Monday, 13 November 2017

AN ANNUAL EVENT - THE FIRST AND THE LAST...



Remember in the good ol' days (1960s & '70s), when Annuals seemed to be about an inch thick, with loads of content and felt like an event?  They started getting thinner in the '80s, and nowadays Annuals don't look even as thick as a '60s or '70s Summer Special.  Take a look at this WHIZZER & CHIPS Annual for 1994 (issued in '93) which I received today.  It's the final Annual in the series and isn't a patch on the very first one for 1971 (issued in '70).  I've scanned the spines so that you can see the difference, though it must be borne in mind that thicker paper was used in the earlier Annual, which was true of most titles.  The first Annual had 160 pages (including covers) and the last had only 80 (including covers), so it had half the page count of the first book, though with 46 interior pages in full colour, it beats the 15 of the first (though that had spot-colour and two-tone pages).

Will you be buying any Annuals this year, Readers?  If so, which ones?



24 comments:

-3- said...

Well, you know how fond i am of the annuals.
Yes, i'll be buying some this year. No, they probably won't be this year's annuals.
Hmm... If only we could have the Doctor take us on a comic shopping spree. But what to buy first?

Kid said...

Half a dozen copies of Action Comics #1 - to keep one for myself and sell the other five. The profits should enable me to buy just about everything else I want.

Warren JB said...

Blimey, all those characters on the '94 annual cover. I recognise them all, but I can only name Sweeney Toddler and Shiner.

I might look for Oor Wullie and The Broons annuals, but I think I'd sooner try to round out my collection of Dudley Watkins... er... collections. Although you're convincing me to cast my net a little wider.

Kid said...

It's a very 'busy' cover, WJB, as was the '93 Annual cover as well. Although they're both drawn very nicely ('93 & '94), I can't help but think that they're a little bit too crowded to take in 'at a glance'. The characters on this cover are Junior Rotter, Sweeny Toddler, Joker, Tarman of the Jungle, Fuss Pott, Sammy Shrink, Shiner, Mustapha Million, and Watford Gapp. I'm surprised that Sid and Slippy aren't included, but that would make it even more busy. I'd have left out a couple of other characters to make room for them.

I've already got the combined Broons & Oor Wullie book this year - lots of Dudley D. Watkins in that. I might get the Rupert Annual, 'cos it's got stories in it by different artists down through the decades.

Anonymous said...

They made Christmas through out the sixties for me, I couldn't wait to get them open and start reading them!
When did annuals first appear in the states? I just purchased Marvel Team up Spider- Man and the X-Men king size annual No 1 and it's just like a comic really.

Terence

Kid said...

Couldn't swear to it, T, but I think DC and Marvel first started referring to their 72 page (including covers) Specials as Annuals in the early '60s. After a while, they were reduced to 68 pages (including covers). Marvel were never consistent, sometimes calling them Annuals, at other times calling them King-Size Specials.

stephen murphy said...

I am fortunate enough to own every Whizzer and Chips annual (as well as every weekly edition of the comic,plus summer specials), and the page reduction came in when the annuals went to a large format size (from the 1988 annual onwards), plus a noticeable increase in reprinted pages. The annuals of the 70's for me are better produced and because of their increased page content you certainly feel that you are getting real value for money. My aunt worked for IPC magazines around that time and as a kid, I used to give her my wish list for annuals that I wanted for Christmas and she always came up trumps!!!

Kid said...

Yes, you're right, it's when the Annuals changed size that the page count became even less, but they'd been reduced before that. For example (and just grabbing what's to hand), the 1981 Annual has only 128 pages (including covers), compared to the 160 of the first one. Gotta ask, are all of the Annuals, Specials, and weekly issues your originals, or replacements?

If you count the 'Best Of' Annual for 2015, I think there were 25 (not 26 as I originally said) in all. I only have 11, so 14 (not 15) still to go. When did your Aunt leave IPC?

Oh, meant to say - Annuals and Summer Specials have always included a fair amount of reprint pages (from other titles usually, and sometimes renamed), but they probably did, as you say, increase in later Annuals because the budget for new material kept being reduced.

stephen murphy said...

