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"Publications of the Month" for 2007


The Comet No. 428  IPC 1956. Click to download

Publication of the month for December 2007

It sometimes seems that Bunter went from strength to strength over the years following the demise of the Magnet. Star of comic strip and television show, as well as annuals and 38 hard back volumes. However, the quality control was another matter. Stories written by Frank Richards or based on original stories still stand up (though maybe a certain weariness is present in the later Bunter volumes). Stories that were not under Frank Richards control and aimed at a newer and younger audience moved dramatically away from the strengths of the original.

Following on from last month's Knockout, here is a strip from the Comet, drawn by C. H. Chapman and based on an original Magnet series from 1923

Click the image to the left to open a scan of the original story in Adobe Acrobat format (NB. the file is 7.6 MB, so may take some time to download/open if you have a slow connection).

The Knockout number 723  IPC 1953. Click to download

Publication of the month for November 2007

It sometimes seems that Bunter went from strength to strength over the years following the demise of the Magnet. Star of comic strip and television show, as well as annuals and 38 hard back volumes. However, the quality control was another matter. Stories written by Frank Richards or based on original stories still stand up (though maybe a certain weariness is present in the later Bunter volumes). Stories that were not under Frank Richards control and aimed at a newer and younger audience moved dramatically away from the strengths of the original.

The strip in the Knockout (and later in the Valiant) bore little resemblance to Frank Richard's character, with its broad slapstick and pared down cast; but it did find a new audience in this new context, some of whom would seek out the originals. Make up your own mind as to quality with this Knockout from 1953.

Click the image to the left to open a scan of the original story in Adobe Acrobat format (NB. the file is 8.1 MB, so may take some time to download/open if you have a slow connection).

"Nipper - New Boy!", The Nelson Lee Library 4th series No. 1  Amalgamated Press 1933. Click to download

Publication of the month for October 2007

This month's publication is the first ever St. Frank's story, originally published in number 112 of the 1st series of the Nelson Lee Library, way back in 1917. This is not that version sadly, but the reprinted version from the 1st issue of the 4th series of the Nelson Lee Library of 1933.

The Nelson Lee Library, like the Gem, was suffering from a declining circulation; and like the Gem decided to reprint stories from the start of its long saga. Unfortunately, unlike the Gem this ploy was not effective, and 25 weeks later the Nelson Lee Library was no more.

Anyway, find out why the distinguished detective and his talented ward really did end up as House Master and pupil at a public school for all those years.

Click the image to the left to open a scan of the original story in Adobe Acrobat format (NB. the file is 21.8 MB, so may take some time to download/open if you have a slow connection).

"Mystery Mansion" by Hilda Richards, The Schoolgirls' Own Annual 1923  Amalgamated Press 1922. Click to download

Publication of the month for August 2007

This month's publication is the first part of a double bill. To celebrate the pending arrival of the School Friend, Schoolgirl and Schoolgirls' Own listings to the site, here is the long Cliff House story "Mystery Mansion" from the first Schoolgirls' Own Annual of 1923, published in September 1922. Published under the by-line Hilda Richards, it was probably written by R. S. Kirkham, and contains all the ingredients of a typical Cliff House Christmas - mystery, snow, Bessie Bunter - though with a somewhat larger cast than most Christmas stories.

Next month's publication will be the Morcove story "The Girl Who Kept to Herself" from the same annual. Until then, enjoy!

Click the image to the left to open a scan of the original story in Adobe Acrobat format (NB. the file is 8.2 MB, so may take some time to download/open if you have a slow connection).

Mascot Schoolboy Series No. 4 by Frank Richards  John Matthews Publishers Limited c. 1946. Click to download

Publication of the month for July 2007

This is the Mascot Schoolboy Series No. 4 "Sent to Coventry", featuring Bob Hood & Co. of Topham School. It was published by John Matthews (Publishers) Limited at some point in the 1940's, probably in 1946 (possibly before the Sparshott books, which cost 1 shilling each).

Topham, like Sparshott, Felgate, Carcroft and a range of other schools, was created by Charles Hamilton in the 1940's as an alternative to Greyfriars, St. Jim's et al. as the Amalgamated Press held the copyright for those famous schools created for them, and had not given Hamilton permission to write about them. This changed in 1947, when most of these post WW2 experiments were abandoned in favour of new stories about Greyfriars, Rookwood, St. Jim's, Cliff House, the School for Slackers, the Rio Kid and King of the Islands.

So, an interesting curiosity - enjoy!

Click the image to the left to open a scan of the original booklet in Adobe Acrobat format (NB. the file is 12.5 MB, so may take some time to download/open if you have a slow connection).

Picture Post Volume 31, No. 6 (11 May 1946)  Hulton Press 1946. Click to download.

Publication of the month for June 2007

This is the Picture Post volume 31, number 6, dated 11 May 1946. It contained an article by Sidney Jacobson entitled "Do You Remember Billy Bunter?" This article is reputed to have been the catalyst that prompted Charles Skilton to approach Charles Hamilton to write new Bunter Books. It could also (possibly) have lead to the agreement of Amalgamated Press that Hamilton could write new Greyfriars and St. Jim's stories, as AP owned the copyright on the characters.

Anyhow, whichever way you cut it, the article was a timely reminder of the value of Greyfriars and St. Jim's at a point when Hamilton was experimenting with a range of new schools (Felgate, Carcroft, Topham, etc.) that were never going to get the chance to reach the heights Greyfriars, Rookwood and St. Jim's did in their 1920's and 1930's heyday.

Click the image to the left to open a scan of the original Picture Post article in Adobe Acrobat format (NB. the file is 2.6 MB, so may take some time to download/open if you have a slow connection).


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