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Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Jimbo and the Jet Set Annual 1987

[1986] Annual. Original price £3.50.
64 pages. Full colour contents.
Grandreams Ltd.

Based on the animated BBC television series.

Cover by UNKNOWN (uncredited).

ISBN-10: 0862273870.

Contents:

 5 Contents Page
 6 Meet The Gang character bios.
 8 The Chief Takes Off w: Peter Maddocks; a: Peter Maddocks & Clive Dawson, colouring by Lorraine Smith.
14 Make Your Own Jimbo cut-out feature by Barry Macey.
16 Re-Fuel Jimbo maze by Barry Macey.
17 Spot the Difference by Barry Macey.
18 Jimbo and the UFO text story by Peter Maddocks.
24 Fly Jimbo to Australia 'snakes & ladders' board game.
26 Jimbo and the Whale text story by Peter Maddocks.
32 Nutty Aircraft illustrated feature by Barry Macey.
34 The Great Air Race w: Peter Maddocks; a: Peter Maddocks & Clive Dawson, colouring Lorraine Smith.
41 Henry Helicopter's Information Page fact page by Peter Maddocks.
42 Colouring Pages
44 Dot-To-Dot
45 Who Goes Where? maze by Barry Macey.
46 Copy the Picture a: UNKNOWN (uncredited)
48 Love is in the Air w: Peter Maddocks; a: Peter Maddocks & Clive Dawson, colouring by Lorraine Smith.
55 Colouring Page map puzzle by Barry Macey.
56 Which Goes Where?
58 Jimbo's Puzzle Page by Barry Macey.
59 Find the 'Plane color-in puzzle by Barry Macey.
60 Answer Pages

Contributions from Clive Dawson, Peter Maddocks, Lorraine Smith & Barry Macey.

Despite not having been aware of the show upon which this annual is based, it turns out to be quite an interesting read. The strips are bright and attractive, and should be entertaining enough for their intended audience. While the stories are simple enough to keep younger readers amused, there are themes and elements that appeal to me, so should hold a wide audience. The lack of specific credits is a really annoying slip, given that so much is done right, but it is a minor niggle given that numerous similar publications neglect attribution entirely.

The single, entirely subjective, issue which keeps this from being truly outstanding is the repetition of feature elements. With two mazes and two coloring features (plus a color-in puzzle), this could so easily feel less like an introduction to - or expansion of - the television series, and more like an afterthought tie-in. The annual largely avoids this through the extensive fiction elements which intersperse the features, adding a great deal of charm to proceedings.

It is surprising how much I love this, given the lack of prior exposure to the franchise. I can't say it is quite enough to convince me to hunt down episodes of the television series, though if the standard of writing is on a par with the tales presented here I certainly won't be changing channels if it comes on.

A superb, albeit extremely unusual, annual.

The Flintstones Annual [1966]

[1965] Annual. Original price NA.
96 pages. Full colour contents.
World Distributors (Manchester) Ltd.

Painted cover by UNKNOWN (uncredited).

Contents:

 2 UNTITLED endpaper; a: UNKNOWN (uncredited).
 4 Indicia
 5 Hanna-Barbera's The Flintstones Annual title page; illustrated by UNKNOWN (uncredited).
 6 Contents illustrated by UNKNOWN (uncredited).
 7 At the Boy Scout Jamboree w: UNKNOWN (uncredited); a: UNKNOWN (uncredited).
r: The Flintstones (Gold Key) #18 (May 1964).
28 The Crystal Caper text story by UNKNOWN (uncredited); illustrated by UNKNOWN (uncredited).
r: The Flintstones (Gold Key) #19 (Jul 1964).
29 One Gun Too Many w: UNKNOWN (uncredited); a: UNKNOWN (uncredited).
r: The Flintstones (Gold Key) #19 (Jul 1964).
37 Getting the Message w: UNKNOWN (uncredited); a: UNKNOWN (uncredited).
r: The Flintstones (Gold Key) #20 (Aug 1964).
43 Mr. & Mrs. J. Evil Scientist The Case of the Creepy Car w: UNKNOWN (uncredited); a: UNKNOWN (uncredited).
r: The Flintstones (Gold Key) #18 (May 1964).
47 Mother Was a Mechanic w: UNKNOWN (uncredited); a: UNKNOWN (uncredited).
r: The Flintstones (Gold Key) #19 (Jul 1964).
54 Perry Gunnite A Hair-Raising Caper text story by UNKNOWN (uncredited); illustrated by UNKNOWN (uncredited).
r: The Flintstones (Gold Key) #18 (May 1964).
55 The Butler Didn't Do it - No Butler w: UNKNOWN (uncredited); a: UNKNOWN (uncredited).
r: The Flintstones (Gold Key) #18 (May 1964).
61 Just for the Record w: UNKNOWN (uncredited); a: UNKNOWN (uncredited).
r: The Flintstones (Gold Key) #20 (Aug 1964).
68 Perry Gunnite Going Batty text story by UNKNOWN (uncredited); illustrated by UNKNOWN (uncredited).
r: The Flintstones (Gold Key) #20 (Aug 1964).
69 The Orbit Bit w: UNKNOWN (uncredited); a: UNKNOWN (uncredited).
r: The Flintstones (Gold Key) #20 (Aug 1964).
75 Mr. & Mrs. J. Evil Scientist TV Or Not TV w: UNKNOWN (uncredited); a: UNKNOWN (uncredited).
r: The Flintstones (Gold Key) #20 (Aug 1964).
79 Small But Mighty w: UNKNOWN (uncredited); a: UNKNOWN (uncredited).
r: The Flintstones (Gold Key) #19 (Jul 1964).
84 The Normal Genius w: UNKNOWN (uncredited); a: UNKNOWN (uncredited).
r: The Flintstones (Gold Key) #20 (Aug 1964).
89 A Slight Case of the Frights w: UNKNOWN (uncredited); a: UNKNOWN (uncredited).
94 UNTITLED endpaper; a: UNKNOWN (uncredited).