I started buying Whizzer and Chips in 1976 and brought every edition until the comic folded in 1990. When I left school and started working I spent my hard earned wages on a complete run from 1970 to the point in 1976 when I started buying the comic, and in recent years purchased all the issues from 1969 from ebay, including the No1 edition. As far as I can recall, my Aunt worked in the Advertising Department and left around 1979/1980 to start a family. I have a large collection of IPC and DC Thomson humour comics, and in addition to having every W & C, I have every Whoopee, Monster Fun, Shiver & Shake, Cor and quite a few other titles. I have been collecting comics for over 40 years ( I cannot believe it is 40 years) and I am always looking on ebay for any bargains to fill gaps in my collection, mainly pre -1960's DC Thomsons humour comics.

Kid said...

That's very interesting. I think if I'd had every edition as they came out, but never kept them, then I might be interested in replacing them all, but I'm content just to have particular issues. I always thought it was a shame the way W&C ended - one issue past its 21st Anniversary, which went completely unheralded. I remember buying the first issue when it came out in 1969 and getting it for a good while - not sure when I stopped getting it regularly. (Obtained a replacement for my #1 about a year or so ago.) Got the first issues of the titles you mentioned, apart from Whoopee. (One day.)

Anonymous said...

I won't be buying any annuals but I did just buy the Beano Christmas special.

Kid said...

You'd have been better waiting 'til the prices of the Annuals are reduced near Christmas, then buying The Beano Annual. It'd be a whole lot cheaper.

Anonymous said...

But the Beano annual doesn't contain festive stories - the Christmas special does :)

Kid said...

Have you looked at the Annual, CJ, and ascertained that it contains no festive stories? Did you peek and not pay for? Santa doesn't like that.

Dave S said...

Its become a bit of a christmas tradition for me to dig out old annuals and read them - the Topper annual 1982 and Cheeky 1979 are particular favourites, and Roy of the Rovers 1982 is being added to this year's read since I've just recently acquired a copy (which incidentally, includes a story I tried for years to remember the name of and track down and that I mentioned on this blog a while back - Millionaire Villa).

I tend to reread old Oor Wullie and Broons books around New Year - not sure why, but they just seem a better fit for New Year than Xmas.

Kid said...

I remember you asking about that story, DS, and unfortunately no one was able to help you, so I'm glad to hear that you finally tracked it down. I think I'll dig out my 1973 Knockout and Marvel Annuals and re-read them fairly soon, as they were the first books I bought after moving into this house (the first time that is) back in 1972.

Dave S said...

The great thing about finding it was that the one panel I could vividly remember - of a smug-looking goalkeeper with a Robin Askwith haircut - was exactly like I remembered and I really felt like I'd snapped back in time a few decades when I saw it. Its actually a really good story too.

-3- said...

I'm loving the turn this conversation has taken. Kid knows my predilection for the Annuals in general. While i've got some Topper, Cheeky & Roy of the Rovers, i don't have any of the years mentioned. Please, do go on.
I've put word on Hamir* and Cheeky 1979 is on the way and the search is on for the others.

*(like all minorities, Hermits have a secret network hidden from the world. Ours is named Hamir.)

Kid said...

That's how I felt when I acquired a replacement for the 1st ish of the 1969 revamped Smash!, DS - 15 and a half years after selling my original (at cover-price) to a classmate.

******

Ooh, I love knowing a secret, 3. Tell us more about Hamir.

-3- said...

What - are you trying to get me defenestrated?
(it's traditional)
Suffice it to say that Hamir was iconic and had a burden of atonement, and so a natural crux for the network.

Kid said...

Right, I'll get back to you when I've worked that out or had some food. Whichever happens first.

Dave S said...

Enjoy Cheeky 1979, 3, be interested to hear what you think of it!

Kid said...

I think I might have that Annual myself - I'll have to check.

-3- said...

Dave - i probably won't get to reading it tonight. Just did a quick flip through (with a slowdown to giggle through Six Million Dollar Gran's adventure) for an overview and put it to the side with the Doctor Who annuals i've been gathering up to prep for next month. It's on the top of the stack, so next day or two.
But, is it just me or does it seem like James Bold appears here because they didn't have room for him in another title?
Not that i'm going to complain about an Odd bit, just noting.

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