(with thanks to Lew Stringer and the ComicsUK Forum): Along with a range of annuals and calendars based on their current titles such as The Beano, “The Broons” and Jacqueline Wilson Magazine, now on general sale, DC Thomson have revived some of their classic comic titles with a “Best Of” Annual line, currently only available as limited editions from the publisher’s online shop.
There’s not a huge amount of information on the content of most of these titles, but we’re assuming they assemble a good selection of material sourced from the archives for each title.
The Best of Beezer Annual
Humour comic The Beezer was first published in 1956 and ran until August 1993. Like its companion comic, The Topper, The Beezer was initially an A3 (tabloid) title, twice as big as most other comics, but shrank to A4 paper size in 1981.
The Beezer and Topper ceased publication as a weekly comic in 1993, unofficially merged with The Beano, where the bulk of surviving content from the comic (most prominently, “The Numskulls”) ended up. (Some also went to DC Thomson’s then other surviving weekly comic, The Dandy).
• There’s more about The Beezer on the fan site, The Beezer’s Golden Years.
The Best of Bunty Annual
First published in 1958, girls comic Bunty ran for a staggering 2,249 issues before the title folded in 2001, ending its days, briefly, as a monthly title. Its best know strip is probably “The Four Marys”, drawn by artists such as Barrie Mitchell.
There’s a long-running campaign for its return, which has a web site here (the site including a fascinating research report on children’s perceptions of comics, conducted in 2012) and a Facebook page here
The Best of Hotspur Annual
First published in 1933, The Hotspur was one of the hugely-successful “Big Five” boys comics launched in the 1930s and after a relaunch, initially as New Hotspur in 1959 the weekly title was published until 1981.
This Best of Hotspur Annual includes a variety of stories, including “Grasshopper Green”, “X-Bow”, “King Cobra” (a superhero-style character drawn by Ron Smith, recently revived in the digital Dandy as part of its RetroActive strip, and in STRIP Magazine) and “The Gun Doctor”.
The Best of The Topper Annual
The Topper was first published in February 1953 until September 1990, when it merged with The Beezer. The title absorbed two titles, Buzz and Sparky, during its run.
It’s best known characters are probably Beryl the Peril – a mischievous girl similar to The Beano‘s Minnie the Minx – and initial cover star Mickey the Monkey, but the comic featured and revived other famous DC Thomson humour characters, such as Sparky‘s Hungry Horace and the Bash Street Pups in “Pup Parade”, which has recently been seen again in The Beano.
The Dandy Annual 2015
It’s not part of the “Best of” range, despite being the demise of the comic, but with 112 pages of comics, puzzles, games and activities, The Dandy Annual 2015 is cracking value at £5.99 from DC Thomson’s online store – and is of course also on sale in shops and online book stores.
This year’s annual features Desperate Dan, Korky the Cat, Winker Watson and Brassneck and much more
The Beano Annual 2015
Join Dennis and Gnasher, Minnie the Minx, The Bash Street Kids, The Numskulls and Roger the Dodger for 112 pages of mischief, mayhem and menacing!
The Beano Annual 2015 features all your favourite characters from Britain’s best selling comic, The Beano.
Packed with comic strips, puzzles, games and gags, The Beano Annual 2015 is essential reading for the whole family!
All images © 2014 DC Thomson