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Monday, November 28, 2011

COMIC BOOK COMPULSIVE — Valiant Annual 1972

By the early 1970’s the heyday of British comics were pretty much over, if you ask me anyway.  So you can imagine my surprise when I undiscovered that lurking beneath the slightly disturbing cover featuring Captain Hurricane Valiant Annual ’72 contained (a) two three pages Billy Bunter stories, (b) a rousing installment of Kelly’s Eye (colored a bright yellow lemon for no discernible reason) and finally (c) a full color adventure of The Ghostly Guardian.

 

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There was any number of British strips about tear away youths who took up lodging in mysterious old castles only to invariably discover it was their ancestral home.  And naturally somewhere in its shadows was some sort of magical or ghostly ancestor who would try to drive them off but would invariably become their pal/mentor/protector.  The Ghostly Guardian was one of them, a jolly variation on the theme that managed to make the relationship between the abused boy and the lively ghost seem wonderfully endearing.  Full color was a rare thing in British Annuals even during their heyday so to find it in this story makes this Annual an extra special treat.


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4 Responses to “COMIC BOOK COMPULSIVE — Valiant Annual 1972”

  1. British comics, then and now | Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources – Covering Comic Book News and Entertainment Says:

    [...] annuals (the hardback comics that delighted us every Christmas), and their latest one is a corker: The 1970 Valiant annual, which includes two Billy Bunter stories (about a fat kid in boarding school—just read them!) and [...]

  2. Happenstance Says:

    Sweet! Thank you for these; I always enjoy British funnies (and often the adventure comics as well).

    Is the second Billy Bunter story really three pages, though? There seems to be plenty of set-up for a fourth page in which Billy’s plot goes awry; note the surly junior spying on Billy as he swipes the other lads’ belongings, then loitering nearby with a grimace two panels later as Billy sets up the scam. And of course the Gorilla lurks about…

    Hold up! Firebrand runs across that ladder-bridge…with a peg-leg? Wow, sign him up! (I don’t know for what, just give him a contract!)

  3. Steve Bennett Says:

    Naturally I forgot Pg. 3 of the Billy Bunter. I’ve corrected that and updated the post. Thanks for pointing it out — Lord knows how long it would have taken for me to notice it.

  4. Happenstance Says:

    No, sir, thank YOU for posting these gems! And for posting the missing page.

    Did a quick Google of Billy Bunter and was shocked to discover that the character has deep roots, dating all the way back to the 1890s. He even had a nine-year run on telly! (Though most of the episodes are lost.) He even pops up in Alan Moore’s “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Black Dossier,” and is assassinated for his seat in Parliament in Viz Comics’ “Baxter Basics.”

    I am now officially fascinated.

I.T.C.H is looking forward to your thoughts. Please, no flame. Thanks!

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