Monday, 30 June 2014

THE BIRTHDAY BOOK FOR BOYS 1972...



Ooh, look what that nice TWO-HEADED BOY (from
Two-Headed Thingies) sent me recently.  The BIRTHDAY
BOOK For BOYS 1972, featuring strips and text stories from various
comic papers that were available way back then.  Interestingly, the interior
copyright date of 1972 suggests that perhaps it wasn't a Christmas Annual
because, as all British readers know, the copyright date is usually that of
the year an Annual is issued, not the year it's for.  (So, Annuals cover-
dated 1972 for example, went on sale in August or Septermber
of '71, and usually carried the year of issue inside.)

The purpose of the Annual was obviously to entice readers
to hunt down the weekly comics which featured the particular stories
they'd enjoyed and thereby increase circulation.  It would be interesting
to learn whether the project ever bore fruit, but as far as I know, the ex-
periment wasn't repeated, so I think we can safely draw our own con-
clusions as to the results (or lack of them).  I'm bound to say that I
think they missed a trick by not including ADAM ETERNO.
    
Anyway, take a look at a few of the contents and refresh your
memories of your long-ago youth.  If you happen to know whether
this book was issued at the end of '71 or sometime in '72, feel free
to enlighten me in the comments section. 









15 comments:

John Pitt said...

What an interesting find! Never seen the like of it before. I now regret not buying Vulcan. It was Valiant for me - Steel Claw, Kelly's Eye &I loved Capt Hurricane. Wonder if there are any collections....

Kid said...

There's an 'Albion Origins' book from a few years ago, JP, which should still be available. Also, there's a few copies of the Birthday Book on eBay as I type this.

Paul McScotty -Muir said...

I seem to recall Fleetway releasing a few non "Christmas" annual books including the "Valiant book of Mystery and magic" and various additional Buster annuals such as ,Buster Book of Spooky Stories, "Buster Book of Thrills and Buster Book of Gags etc but this annual always was of interest time (cover looks so cheery and fun) but I don't recall seeing it in the shops on checking the web I see this advert for it in a Knockabout comic in April 1972 (see link)- Nice to see Tom Kerr artwork here nice annual to have and nice to get it as a wee present from "Two headed boy"



http://knockoutcomic1970s.blogspot.co.uk/2010/02/knockout-covers-no28-to-no54.html

Kid said...

I've got that Valiant book you mention, McScotty, so I'll have to check the copyright date in it. I don't recall the Birthday Annual at all, but I've got a complete set of Knockouts so must've seen the ad at the time. Ta for the link - it'll save me digging out my Knockouts.

Irmantas said...

For me, the highlights in the book are The Sludgemouth Sloggers by Joe Colquhoun and Kid Chameleon story illustrated by Ian Kennedy. Beautiful artwork on both!

TwoHeadedBoy said...

Just glad it went to someone who'd enjoy it more than I do, rather than it sitting, unloved, on my bookshelf for the rest of eternity.

As for that link... I'm going to be looking at Knockout covers all night now, thanks!

Kid said...

I've only browsed through it so far, Irmantas - I'm looking forward to sitting down and reading it now. I recognised Ian Kennedy's art right away, of course.

******

I think I'll be looking through it a bit more myself, THB - at least until I can get around to digging out my own issue. Thanks again for the book.

Gey Blabby said...

I had this one and thought it was a great idea to gather stories from all around. Some - like the ones from Buster and Cor!! - I wouldn't have had otherwise. I don't think I got it at Christmas, though. My birthday was in early January, so my mother would hold back an annual to give me on that day and that might be what happened here, especially because of the title.
Or, as you mentioned, the annuals went on sale well before Christmas, so she would buy them as soon as possible to make sure there was no chance of missing out, and if I was off school (often) with the flu in the early months of winter - sitting propped up in bed sipping Lucozade and with my head under a towel sniffing Vick in boiling water - she might try and cheer me up by giving me an early present — maybe an annual that wasn't one of the essentials to be kept for Christmas, like The Broons/Oor Wullie, Beano, Dandy or whatever.

Kid said...

The ad that McScotty refers to, GB, was in an April issue of Knockout, long past when Annuals issued the previous year were usually advertised, so it seems that it wasn't released 'til early '72 (hence the copyright date) - although it could well have been printed in '71 along with the other Annuals. Thanks for your vivid reminiscence.

Colin Jones said...

This is a strange title for a book - was it supposed to be bought as a birthday present? What if your birthday was six months away but you wanted the book ? That phrase "comic papers" sounds so 1930's and archaic - surely nobody actually said it in 1972 if ever !

Kid said...

I imagine that was the reason for the title and the copyright date, Col. It would be on sale throughout the year for as long as stocks lasted - and I think there may have been a bit of wordplay going on with the title. As in 'look at all the comics represented - all your birthdays have come at once' sort of thing.

As for 'comic papers' - kids may not have used the term (maybe posh ones did), but editors still referred to them in that way. Perhaps so that they sounded more grown up, although I believe they were originally called papers to qualify for cheap postage rates.

TwoHeadedBoy said...

Oh, just noticed, you got rid of those pen marks on the cover! Is that some fancy cleaning solution, or mere computer trickery?

Kid said...

That 'fancy cleaning solution' is soap and water, THB - 'though I did use 'computer trickery' to remove some of the indentations. (Didn't go overboard on it.)

Tony said...

I think this came out about mid 1972. I remember seeing it advertised in one of the comics I got regularly - possibly Knockout - and asking for it. It worked on me as I started to buy both Valiant and Lion quite regularly on my way home from school.

Kid said...

If it had only worked on a few more readers, Tony, then Valiant and Lion might've lasted a bit longer, eh? I miss seeing comics like them in newsagents.

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