn in January 1981. The merger had brought about a few other changes, including a fresh logo dubbed 'The New Look and Learn', with the 1000th issue being the first to drop the words 'the new'. 

Inside, editor Jack Parker welcomes readers to the special issue and gives a brief history of the magazine including the choice to use Prince Charles on the cover, as a nod to the very first issue back in 1962. Personally I'm not sure that's a choice I would have made, but each to their own I suppose...

Look and Learn is more of a magazine than a comic, but it still featured strips sparingly here and there. Issue 1000 contains two such strips, this wonderful two-pager entitled More Adventures of The Trigan Empire. For me the colours really stand out on this page, particularly in the panels depicting the Skorpiad Space-Scout orbiting in space "several leagues above the Elekoton". As was mentioned in the editor's letter, this was a very popular and long running strip that originated in Ranger in September 1965, moving over to Look and Learn when the two merged in 1966 and continuing on until the very last issue. It's nice to see that many, although not all, of the artists are credited in Look and Learn - this strip is drawn by Gerry Wood

The other comic strip in this issue is a Ben-Hur two pager, adapted of course from the famous novel. Sadly the artist isn't credited here. 

Whether sales were already slumping or the revamped Look and Learn simply didn't prove as popular I can't say, but the magazine didn't last too much longer. At 40p it was perhaps too expensive, even though that higher price tag allowed it high quality paper and no less than 15 of its 32 pages were full colour. But a kid in a newsagents could buy a copy of Whizzer and Chips for 14p in 1981, or The Beano for 9p, so I would imagine the far pricier Look and Learn was more bought by adults to give to their children for its educational benefits. Regardless, the magazine folded after a very impressive run of 1049 issues with the final issue dated 17th April 1982. 


Kid said...

I've got the very first issue of Look & Learn, plus a complete set of World Of Knowledge (which reprinted a lot of earlier L&L features, I believe.) I've also got a nice wee run of L&L from the late '70s. 'Twas a classy magazine.

George Shiers said...

Yes it was a good one, the early issues have a cool look and it was definitely much higher quality than others around but with a price tag to match. I'm sure I remember it coming back a few years ago as subscription only but maybe I imagined that?

Kid said...

No, you're right. There was a 'new' run of 48 issues containing reprints, but not in their original order - 'twas more like a 'best of' Look & Learn. One good thing was that it reprinted Ranger's Trigan Empire from the very beginning, with an episode in each issue. Subscribers also received a facsimile of the first ish of L&L, which was very faithful - apart from the 'matt' paper it was printed on. (I've got the facsimile and its original version). There was also a giant book from the same publisher called 'The Best Of Look & Learn' and it's a very handsome edition. You might still be able to get the new series and book from The Book Palace, and the publisher's site is in my blog list. I was lucky enough to purchase them all a good few years back now.