July 1, 2015
Like Alan Class comics, comics produced by the Atlas Publishing and Distributing Company (no relation to Marvel/Timely/Atlas, or even the short-lived mid 1970s Atlas/Seaboard who both operated on the other side of the atlantic ocean) were sure to NOT date their range to maximise the chance for the newsagents to sell their monthly sixpenny black and white comics. I think the Annuals sold quite well however. The most popular ones were Superman, Superboy, Superadventure, (and later Batman) which were usually released around August/September time and bore two dates such as 1957/1958. The Lone Star Annuals (of which there were at least six..possibly ten) published between 1953 and 1963 seem to have dispensed with a date on the cover. They were numbered (usually inside) instead. As I only own two Lone Star Annuals I can merely assume the others in the series would have had similar contents. These two mostly contain the expected Lone Star rider western strips but are livened up by the inclusion of some cartoons along with Captain Cutlass and Space Ace.
Miller comics produced dozens of cowboy comics, usually re-printing stuff from the states. Atlas too had their share of western reprint comics. However Atlas’ Lone Star contained all-British material. Atlas took over in 1956 and the comic lasted until issue number 99 in 1963. Lone Star magazine had originally begun in 1953 as a tie-in promotional tool for Die Cast Machine Tools Ltd range of toys. Toy handguns with holsters and toy rifles were massively popular with children of the 1950s brought up on a diet of Cowboy TV shows. Usually they were “capguns” that made a “loud” bang when paper gunpowder capsules were inserted. These days toy weapons of any type are frowned on, although I see that there are still replicas around.
Wikipedia has this to say:-
Today, cap guns and other toy guns in the United States must be manufactured with a bright orange, red, or yellow tip placed over the “muzzle” of the cap gun, or with the entire gun made in these or other bright colours. Laws requiring these markings were made because of incidents where civilians – usually children or teenagers – were killed by police officers when the officers thought they saw real guns. While these incidents were rare, lawmakers decided that toy guns must be marked so they cannot be mistaken for real guns.It is also possible to commit acts of robbery with a replica gun, since no shots need to be fired from a gun that looks real.
There are many collectors throughout the world who collect all types of cap guns, even though restrictive laws in some areas may make it difficult. Whereas the toy guns brought small prices originally, they now command significant prices for many models, with some of the most famous sets of holsters, guns and original boxes selling for high prices at auctions and toy gun shows. Some collectors will collect all types of cap guns, but many collectors specialize in either guns named after a famous western hero or a particular company’s set, like the Nichols Industries or Hubley cap guns.
PS: Die Cast Machine Tools didn’t just make toy guns. They produced a range of toy cars similar (though not quite as good quality) to the Dinky/Corgi models.