Monday, 14 May 2018


Images copyright relevant owner

KNOCKOUT - there were two incarnations of course, the first back in 1939 to '63, the second in 1971 to '73.  The first version originally had a hyphen (KNOCK-OUT), but lost it at some stage down the line.  KELLY'S EYE started in Knockout, before jumping over to VALIANT when the two comics merged in '63, and it's with Valiant that the strip is most associated.

However, it's the second, revived Knockout in which I'm interested in this post - or at least the Annuals and Holiday Specials.  Speaking from a personal perspective, this comic has two distinct associations for me.  The comic came out when I was living in one house, and the first year's worth had been published by the time I moved to another in a different neighbourhood.  Consequently, I not only associate the comic with the previous house, but also the subsequent one because the weekly yet had another year to run before being merged into WHIZZER & CHIPS.

That second association though, has more to do with the fact that the first Holiday Special and Annual that I ever bought after moving into the other house were of Knockout - as I may not have still been regularly buying the weekly at that stage, if at all.  While living in my previous house I'd lent a stack of the early issues to a pal, and when he eventually gave me them back, they were in a terribly mutilated condition, with bits ripped off and pages missing.  That may well have been the 'jumping-off' point for me, barring free gift issues and the first three after it was subsumed by W&C.

I only ever bought that first Annual at the time, and picked up another two (for '83 & '84) sometime in the early '80s.  I can no longer recall if I bought the '83 one new when it first came out or shortly after, but up until a couple of months or so back, I had only five Knockout Annuals in my collection.  There were 13 in all, from the 1973 Annual (released in '72) up to the one for 1985 (released in '84), so I tracked the missing books down on eBay and completed my collection of them - 24 years after the final one was published.

So, not only does that give me the only excuse I need to bore you with my personal history, it also allows me to show you the covers of all 13 Annuals, plus the two Holiday Specials for 1972 and '73.  I've only got the first of these (can't remember if I ever had the second), so if you've got it and want to sell it, let me know in the comments section.  And in case you're interested, I also own all 106 issues of the weekly.  Maybe I'll put them on display on the blog sometime, if I ever find the time to scan them.

Incidentally, UK cartooning legend, TERRY BAVE, who drew several strips for Knockout, once told me that it was his favourite comic to work on, and that he was sorry when it folded.  (He also gave me his own copy of the first issue, so that exclusive item is one of the prizes of my collection.)  Right, enough waffle - on to the covers...

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