The first Famous Five strip in Look-In, drawn by Mike Noble.

The Famous Five At 75: New Merchandise in the Works

The Famous Five debuted in Look-In in August 1978, in a strip based on the TV series
The Famous Five debuted in Look-In in August 1978, in a strip based on the TV series

Bulldog Licensing, which represents the estate of children’s author Enid Blyton, has announced a range of nostalgia products will launch next year to celebrate 75 years of her much-loved The Famous Five.

An illustration for the first Famous Five novel, Five On A Treasure Island illustration by Eileen Soper.
An illustration for the first Famous Five novel, Five On A Treasure Island illustration by Eileen Soper.

The Famous Five are among Enid Blyton’s best-loved creations and countless children have gone adventuring with them since the publication of Five on a Treasure Island in 1942, the first of twenty-one full-length adventures and numerous short stories. The original books were illustrated by Eileen Soper but there have been numerous interpretations and adaptations of the characters down the years, including continuation novels written by French author Claude Voilier (some adapted into comics), cinema films, stage plays, two television series (one featured as a comic strip in the British weekly comic Look-In, drawn by Mike Noble) and, more recently, a Disney cartoon series.

The first Famous Five strip in Look-In, drawn by Mike Noble.
The first Famous Five strip in Look-In, drawn by Mike Noble.

As the author behind book series such as The Famous Five, The Faraway Tree and The Secret Seven, Blyton’s books sell in huge numbers and she regularly features in the top ten list of the best-selling authors in the UK.

Bulldog says their Enid Blyton licensing programme will launch next year and initially concentrate on The Famous Five, which celebrates its 75th anniversary in 2017.

The first wave of products will use a style guide featuring the original illustrations by Eileen Soper. Bulldog will then look to expand across The Secret Seven and other titles in the estate.

Le trésor du galion d'or, one of the French Famous Five stories
Le trésor du galion d’or, one of the French Famous Five stories

“Enid Blyton occupies a very special place in British culture and her work is familiar to millions, across all age groups,” says Bulldog MD Rob Corney.

“This gives us a very strong platform and we’re looking to develop ranges that appeal to adults who grew up with the books, as well as children discovering them for the first time.”

This cover of Egmont's Enid Blyton: Mystery and Suspense (Issue Three) is by Charlie Adlard
This cover of Egmont’s Enid Blyton: Mystery and Suspense (Issue Three) is by Charlie Adlard

“Working with Bulldog, we intend to extend the charm, friendliness and magic of Enid Blyton beyond her classic books to other licenses,” said Katie Price, licensing director at The Hachette Children’s Group, who acquired the worldwide rights to the Enid Blyton estate, excluding Noddy, in 2012.

“Next year’s 75th anniversary of The Famous Five provides the perfect moment for Bulldog to launch an initial range of nostalgia products for the adult gift market using Eileen Soper’s iconic artwork, which naturally lends itself to categories including vintage gifts, stationery, greeting cards, calendars and home wear.”

Blyton’s The Naughtiest Girl is published by Hodder Children’s Books, The Adventure Series by Macmillan), and Enchanted Wood, Faraway Tree, Twins at St Clare’s and Malory Towers are published by Egmont.

As well as The Famous Five adventures in Look-In, six comic albums based on the characters, drawn by Bernard Dufossé and scripted by Serge Rosenzweig and Rafael Carlo Marcello were released in France between 1982 and 1986, under the title Le Club des Cinq, most based on Famous Five books created by Claude Voilier and released by Hachette Livre. The first three of these volumes were released in English in the 1980s by Knight Books.

In 1985, Egmont (the title credited on line as published by Gutenberghus) launched Enid Blyton’s Adventure Magazine, each issue featuring a full length illustrative comic book story adapted from Famous Five novels by Gail Renard and Les Lilley, plus feature material such as puzzles.and featured the work of several great British talents.

Art from "Five on Kirrin Island" by Barrie Mitchell for the pilot issue of Enid Blyton Adventures Magazine
Art from “Five on Kirrin Island” by Barrie Mitchell for the pilot issue of Enid Blyton Adventures Magazine

Enid Blyton Mystery and Suspense Magazine, initially edited by Tim Quinn, was published by Egmont in the UK in 1997 and ran for ten issues.

Art for Egmont's Enid Blyton Mystery and Suspense Magazine
Art for Egmont’s Enid Blyton Mystery and Suspense Magazine
Comic strip for Enid Blyton Mystery and Suspense Magazine
Comic strip for Enid Blyton Mystery and Suspense Magazine

In 1993, Comics writer and former Marvel UK editor Tim Quinn formed Quill Publications with the late Gillian Baverstock, elder daughter of Enid Blyton, to promote literacy to children.

Bulldog Licensing also represents creations such as Angry Birds, Plants Versus Zombies, the PG Tips “Monkey” and Wolfblood.

• Bulldog Licensing: www.bulldog-licensing.com

More About Enid Blyton

• Official Site: www.enidblyton.co.uk

The Enid Blyton Society

EnidBlyton.Net

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John Freeman

The founder of downthetubes, John works as a comics editor, writer, as Creative Consultant on the Dan Dare audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing for over 30 years, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. He’s the writer of “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood for digital comic 100% Biodegradable.

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