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Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Annual Covers

As a postscript to the recent blogs on Christmas Comic Covers here's a handful of children's annual covers that had a seasonal theme. The hardback annual was of course an essential present on Christmas day for many kids, and hopefully still is for some.

First off (above) a three panel Korky the Cat gag cover to The Dandy Book 1970 drawn and coloured by Charlie Grigg. Although these Annual covers usually featured one full page illustation this wasn't the first time The Dandy Book had run a strip on its cover. Personally I thought it made the book stand out from the crowd but it's a practice that hasn't been used on annual covers for many years now.

Next, the very first Shiver and Shake Annual dated 1974 with artwork by Mike Lacey. The "Two Books in One" cover boast wasn't convincing. As with the weekly version, the centre 50% of the pages were the Shake section, but unlike the stapled comic, this squarebound annual couldn't be separated into its alleged "two books" without ripping it out and causing permanent damage. Cor, what a swizz!

The second of the three Dandy Books in this blog shows the cover for the 1968 edition. Again drawn by Charlie Grigg, the black background helps to turn it into a strong memorable image.

The Beano Book for the same year is also a close up of its cover star, illustrated by Dave Sutherland I think. This time it's Biffo the Bear being pelted with snowballs by Minnie the Minx, Roger the Dodger and Dennis the Menace. Fortunately Biffo has acquired a helmet from one of the Q-Bikes in order to protect himself. The fate of said Q-Biker isn't revealed. Perhaps Biffo ate him, being a bear and all.

Going further back in time the Film Fun Annual 1952, "The Family Favourite" seems to be aimed at a wider age range than most annuals. The cover design is strong but fairly humourless, merely serving to illustrate which movie stars appear in the strips inside.

Finally, The Dandy Book 1967 has Korky the Cat showing the season of goodwill to the mice by crushing them under a giant snowball. Another great Charlie Grigg cover!


Anonymous said...

Nice one Lew - I remember the Beano '68 book as one I owned.

Anonymous said...

Thanks again for these seasonal covers. I recognize (and may have owned) the Beano one with Biffo.
By the way, thanks again for the entry some time ago about the Beano 70th anniversary book. I got it for Christmas (via family members who shipped it via and it's good.

Have a happy 2009.

--Mike Mittelstadt
Watertown, NY

Anonymous said...

After looking more closely at the first Dandy cover here (annual 1970 with Korky and the mice) I realize I have seen that one, too. We used to get Beano and Dandy regularly from the local newsagents' back then and often received the annuals for Christmas.

--Mike Mittelstadt

Rafiq Raja said...

Congrats on your 2 nd year completeion from the house of Comicology.

Rafiq Raja

Reuben said...

I thought I'd mention it here before I forget again, the Dec 22nd entry on is Veitch's old Beano/Dennis the Menace illustration from the '90s. Good to see some Americans know who the 'proper' Dennis is!

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