Friday, 5 September 2014


All images copyright D.C. Thomson & Co., Ltd

My local WHS has just put a selection of Annuals on display, so,
tempted as I was to wait 'til nearer Christmas when the price comes
down, I snapped up the two you see before you in case they sell out.
At the moment, if you buy one, you get the other for £1, which works
out at only  £7 each - quite a good buy.  No doubt there will be other
competitive offers elsewhere, and the price is bound to decrease even
further at Christmas and the New Year (supplies permitting) if you'd
prefer to wait a bit.  Anyway, let's consider THE BEANO &
DANDY volume first.

It's satisfying to see that the pages are presented simply, with-
out all the 'dressing up' that DCT's designers usually over-apply, but
I still have a few quibbles.  The colours on most of The Beano covers
seem bright and vibrant, whereas The Dandy ones seem pallid by com-
parison.  It's as if one set of covers have been boosted, but the other set
haven't.  Despite that, it's a nice little collection, even 'though, following
the mix-up of printing the same page twice in the recent Dandy Summer
Special, Thomson's compound that error by printing the last two
pages in the book out of sequence. (You can see the correct
order above, just below the cover.)

The OOR WULLIE & THE BROONS book is a delight,
being presented in full colour for the first time, and there's a great
selection of art by KEN H. HARRISON, DUDLEY D. WATKINS
and even two examples by ROBERT N. NIXON.  The colouring gives
the pages a whole other dimension, 'though there are at least a couple of
instances where greater thought could have been put into its application.
In the two small images above, Wullie's hair is delineated quite clumsily,
with it growing from behind his ears in the first, and over his fore-
head and temples in the second. 

However, these small but annoying quibbles aside, DCT
are to be commended for at least trying to do the right thing.
Once they actually manage to produce their output free of
clumsy errors, I'll be a very happy man.


Paul McScotty -Muir said...

I like the idea of the "Oor Wullie and Broons" in colour especially for the Watkins art (although all artists noted are top class)- surprised to see on the cover the Broons twins have different coloured hair (blonde and ginger) as they were supposed to be identical and no one could tell them apart - not sure I like the cover that much either to be honest but contents sound great. "Beano and Dandy" of the 40s isn't really my cuppa team though but will check it out just incase.

Kid said...

I'm not sure whether the twins have only recently acquired different hair colours or have always had them, McScotty - although I've always been of the impression they were the same. I'll have to investigate. Have to be honest, I only bought The Beano & Dandy book 'cos I got it for a £1, but you'd be wise to get the Oor Wullie & The Broons one. You're right, the cover is a bit underwhelming - they should have got KHH to do it.

baab said...

When I was a lot younger I was copying and enlarging Kamandi covers and I showed them to this friend who lived across the road from me.
He was second youngest of a large family and said he had lots of comics and annuals.
It was all Beano ,Dennis the Menace and the Dandy annuals from way back.

He let me read them and it was a delight.
The Beano & Dandy cover here reminds me of then.
The Oor Wullie and Broons cover is very very bad.

I may have a look at Dudley Watkins in colour though,that is interesting.

Paul McScotty -Muir said...

Had a look at the "Oor Wullie / Broons" book the strips looks great coloured - I might pick it up later (still trying to down size my comics / books at present)

It may be of interest to you Kid as you live not to far from Hamilton -when I was out in Hamilton earlier today I noticed a new PC, Games, and Comic shop in Castle Street (on way to the ASDA superstore, NEXT etc area - shop looked like it was getting fitted out but managed to see a comic stand/rack at the very back not loads of US comics but a fair amount - store looks similar to the Geek store in Argyle st Glasgow (but smaller) ie for gamers, PCs, coffees and comics etc

Kid said...

Ta, McScotty. I'll certainly look in on the place the next time I'm in Hamilton, but I don't know when that will be. I never travel by bus, and have to rely on friends with transport.

Steven Docker said...

W H Smiths do this every year - 1 week at full price followed by buy one get one for £1.00 - I always wait. I snapped up four different annuals last Saturday and felt very smug. To balance that I was very disappointed with The Beano And Dandy - The Comics That Won The War. Quite a lot of the older strips just look like they've been photocopied from some not-very-good copies of originals. I'd been really looking forward to getting it but ended up not buying it. I mean, just how much would it have cost DCT to just do a little bit of restoration. Anyway, hopefully I'll come to my senses soon and buy it anyway.

Kid said...

I agree, SD. The comics used are obviously file copies which were bound together by string. The string has been removed to allow scanning, but it would have been easy to use computer technology to repair the odd instances of where the string-hole had pierced a panel. Also, the black and white pages could've been whitened up with little effort, but I suppose DCT felt that the 'aged' look made the material seem more authentically 'ancient'.

John Pitt said...

All 3 books mentioned by you and SD sound right up my street, despite the dodgy printing, so I'll be checking them out too.
The 80's used to be great for annuals on our town. There used to be this shop that, come this time of year stocked piles of them. But after Xmas they rapidly went down in price - half price, quarter price, 50p, etc. As I used to frequent it every day, I always knew the optimum moment to buy
As a kid, my parents used to get a Brian Mills catalogue and every August, when the Xmas one arrived, I would always turn to the annuals page in the toy section first. Somehow Santa would always know which ones to bring me.
For all lovers of the great British annuals, check out Tony's Trading website, which he has expanded this year and now also includes girls' annuals.

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