The Children’s Annual

The Children’s Annual 

By Alan Clark (Boxtree)
ISBN 10: 1-85283-212-9

The comic has been with us a long time now and debate still continues about where, when and exactly what constitutes the first of these artefacts to truly earn the title. There’s a lot less debate about the children’s annual, a particularly British institution and one that continues – albeit in a severely limited manner – to this day.

It’s a rare person indeed who never received a colourful card covered compendium on Christmas morning, full of stories and comic-strips and usually featuring the seasonal antics of their favourite characters, whether from comics such as Beano, Dandy, Lion, Eagle and their ilk, or television, film or radio franchises or personalities such as Dr Who, Star Wars, TV21, Radio Fun or Arthur Askey. There were even sports annuals and beautifully illustrated commemorative editions of the fact and general knowledge comics such as Look and Learn, and special events such as the always glorious Rupert Annuals.

The history and development of this glorious holiday tradition are lovingly shared by the enthusiastic and erudite Alan Clark in this wonderful book. Never lapsing into too much detail, Clark introduces his subject, always lavishly illustrated, gives a taste and then moves on. His goal is always achieved. Once you’ve seen, you will want to see more. This kind of nostalgic paean is our industry’s best weapon in the fight to build sales, both of new material and back issues. When was the last time you bought something old or untried at a comic shop? Give your Nostalgia Vision a workout for a change, and if you’re still a little dubious a book like this should be your guide to tip the scales.

© 1988 Alan Clark.