Cops and Robbers

Sep 20, 2010

Help !  I’m still trapped in a room full of T.V. Boardman Annuals. They’re stacked on my desk at work (because that’s where my scanner lives). For a brief moment I considered scanning every page, but common sense prevailed…that way madness lies. I even considered asking Dawn to scan every page..but she’d only get mad with me too. So I just picked out one text story from the 1957 Okay Annual.  By Jack Trevor Story’s standards it’s rather mundane. It even contains a spelling mistake on line 18. Vandalising vehicles was evidentally not just the modern pastime I thought it to be…..

Cops and Robbers by Jack Trevor Story


More Okay

Sep 14, 2010

One last note about the T.V. Boardman Annuals. I understand that they originally came with paper slip-covers. Can’t say I’ve ever seen one still intact though. And also that they were pretty much available exclusively through Woolworths stores.

As these Annuals were undated there seems to be some discussion about which ones were published when. Elsewhere on the Internet this seems to be the accepted order:-

1952 AJAX ADVENTURE ANNUAL (Elephant cover)
1953 ADVENTURE ANNUAL (The Robot Empire)
1955 OKAY ADVENTURE ANNUAL (Saurian Expedition)
1956 OKAY ADVENTURE ANNUAL (Last stand of Major Wilson)

The only slight problem I find is with the 1956 Okay Adventure Annual. It is full of very early (1940 ?) Quality Comics comic strips like Clip Chance, Rusty Ryan and Hugh Hazzard. It is probably correct that the book was available Xmas 1956 but even then it must have looked incredibly old-fashioned. It does however contain a rare text story called “Wulfric of the Fens” written by the legendary Jack Trevor Story (see elsewhere on this blog for more on this under-appreciated writer).

PS: Now I’ve had a chance to flick through the 1957/1958/1959 Annuals I find that they too dredge the bottom of the barrel with mostly early 1940s Quality Comics strips mixed amongst the UK-sourced text stories.


Sep 11, 2010

We have a long tradition in the UK of seeing Annuals still appearing years (or even decades) after the comic the Annual was based on ceased being published.

“Okay Comic” was a short-lived (1937 – 1938) publication from T.V Boardman Ltd that would re-appear as an Annual from 1953 to 1959 (often under the “Popular Press” imprint). The comics (which mostly consisted of reprints of american newspaper cartoon strips) must now be extremely rare. The Annuals, (usually called Okay Adventure annuals) thanks to those sturdy card covers, have survived in quite reasonable numbers and can still be picked up for £5 – £10 depending on condition. As they contain reprints of Quality Comics material such as Doll Man and Plastic Man mixed amongst the usual text stories they are certainly a cheap way for someone to acquire genuine “Golden Age” comic stuff that was actually printed back in the “Golden Age” . Also worth looking out for are the  “Ajax Adventure Annual” of 1952 and the “Spaceways Comic Annual” and “Adventure Album” from circa 1954. Perhaps even more collectable still are T. V Boardman’s “Buffalo Bill” Annuals. Once again based on the earlier comics these books appeared every Xmas from 1949 to 1961. When I was youger they also appeared in every junk shop and jumble sale I visited. Oh for the days when if something was old it was worth less than the new stuff, not more…….

Incidentally T.V Boardman had nothing to do with television but rather was the initials of the publisher, one Thomas Volney Boardman. After “Okay Comic” he would go on to publish a number of other comics with familiar tiles like “Smash” and “Feature” reprinting  Quality Comics strips such as “Blackhawk” and “The Spirit” as well as (also now very collectable) home -grown comics like “Roy Carson” and “Swift Morgan” along with crime and science fiction pulps and paperbacks through the 1940s and 1950s.

The 1953 Adventure Annual and the 1954 Spaceways Annual are the best of the bunch. Later Annuals had far fewer pages, less UK comic strips and older/less interesting Quality Comics strips. Why the same cover was used for two different books is a mystery.