Wednesday, October 03, 2018

We've Never Had it so Good!

...for reprints of British comics that is. Just a few years ago fans were bemoaning the lack of classic reprint material of UK comics. After all, numerous hardback and trade paperback collections of American comics had been available for decades, so why were there so few collections of UK material?

There was always Titan Books of course, who had been publishing occasional collections of UK material for over 30 years... initially 2000AD strips, then Garth, Modesty Blaise, James Bond, and into stuff like Johnny Red and Charley's War... and had published Dan Dare reprints after Hawk Books, but fans wanted more. 

Well, now we have plenty, with more on the way! I venture that we're currently enjoying a golden age of British comics reprints, and long may it continue. Since Rebellion acquired the rights to the post-1970 IPC back catalogue from Egmont two years ago we've seen a proliferation of nicely produced collections from Faceache to One-Eyed Jack, - and now that the company also has the rights to all the pre-1970 material we can expect a lot more! 
 Other publishers have noticed this potential market too. Dez Skinn has published a collection of Terror Tales that originally appeared in his House of Hammer mag in the 1970s and even D.C. Thomson have entered into the spirit of things. To be fair, Thomsons aren't new to this. They've published several collections before, such as books for Desperate Dan, Lord Snooty, and Black Bob, but recently they published an impressive slipcased set of 8 Beano facsimiles and have every past Beano annual on offer as Print-On-Demand reprints. 

(I'll even throw my hat into the ring and modestly mention my reprints of Combat Colin, Derek the Troll, and others.) 

Of course, there's a possibility that this "golden age" might not last long. The nostalgia market isn't as large as it is for American comics, and the older reprint material has a sadly diminishing fanbase with every year. The unfortunate thing is that a lot of fans are only interested in comics from their personal nostalgia years. However, I have hopes that some will venture outside of such self-imposed restrictions and try out strips they've never read. There has been some brilliant work produced in UK comics over the past 130 years that deserves to be seen again, and for it to reach a new audience. Obviously it'd be naive to expect most fans to be interested in obscure strips from the 1920s but I hope some will be open-minded enough to try out books that might collect strips from the 1950s or '60s.

These are exciting times for fans of British comics and I hope the books receive the support they deserve from retailers and readers.

Treasury of British Comics shop:

Power Pack of Ken Reid Vols.1 and 2:

Beano Annual facsimiles:

Hibernia Comics:

Bear Alley Books:

Combat Colin, Derek the Troll, etc:

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