The slightly uneven earlier annuals were bound to give way to a top-notch selection of choice strips sooner or later, and it is a pleasure to see lessons having been learned - this is an almost perfect outing for the characters. Cave Kids reprints have gone extinct, and in their place we get a quite odd, though thematically suitable, monster strip. While Mr. & Mrs. J. Evil Scientist may not be immediately recognisable, the stories are so great an improvement as to freshen up the entire package. Even the cover steps up to the challenge, with a great (albeit rather stark) image.

The back cover isn't as good, and seems to depict a much younger Fred - or maybe he's just had some bonetox?

Having taken every cent in their checking account to pay all their bills before their vacation, Wilma and Betty bemoan their prospects for a proper holiday. Remembering the fun they had as boys, Fred decides that camping is the solution to their woes, although the news doesn't go down well. After talking with the Bedrock Car Club, Fred settles on Camp Shangri La De Da Valley, After setting up their tents, with help from Bamm-Bamm, they settle down for a quiet camping trip - only to be woken by a bugle, boy scouts having arrived.

There is always fun to be had from seeing Fred dig himself deeper and deeper into trouble, but this is a strangely muted tale. Barney displays a great talent for mimicry, emulating the sound of a sabretooth tiger - a skill which comes out of nowhere, and will be forgotten at the conclusion of the story - which leads to the strip's funniest moment, making Fred a hero in the eyes of the scouts.

An essentially summertime event taking the lead in a title sold at Christmas is, however, a poor choice. Surely there must have been one wintry story to open proceedings.

Fred and Barney are the first to sign up for Bedrock's Annual Turkeysaurus Shoot, but remember that they don't have guns... Fred's memory has been professionally tested before, and found to be lacking, so this isn't the surprise it might be. After purchasing a suitable marksman-type rifle, they head to the bank, which owes Fred money. Unfortunately they take the firearm into the bank, giving the cashier cause to think that they are robbers, and he hands Fred two bags of cash.

Once again Wilma and Betty come to the rescue, though they, also, might need rescuing. There's a lot of amusing little moments in the story, though the whole isn't quite the sum of its parts - almost a shaggy dog story, which is largely redeemed by how amusing the individual incidents are.
When the Flintstones' house is lit up at midnight, weird sounds pour from the windows and rockacycles are parked all over the front lawn, you can be sure of two things...

One, that Rodney Rocktop is in town...

Two, that Fred is miserable...
I'm not a fan of the beatnik stories which infested American television throughout the sixties, and the inclusion here is just as irritating. Bongos aren't an immediately attractive musical instrument. Finding that I have something in common with Fred is, it must be said, rather horrifying.

Fred gets rid of his musical nephew, Rocktop, but is soon regretting his decision when a singing telarock delivers news that Rocktop has inherited ten thousand dollars. Rushing out to fetch him back, Fred hopes that by treating Rocktop well he will receive a portion of the money.

Because treating people well because it is the right thing to do would never occur to a lunk-head such as Fred.

The Case of the Creepy Car, the first Mr. & Mrs. J. Evil Scientist strip, sees J. and his wife head out to purchase a car from Variety Used Cars, which guarantees people will find a car they like. Naturally, there isn't anything to their taste, and they are determined to ruin the company due to it making claims it can't back up.

Fred attempts to fix a leak in Mother Was a Mechanic, though his attempts to stop the torrent of water pouring into the house is less than successful. Wilma's mother, visiting Pebbles, manages to get things turned around, and is soon repairing other things Fred had "fixed" - not at all to his pleasure. In an attempt to win over his mother-in-law, Fred enters her into a Most Typical Mother Contest, which ought to interest her womanly instincts.

There ought to be an analysis of the sexual politics of this story somewhere. Cross-dressing, "typical" womanly interests, and a focus on appealing to a narrow bracket of hobbies as appropriate - The Flintstones never really engaged in serious social commentary, often preferring to mock, and having such a rich tapestry around the central characters often hghlighted characters who existed outside of the norms. By forcing the characters back into preconceived notions of proper behaviour for the sake of a few gags seems a retrograde step.

At least there is a sense of surreality to offset events.

