The Important British Comics Anniversaries for November 2019!
As explained in more detail last month, these are only the “big” anniversaries (25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, 60, 70, 75, 80, 90 & 100+ years), dates are cover-cover dates (where known), monthly comics with no known day of launch default to the first of the month, and these lists are accurate only to the best of my knowledge, so please let me know if I’ve missed anything, or messed up in some way!
25 years ago:
23 November – Mighty Max (Marvel UK, 23 Nov 1994 to 02 Aug 1995, 10 issues) launched. Based on a cartoon series which in turn was based on a toy that I don’t remember, but it was apparently along the same lines as the tiny doll Polly Pocket, which I do remember because my niece used to have them.
30 years ago:
04 November – The Bog Paper (Marvel UK, 04 Nov 1989 to 13 Jan 1990, 11 issues) launched. Another go by Marvel at creating a kids’ humour comic. Featured strips include Flush Gordon, Doctor Phoo, The Stynx and Spenda Penny — so it’s pretty much exactly as you might have guessed from the title. Very childish and silly stuff indeed. I would have absolutely loved it had it come out when I was ten.
11 November – Fireman Sam (Marvel UK/Redan, 11 Nov 1989 to 01 May 1999, 227 issues) launched. Ah, remember the old theme tune? “Fireman Sam, Fireman Sam, Fireman Sam and black-and-white ham!” Great stuff!
25 November – Ring Raiders (Fleetway, 18 Sep 1989 to 25 Nov 1989, 6 issues) final issue. Another one based on a cartoon based on a toy. I’ve no idea what Ring Raiders was about, but it had art by Ian Kennedy and featured a character with the awesome name of Joe Thundercloud, so that’s good enough for me.
30 November – Dennis (Marvel UK, 30 Nov 1989 to 12 Jul 1990, 17 issues) launched. This is the fairly tame American Dennis the Menace character, not his rambunctious British counterpart who appeared in The Beano (coincidentally, the two characters debuted on the same day: 12 March 1951). Dennis was the last Marvel UK title launched in the 1980s — see the Marvel UK Timeline for more details.
35 years ago:
November – Oh Boy Monthly (IPC, Nov 1984 to Sep 1993, 102 issues) launched. To the best of my knowledge, this one reprinted photo-stories from earlier issues of the weekly title Oh Boy. Disclaimer: info on this one has been particularly elusive — I’m not 100% sure about the final date or issue-count.
45 years ago:
09 November – Valentine (Amalgamated Press/Fleetway, 19 Jan 1957 to 09 Nov 1974, 927 issues) final issue: absorbed into Mirabelle. Valentine’s subtitle was “Brings You Love Stories in Comics” which it did. Featured comic strips inspired by popular songs by performers such as Cliff Richard, Perry Como, Lulu, etc. until a major revamp in 1969.
60 years ago:
November – Film Picture Library (Pearson, Jun 1959 to Nov 1959, 3 issues) final issue. Comic-strip adaptations of then-current movies… Only lasted three issues. #1 covered Warlock (Richard Widmark & Henry Fonda), #2 was The Heart of a Man (Frankie Vaughan & Anne Heywood), #3 featured North West Frontier (Kenneth More & Lauren Bacall). Arguably replaced by (or relaunched as) Continental Film Photo Stories which ran for two issues in 1960.
November – Marvelman Family (L. Miller and Son, Ltd., Oct 1956 to Nov 1959, 30 issues) final issue. As has been documented elsewhere, the history of Marvelman is massively complicated, but if I were asked to briefly summarise it, I’d say, “No, it’s too hard. Go read Pádraig Ó Méalóid’s excellent book Poisoned Chalice instead.”
14 November – Harold Hare’s Own Paper (Fleetway, 14 Nov 1959 to 04 May 1964, 230 issues) launched. I do have memories of this comic even though it predates me: I’m guessing copies found in the barber’s, a location which was responsible for a good deal of my early comic-book education. Or it could be that I just remember the character of Harold Hare: this title was eventually absorbed into Playhour, which ran until 1987.
80 years ago:
November – Monster Comic (Pearson, Jun 1939 to Nov 1939, 2 issues) final issue. Another Pearson title cut down before it had a chance to properly sprout. If by chance you happen to have a cover image for this one, please let me know!
100 years ago:
01 November – The Children’s Fairy (Amalgamated Press, 01 Nov 1919 to 09 Apr 1921, 76 issues) launched. As mentioned last month, this was a relaunch of The Sunday Fairy, which was renamed The Children’s Sunday Fairy for its last two issues to prepare the way. Note: In my many years of searching I have never been able to find a picture of the cover of The Children’s Fairy!
01 November – The Greyfriars Herald (Amalgamated Press, 01 Nov 1919 to 25 Mar 1922, 126 issues) launched. Renamed The Greyfriars Boys’ Herald in Dec 1920, then The Boys’ Herald in Apr 1922 (no connection with The Boy’s Herald which ran for 461 issues from 1903 to 1912: you’ll have spotted that the two titles have their apostrophes in different places). This is the second incarnation of The Greyfriars Herald: the first ran for 18 issues from 20 Nov 1915 to 18 March 1916, the conceit behind which was that the paper was published by the pupils of the fictional Greyfriars School — home of Billy Bunter — which appeared in The Magnet Library/The Magnet (15 Feb 1908 to 18 May 1940, 1683 issues).
110 years ago:
01 November – Lion Library (James Henderson, 27 Apr 1909 to 01 Nov 1909, 28 issues) final issue: absorbed into The Nugget Library (1908). This was a relaunch of Wild West Library which ran for 184 issues from Jan 1903 to Feb 1909. (And it’s another one for which I’ve never been able to find a cover.)
125 years ago:
24 November – Pluck (Harmsworth/Amalgamated Press, 24 Nov 1894 to 05 Nov 1904, 519 issues) launched. Relaunched on 12 Nov 1904 and lasted a further 594 issues until 18 Mar 1916. A third Pluck title ran for 103 issues from 28 Oct 1922 to 4 Oct 1924 before being relaunched as The Triumph.