Monday, 27 July 2020

Nostalgic For My Childhood - More Summer Specials

A couple of years ago, having had a conversation with Dude (where he expressed amusement over the things I had to contend with when I was his age - including, but not limited to, very few available video games, cameras you had to carry separately and phones that were wired to the wall), I blogged about one great thing I had that he didn’t - the Summer Special (you can find the blog post here).
1977
As I explained then, children’s comics now aren’t a patch on what they were back in the 70s and 80s (and before that, even).  Modern titles, sealed in plastic bags and littered with free gifts, have very little in the way of comic strips or stories (in fact, most seem to consist of quizzes) but back in the day the likes of IPC and DC Thomson produced a raft of weeklies that catered for most tastes (published on newsprint with a splash of colour).

Those weeklies, in turn, gave us the Summer Special to look forward to.  A one-off edition of our favourite title, it was thicker and more colourful and the perfect reading accompaniment to a long car journey or a lazy afternoon in the back garden.

Comics historian Lew Stringer suggests (on his blog) that “today’s retailers dislike them because they occupy valuable shelf space for too many months” which didn’t bother newsagents in the 70s - Summer Specials were especially popular at seaside towns because they were pretty much guaranteed sellers, with a new batch of kids every week who’d need entertaining.

Here are a few more from my golden-era of reading them (the late 70s into the early 80s) - what were your favourites?
1977
1977
1977
1978
1978
1978 - Starlord (which I wrote about here) barely lasted long enough to justify its Summer Special!
1979
1979 - war comics were a big part of my childhood
1980
1980
1980
1980
1981
1981
1981



Once again, thanks to Lew Stringer for the history (see also David Barnett’s excellent blog piece at The Guardian).

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