An annual dance is scheduled at the Dinosaur Lodge, so Fred and Barney are volunteered to find an orchestra in two days - with a grand budget of thirty-two dollars. Their attempts at securing a suitable band is, however, far from easy. It is interesting to compare the various depictions of bands in the franchise through the years, with developments in popular music altering the look of fictional musicians. Attempts to appeal to contemporary audiences, in stories set so far in the past, raise so many questions.

The Orbit Bit, originally published with a cover date of August 1964, is likely a response to NASA sending the first Apollo command module into orbit. Its final image, of Earth orbited by two dinosaurs, would have made an amazing NASA patch.

If there is one thing to take away from the annuals, it is how often annual events in-universe crop up. Likely unintentional, though amusing to see all the same.

[1965]

The Flintstones Annual

[1967]

The Real Ghostbusters Annual 1990

[1989] Annual. Original price £3.99.
64 pages. Full colour contents.
Marvel Comics Ltd.

Cover by Andy Lanning, Dave Harwood & John Burns.

Contents:

 2 Endpaper a: Bambos & John Burns.
 4 "This Book Belongs To" a: Bambos & John Burns.
 5 Contents Page
 6 Ghostbusters: The Fact Behind the Fantasy! text feature by 'Cal Hacker'.
 9 Bustman's Holiday! w: John Carnell; a: Anthony Larcombe, lettering by Glib, colouring by Steve White.
11 The Dexter's Chainsaw Massacre! text story by Ian Rimmer; illustrations by Martin Griffiths, colouring by Stuart Place.
16 Roller Ghoster! w: John Carnell; a: Brian Williamson & Dave Harwood, lettering by Hel, colouring by Lynn White.
20 The Classification of Spooks text feature.
24 The Green Ghosts! text story by Richard Alan; illustrations by Anthony Williams, colouring by Steve White.
29 'Phone Phantom! w: John Carnell; a: Anthony Lancombe, lettering and colouring by Zed.
30 Spengler's Spirit Guide text feature by Dan Abnett.
31 Stonehenge Revenge! w: John Carnell; a: Phil Elliott & Bambos, lettering by Bambos, colouring by Stuart Place.
36 Winston's Diary! A Day in the Life of Winston Zeddmore text story by Dan Abnett; illustrations by Tony O'Donnell & Dave Harwood, colouring by Steve White.
40 Dear Janine
42 Spengler's Spirit Guide text feature by Dan Abnett.
43 Dead and Breakfast! w: John Carnell; a: Dougie Braithwaite & Dave Harwood, lettering by Hel, colouring by Chris Matthews.
46 The Demon Bowler! text story by John Freeman; a: Andy Wildman & Dave Harwood, colouring by Steve White.
50 Make Your Own Slimer cut-out feature.
52 Blimey! It's Slimer! w:/a: Bambos, colouring by Hel.
53 The Loch Ness Monster! w: John Carnell; a: John Geering & Dave Harwood, lettering by Hel, colouring by Euan Peters.
58 Sloop That Spook! 'snakes and ladders' board game.
60 Equal Frights! w: John Carnell; a: Anthony Larcombe, lettering by Glib, colouring by Steve White.

1989

The Real Ghostbusters Annual

1991

On This Day: 11 Dec

First Appearances:

Keepers of the Sun Stone in The Victor (D.C. Thomson & Co., Ltd.) #43 (16 Dec 1961).
The Secret Quest of Tiger Shaw in The Victor (D.C. Thomson & Co., Ltd.) #43 (16 Dec 1961).

Births:

René Bull (1872); John Buscema (1927); Peter Firmin (1928); David William Boutland (1938)

Deaths:

F.H. Townsend (1920); Willie Rushton (1996)

Notable Events:

The Daily Mirror demonstrated their fact-checking skills by calling Judge Dredd an American comic-book character in a 1991 article.
The first episode of Black Mirror, co-written by Charlie Brooker, was broadcast on Channel 4 in 2011.
The short film Nothing to Declare, written by Frank Quitely, was funded through IndieGoGo in 2016.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Batman Annual 1968

[1967] Annual. Original price 10/6.
96 pages. Colour and tone art.
Atlas Publishing & Distributing Co Ltd.

Photo cover of Adam West (uncredited).

Contents:

