Sunday, January 22, 2017


You've probably heard of The Ovaltineys, the children's club of the 1930s formed to promote the hot drink. It even had its own radio show and theme song. (Ask anyone over who was around back then and they'll probably sing it for you.) As an early example of a merchandise tie-in, it had a comic too. The Ovaltiney's Own Comic, published by Target Publications of London, who also published weekly comics such as Rattler and Rocket.

According to Ray Moore when this was discussed on the Comics UK Forum several years ago, "It should also be pointed out that four of the seven titles mentioned were made further value for money, namely Rattler, Dazzler, Chuckler and Rocket, by the inclusion of the free four page supplement 'The Ovaltiney's Own Comic'. A supplement that ran to 128 issues between 1935 and 1938 which is still a record run for a giveaway comic of its kind."

I recently bought an issue of Ovaltiney's Own Comic so I thought I'd show some pages here. Again, using Ray Moore's words; "On the artistic side the Target comics were pretty exclusively the work of the same five artists, Henry Louis Diamond [who was also the publisher], Harry Banger, Bert Hill, S K Perkins and G Larkman."

Target Publications were eventually bought out by The Amalgamated Press. I'll show another of their comics here at a later date.

ACES WEEKLY special offer!

Aces Weekly publisher David Lloyd has posted this on Facebook...

Yes, that's right. If you subscribe to Aces Weekly before tomorrow (23rd January), your sub will start with the complete seven issues of the previous volume (vol.25) as a bonus. And Volume 26 begins tomorrow too, so you'll have the first weekly issue of that also. 

Why wait? Zoom over to the Aces Weekly website now to sign up and get reading! Just £6.99 for seven issues.

Dare you enter... The Castle of Comic Creators!

Northern Ireland's Enniskillen Comic Fest has just revealed its new venue for this year's event. It's to be at Enniskillen Castle. Guests will include John Wagner, Carlos Ezquerra, Steve MacManus, Nigel Parkinson, Nika Nartova, Colin McNeil, Alan Grant, Yanick Paquette, me, and many more to be announced! Having never done a comic con in a castle before I'm looking forward to it! 

You'll find us at the castle on Friday 5th and Saturday 6th May 2017, and it's free entry! For more info, visit the Enniskillen Comic Fest Facebook page:

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Support the Reds!

As you may have gathered from the issues I've already reviewed, I really like Rok of the Reds. It combines the best aspects of a traditional British football comic with a sci-fi twist and a modern attitude. You can't go wrong when you have John Wagner and Alan Grant writing it, and Dan Cornwell brings the right style of artwork to the story. 

Now, its publisher BHP Comics have provided this handy coupon to Support your Comic Book Store by printing off this Rok of the Reds poster and asking your local store to add it to your pull list, so you can buy it direct.

Support Rok of the Reds! It's a great comic!

Look out! WHAM! is coming! (1964)

A few years ago I showed how Today magazine promoted Wham! comic in 1964 (see that post here) and today I'm showing how Eagle did it too. As this was a time before Wham! had spawned its sister titles Smash!, Pow!, Fantastic, and Terrific, it was up to Eagle and Boys' World to advertise the new comic.

The first mention of Wham! appeared in Eagle dated 13th June 1964, with a quarter page ad (above) showing kids excitedly rushing to a newsagent. (Artist unknown.) I'm including the full pages that these adverts appeared on to give them some context.

The following week, Eagle dated 20th June 1964, revealed the cover of Wham! No.1 by Leo Baxendale...

The week after, a glorious full page illustration by Leo Baxendale, promoting issue 2. Wham! was a relatively anarchic comic so it's great that such a pro-establishment comic as Eagle was featuring such a grotesque caricature and telling kids not to be afraid of teachers. (I think this page also appeared in Wham! No.1).

The following week, Eagle used the Humbugs strip from the previous week's Wham! to advertise issue No.3...

Even when the free gifts stopped, Eagle still carried the promotion over its next three issues to advertise Wham! issues 4 to 6. (The Fidosaurus strip has nothing to do with it but it was on the same page and is by Reg Parlett, so worth showing.)

The promos then stopped for a while, before resuming for one week with Eagle dated 26th September 1964 when Wham! No.15 had its free Whampire Bat gift...

As you can see, Wham! was promoted as "the funniest comic ever", and for many of us back then it most definitely was!
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