Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Xmas Gift Guide, sort of.

Get some comics read on the 25th of this month! It's "traditional", as in, it's not Christmas without an annual to read. There's a few on offer this year, and they're cheap enough if you know where to look. For example, this year's Viz annual can be found for £6.99 (instead of £10.99) in that discount book chain known as The Works, whilst all the others (Beano, Dandy, Oor Wullie, The Broons and so on) can be had at three for £10 in Asda.

BUT... Why spend that much money when you can get over a thousand pages of classic comics for just over £5? Or £16.22 if we're including postage too. Observe:

Dennis & Gnasher & Friends Cartoon Capers

This cheap-looking and clumsily-titled wedge of a book was sneaked out into the shops without any advertizing (to my knowledge) back in 2000 - I'd never heard of it until finding it in a charity shop last year for 50p. Remember Classics From The Comics? This is essentially that, only it's 382 pages long! 

Hundreds of high-quality chuckles from a huge variety of characters. There's stuff from the Beano (including Dennis the Menace in both Law and Sutherland flavours), the Dandy, Topper, Beezer, Nutty, Sparky, Buzz and Cracker. Should last you through to at least the day before New Year's Eve. Yours for just a penny (plus postage).

The Big Comic Book 1988

For those that prefer Shiner to Smasher, there's The Big Comic Book 1988 (so big it wouldn't fit under the scanner!). Another one that's full of reprints, this time from Whizzer & Chips, Buster and Whoopee! Ken Reid's Faceache is in here, as is Reg Parlett's Ivor Lott & Tony Broke (possibly history's most consistently funny comic characters), and it's a big fat 254-page hardback - a nice contrast to the floppy phonebook-style of the above DC Thomson tome.

The Dog's Bollocks

Viz at its supposed "peak", I'm only highlighting this one as it's the first one I ever got, and has consequently kept me amused for the longest. As well as your usual crowd of Biffa Bacon, Roger Mellie, Billy the Fish and so on, there's a few "forgotten" characters in here such as Tubby Tucker ("The Big Fat... Person"), Norbert Colon ("He's meaner than a Scottish person"), Buster Gonad and his Unfeasibly Large Testicles, Boswell Boyce ("He Throws His Voice"), Mike Smitt ("He's a patronising git"), Jelly Head, Mrs. Neat, and the extravagantly-titled Miss Demeanour and her Concertina ("The Mischievous Token Female Cartoon Character Who's Got A Concertina").

126 pages, all good, and what unimaginative people are talking about when they say it isn't as funny as it used to be. All that for a penny, again.

The Giant Holiday Fun Comic Album

Last of all, there's this curiosity. We've had chuckles from the houses of DC Thomson, Fleetway and the rude kids, and now there's this one from... everyone else? It's a bumper variety pack pulled from the pages of Wham!, Smash!, Pow!, Wow, Knockout, Monster Fun, Shiver and Shake, Eagle and so much more - you'll even find Laurel & Hardy and Billy Bunter in this one. There's FIVE full adventures with The Cloak, roughly half of Ken Reid's Queen of the Seas pages, Steadfast McStaunch from Denis Gifford, a full Albert Hall the Office Boy adventure... Really, the amount of variety on offer here is nauseating. The print's a bit faded on a few pages (maybe just with my copy?), but this WAS a budget release to begin with - published in 1989, see.

A bit pricier than the rest at £4.99, but definitely worth it.

And how about that? Those four books combined, at £16.22 including postage, works out cheaper than three annuals from Asda plus the Viz book at £16.99 - and you don't even have to leave the house for these ones!


  1. Good list, I'm tempted to save up some money for them - I've been considering a Fun annual for some time, by the sounds of it it looks as though I'm missing out!

    1. You certainly are! There's two others in the series - think they're called "Fantasy" and "Adventure". The Fantasy one's next on my list, not sure if I'd be into the Adventure one, mind.

      Meanwhile, you don't need to save up to have a penny's worth of disposable cash, do you? I'll give that Osbourne a slap on your behalf.

  2. I wish they'd pulled the plug on the Dandy instead of letting the fuckwit clan run it into the ground and pumped the money into keeping Classics From the Comics running instead.

  3. Maybe in an alternate universe...

    I'm still dreaming of the day Classics From The Comics is relaunched with a different title ("Retro Beano" or whatever - it could happen!).

    Ideally, they should've made the Dandy a full-reprint thing (save for the front cover), like they did with Buster during its last decade. If they really wanted to be experimental, they could've stuck all that new stuff in an entirely new comic ("100% Funny" perhaps?), instead of trading off the Dandy's reputation.

    Maybe then, we'd have a new comic going down the pan after two years, and perhaps still have the Dandy for another ten?

  4. The strange thing is, Buster was still selling well right to the very end. As far as I can tell, Egmont pulled the plug because they couldn't be bothered to keep it going.

    1. Couldn't be bothered? That's a real shame (and a bad move by Egmont, certainly!). Didn't they stop the UK version of MAD for similar reasons? Sure I heard that somewhere.