 5 How to Be the Batman! w: Bill Finger; p: Bob Kane & Lew Sayre Schwartz, i: Stan Kaye.
r: Detective Comics (DC Comics) vol.1 #190 (Dec 1952).
17 The First Batman w: Bill Finger; p: Sheldon Moldoff, i: Stan Kaye.
r: Detective Comics (DC Comics) vol.1 #235 (Sep 1956).
27 "The Second Boy Wonder!" w: France Herron; p: Sheldon Moldoff, i: Charles Paris.
r: Batman (DC Comics) vol.1 #195 (Feb 1957).
33 The Strange Costumes of Batman w: Edmond Hamilton; p: Dick Sprang, i: Charles Paris.
r: Detective Comics (DC Comics) vol.1 #165 (Nov 1950).
45 Am I Really Batman? w: Bill Finger; p: Sheldon Moldoff, i: Charles Paris. Lettering by Pat Gordon.
r: Batman (DC Comics) vol.1 #112 (Dec 1957).
53 The Origin of the Bat-Cave! w: Bill Finger; p: Sheldon Moldoff, i: Charles Paris.
r: Detective Comics (DC Comics) vol.1 #205 (Mar 1954).
65 Tales of the Bat-Signal w: (uncredited); a: (uncredited).
66 "The Human Firefly!" w: France Herron; p: Dick Sprang, i: Charles Paris.
r: Detective Comics (DC Comics) vol.1 #184 (Jun 1952).
78 How the Super-Family Came from Krypton to Earth a: (uncredited).
80 Batman Sets Superman A Riddle! w: (uncredited); a: (uncredited).
81 The Man Who Ended Batman's Career w: Bill Finger; p: Sheldon Moldoff, i: Charles Paris.
r: Detective Comics (DC Comics) vol.1 #247 (Sep 1957).
93 "How Superboy Learned to Fly" w: (uncredited); a: (uncredited).

1967

Batman Annual

1969

Dinosaur King Annual 2011

[2010] Annual. Original price £7.99.
64 pages. Full colour contents.
HarperCollins Children's Books

ISBN-13: 9780007355648

Based on the animated television series.

Contents:

 4 Title Pages
 6 Contents Pages
 8 Dinosaur Discovery text story by Matt Crossick; illustrated by UNKNOWN (uncredited).
21 D-Team Wordsearch
22 Elements Puzzle picture puzzle; illustrated by UNKNOWN (uncredited).
23 Find Chomp! maze; illustrated by UNKNOWN (uncredited).
24 Dinofile Chomp character bio; illustrated by UNKNOWN (uncredited).
26 Terry Colouring color-in page; illustrated by UNKNOWN (uncredited).
27 Name That Dinosaur! silhouette puzzle.
28 True or False? quiz.
29 The Missing Piece jigsaw puzzle; illustrated by UNKNOWN (uncredited).
30 Dinofile Terry character bio; illustrated by UNKNOWN (uncredited).
32 Find the Cards! maze; illustrated by UNKNOWN (uncredited).
34 Hidden Names word puzzle.
35 Dinosaur Battle art page; illustrated by UNKNOWN (uncredited).
36 Dinofile Ace character bio; illustrated by UNKNOWN (uncredited).
38 Battle for the Dinosaurs board game; illustrated by UNKNOWN (uncredited).
40 Dinofile Paris character bio; illustrated by UNKNOWN (uncredited).
42 Battle at the Pyramids text story by Matt Crossick; illustrated by UNKNOWN (uncredited).
55 Dinofile Spiny character bio; illustrated by UNKNOWN (uncredited).
56 D-Team in Action spot-the-difference; illustrated by UNKNOWN (uncredited).
57 Alpha Gang Attack wordsearch.
58 D-Team Quiz
60 Dinofile Tank character bio; illustrated by UNKNOWN (uncredited).
61 Answers

Its spot-varnished cover and glossy pages are nice, but these in isolation do not signify a level of quality. One way of viewing a publication connected to a computer game and anime is that it is there as an expensive advert, but at the same time as I acknowledge this I can also see the potential inherent in the conceit of dinosaurs used in Pokémon-style battles. This could be an excellent educational title if it only had enough nerve to shrug off the tired conventions of the modern annual, which results in two text stories being hobbled by the necessity of including pictures on every single page. Modern readers are just as capable as those in the 1950s and 60s of reading a page of text sans screencaps from an anime.

Aside from the images being shoehorned into the stories, this manages to remain above expectation for most of the page count. It is a shame that some of the manga couldn't be reproduced, or original comic strip material commissioned especially for this title. Some of the features are little better than time-wasting and page-filling exercises. Don't take that as a dismissal of the contents, as there are notable exceptions to that statement - the Elements Puzzle promotes lateral thinking in readers, and the numerous dinosaur facts sprinkled throughout the text are a joy to read through.

It could have benefited from a few non-fiction features to augment the contents. Introducing young readers to paleontology is far from the mission statement of this title, but with a dire absence of highly visible franchises capable of imparting information about the field, it nearly fulfills that role. Nearly, yet so far... Such missed opportunities are more annoying than out-and-out terrible properties, as the obvious care taken in some regards merely serve to highlight deficiencies in other aspects.

Nowhere near as accomplished as it should be, given the obvious opportunities.

Tarzan Annual [1974]

[1973] Annual. Original price 70p.
58 pages. Full colour and tone contents.
Brown Watson Ltd.

Painted cover by UNKNOWN (uncredited).

