Joining a growing number of dedicated Facebook groups and Pages dedicated to classic British comics, creators and children’s books is a new resource from collector Adam Teitge, dedicated to documenting DC Thomson and John Leng annuals printed between 1921 and 1965.
Based on the phenomenal research by Derek Adley and Bill Lofts in 1975, who produced the Identification Guide to DC Thomson and John Leng Children’s Annuals 1921 to 1965, Adam’s hoping to create a visual database of the books printed by, he argues, “the UK’s two best publishing houses for books and annuals.”
DC Thomson – now DC Thomson Media – should need no introduction to downthetubes readers as the publisher of BEANO, Commando and more, an established family enterprise that has origins in the entrepreneurship of William Thomson in the early 19th century in Dundee, when the firm’s main business was in shipping. They were rivalled by just one other major publishing houses in the city, run by Sir John Leng, a Liberal MP and a pioneer in journalism, the company that first published People’s Friend, still running today, in 1869. In June 1870, Leng was one of the first Scottish newspaper proprietors to establish an office in Fleet Street, London, with direct telegraphic communication with Dundee.
The Sir John Leng Trust, or “The Leng Medal” as it is known by many Dundonians, is embedded in the musical history of the City.
Every year, each school in Dundee, and the immediate surrounding areas, hold a Silver Medal competition for the solo singing of Scots songs by their pupils. The winners of the Silver Medal competition can compete in the Gold Medal competition which is held annually in late spring.
In 1905, the Thomson and Leng firms merged under the leadership of William Thomson’s son, David Couper (D.C.) Thomson.
Explaining the creation of this new resource, Adam says “This has been a mixture of a labour of love and sheer frustration at finding images.
“Any support you may be able to give in helping to complete the database would be most welcome.
Images of annuals and books have been split into albums, including a special “One Off Publication”.
Adam, who also runs Stafford Books and Comics, where he sells spare books from his collection to find purchases of titles he’s collecting, also recently set up the dedicated Page “Dust Jacket Detectives”, as we noted here.
The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. He is currently editor of Star Trek Explorer, published by Titan – his third tour of duty on the title originally titled Star Trek Magazine.
Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Babylon 5 Magazine, and more. 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 “Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies” for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.