Proper British adventure comics are still around, if you know where to look – Part 1.

Well that title isn’t going to format well, is it?

Anyway, as the title implies, i have set myself up as the comic hanging judge, deciding what is worthy and what is not. So what do i consider a “proper” British adventure comic, then?

– Comes out weekly

– Printed on newsprint, or thin paper

– Black and white.

However those criteria are nonexistent today (though Commando comes closest!), so unfortunately must be ignored. Oh well, i don’t consider a car to be “proper” unless it’s rear wheel drive and has loads of chrome on it, but my own one has neither. Needs must in these dark, tasteless times. On with criteria we can fill…

– Original characters, or else characters that are not imported from some flavour-of-the-month American film, Japanese cartoon etc.

– Suitable for all ages

– Combined comic strips and illustrated text stories.

Now we’re getting somewhere! Titles that live up to these criteria can be had if, as the title says, you know where to look. Which brings us on to:

The Doctor Who Storybook 2007

jh

Remember “proper” annuals are dated a year ahead, so this came between the 2006 and 2007 series!

I had read a few times that these “storybooks” were better than the “official annuals”. Though not having seen any of the contemporary official annuals i can’t comment. I have however seen a scan of one of the 1970’s annuals (on a Doctor Who DVD! I wasn’t Warezing) and it was terrible. Mindlessley dull text stories, nonsensical psychadelic comic strips and about 75% of the book being general articles about space exploration. Mind you people were still going to the moon in the early 70’s.

Anyway, i came across this book in Mind for 20p, so i had to have it, and i’m glad i found out what I’ve been missing! There are several text stories, some “straight” but others presented in the form of diaries, ordinary people telling the story of what happened to them, and even an instant message conversation. They are also profusely illustrated.

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Most of the illustrations are fantastic…

For my money the first story (“Cuckoo-spit”, told as a diary written by a boy in the 70’s) and the last one (“Corner of your eye”, told as an IM conversation) are the best ones. Though one in the middle, narrated by the storyteller in an ancient European village, is pretty good too.

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And some aren’t.

 There’s also one long comic strip in the middle of the book which is also good. It’s set in “Venezia” but it’s not clear if this is Venice or an alien planet that looks like Venice! The inhabitants aren’t much of a clue, as everybody knows a good third of the intelligent life forms in the universe of Doctor Who look exactly like us!

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Also i’ve seen uglier bouncers on this planet.

About the only problem with this book is that it’s way too short! A single issue of the 1900’s Union Jack probably has the same word count and that came out every week. This comes out once a year… or should i say came out, as by the look of an Amazon search there isn’t one for 2011 (yet?). A lot of publishers are cutting back (ahem, Roy of the Rovers season 1), it will be a shame if this is a permanent casualty. Still that gives me another 3 to track down… and they are certainly worth more than just 20p!

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The room has two light switches. The room has two light switches. The room has two light switches…

In an attempt to update this blog a bit more often (i now have three ‘big’ articles i want to do but haven’t got around to!) i’ll post another part of this mini-series soon.

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