The Grand Comic Database claims that the Australian company Young’s Merchandising published 567 different black and white comics across 47 different titles mostly through the 1950s. Similar in appearance to the more famous K G Murray comics the most popular appear to have been Blackhawk and Bugs Bunny reprints but they also issued a number of shorter run homegrown titles. Many comics that were reprints have redrawn covers. And like K G Murray comics the prices increased from 6d to 8d in the early 1950s.

The GCD goes on to say:

The earliest comics from Young’s Merchandising Company were published around 1947, including Australian original material and reprints of US comics. Young’s is also known for its Larry Kent crime novels (commenced in 1954), based on the Sydney radio series created by Ron Ingleby. The company folded soon after the death of its founder, Charles Young, in 1963. Little is known about the company, which appears to have been involved in a range of non-publishing endeavours.

This Giant Comic Annual contains 6 rebound comics. Not a great bargain at 3/6 when five of the six comics within display an original retail price of 6d each. One comic shows 8d. I make that add up to 3s 2d. I’m making assumptions but perhaps the contents within the covers may have varied from book to book as seen in Thorpe and Porters “Double Double” books produced in the 1960s in the UK.

PS: For the record this particular book contains the following comics, in that order, in case someone somewhere owns another copy that they could compare.

BLACK ROGER no5

SILVER STARR no1

SILVER STARR no3

YARMAK no15

YARMAK no11

SILVER STARR no2

PPS: Silver Starr and Yarmak are drawn by the very accomplished artist Stanley Pitt 1925 – 2002 (usually in the style of Alex Raymond). Again according to the GCD he drew one…just one… lone story for DC comics that appeared in Witching Hour 14 in 1971. Of course I couldn’t resist tracking down a copy of that particular comic!!

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I’ve been reading comics for what seems like forever (since 1963) and I never noticed this until today. I’ve just looked at some other comics from the period and it seems Charlton issued many of their titles in 1973 every six weeks rather their more usual bi-monthly frequency.

Here in the UK most comics were either weekly or monthly. In the States anything seemed to go. Many Dell comics were only published four times a year. DCs were often published eight times a year with the indicia listing the months when there wasn’t an issue of your favourite comic. A few Archie comics had really odd publishing schedules. Six comics of a title published in the Summer over two months and then no more for months after that. Smaller publishers were just as random.

This particular Charlton comic featured the annual “Statement of Ownership”. Of the earlier comic used for the statement it seems that 213658 issues were printed. 121232 reached newsstands and were presumably sold. 91815 reached newsstands and weren’t sold. The figures were all quite similar in the following years too. Having those figures in front of them why on earth did they continue to print so many more copies than they knew they could actually sell? It doesn’t make financial sense (unless by having their own printing presses it actually only cost them 1cent per issue to produce?). I’ve often wondered if some of those “unsold” issues weren’t just destroyed but were the ones that ended up here in the UK. I particularly recall buying Charlton comics in the Autumn of 1974 that had newly appeared on the spinner racks yet displayed 1973 dates.

So I went through some more of my Charlton Ghostly Haunts and found these circulation figures:

YEAR   PRINTED   SOLD   UNSOLD

1972   213658   121232   91815

1973   240400   153600   88665

1974   220000   126800   90784

1975   210000   107946   84672

1976   230000   110000   114340

The differences between the totals of sold/unsold and printed are made up by subscription issues (a mere 50 or 60 each month) and spoiled copies that for whatever reason didn’t print right and weren’t a good enough quality to sell. In 1975 there were 17000 spoiled copies of one issue!!

PS: The host of the comic was Ms Winifred Witcherly (Winnie the Witch). Her looks changed dramatically from issue to issue depending on who was doing the artwork. She varied from looking quite sexy to looking downright bizarre (if Ditko was doing a rush-job).

PPS: This Charlton comic, like all the others they published from the 1940s/50s to the 1980s suffers from diabolical printing, blurred text, terrible colouring and even the pages are poorly trimmed. I think the comics got worse as the years went by as the printing presses (originally used to print Cornflakes boxes?!?) began to wear out.

22/08/1939 to 30/08/2019

Scarfolk

Sep 1, 2019

Scarfolk is a town in North West England that did not progress beyond 1979. Instead, the entire decade of the 1970s loops ad infinitum. Here in Scarfolk, pagan rituals blend seamlessly with science; hauntology is a compulsory subject at school, and everyone must be in bed by 8pm because they are perpetually running a slight fever. “Visit Scarfolk today. Our number one priority is keeping rabies at bay.” For more information please reread.
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As if the book and the website aren’t already scary enough it seems that this Xmas there’s going to be an Annual too.

The Scarfolk Annual is the facsimile of a book discovered in a charity shop in the north west of England in August 2018. The shop, and indeed town, do not wish to be identified as they are keen to “discourage the ‘occult-totalitarian tourism’ that has afflicted other areas of Britain” as people hunt for further socio-archaeological traces of the mysterious, missing town of Scarfolk – Britain’s own Brutalist Atlantis.
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Randlecourt Printers

Sep 1, 2019

Surely this company (with its address of Melton Rd Thurmaston Leicester England) must be connected in some way with Thorpe and Porter. The two published “albums” both contain black and white reprints of Batman stories originally published between 1955 and 1965. I guess the books appeared here in the UK sometime circa 1966 to cash in on the Batcraze that happened once the TV show was introduced.

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Perhaps the original cover artwork wasn’t available as these books use the splash page artwork of the first stories for the book covers (with changes to the positions of word balloons). No one seems to have researched what the correct colours for Batman and Robin’s uniforms ought to be though. It annoyed me when I bought these books in 1966 and still annoys me now.


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