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.
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”.
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…
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.
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.