Contents:

 2 UNTITLED [Tarzan Riding Elephant] illustrated by UNKNOWN (uncredited).
 3 Tarzan Annual title page; illustrated by UNKNOWN (uncredited). / Indicia
 4 Tarzan and the Beast of Kemodo text story by UNKNOWN (uncredited); illustrated by UNKNOWN (uncredited).
 9 Jungle Puzzles illustrated by UNKNOWN (uncredited)
10 It's Odd - But True! illustrated feature by UNKNOWN (uncredited).
12 Rogue Ape text story by UNKNOWN (uncredited); illustrated by UNKNOWN (uncredited).
17 Tarzan of the Apes Tarzan and the Demon Elephant w: Gaylord Du Bois (uncredited); p: Paul Norris (uncredited); i: Mike Royer (uncredited).
r: Tarzan (Gold Key) #197 (Dec 1970).
38 The Guardians of the Caves w: Gaylord Du Bois (uncredited). a: Russ Manning (uncredited).
r: Tarzan's Jungle Annual (Dell) #04 (Aug 1955).
30 Tarzan and the Cannibals w: UNKNOWN (uncredited). a: UNKNOWN (uncredited).
r: Tarzan newspaper strip (King Features Syndicate).
45 Tarzan and the Crocodile Men text story by UNKNOWN (uncredited); illustrated by UNKNOWN (uncredited).
50 Safari Quiz illustrated by UNKNOWN (uncredited).
52 The Man-Tamer text story by UNKNOWN (uncredited); illustrated by UNKNOWN (uncredited).

A step-down in appearance, with a cover which is slightly rough and ready when compared to the previous edition. Depicting Tarzan swinging through a burning jungle, there really should be more urgency presented, although artistic choices in composition - and Tarzan's body language - seem to nullify whatever inherent drama the situation might hold. The expression on Cheetah's face doesn't help any.

Interior illustrations are similarly spoiled by inexplicable choices. If they were presented in black and white there would be no issue with their inclusion, though choosing green spot-colour is an awful decision - while it might seem logical to use green to indicate that the characters are in a jungle, the background is left monochrome while Tarzan is coloured green.

A green elephant is not, however well-drawn, going to convince me that there is any care taken with the annual. Is it gangrenous? Is it an alien elephant? Is it so lazy that moss has begun growing on it? The answers are not to be found in this publication.
For many hours the great storm had raged. Before sunset the dark clouds had filled the air with a lurid, gloomy light. The dense African jungle, its shadowy depths green even when the sun shone brightly, was a place of darkness and menace.

Now thunder rolled and crashed over the jungle and the hills, and flash after flash of lightning split the skies, lanced to the ground and sent great trees toppling and thudding to the ground, with sulphurous smoke wisping from their ripped bark.
The writing in the stories isn't up to the standards of the novels, nor have a solid grasp on the world of Tarzan - The Beast of Kemodo, with Kemodo being a mountain, features a creature which is larger than an elephant. Vast, with a spiny back, a head with large, whitish eyes, and horny outcrops which weave to and fro... Yes it is a dragon. Named the "fire dragon of Kemodo" it may be, but no amount of rationalisation can justify its appearance in the jungle. In Pellucidar, sure, but in a location which is so distant from the hunting grounds of such beasts?

The illustrations accompanying Rogue Ape bring to mind Mytek the Mighty, which further removes any sense of realism. It isn't the fault of the story, nor the artist, but the lingering doubts as to the seriousness of the title's intentions cannot be easily dismissed.

There are also problems with the strips, especially noticeable in The Demon Elephant, with loose and cartoonish artwork, often neglecting to provide backgrounds to scenes. Such a slapdash approach to the character doesn't provide the best means with which to tell a dramatic story (in which Jane is kidnapped), and whatever tension is washed away with a clumsily-handled and truncated battle.

The Guardians of the Caves is presented slightly better, though The Cannibals is less attractive. By not picking out outstanding strips to represent the character's best appearances, no sense of importance is imparted to readers. It is difficult to see how this would appeal to an audience which had been exposed to far better representations in other titles, especially as no effort seems to have been made to adhere to consistency.

1973

Tarzan Annual

1975

Lancer Annual 1970

[1969] Annual. Original price NA.
96 pages. Colour & tone art.
World Distributors Ltd.

Based on the US television series starring Andrew Duggan, James Stacy, Wayne Maunder, Elizabeth Baur and Paul Brinegar.

Painted cover by Edgar Hodges.

SBN: 723500509

Contents:

 2 Endpaper (uncredited).
 4 Contents Page uncredited illustration.
 6 Circumstantial Evidence part one, w: UNKNOWN (uncredited); a: Luis Dominguez.
r: Lancer (Gold Key) #01 (Feb 1969).
20 Move 'Em Out Illustrated text feature by UNKNOWN (uncredited).
22 Circumstantial Evidence part two, w: UNKNOWN (uncredited); a: Luis Dominguez.
r: Lancer (Gold Key) #01 (Feb 1969).
34 Bank Raid snakes and ladders board game by UNKNOWN (uncredited).
36 The Diamond Studded Steer part one, w: UNKNOWN (uncredited); a: Luis Dominguez.
r: Lancer (Gold Key) #02 (Jun 1969).
50 Revenge of the Lancers snakes and ladders board game by UNKNOWN (uncredited).
52 The Diamond Studded Steer part two, w: UNKNOWN (uncredited); a: Luis Dominguez.
r: Lancer (Gold Key) #02 (Jun 1969).
64 Dressed for the Range Illustrated text feature by UNKNOWN (uncredited).
66 The Water Rustlers part one, w: UNKNOWN (uncredited); a: Luis Dominguez.
r: Lancer (Gold Key) #03 (Sep 1969).
80 Women of the West Illustrated text feature by UNKNOWN (uncredited).
82 The Water Rustlers part two, w: UNKNOWN (uncredited); a: Luis Dominguez.
r: Lancer (Gold Key) #03 (Sep 1969).

