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Sunday, December 05, 2010

Free Inside! - Part 6

Early 1971 saw the launch of Polystyle's new tv adventure comic Countdown and the free gift in issue 1 was this impressive wall poster and the first set of stickers. Further stickers were given away over the following few weeks.

It's a sign of the time that these days such a detailed and informative poster such as this would be considered too "old" for the readers of current UK comics. However you might find something like it given free in a newspaper now, which would never have happened 40 years ago. Perhaps this indicates how "dumbed down" society has become over the past four decades.

The early 1970s also saw Cor!! give away the Ratty Rasper inspired by the popular Rat Trap story inside. This cardboard envelope contained a wound elastic band and metal washer which you would release by squashing the envelope, thus making the washer make the "rasping" sound. A nice addition was the tongue that poked out.

Also in the 1970s The Topper gave away a plastic kazoo called the Humdinger:

1974 saw Valiant and Lion present a fun free gift, The Kicking Footballer. It came in plastic kit form and instructions inside explained what to do...

...resulting in the figure below:

In Part 5 I showed the free gift that came with Monster Fun No.1. Here's the free Spider Ring that came with issue 2:

In 1980 Victor presented a small metal Thumbs Up pin badge:

I also have two similar metal gifts, but I've forgotten which comic they came with. Any ideas? I think they were from Tops (later TV Tops) published by D.C. Thomson in 1981.

To celebrate its landmark 1,000th issue in 1981 Look and Learn featured a free mini chess set:

1982 saw Victor give away the Soccer Star Badge. A large plastic badge in a football design, with stickers you could choose to pop into the clear window in the centre of the gift:

A year later, in 1983, D.C. Thomson's Spike comic presented the Ghostly Glow Badge, a nicely sculpted three dimensional gift. Did it really glow in the dark?

Yes it did! Spooky!

Speaking of badges, here's a few more that appeared in various comics. The sources should be obvious:

The final part of this feature on old free gifts will appear during the week!


Chris said...

The Space invader pin badge was indeed TOPS. I was one of my treasured possessions, wish I still had it :)

Hope you'll cover JACKPOT in the last part. I bought multiple copies of issue one for the free gifts.

Manic Man said...

Ah the fun and games of the past.. I still remember some of the more modern 80s comics (and in fact, comics and annuals before that) which used to have a two page spread that was a board game to play.. or the amount of Comics that used to tell you to 'cut up' the comic... of course, late 90s, then free posters stopped and became 'two pages of the comic which you pull out for you wall', that started to annoy me.. even worse, when atlest one time, it meant losing the last page of the comic story...

Anonymous said...

Seconded for the Space Invader pin badge being a cover gift from Tops. I've still got mine! And the skull and crossbones was Tops too, I remember I had to try very hard to get the copy with it as a gift as it was so popular.

Anonymous said...

The skull and crossbones was with Look-In, remember it well - this issue...

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for the clarification! I was sure it was given away with Tops but clearly I was wrong. I've been searching for the Tops issue with the skull and crossbones free gift for years :/

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