Tiger Tim’s Weekly – No 958

I have been in other Oxfam Book shops up and down the land, but i can confidently say Lincoln’s is amongst the best. Where others will provide you with endless novels for middle-aged women, most likely with beige an overpowering theme to the covers/spines, old poetry books or Beano and Dandy annuals that are scarcely 4 years old, Lincoln’s never fails to supply interesting paperbacks from the 60’s and 70’s, old “Nelson Reward” books (an entry on which is forthcoming) and adventure comic annuals from the golden age. (That’s Britain’s golden age, which isn’t set in stone but 1955 to 1985 tends to be the boundaries people will agree on). Even more amazingly, they sometimes have actual issues of comics! and that is what i bought yesterday.

It’s Tiger Tim’s Weekly, a “nursery comic” intended for very young readers, and (cover*) dates to March 30th 1940. Of course, them being better times it’s highbrow literature compared to comparable titles today. Paper shortages where obviously beginning to bite, for it is a mere 12 tabloid sized pages on thin newsprint. Still the cover is very colourful and other pages are two colour “black, white and red”. The content is a mixture of short instalments of serial stories, and some other serial adventure comic strips. The centre pages are filled with short ‘humour’ strips in the old-fashioned style of blocks of text under the picture to describe the story, as well as speech bubbles. Pretty borders and little ornate pictures in the margins abound throughout the pages.

The issue isn’t in the best condition, and a large chunk has been torn from the cover. It has also been folded for many years and the ‘spine’ of the cover page is more air than paper… but considering the drive for paper recycling during the war, and the “worthlessness” of comics and storypapers, it’s amazing it has survived at all.

*-British comics often had ‘odd’ attitudes to cover dating, some dated the first day the issue would be sold, others the last. And seemingly some companies dated an issue to the day after it would first go on sale, for reasons best known to themselves.

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The colourful front cover, with a serial strip instalment and also a small “funny picture” with different jokes in it. Note all the fancy borders and little details, this is something they had in the olden days called “pride in your work”.

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A mixture of text story and comic strip. With other little strips thrown in wherever they will fit! Adding in little comic strips all over the place is, incedentally, how they used to be presented in the “proper papers” too. Nowadays they are all on the “funny page”, often with the stars. Wonder why the astrologers haven’t picked up on that little detail and complained…

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The centre pages, a large spread of short comic strips. The “black, white and red” helps to give them a little more life and detail but save the all-important ink for the war effort. This type of colouring on the centre pages would last much longer, though. I have some 70’s Victors with exactly the same thing being done! Again, notice the little borders and details.

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In these days of the tie-in “advertainment”, corporate execs would reel back in shock and seeing 12 large pages of paper being read by children containing only two adverts! and one of those is for a another publication by the same company. Playbox was a companion to the venerable Chatterbox, a publication which ran for many years. An entry about that will also be added in the future.

9 Comments

  1. Hi, sorry to post this here, but I can’t find a way of contacting anyone running this, or of starting a new thread. I am an intern researching for a forthcoming exhibition at the soon to open Turner Contemporary gallery in Margate, and I am desperately trying to find out where we might be able to get hold of copies of The Magnet magazine (Amalgamated Press, 1908-1940). I am having absolutely no luck whatsoever, and it doesn’t appear to be referenced here either. Can anyone help me at all? I’d be very grateful! Thanks.

  2. Try ebay for starters, issue 1 is on there at the moment but i expect bidding will go quite high. If not old comic marts or specialist dealers are the next point of call. There was also the rather more obtainable W Howard Baker reprint books of the 70’s-80’s which were hardbacks with complete issues reproduced inside, on thick paper so they are better preserved if not totally “original”.
    The Magnet is after all one of the best British comics of all time, up there with The Boys Own and The Eagle!
    Is this going to be an exhibition about the genius of Charles Hamilton and how he was one of the greatest writers of the 20th century? Or is it going to take the more likely path of “look how they used to force the socio-genderpolitical imperialo-capitalist zeitgeist onto children”?
    If it’s the former i might just be able to help out, for instance i have a few Howard Baker books and also a bound volume of reproductions of The Magnet. Somebody was selling them on ebay ages ago, i wish i’d bought more actually. They are facsimilies on modern, thick paper. No idea about thier origin but they are effectively copies of the issues in perfect condition (though of course on thicker paper). The one Magnet book i have includes issue 1683, the final one (i beleive). I also correspondingly (and purely by accident XD) have the first issue of The Gem in the same bound facsimilie format. You can’t really talk about The Magnet and Charles Hamilton without The Gem coming up eventually!

  3. Hi ‘admin’!
    Thanks a lot for the tips, and the speedy response.
    Our exhibition is entitled Nothing in the World but Youth, and it will explore how young people have been represented in art and culture from the end of the nineteenth century to the present day. Rather than a chronological survey of artworks, we have identified themes that allow us to best explore this complex and often contradictory stage of life. The exhibition will address both teenage experience and the ambiguous views that society has had of its own young people since adolescence emerged in cultural consciousness as a distinct phase of life. The main body will, of course, consist of art works, but we are also looking for photographs, media footage and cuttings, and other relevant memorabilia to support and broaden our themes. So no, it is not really taking either of the paths you suggest, and is not focused specifically on comics, but more on iconic events, persons, (sub)-cultures, and influences. Clearly, comics such as The Magnet had a huge influence on youth of the time (and ever since), hence our interest.
    Would you still be interested in helping out? It would be truly wonderful were you able to. I know the curators in charge of this project (I am working as an intern under them) were especially keen to find out more about The Magnet and whether there were accessible collections.
    Thanks again for your swift response, and I hope to hear from you again soon!

  4. Oh, and can I add a further question: would you say there were any particularly important or famous issues which I really ought to focus on trying to get hold of? Thanks again!

  5. Eek on second thoughts i’m probably not the best source of scholarly Magnet information. I collect willy-nilly and my main things are Union Jack, The Boys’ Friend and Chums.
    Better people to ask would be the owners of http://www.friardale.co.uk/ which is dedicated to Charles Hamilton. It’s design is a bit old fashioned but as far as i know the people who run it are still around XD.
    There’s also a group on Yahoo Groups called “Charles Hamilton” which was surprisingly active when i joined it about 2 years ago, though they summarily threw me out about a week later for unexplained reasons @_@
    There’s also an old but still worthy book called “Boys Will be Boys” by E.S. Turner that shouldn’t be too hard to find on Ebay, this contains information about Boys’ papers from the early 19th century Penny Dreadfuls up to those of 1947 or so (when the first edition came out, there was a later edition in the 70’s but i don’t know if it had anything new in).
    And up until 2001 or so there was a magazine called Collector’s Digest which was primarily about the Amalgamated Press story-papers, of which The Magnet would have been far and away most popular. Issues of that ought to be easily findable on ebay too… good luck!

  6. Oh, I’m really not looking for scholarly information – merely a copy or two of early or significant issues of The Magnet. Your knowledge already seems above and beyond what I could have dreamt of! Thank you very much for all of the tips and pointers.

  7. Oh my goodness – I’ve just followed your friardale link, and I had to come by here again to say an even bigger thank you! They appear to have scanned in copies of every issue of The Magnet. I need to check with the curators in charge, but I think this should be perfect. Couldn’t have found it without your help! Thank you!

  8. Let me know how it goes! If you still need actual issues a good magazine to get that would tell you about book fairs happening all over the country is Book & Magazine Collector.

    When the exhibition is open i’ll do a post promoting it!

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