Monday, October 27, 2014

It's Yesterday Once More

Even though I spend most of my time writing and drawing them, I very rarely dream about comics. However there was one vivid dream a few years ago where I discovered that some cancelled comics of yesteryear were actually still being published and you'd find the latest editions if you rummaged deep enough into the displays in newsagents' shelves. 

That's sort of what happened in reality today when I found The Topper and The Hotspur in Sainsbury's. Well, strictly speaking it's The Best of The Topper Annual and The Best of The Hotspur Annual, two of the newly published reprint books I mentioned a while ago.

I'd recently acquired The Best of Whizzer and Chips Annual and The Best of 70s Girls' Comics Annual too, thanks to the kindness of someone who sent them to me. These books are all exclusive to Sainsbury's, and not every branch is stocking them. The DC Thomson books have 80 pages and the Egmont ones have 72 pages. Yep, they've lost weight over the years!

I think the DC Thomson books win in terms of print reproduction and reprint choices. The Best of The Topper Annual has some very nice 1960s and 1970s strips, including a Dudley Watkins Mickey the Monkey page and what looks like a Davey Law Beryl the Peril strip. All the old favourites are there including Figaro, Big Uggy, and The Whizzers from Ozz. There are some later strips too, such as Tricky Dicky, but I'd guess at least half of the material is from the sixties and early seventies.


The Best of The Hotspur Annual is another goodie. I'm not too familiar with the DC Thomson adventure comics but from the styles and presentation it looks like the 70s and 80s are covered here. Possibly the 60s too. The only drawback is that as they're annual strips some don't feature the artists who did the weekly adventures, so although King Cobra is here, it's not by Ron Smith. (There is a great Ron Smith contents page though.) 



The Best of 70s Girls' Comics Annual has a selection of stories from Misty, Tammy, Jinty and Sally. The reproduction isn't as good as the Thomson books but everything is legible. There's a few features too, for nostalgic reasons. The Egmont books have chosen to add a 'tanning' effect to the edges of the pages to make them look aged but it's an unnecessary addition really.




The Best of Whizzer and Chips Annual seems to be a random selection of strips. Some are reproduced better than others but overall they're sharp. Oddly, even though the back cover declares 'Chips is inside', the book does not use the 'Two comics in one' gimmick but mixes up the strips instead. There's a Chips cover, but it's on page 10. Thing is, that 'two in one' gimmick never looked convincing in the annuals anyway (and who in their right mind would tear out the middle section of a book?) so perhaps Egmont felt it wouldn't work here, especially with a book that's only 72 pages. Still, it's a pity they didn't simply make the second half of the book a Chips section. 





There are other books in these retro series from Egmont and DC Thomson that I haven't seen yet. The Best of The Beezer Annual, The Best of Bunty Annual, and apparently The Best of Battle Annual and The Best of Roy of the Rovers Annual. Good luck finding them! The books have a RRP of £7.99 but Sainsbury's are selling them for the bargain price of £3.99 each. Alternatively, if you can't find them at your local Sainsbury's, you can buy the DC Thomson books full price from the DCT website:
https://www.dcthomsonshop.co.uk/our-brands/annuals-calendars/annuals.html

12 comments:

TwoHeadedBoy said...

None of these are in my local Sainsbury's, unfortunately. And as I'm not a driver, I can't go driving from town to town looking for them. Ah well.

Lew Stringer said...

It's possible they still might turn up. My local branch didn't have them on display last week. It wouldn't surprise me if they're in the stock room waiting for some assistant to notice them.

John Pitt said...

....Whereas I OFTEN dream about them! I am usually in some shop where there are loads of comics I want, but I don't have enough money to buy them all! - What a nightmare!! Can you interpret this dream?

Manic Man said...

mostly only interested in the humour ones, I picked up Best of Whizzer and Chips, Best of Beezer and Best of Topper in Sainsbury's (Hastings). not that the location will be of much use to many people but there you go.

Lew Stringer said...

John, I think it means what it is: a concern for one day not being able to afford the things you want. I guess we all have that. :)

Thanks Manic. Very useful for any blog readers living in that area.

George Shiers said...

Whizzer and Chips is back!?!? I'm not sure I fancy the 11,000 mile drive to my local Sainsbury's though... oh well :/

Richard Williams said...

Thanks for the heads up Lew, The Hotspur was one of my favourite weeklies and I ordered the annual direct from the DC Thompson website - really enjoyed it, especially the larger than life format!!

Lew Stringer said...

You're welcome, Richard. Yes, The Hotspur one looks very impressive. I used to read the comic in 1969/70 but didn't have the annuals so this is all new stuff for me.

George, it's all reprint so you probably have the stories already anyway.

Paul McScotty -Muir said...

Saw the Whizzer & Chips, Roy of the Rovers, 70s Girls comics and Battle editions in Sainsbury's in Hamilton , for £3.99 I thought they were pretty good value, although Battle for me looked the best (even although in black and white) Sadly none of the DCT titles were in the store here but I have already ordered Hotspur and might do same with Topper from what I read here. Ended up just buying chicken and some pasta sauce.

Lew Stringer said...

I'm sure you'll enjoy the Topper one, Paul. I may end up ordering the Beezer one if it doesn't turn up in my Sainsburys.

I understand the Battle one is published by Titan, not Egmont? Is that correct? Sounds like a cut down version of the one they did five years ago.

Mikeodee said...

All available in Crawley, for anyone near there.

Lew Stringer said...

Thanks Mike!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...