Fantasy and Adventure

August 2, 2010

If you ever go on a giant holiday (as opposed to a normal-sized holiday I presume) these telephone-directory-sized books are ideal. One on top of the other makes a useful seat for a small child….or I suppose you could even read them…….

These two “comic albums” were edited/compiled by Mike Hugg Higgs, ex Manfred Mann creator of “The Cloak” etc etc and published by Hawk Books in 1989. I don’t know the criteria involved in the selection of material. It seems an odd/random assortment to me. The entire contents were evidentally originally seen in comics (Lion, Valiant etc) and pocketbooks (Thriller, Sexton Blake etc) published by Fleetway in the 1950s and 1960s.

We are often told that vast amounts of UK comic artwork has been destroyed or lost after companies closed down or amalgamated with no thought to to potential value of their inventories. The artwork in these books is so muddy I suspect that it was taken from old comics themselves rather than the originals.

As Marvel and DC continue to flood the market with stacks of “Essentials” and “Showcase Presents” it is a shame that here in the UK we can’t manage to package a few of the more interesting comic characters from the second half of the C20th into reasonably priced books…or even magazines……. All that seems to be available are expensive coffee table volumes collecting Dan Dare or newspaper strips like Modesty Blaise. I suppose there wouldn’t be enough people eager to buy a “Fleetway” version of D.C. Thompson’s “Classic Comics” monthly. I’ll have to content myself by re-reading these 576 pages…….until Mr Higgs’ much-anticipated collection of “The Cloak” is published……

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4 Responses to “Fantasy and Adventure”

  1. Dave W Says:

    Have got to admit that I’ve never ever seen these books before, although I do have a possible third companion volume somewhere, devoted to IPC’s funny strips. The book, which will have to remain nameless for now, included Ken Reid’s ‘Queen of the Seas’ (a masterpiece) and Higgs’ own masterpiece ‘The Cloak.’ This volume also had very poor printing (and paper quality?)I have no idea where I’ve placed it, but will try to find it.

    As for reprinting classic (or even forgotten) IPC strips in ‘Essentials’ format books – what a fantastic idea!


  2. Yes I thought there would have been more books in this “series”.

    Oh and having just purchased Essential Fantastic Four Volume 8 I now have enough of that title alone to make a seat for a large child…there’s certainly no more room on the shelves….

  3. Dave W Says:

    In my previous comment I mentioned that I had a third companion book to the ones in your blog. Quite unexpectedly I found it this evening while looking for something else…

    The book is called ‘The Giant Holiday Fun Comic Album’ (with the word ‘Fun’ taking up a third of the cover space). Priced at £2.99 for 288 pages.

    The cover art by Mike Higgs,included The Cloak, Wee Willy Haggis, Deed-a-Day Danny and others. Despite the dodgy printing there is an amazing amount of Cloak material reprinted within, likewise Ken Reid’s Queen of the Seas and The Nervs. A bargain!


  4. Hmm. Typing the title into the Amazon search box shows a used copy for sale for a mere £99.99. They’re having a laugh surely…or hoping to catch someone who’s just come back from the pub and has mislaid his (lets face it….it’s always going to be a “he” isn’t it ??) glasses……………..


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