What comics does your blog mainly cover?
I’m mainly interested in Boys’ story papers from the 1890’s, up to the early part of the Second World War, with a special focus on the period 1901 to 1915. I have a secondary interest in Girls’ story papers from 1920 to 1945 (earlier ones were nearly all Brontë-style romance, and pretty boring). I’m also into Boys’ adventure comics from 1950 up to the present, and girls’ comics from the same period (though, of course, they died out in the very early 2000’s). I also have a slight interest in the UK Small Press, though a lot of it is far-left, or just horribly derivative (I include my own comics in the latter!). I have built up a large collection, though I rarely go to cons any more.
I aim to write about comics which do not already have a large presence on the internet. Many old story papers are only given bare-bones coverage online – start and end dates, maybe the names of the editors, and perhaps a few tiny, grainy, 90’s-scanned cover images. Some of the “better covered” story papers may have a dry list of titles and issue dates, which are interesting, but don’t tell what the comics were actually like!
This blog, then, will feature descriptions / reviews of the stories, as well as large, clear photos (and sometimes scans) of not just the covers, but also the interiors, of the comics. Where appropriate / possible, there will also be some historical context – what sort of world were the original buyers reading this stuff in? I try to aim to average one update a month, though there will be “up and down” periods depending on what I’m doing.
As you can probably tell I much prefer adventure comics to “funnies”! I never really had adventure comics when I was growing up in the 90’s, there was no adventure in The Beano and Commando only seemed to be sold at the seaside. The Victor and New Eagle both died out while I was still very young, and 2000AD was already too ‘adult’ (though I started getting odd ones from about 1997 onwards). Since discovering the history of Britsh adventure comics indirectly, through an article about Sexton Blake in the Judge Dredd Megazine in 2005, I’ve spent I-dread-to-think-how-much amassing a collection of all sorts.
What comics are you currently buying?
This list will probably change a lot, but at the moment:
- The Pheonix – subscribed.
- Commando – Every issue from shops.
- Spaceship Away – ‘bursts’ of issues from the website, when I have the money.
- Viz – Most issues from shops.
- The Beano – Very Occasionally.
- My Weekly Pocket Novel – Even more occasionally, mainly the Maudie and Moonstones stories.
- Genshiken – Buying the volumes as they come out
- His Favourite – and this, though they’re hardly ever in the shops
- Crimson Spell – and neither is this.
Aiming for eventual complete collections of the reprints of:
- Dan Dare
- Doctor Who
- Modesty Blaise
- Viz (their annuals are reprint books)
But it’s very expensive!
What comics from the past are you interested in?
- Virtually everything with adventure stories in from between 1892 and 1945, and especially between 1901 and 1915!
- The Boys’ Friend – my favourite comic!
- The Boys’ Friend Library (pre-1925 ideally)
- Union Jack (1894 – 1933 version)
- The Boys’ Journal
- The Boys’ Realm
- The Boys’ Realm Sports Library
- The Boys’ Herald
- The Nelson Lee Library
- The Sexton Blake Library (especially pre-WW2)
- Puck (Rob the Rover issues)
- The Butterfly (certain issues only)
- Boys of Our Empire
- The Magnet
- The Gem
- Girls’ Crystal / The Crystal
- The Schoolgirl
- School Friend
- The Schoolgirls’ Own
- The Schoolgirls’ Own Library
- Schoolgirls’ Picture Library
- Valentine (early issues)
- The Victor
- War Picture Library
- Roy of the Rovers
- The Wizard (both versions)
- The Captain
- Commando (not interested in paying funny money for that random early issue you found. It’s probably been reprinted, anyway).
- War Picture Library.
- Chatterbox (post 1905 ideally)
- Anything Japanese from before 1945. I’ll worry about being able to read it later.
- Anything current from Japan if it’s cheap enough!
- Anything German from before 1918, it must be fascinating to see what they were saying about Britain and France. I’ll worry about being able to read it even later!
- Odd issues of other foreign things old and new. I have single issues of Spirou and Je Bouquine I bought while passing through France, as well as a couple of issues of Condorito, from Chile via Columbia!
How much are these comics I just found worth?
This is not a “valuation” blog. Nor am I absolutely desperate to collect every issue of everything on my list (except for bound volumes of the Boys’ Friend / Herald / Realm, or early Union Jack!). You are not rich, though. Hardly any Brits care about British comics (why else do you think you just found that stash in an attic / shed / lockup? – could you have even named that comic the previous day?). Even fewer foreigners do – the community of non-Brits who really care about this stuff could be counted on your fingers. The chances are that any ‘amazing’ finds are, in fact, modern reprints. The most valuable British comics (issue 1 of the Beano and Dandy) have been reprinted several times this decade alone, a few chancers putting the Guardian’s reprint on Ebay, claiming to have “found it in a wall”, the very same day it came out!).
If they’re Number 1 of The Beano or The Dandy (if they’re not modern reprints (hint: they are modern reprints)): £7,000.
If they’re early Beano or Dandy annuals: £1000 – 2000.
If they’re early issues of The Beano or The Dandy: £100 – 500.
If they’re early issues of Eagle: £10 – 50.
If they’re early Eagle annuals / The rarer Radio Fun annual 1950 / Pre or during WW2 annuals in very good condition: £50 – 75.
If it’s Number 1 of Commando: £200
If it’s early numbers of Commando, or the comics like Commando: £10 – £100
If it’s random high numbers of commando-like comics from the 60’s onwards: 10p – £2
If they’re single issues from before WW2: £1 – 20 depending on condition and where they are being sold.
If they’re single issues from the time of paper rationing: £5 – 20 depending on condition.
If they’re single issues from the late 1940’s from a small publisher: £10 – 50.
If they’re single issues of anything from 1950 onwards: 1p – £3
If they’re annuals from 1950 onwards: 99p – £10. Unless they’re early Doctor Who annuals in which case £silly money
If they’re bound volumes of papers that were not officially sold as bound volumes: £10 – 200, depending on condition and rarity.
If they’re bound volumes of papers that were officially sold as bound volumes (Chums, Chatterbox etc): £5-50. Higher prices for first volumes only.