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Sunday, May 08, 2011

Preview of the 2012 Annuals

Although it's only May, Amazon already have the 2012 dated annuals listed for pre-order. Although children's annuals used to be a traditional Christmas gift it appears that isn't the case so much these days. Therefore the books come out even earlier, presumably so they can be read during the summer holidays or given as birthday presents. August/September used to be the publication date, last year they were in the shops the last week of July. This year, according to Amazon, The Dandy and The Beano annuals are scheduled for 10th July although some of the other titles are scheduled for later in the year.

Despite this, as you can see from the covers above, The Beano Annual 2012 has a lively winter scene, which may still encourage some parents to save the book for a Christmas present. (I hope so, as the three-page Super School I have in there has a Christmas theme, with snow on the logo for good measure.)

The Dandy Annual 2012 surprisingly uses an old masthead from the late 1970s/early 1980s. This might not be as strange a decision as one might first think. As these books are bought by parents and grandparents perhaps a retro logo might grab their attention? Whatever the reason, it's a good strong logo. As for the contents, I'm not sure what else will be in there yet but I've drawn a two page Kid Cops strip for it.

A trek around shows that there will again be numerous annuals devoted to various licensed properties, from In the Night Garden to Ben 10, some of which might even feature comic strips if you're lucky. The lack of original, non-licensed annuals is depressing but not unexpected. This has been the standard for years, and we're now at the situation where the retail staff of newsagents, supermarkets etc would have grown up only expecting comics to be tied into a licensed product. Therefore they're not likely to order anything that doesn't have TV, game, or movie endorsement. It appears to be too late to turn back the clock.

That said, at least we still have annuals for Dandy, Beano, and Viz. Cherish them while you still can.


James Spiring said...

Dennis and Gnasher and the classic Beano-Dandy annual aren't listed on Amazon (that Dandy logo is the same one those books had been using for the last two years). I hope they haven't been discontinued.

Tom said...

Harry Hill isn't on the front of the Dandy annual I notice.

Mike said...

Last year there was a bizarre "South Park Comic Annual" which has been put into the humour section in some shops (and so is still on sale). The comic strips were made up of screen captures from old (90's!) episodes, and the stories were also taken from those episodes!
It was extremely strange and must have taken all of a week to knock together. Mind you South Park looks so simple drawing comic strips in that art style would be a bit pointless.

Manic Man said...

Unless there has been some artist changes I'm not aware of (i must say, i picked up an issue of the 'new' dandy and.. not really my taste and sadly, not worth the money just for a few of the strips), it's interesting that the artwork on the cover of the Dandy Annual doesn't seam to match up with the style the characters are being drawn with at the moment and they show a much more 'classic' design.

And i know I've been out of the annual loop for a while but.. while i understand cover dates and annuals being for the next year when they come out at the end of the year, how long have summer annuals been marking up a year? seams pretty stupid to me as the idea that it'll have a longer shelve life doesn't seam to apply as the annuals would be out of most shops by the time the year is nearing the end, let along being the next year..

Lew Stringer said...

Annuals have never come out at the end of a year. It's always been August/September, although it depends on the shops when they decide to put them out. (A few years ago Borders in Birmingham had all the books out in late August, but Waterstones told me they were holding theirs back until October as they wanted to shift the summer annuals first.)

So the move to early July publication is only about 6 weeks earlier that usual, but don't expect to see all shops having them in that early.

Lew Stringer said...

Incidentally, it makes sense for them to continue running the cover date for the following year as I'm sure people will still buy them as Christmas presents. Also, as they'll still be on sale into 2012 it's better to have them seem modern than out of date.

Manic Man said...

August/September is kinda the 'end of the year' period where people are gearing up for christmas.. though i must admit.. i got the nasty feeling i was getting confused with yearbooks which i always remember being around the auguest-november period ^_^

Anonymous said...

And, more significantly, if they were to stop marking up a year you'd find yourself with two 2011 Annuals.

I still think May is overstepping the mark, though. I haven't even bought the 'official' Summer Annual yet!

If the Dandy Annual is to become a retro-focused publication, and the Beano Summer Annual proves a success, could they produce their own version next year with up-to-date content?

James Spiring said...

Tom, I wonder if Harry Hill is in there at all?

Tony Howson said...

In my world, annuals in the shops shortly after August Bank Holiday used to be the first sign of winter approaching.

I usually bought a couple on first publication and saved others for Christmas. It was usually possible to pick up remaindered versions for half price or less in the post Christmas sale. Maybe it was that kind of budgeting by kids like me that brought about the end of the Golden Age of British comic annuals ?

On a positive note, their autumn publication was part of the Holy Trinity that made the new school term more palatable (Christmas annuals, start of the football season & the new series of Doctor Who).

I'd agree that Dandy cover does seem out of synch with the current versions of the characters, but annuals always had one foot in the past. Wham! and Smash! continued long after their weekly versions were revamped or cancelled. Even the early 2000AD annuals had stuff like the Phantom Patrol recycled.

Lew Stringer said...

swirlythingy said:
"I still think May is overstepping the mark, though."

They're not out until July. These cover images are previews.

The "retro" Dandy cover relates to the fact that it's partly a celebration of 75 years of the comic. I understand classic characters will be drawn by new artists.

I must say I'm surprised at the reaction the logo has generated. A few decades ago The Dandy and Beano books (and other DCT titles) usually featured a new logo every year, completely different to any used on the weekly, and the books sold shedloads.

Lew Stringer said...

"I still think May is overstepping the mark, though. I haven't even bought the 'official' Summer Annual yet!"

The books aren't out until July. These cover images are just advance previews.

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