Collecting the entire Gold Key series in one handy volume, this is a really attractive annual.

HHaving seen a few copies, it is an annual which suffers slightly in that the pages aren't as secure as they could be, though having two board games and a few text features works in its' favor – the beautiful cover artwork surrounds a wonderful package of entertainment from the tail end of the western craze. It isn't stated in print, but the endpaper is most likely the work of Hodges as well as the cover.

The Flintstones Annual [1965]

[1964] Annual. Original price 8/6.
96 pages. Full colour contents.
World Distributors (Manchester) Ltd.

Painted cover by UNKNOWN (uncredited).

Contents:

 2 UNTITLED endpaper; a: UNKNOWN (uncredited).
 4 Indicia
 5 Hanna-Barbera's The Flintstones Annual title page; illustrated by UNKNOWN (uncredited).
 6 Contents illustrated by UNKNOWN (uncredited).
 7 The Too Old Cowhand w: UNKNOWN (uncredited); a: UNKNOWN (uncredited).
r: The Flintstones (Gold Key) #12 (Jul 1963).
15 Hitting the Thumb on the Nail w: UNKNOWN (uncredited); a: UNKNOWN (uncredited).
r: The Flintstones (Gold Key) #13 (Sep 1963).
21 In There Pitching w: UNKNOWN (uncredited); a: UNKNOWN (uncredited).
r: The Flintstones (Gold Key) #12 (Jul 1963).
29 The Day Pebbles Talked w: UNKNOWN (uncredited); a: UNKNOWN (uncredited).
r: Pebbles Flintstone (Gold Key) #01 (Sep 1963).
34 What's the Use? text story by UNKNOWN (uncredited); illustrated by UNKNOWN (uncredited).
r: The Flintstones (Gold Key) #12 (Jul 1963).
35 Who's Zoo w: UNKNOWN (uncredited); p: Harvey Eisenberg, i: John Liggera.
r: The Flintstones (Gold Key) #13 (Sep 1963).
43 Perry Gunnite Picking the Pick-Pocket's Pocket w: UNKNOWN (uncredited); a: UNKNOWN (uncredited).
r: The Flintstones (Gold Key) #12 (Jul 1963).
47 Tenderfoot Talent Scouts w: UNKNOWN (uncredited); a: UNKNOWN (uncredited).
r: The Flintstones (Gold Key) #12 (Jul 1963).
53 Pebbles Flintstone Playmate for Pebbles w: UNKNOWN (uncredited); a: UNKNOWN (uncredited).
r: Pebbles Flintstone (Gold Key) #01 (Sep 1963).
58 Strictly from Hunger text story by UNKNOWN (uncredited); illustrated by Pete Alvarado (uncredited).
r: The Flintstones (Gold Key) #13 (Sep 1963).
59 Yanks for the Memory w: UNKNOWN (uncredited); p: Harvey Eisenberg (uncredited), i: UNKNOWN (uncredited).
r: The Flintstones (Gold Key) #13 (Sep 1963).
67 Pebbles Flintstone The Genius Who Wore Diapers w: UNKNOWN (uncredited); a: UNKNOWN (uncredited).
r: Pebbles Flintstone (Gold Key) #01 (Sep 1963).
73 Cave Kids When Help is Needed, Holler for a Hero w: UNKNOWN (uncredited); p: Harvey Eisenberg (uncredited), i: UNKNOWN (uncredited).
r: The Flintstones (Gold Key) #13 (Sep 1963).
77 Panic in the Park w: UNKNOWN (uncredited); a: UNKNOWN (uncredited).
r: The Flintstones (Gold Key) #12 (Jul 1963).
82 Model Salesman w: UNKNOWN (uncredited); a: Kay Wright (uncredited).
r: The Flintstones (Gold Key) #13 (Sep 1963).
86 Pebbles Flintstone The Girl Who Cried Mink w: UNKNOWN (uncredited); a: UNKNOWN (uncredited).
r: Pebbles Flintstone (Gold Key) #01 (Sep 1963).
94 UNTITLED endpaper; a: UNKNOWN (uncredited).
96 UNTITLED painting by UNKNOWN (uncredited).

A rather unusual cover, depicting Fred and Wilma Flintstone, along with Barney and Betty Rubble, aboard a boat, doesn't really jive with the television series, though the painting on the rear of the annual is perfectly in keeping with scenes shown throughout the show's run. World, adept at providing stylish packaging for their reprints, have to be applauded for the originality of the images used, and this is one of the more visually interesting examples. The endpaper is also unusual, with a makeshift cinema providing the focus.

