A couple of years ago I had a conversation with Dude where he expressed amusement over what I had to put up with when I was his age, namely (but not limited to) very few video games, cameras that were only cameras and phones that were wired to the walls in your house. This led to me blogging about one terrific thing I had that he didn't, the Summer Special!
As I explained then (you can read the 2018 entry here
and the 2020 one here
), 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, thicker and more colourful edition of our favourite title, it was 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?
|1979 - the "seven-penny" nightmare, Action ceased publication in November 1977|
|1979 - Tornado (which I wrote about here) only lasted for 22 issues in 1979 but, luckily, that timing fell into the Summer Special period!|
Thanks to Lew Stringer
for the history and comicvine
for some of the scans. See also David Barnett’s excellent blog piece
at The Guardian.
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