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Thursday, 19 March 2015

D. C. Thomson and Fleetway --They Were The 'DC' And 'Marvel' Of The UK

Spent 4-5 hours yesterday evening taking all my UK comic annuals from the shelves, dusting and then cataloguing them.

Yeah, my joints paid for it overnight!

I have over 200 annuals which, I am reliably informed by next-of-kin, will be sold off with my comics as soon as I've snuffed it.  Lords of Light and Darknessgive me a long life just so I can piss them off!

Anyway, good thing is it means I do not have to wait (a long time since it isn't a priority just a courtesy) for IPC to supply me with the scans for various projects and they have been kind enough already.  But there was a bit of a surprise for me.
http://static.comicvine.com/uploads/scale_large/8/85763/2297452-smash_ann71.jpg

You see, old time comickers describe D. C. Thomson (Dundee Editions is how they are better known in Europe) as the "DC"  and AP/Fleetway/IPC as the "Marvel" of UK comics.

I always saw myself as a "Marvelite" and a Fleetway fan. But when I looked at the sizeable stacks of books and then wrote up my list (yes, some have been stolen over the years) I discovered over a hundred were Thomson books. 

Some from the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s -Topper, Beezer, Dandy, Beano, Sparky, Hotspur etc.

Now, this suddenly hit me because when I was a nipper I started getting comics from about the age of 5-6 years -Robin and so on.  My grand dad, Bill, seemed to think a good mix-and match each week would increase my enjoyment (bless him but he had no idea that most of the strips were serials!).  If a new Number 1  appeared I got it and you can probably guess that, as I never had a permanent home until I was well into my forties, a great many were lost. 

That's life.

http://www.comicsuk.co.uk/images/Annuals/Dandy/DandyAnnual_1971.jpeg

So I got to see the Wilson, The Tough Of The Track as well as Captain Hornet, Billy The Cat, Q-Bikes/Q-Karts, General Jumbo, Billy Whizz and so on.  And when I made my 54mm Plastacine figures to play Thomson characters were alongside those of Fleetway, Odhams and Marvel (with the odd "guest appearance of Batman or Superman -I kept it eclectic!).

Certain people have said in the past that they were surprised that I had Thomson annuals because "You hate Thomson" or there's the "that's very hypocritical of you"  and my usual response is a polite "And you are talking out of your arse".

http://static.comicvine.com/uploads/scale_large/8/80884/3100293-6049434950-Beano.jpg
I have never, ever written or said that I hate Thomson.  That is a falsehood spread by certain very sad, not-quite-bright individuals who tried to stir up an argument on the internet.

Okay, so one editor, allegedly called me a "C---" when someone mentioned my name.  I wasn't there but, oddly, a journalist from a Midlands newspaper did try to get me to comment on this.  I put the phone down.

I have suspicions. 

http://comics-on-dvd.co.uk/images/source/Hotspur_Book_-_1986.jpg

My only "argument" has been with the fact that Thomson is in a position where they could become a major player in the comics industry.  On the old WordPress CBO I outlined everything and even published the very rude letter of response from an editor.  That was in the past and I don't care.

The people running Thomson do not appear to have the inclination to get into new comic production and in such a  case you can only sit back and yell "You are losing out on getting more revenue from new fans!"

A two-year game plan and everything is set up and established but it will just not happen.  I'm surprised that even the Beano and Dandy are still going.

I think that my comic and annual collection shows that I have a love of the old Thomson characters and going through the books last night realised why.

And "Fister" Flint.....

I say nothing.

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