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November 4, 2010
The most interesting thing about last week’s relaunch of “The Dandy” was that it DIDN’T have a free gift sellotaped to the front. Once upon a time a free gift was only found in the first three issues of new titles, or used sparingly in existing comics for special events or to boost flagging sales. Now the bottom shelves are full of plastic bags containing so many toys and novelties that the comics also included seem like the free gifts.
In November 1965 the free gift of a Guy Fawkes mask in “Buster” must have tempted me. I’ve preserved one of these cardboard masks somewhere pushed inside one of the many Annuals that still reside in my “library”. Of course, I couldn’t find it today so I hope the people at http://www.bustercomic.co.uk don’t mind me borrowing their picture. I’ve no idea if Guy Fawkes actually looked anything like that. I think I may have mentioned before (and perhaps I’m stating the obvious and it is common knowledge ??) that I wouldn’t be at all surprised if this image wasn’t the inspiration for the early 1980s Lloyd/Moore “V for Vendetta” strip.
What I did find was this similar idea of a very odd cardboard Batman mask from around 1966. I don’t know if this came free in a comic or was just sold as-is. Actually, it is so odd that if it didn’t actually SAY Batman on the forehead no one would know what it was meant to be !!