Saturday, 8 September 2012


One of the things that every blogger has to concern themselves
with is just what to write about for each new post, in the hope that at
least someone will be interested in reading the result.  One can never
really tell with any certainty just what will float a reader's boat so it's a
bit of a gamble whenever a blog host takes the plunge with yet another
entry for his members' perusal and hopeful appreciation.  Will a catchy
title arouse their curiosity?  Will a dramatic opening illustration grab
their attention?  Sometimes I'm surprised as to just what attracts a
significant number of hits - and sometimes I'm disappointed in
equal measure as to what seems to escape under the radar.

So, "what's the recipe for today, Jim?" - and will it be enough
to lure you into my blog's web for a few enjoyable minutes of reading
pleasure?  Let's look at the subject of Summer Specials - or Holiday
Specials as they were also sometimes called.  Asides from three new Ul-
timate Beano Summer Specials which graced the shelves of WHS
not long ago, the particular breed known as the Summer Special seems
to be extinct.  Hardly surprising given the dying interest in comics
in general, but no less disappointing for that inarguable fact.

Those of a certain age will recall the glory days, when - for a mere
2'6d (usually) - 96 pages of fun and adventure could be had to pore
over again and again.  There was just something about those extra thick
publications that seemed to beckon to us from the newsagents' counters -
enticing us to spend the half-crown that an indulgent grandparent or uncle
had given to us only a day or two before.  We were mainly unaware that,
inevitably, these bumper packages contained an allocation of reprint-
ed strips from comics or annuals of an earlier era - and what did it
matter anyway?  They were definitely new to us.

So come with me now on a short journey, and let us return to
an age when Holiday Specials were a welcome distraction as we
sheltered under the leafy shade of an overhanging branch from the
heat of the sweltering Summer sun.  A bottle of pop in one hand, an
oversized paper periodical in the other, the future remained an un-
discovered country - in which, sadly, all too soon we would find
ourselves residing while wondering how we got there. 

And below is one of my all-time favourites...


Mel said...

I loved the summer specials of the late 60's and early 70's. I had some of the ones shown, in fact still have the "Fantastic" one. The end of the school year was when I remember them being available, just before the two weeks holiday (usually the last week in July/first week in August) to such sunny climes as Great Yarmouth, Skegness or Plymouth!

Kid said...

Happy days indeed.

Anonymous said...

I was mostly disappointed in the summer specials as the art was not always of the best quality imho (or maybe it was the fact that in many cases the regular artist didn't draw the special) but they always looked really cool and packed with strips , games and stories that we poured over whilst travelling on the way to some holiday destination. I always liked the VALIANT specials great covers - great stuff thanks for showing these covers - McScotty

Kid said...

That was sometimes the case, McScotty - but occasionally it worked in reverse. The art on the Janus Stark story in the 1970 Smash Summer Special was absolutely stunning, but not by the usual artist.

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