Monday, 27 September 2021

FIREBALL XL5 ANNUALS COVER GALLERY (UPDATED)...


Copyright relevant owner

I think it's fairly safe to say I never owned a brand-new Fireball XL5 Annual when I was a kid, instead acquiring them in jumble sales up to a couple or so (or more) years after they first came out.  If I recall correctly, I remember seeing the second one (1964 for '65) on the way to school one morning with my brother and some of his friends, one of them showing it to the rest of us.  The two of us hadn't long moved to another domicile five minutes down the road in the same neighbourhood, but we'd ventured up to our old street so my brother could reunite with a few of his pals from the area for our trek to school.

That's why I associate one of the Annuals with a house and street we no longer lived in, though obviously you're not interested in such a triviality.  I mention it, however, because it later sometimes seemed that all four Annuals must've belonged to the period I was in those two houses and attended my first primary school, though I also remember them from our third house (and my next primary) because that's when I acquired second-hand copies for myself - usually from the church across the road when it had one of their Summer or Christmas Fayres.

Looking back, I'm kind of surprised to be reminded the initial Annual went on sale in 1963 when I yet lived in our first house, the second in '64 when I was in our second home, the third in '65 just before we flitted once again - and was still selling as a new book (being for the coming year - '66) when my family was freshly ensconced in our third abode.  The fourth and final Annual hit the shops after I'd been in our new home for around ten months, but due to me obtaining it second-hand a year or two after it came out, I assumed it was older than it was.  (I've absolutely no memory of seeing any of them in the shops.)

I likely had all four books in that third house (though probably not at the same time), obtained 'pre-owned' (as they say these days), so I now connect them with there, but at the time, I supposed all four predated my tenure and belonged to an earlier period.  (When you're between 7 and 10, a handful of years seems greater than it is.)  "What's all that got to do with the price of cheese?" you may be asking; nothing really, apart from the fact the fourth book was contemporary, and properly 'belonged' to the third house, being published while we lived there, though I didn't know it at the time.

The foregoing preamble is just my usual long-winded way of saying I'm surprised by that, and it also fills a space on the blog while at the same time giving you four nice images to look at.  I especially love the fourth one by Mike Noble - which is your favourite?

Incidentally, I typed all this while suffering from 'brain fog', so don't be surprised to see some revisions somewhere down the line if I can think of a clearer and more concise way to express myself. 

******

(Update:) Incidentally, some chancer is currently asking £99 for the fourth book on ebay - even though it has nearly a third of the spine missing.  I just acquired a complete second copy of the same Annual today (Saturday 2nd October) for a mere £10.99.      



20 comments:

McSCOTTY said...

As I was never really a fan of TV related annuals I never had any of the Fireball XL5 or I need any of the Jerry annuals so I wasn't even aware of these until recently. My favourite here is the third cover more action orientated.

Kid said...

I'd say that Venus's torso isn't quite right in relation to her head, McS, though there's certainly a sense of movement and action about it, sure enough.

B Smith said...

First and fourth ones are the best for the simplest of reasons: It's a Fireball XL5 Annual, show us Fireball XL5!

I only have the fourth one, so can I ask, do the first three measure up to it? The thing I really like about #4 is that unlike most TV tie-in annuals - which are usually full of dull text stories, useless puzzles, or join-the-dots, or badly drawn comic strips - is that it's chock-a-block with comics, welldrawn and some even in full colour. How do #1-3 compare?

Though now that I think of it, were the strips in #4 simply reprints from elsewhere (another favourite ploy for the cost-conscious publisher)? Or were they commissioned especially for the one publication?

(And that Lutran ship is still a winner...)

Terranova47 said...

I have never read these annuals, is that second cover signed by Eric Eden? If so did he create any of the interior art?

Kid said...

Going from memory, BS, yeah, I'd say that the first three Annuals are just as good, contents-wise, as the fourth. I can't check 'cos the books are tucked away (I scanned the covers years back and simply reused them from an earlier post), but I don't recall being disappointed in any of them. In fact, some of the stories are reproduced on the blog somewhere, so simply type 'Fireball XL5' into the blog's search box and trawl away. And no, there were no reprints in any of them - all brand-new.

