Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Snow in July! The 2012 Annuals have arrived
As mentioned on this blog a while back, this year the annuals are being published earlier than their usual late August / early September schedule. In fact The Dandy Annual 2012 and The Beano Annual 2012 are out now from DC Thomson.
Each book has a R.R.P. of £7.99 but you'll easily find them cheaper. (Amazon currently has them at £5.49.) I know some collectors like to wait until they find unsold copies in bargain bookshops after Christmas for a pound, but that doesn't really help the industry and if we all did that the annuals would cease to be.
The Dandy Annual uses a logo from 30 years ago to reflect its content of old and new characters. Fans will be pleased to hear that Bully Beef and Chips are back, now drawn by Laura Howell, and other favourites such as Corporal Clott, Brassneck, Beryl the Peril and Winker Watson also return.
Traditionalists may not be so fond of the new styles given to some of the classic characters. I'm sure Nigel Auchterlounie's version of Puss and Boots will ruffle a few feathers with the over-thirties, but the strips are still funny, - what else does a kid's comic annual need to be?
Young fans of the current Dandy weekly may be a little disappointed to find so few of their new favourites in the annual. No Pre-Skool Prime Minister, no Postman Prat, no Harry Hill, and Nigel Parkinson draws a more traditional Desperate Dan than the revamped Jamie Smart version. However, Andy Fanton's George and Dragon are here, along with Korky, Bananaman, and Kid Cops. Then again, the kids will probably enjoy it all the same, just as I did as a child when annuals featured strips that were new to me.
The Beano Annual includes all the usual long-term favourites Dennis and Gnasher, Roger the Dodger, The Bash Street Kids and Minnie the Minx. More recent hits such as Ratz are also on board, with some nice work by Hunt Emerson.
Fans of Calamity James will be pleased to hear that he's back, drawn by the brilliant Tom Paterson.
Several of the strips feature a winter theme, which feels a bit odd with the books coming out in mid-Summer, but they'll be on sale for a good while yet. One of the winter stories is my own Super School strip, - three pages set on Christmas Eve! I designed a traditional Christmas logo with snow on it. Hope it doesn't melt.