Fred's nephew Melvin arrives for a visit, so Fred - attempting to entertain the child - tells Melvin about his days as a cowboy. Melvin, suitably impressed, enters Fred into a rodeo - for every event. His dismay at the painful experience is multiplied when the terra-steers stampede, chasing him through town.

Juxtaposing the wild west with prehistoric times is a recipe for anachronisms, which isn't assisted any by a script which is peppered with modern terms. While the series always played with the use of modern items and society in its setting, here it comes across as too acute. The western elements, especially, feel as if they have been included merely to reference then-popular westerns.

Hitting the Thumb on the Nail is a very modern story, featuring building codes being enforced, and the struggle to maintain appearances with a garage attached to the Flintstone property. While it is played for laughs, I am sure that those who have dealt with such struggles will find something of the truth in its depiction of construction woes. The final panel raises a wry smile, though makes no sense when taken in the context of the cartoon - when, I ask, was Fred without his trusty wheels?

In There Pitching, a baseball story, sees the Dinosaur Lodge Hurlers preparing for their first game, which will be pitted against the Brothers of the Brontosaurus. Fred, predictably, injures both himself and Barney the night before the game. Wilma and Betty substitute for the boys, much to the horror of the umpire. They come through for the team, with the score 9-nil by the end of play. As their strength is needed for the Hurlers, Fred finds himself taking over Wilma's role in the house.

That Wilma and Betty are so competent at sports, and far more talented than their husbands, amuses me no end. It is obvious, in retrospect, given how lazy and unprepared the pair so often are, but to have proof of their wives' superiority in print is wonderful.

Visiting the zoo, Fred and Barney note that a cage reading 'Kangasaurus' is apparently empty, and the zookeeper informs them that it is because the zoo has been attempting to obtain once since opening. The kangasaurus used to frequent Bedrock Canyon, but have since moved elsewhere - the zoo is offering a reward of ten thousand dollars for one. With an eye on the reward money, Fred and Barney decide to see if they can catch one.

They eventually discover a kangasaurus, but it takes a shine to the unlikely pair. Who's Zoo is a perfect Flintstones story, with a logical progression, an amusing dinosaur, and a rather sweet ending.

Cave Kids return for another outing, and it is no more entertaining than the rest of the strips featuring the characters. Did anyone find them funny?

Looking around an auto show, Fred and Barney note innovations such as windshield wipers, which will come in handy when windshields are invented, and convertibles. Seeing Joe Jadeson, an old friend, working the Shoverolet stand, Fred decides to help the man make a few sales.

It was always going to be a challenge for Fred to assist in such an endeavour, and he manages to make matters worse - twice.

A quality collection of strips, besmirched only by the presence of the Cave Kids.

[1964]

The Flintstones Annual

[1966]

"CHiPs" Annual 1982

[1981] Annual. Original price £2.25.
64 pages. Colour & B&W contents.
World International Publishing Ltd.

Based on the US television series starring Larry Wilcox and Erik Estrada.

Photo cover (uncredited).

Contents:

 2 "CHiPs" illustration by Paul Crompton (uncredited).
 4 Contents; illustrated by UNKNOWN (uncredited)
 5 How Much Do You Know About CHiPs? quiz.
 6 Fruits of Evil text story (uncredited); illustrated by UNKNOWN (uncredited).
12 Life in the U.S.A. text feature (uncredited); illustrated by UNKNOWN (uncredited).
14 Do You Speak CB? text feature (uncredited); illustrated by UNKNOWN (uncredited).
16 Accidents Will Happen text story (uncredited); illustrated by UNKNOWN (uncredited).
24 Life in the U.S.A. text feature (uncredited); illustrated by UNKNOWN (uncredited).
26 Watch the SKies text story (uncredited); illustrated by UNKNOWN (uncredited).
33 It's a Dog's Life text feature (uncredited); illustrated by UNKNOWN (uncredited).
34 Life in the U.S.A. text feature (uncredited); illustrated by UNKNOWN (uncredited).
36 Home Ground text story (uncredited); illustrated by UNKNOWN (uncredited).
41 To the Moon Again? text feature (uncredited); illustrated by UNKNOWN (uncredited).
42 Escort text story (uncredited); illustrated by UNKNOWN (uncredited).
49 Super Simple Snacks recipes; illustrated by UNKNOWN (uncredited).
50 Larger Than Life! text feature (uncredited); illustrated by UNKNOWN (uncredited).
54 Life in the U.S.A. text feature (uncredited); illustrated by UNKNOWN (uncredited).
56 All Kinds of Bikes text feature (uncredited); illustrated by UNKNOWN (uncredited).
57 The Drugs Run text story (uncredited); illustrated by UNKNOWN (uncredited).
62 A Crash-Course in Action! text feature (uncredited); illustrated by UNKNOWN (uncredited).

There's something inherently cool about motorcycles, and CHiPs makes a decent stab at capturing the feel of the television series. Aside from the amazing illustrations, clever stories, and non-fiction pieces, there are also recipes for savory stuffed potatoes and Baker's butterscotch sauce. This attempt to cover all the bases is only undermined by the lack of a traditional comic strip, but given that there is so much great content, this omission provokes only the smallest gripe.