******

Yes, T47, I believe Eden did do some interior art for the Annuals, as did Ron Turner and a few others. Because I'd have to move a pile of heavy boxes to get into the sideboard where they're stored (I hope), I can't check if he drew for all four Annuals or only two or three of them, but I'll let you know when I can. Alan Fennell wrote several of the stories, maybe even all of them, and one was the same as a TV21 plot (different artist), though I can't say which version came first without checking. It's just a shame that Mike Noble didn't do any of the interiors.

Colin Jones said...

Ah, your brain fog explains why you left out the word "no" in the first sentence of the second paragraph, Kid, but not to worry.

I'm too young to remember Fireball XL5 by the way but nice covers.

Kid said...

It was there when I first typed it, CJ, but I've amended it in places a few times since first posting. I think I originally had 'I no longer lived in', so the 'no' must've disappeared when I changed it to 'we' and I never noticed. Nice to see you're paying attention.

Kid said...

Incidentally, I see you have a bit of a brain fog too, CJ, as you left out the comma which should've come after 'way' in your second sentence.

Colin Jones said...

We're all getting old, Kid, so brain fogs must be expected :)

Kid said...

Well, CJ, there's certainly none of us getting any younger. (More's the pity.)

baggsey said...

Although there is no Fireball XL5 on the cover, it is the third image that stands out for me, as it seems to have some real explosive movement in the image. All great covers, though. As I was born in 1959, it seems strange to me that the TV show passed me by, or I have no strong memories of it (unlike Stingray and subsequent Anderson creations). My parents ran a guest house in the summer months of May-early Sept, during which our sole TV was moved to the guests’ lounge, and off limits to me, which may explain why I missed seeming the show at the time.

Kid said...

I'm just a tad older than you (a few months perhaps), B, but I remember watching Supercar and Fireball at the time on their first run, so not having access to a TV must be the explanation for you not having strong memories of XL5. Or perhaps you simply watched something else. I can't remember whether I saw Torchy or Four Feather Falls, but I remember seeing Space Patrol (though it wasn't an Anderson production). Funny thing, memory, eh?

Mark West said...

Although I was a big Gerry Anderson fan (though watching everything but Terrahawks as repeats), I never ever saw this (and still haven't). On the second annual cover here, Venus looks very much like Diana Dors, was that the case of the show too?

Kid said...

Some of the Anderson puppets were said to be based on real people, MW - like Troy Tempest supposedly being based on James Garner - so it isn't entirely impossible that they had Diana Dors in mind when they made Venus. They were certainly similar in appearance.

Dave S said...

See that last cover? THAT is what the young Me expected the year 2021 to look like!

Kid said...

All thanks to Tomorrow's World and Gerry Anderson. We wuz robbed, DS.

McSCOTTY said...

Lol that's exactly what I used to think. I remember my pals and myself as kids talking about the future and expecting we would have flying cars and rocket boots. I demand rocket boots.!!!!

Colin Jones said...

The way in which we envisage the future has certainly changed over the last 60-odd years. The future was once seen as shiny and optimistic with life getting better all the time but now the future means overpopulation, dwindling resources, climate change, environmental breakdown and maybe even the end of our civilisation. Perhaps people were too naive in the past?

McSCOTTY said...

Love that message from Dave, that's exactly what my pals and myself thought at the time as well. We thought in the year 2000 we would be driving flying cars and would have Rocket boots. I want my rocket boots!!

Kid said...

Visions of what the future will be like are usually far away from reality. The very first episode of the Superman radio show from the 1940s has Lara asking Jor-El how he's getting on with baby Kal-El's rocket, amidst much hammering and clanking. "Fine," he says, "I just drove the last rivet!" And great as the Anderson craft were, their control panels were very dated-looking - not a touch-screen or keyboard in sight. And they still used old-fashioned tape recorders.

I just bought a pair of rocket boots on ebay, McS. Shame you don't use it or you could've beat me to them.



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