Thursday, 26 July 2018


Facsimile of 1939/'40 edition

I'm a sucker for facsimile editions of classic annuals, comics and books, the originals of which would doubtless be far beyond my meagre financial resources to obtain.  My latest acquisition is a facsimile of the very first BEANO book for 1940, which now joins the ranks of my replica editions of the first DANDY, BROONS and Oor WULLIE books.

However, the word 'facsimile' is often misapplied, because unless the item looks more or less exactly like the original (with a discrete distinguishing note that it isn't), it's arguable as to whether the description is an apt one.  Take the recent 'replica' of the first issue of the Beano:  it's four pages short, PEANUT the mascot has been removed, and its held together by staples instead of glue.

The facsimiles of the RUPERT BEAR books are probably the best examples of a true replica.  In making the books, every effort was made to reproduce not only the appearance but the very feel of the originals, and they really are top class.  In the case of the Beano and Dandy books, D.C. THOMSON produced them in collaboration with different publishers two years apart, and they're different sizes.  The Beano is an inch or so shorter than The Dandy tome, though the image-size on the pages of both books is exactly the same, with only the margin around the image being larger in The Dandy's case.

So which, if any, is the closest in size to its original incarnation?  I'm looking into it and will let you know when I find out.  Of course, if you've never seen or owned the original book, it's probably more the content you're interested in than the presentation, so the fact that a facsimile doesn't capture the exact appearance or dimensions of the original won't much matter to you.  However, in the case of the Rupert books in particular, certain aspects are extremely important in conjuring up childhood memories to those who read them when young.  The paper, the feel, the smell, the size, the look, etc., are essential ingredients in re-creating accurate impressions of the past.

Personally, the only difference I don't mind is when an old book had shoddy binding and was prone to fall apart - if publishers want to improve that aspect in a replica edition then I won't object at all.

Anyway, what follows is a variety (from my own collection) of authorised, official facsimiles, replicas and reissues which were intended to capture the spirit of their originals to some degree or other.  Hope you enjoy them.  (I'll add any that I've forgotten or temporarily mislaid at a later date.)

Oh, and here's a question for you.  Would you be happy with a facsimile of a book or annual you wanted, or would you prefer to do without if you couldn't have the original?

(All images copyright their respective owners.)

Facsimile of 1938/'39 edition

Facsimile of 1938/'39 edition

Facsimile of 1939/'40 edition

Facsimile of 1936 edition

Facsimile of 1937 edition

Facsimile of 1938 edition

Facsimile of 1939 edition

Facsimile of 1949 edition

Facsimile of 1922 edition

Facsimile of 1923 edition

Facsimile of 1964 edition

Facsimile of 1965 edition

Facsimile of 1965 edition

Alice's Adventures In Wonderland
Facsimile of 1866 edition

Alice Through The Looking-Glass
Facsimile of 1872 edition

Facsimile of 1896 edition

Facsimile of 1921 edition

Facsimile of 1921 edition

Facsimile of 1921 edition

Facsimile of 1921 edition

Facsimile of 1942 edition

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