Saturday, July 19, 2014
Summer Specials 2014
The Summer Specials finally arrived at my local shops yesterday (although they've been in some parts of the country for a couple of weeks). These days they're no longer in the tabloid format they had years ago, but they're twice as thick and squarebound with sturdy card covers.
The Dandy Summer Special 2014 has caused a little controversy in some fan circles because last year's edition promised to be the "Last Ever". Indeed, that was the intention, until WH Smith suggested to DC Thomson that as it sold so well it might be a good idea to continue it. This last minute decision to revive the title sadly meant that there was no time to commission new material (save for covers by Mike D) but what we have instead is a fine collection of reprints spanning the 1960s to 2010. Yes, as some have noted, one page of a Blinky story is printed twice by mistake (due to the short production time), but hopefully the other 66 pages in the comic will prove sufficiently rewarding. My opinion: focus on the positives. There's a lot of misery in life but a mistake in a comic isn't part of it.
I was particularly pleased to see one of my favourite Smasher strips by Hugh Morren from The Dandy Summer Special 1967, and a Dudley Watkins Desperate Dan from that year too. And look, - The Smasher strip features a teacher whacking him. It seems Political Correctness hasn't gone mad after all.
There are also a couple of Winker Watson strips by Eric Roberts (from the 1970s I think) and a 1983 Brassneck strip by Bill Holroyd. For those of you with more recent nostalgia, there's a good selection of material from the 1980s and 1990s too.
The Beano Summer Activity Special 2014 contains a free gift of bound-in stickers, although a few people have reported these are not in their copies so check before you buy.
The Beano one is all new, and features a good balance of comic strips and puzzle pages. Only the main Beano characters are included, so there's plenty of fun with Dennis, Minnie, Bash Street etc. but no appearances by Rasher, Tricky Dicky and suchlike.
Both specials should now be available from WH Smith, Asda, and other retailers at £4.99 each for 68 pages.