Monday, June 15, 2015

CHIPS ANNUAL 1941

Although Illustrated Chips (or simply Chips as it was commonly known) ran from 1890 to 1953 (when it merged into Film Fun) it only spawned three annuals. There would have been more if World War 2 hadn't caused paper shortages, so the books dated 1939, 1940 and 1941 were the only ones published. I took a look at the 1940 edition a while back (see here) and now here are a few pages from Chips Annual 1941 that I bought a few months ago. The book would have been published in Autumn 1940.


With the weekly Chips only having black ink on pink coloured paper, the readers must have felt that the annual was really exceptional with its brightly coloured cover showing the regular characters having sneaked into the editor's office to raid his cigars and cakes. Note the bound collection of Chips hanging on the side of his desk. The publishers used to bind the issues into 26 issue (six monthly) volumes for their own in-house files. These volumes now turn up on eBay since the current copyright owners sold them off years ago. 

The contents of these annuals published by Amalgamated Press were similar in format: 96 pages comprised of text stories and strips. Most, if not all, of the content was made up of reprints from the weekly. Some stories combined text and strips, such as this Millie Mascot two pager, most probably a reprint that had been reformatted...


The book provided readers with plenty of reading material in the form of illustrated text stories. Here are just a few examples...



The entire contents of the 1941 annual were in black and white except for a colour frontispiece, a Laurie and Trailer strip in red spot colour, and this four page full colour Weary Willie and Tired Tim strip. Going by the way the first sequence of events reach a natural conclusion on page two it's evident this is two weekly strips reprinted and rewritten as a four pager. Artwork by Percy Cocking.  




I don't know who drew the Eagle Men Patrol adventure strip but I find the use of hatching and cross-hatching quite atmospheric and effective, albeit very dated looking these days.




It wouldn't be Chips without long-running favourite Homeless Hector. In this story drawn by Bertie Brown, the stray dog gets revenge on cruel Gregory Gallop.

Another Chips favourite of course was Casey Court. Unless they've reformatted this from a half pager I think it may have been drawn specially for the annual. Art by Percy Cocking, who includes Willie and Tim as guest stars... 

At the end of the book, the editor signs off with a plug for the weekly. Although it would soon become a fortnightly for the duration of the war and sometime afterwards. Sadly this was goodbye to the Chips Annual as no more were produced.

On the back cover, a nice extra in the form of a game. 

These old annuals were nearly an inch thick, giving the impression of much more content than modern annuals. In truth, they had 96 pages but the paper stock was far thicker than that used in today's 112 page Beano Annual. 

2 comments:

Peter Gray said...

Casey's Court is just brilliant..like how it uses characters from the comic...it must be new for the annual...

Lew Stringer said...

I hope so. I'd like to think there was at least some new material in the book, although A.P. Tended to use a lot of reprint. A policy they still had years later as IPC.

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