Sunday, November 28, 2010
Free Inside! - Part 2
Here's another helping of free gifts that were given away in British comics of the past. First off, the WHAMpire Bat from Wham! comic in 1964. This figure had very delicate wings and although the rubber band has now perished I presume it was wound up and the Whampire then suddenly flew out when the envelope was opened.
Cardboard guns were a popular free gift in the decade of peace and love and in 1967 Pow! No.1 gave away this Web-Centre Spider-Matic and several cardboard bullets...
The same year saw The Topper treat the readers to The Funny Face Maker. This was a sheet of clear acetate with cartoon facial components printed on it. When cut into individual parts the reader could then assemble them into various photofit style faces. A simple idea but very amusing.
In 1968 the first combined issue of Fantastic and Terrific gave away another cardboard gun. This one not only had the gun and bullets but also included a target board...
In 1971 IPC's Knockout weekly had an odd free gift; a little cardboard figure of one of the characters that you could pop into the breast pocket of a shirt or jacket so it appeared to be peeking over the edge. There were several to collect and it was pot luck which one you received. A bit of a useless free gift really, but one which a lot of people remember.
The educational magazine Look and Learn had gifts that were a bit more substantial as one might expect. In 1971 it presented The Look and Learn Book of Records with the "help and co-operation" of Guinness Superlatives Ltd. In other words it had permission to copy stuff from The Guinness Book of Records.
The magazine only gave away the cover of the booklet and a couple of interior sections. In order to compile the rest of the 96 page book the reader had to buy Look and Learn for a few weeks and cut out a section. Still a good gift though. I always felt that the photo below of the Limbo dancer being ogled by a bunch of beer-swilling blokes pretty much summed up entertainment of the early 1970s...
Two years later in 1973 Look and Learn offered more free gifts, such as this 16 page full colour Spotter in the Country booklet with not a Limbo dancer in sight...
IPC launched Shiver & Shake in 1973, giving away a practical joke gift in issue No.1. In order to sell more copies there was a choice of one of four practical jokes: a trick spoon, a trick rubber pencil, fake liquorice, or a plastic biscuit.
1975 saw Warlord give away an excellent 16 page booklet, Badges of the Brave along with aluminium badges representing various regiments that could be stuck into the book. Artwork by Jeff Bevan. (Thanks to Ray Moore for identifying Bevan's work.)
A few years later, in 1983, Victor gave away a similar gift. For Valour was a fold out card display which free replicas of medals could be affixed to. Again, the artwork is by Jeff Bevan.
Another collection of free gift scans soon!
Part 1 of this feature: