Tuesday, April 07, 2015

The Okay Annual of Adventure Stories (1958)

One of the independent British comics publishers of years ago was T.V. Boardman (Thomas Volney Boardman) who set up his company Boardman Books in the 1930s. In the post-war years he was publishing several comics and annuals, one of which was The Okay Annual of Adventure Stories. Although undated, research leads me to believe this edition was published in 1958. 

Boardman's main artist was Denis McLoughlin, whose dark and detailed style would later be seen in various comics from DC Thomson and IPC. McLoughlin's most popular works for Boardman were the Buffalo Bill annuals which he illustrated in the 1950s. For the Okay Annual shown here, McCloughlin painted the front covers. Perhaps the back cover too, but I'm not sure...

McCloughin also provided some excellent interior illustrations...



T.V. Boardman was a pioneer of reprinting American comics for the UK market, and this annual features several U.S. strips. Here's a selection of opening pages...







It's interesting that Boardman reprinted the American Dennis the Menace strip in the book, even though the UK version in The Beano had been established for several years by 1958. Presumably no litigation took place, although a few years later in 1964 the American Dennis was renamed 'The Pickle' when he appeared in a British toy. (See here.)  

There was British material in the annual as well, in the form of several illustrated prose stories...


The Okay Annual was an interesting mixture of golden age American comic book reprints and 'ripping yarn' type British text stories. A curious item from nearly 60 years ago.

8 comments:

paddykool said...

There is some great quality artwork in these old annuals.I never thought the the name TV Boardman was actually a man's name. i assumed it was something to do with this new-fangled television...! Some years ago I managed to collect a set of the Buffalo Bill annuals of the 1950's . They are really worth tracking down .Great artwork and something very substantial and satisfying about the heft of these great books.

Lew Stringer said...

I have one of the Buffalo Bill Annuals somewhere. I posted a few pages from it here several years ago. Amazing artwork by Denis McCloughlin who clearly loved the subject matter.

From what I've seen, annuals (and weeklies) started to get very interesting in the 1950s, breaking away from some of the formulas. It's good that several independent publishers were around then too. Lots of choice for readers. There always seems to be something new to discover about comics of that decade.

John Pitt said...

I had ONE of these annuals, but I can't remember which one / year? I have previously looked at all the covers, but none of them rang any bells. All I could remember was the Dennis and Blackhawk strips, so who knows, it could have been this very issue!
At any rate, it's great to see some interior pages again after all these years.
Cheers, Lew. Great post.

Manic Man said...

damn.. I've tried to but.. I can't help this..

"How good were the stories?"
"They are Okay"

sorry.. odd title though.. Normally with that kinda title they wanted to try and boost there comic saying how great it was like "Dandy" (saying it was really Dandy), "Fantastic", "Score", even "Commando" seams geared to trying to say they are the best or at least very good... "Okay" just seams a bit bland.. doesn't look bad stuff and the name seams.. a bit better then the original title of 'Ajax Adventure Annual' to me but.. still seams a bit bland.

Lew Stringer said...

It does seem bland by the modern sarcastic use of 'okay' but Boardman first used it for his 1937 comic 'Okay Comics Weekly'. Back then it was a much cooler and enthusiastic term than it is today.

Dez Skinn said...

Had this actual annual as a kid. A real eye-opener to early US comics characters and I absolutely adored the amazing cover! Thanks for jogging my memory, Lew.

Lew Stringer said...

You're welcome, Dez! Thanks for commenting.

Anonymous said...

I just found this page. I picked up an 'okay adventure annual' amongst a number of annuals i found in a charity shop. My edition is apparently from 1956. Just starting on it tonight :)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...