Original non-fiction pieces - which World did so well - are truly exceptional in this book. The numerous Life in the USA pieces are wonderfully informative without being dry, and the final article in the annual on the creation of the television show manages to be more insightful than usual. Without elaborating too much on the artwork, this is one of the best annuals not reliant on strips as its main selling point. I was rather surprised at the revelation that the show began as a comedy, so even if you are a long-time fan of the series there's something keep you entertained.

1981

"CHiPs" Annual

1983

The Beverly Hillbillies Annual 1966

[1965] Annual. Original price 9/6.
96 pages. Full colour contents.
World Distributors Ltd.

Based on the US television series starring Buddy Ebsen, Irene Ryan and Donna Douglas.

Photo cover.
r: cover (modified) from Beverly Hillbillies (Dell) #06 (Jul 1964 - Sep 1964).

Contents:

 2 Endpapers Illustration (uncredited).
 5 Title Page Illustration (uncredited).
 6 Contents page Illustration (uncredited).
 7 Treasure Hunt w: (uncredited); a: Henry Scarpelli.
r: Beverly Hillbillies (Dell) #06 (Jul 1964 - Sep 1964).
11 Granny Goes Hunting w: (uncredited); a: Henry Scarpelli.
r: Beverly Hillbillies (Dell) #06 (Jul 1964 - Sep 1964).
18 Jethro Digs In w: (uncredited); a: Henry Scarpelli.
r: Beverly Hillbillies (Dell) #06 (Jul 1964 - Sep 1964).
25 Elly's Turn w: (uncredited); a: Henry Scarpelli.
r: Beverly Hillbillies (Dell) #06 (Jul 1964 - Sep 1964).
30 End of the Hunt w: (uncredited); a: Henry Scarpelli.
r: Beverly Hillbillies (Dell) #06 (Jul 1964 - Sep 1964).
36 Holiday Havoc w: (uncredited); a: Henry Scarpelli.
r: Beverly Hillbillies (Dell) #05 (Apr 1964 - Jun 1964).
65 The Show Must Go On w: (uncredited); a: Henry Scarpelli.
r: Beverly Hillbillies (Dell) #07 (Oct 1964 - Dec 1964).
73 Hillbilly Hands w: (uncredited); a: Henry Scarpelli.
r: Beverly Hillbillies (Dell) #07 (Oct 1964 - Dec 1964).
86 The Big Night w: (uncredited); a: Henry Scarpelli.
r: Beverly Hillbillies (Dell) #07 (Oct 1964 - Dec 1964).
"The uproarious adventures of the crazy Clampetts."
The extended treasure hunt sequence (which seems like a plot from a television episode) is funnier than it should be, and allows some much-needed characterization to shine through. While the notion of eccentric millionaires wasn't completely unknown in British comics, the tendency to paint the subject in very broad strokes had an unfortunate tendency to skip the finer writing skills required to truly sell the characters as living, breathing people rather than stock characters pulled from the music halls and transplanted to the page.

While it may seem out of character for members of the family to go off on a treasure hunt, it is actually very much in keeping with what we see elsewhere - they are driven by competitive behavior rather than the need for more wealth, and by showing their deficiencies we get to see beneath some of the softening which set into the television series in its' third season. Good use is made of splitting the story into chapters, with enough room given to each strand of the treasure hunt that the ending doesn't appear to be pulled from thin air.

Holiday Havoc runs through several of the themes which have already been well-covered both on screen and in print, and is an unnecessary fish-out-of-water tale which goes out of its way to make sure we see just how different the family are from those around them. It is wearisome to see the same elements cropping up again and again without new ideas being introduced into the fabric of the stories, but it isn't the most glaring example of how the storytelling potential would be squandered. In taking the family out of their usual surroundings, I had an expectation of something different being added to the story, but there is nothing which hasn't been seen before.

The story spread across The Show Must Go On through The Big Night is the biggest disappointment - upon inveigling themselves in the Beverly Hills Community Theatre Charity Performance, the usual antics close with Mrs. Drysdale in hospital and the suggestion that another show be put on. The negative continuity which the stories display really begins to be noticeable here, with no mention of the film studio from their previous strip being brought up, and the preponderance of coincidences surely brings up questions regarding the safety of anyone unlucky enough to be within shouting distance of the Clampetts.

Not a brilliant collection of strips, by any standard, though any disappointment is offset somewhat by the first tale.

1966

The Beverly
Hillbillies Annual

1967

On This Day: 10 Dec

St. Trinians: the Soundtrack (2007)

Births:

Ernest Howard Shepard (1879); Richard Doyle (1883); Reginald Ben Davis (1907); Roy F. Brown (1921); Severino Baraldi (1930); Alan Fennell (1936)

Deaths:

Roland Davies (1993); Alan Fennell (2001); John Berry (2009)

Notable Events:

The Pater newspaper strip began in The Daily Mirror in 1928.
Viz was officially launched, at the Gosforth Hotel, in 1979.
St. Trinians feature film, of Ronald Searle's characters, released in 2007.
The Canny Comic Con, at Newcastle's City Library, began in 2011.