In Review: Boys’ World: Ticket to Adventure by Steve Holland

Boys' World: Ticket to AdventurePublished by Bear Alley Books at £19.99
Paperback 208 black and white pages

The Book: A detailed history of Boys’ World, a memorable high quality weekly which ran from January 1963 until October 1964, before being merged with Eagle, the paper it was originally intended to replace. Steve Holland’s softback book also contains synopses of every strip serial that appeared in the weekly and indexes of all the creators, stories, features, supplements and the contents of the annuals.

It is fully illustrated in black and white, with examples of strips, text stories, covers or features on almost every page. These include several complete short stories and articles.  

The Review: Despite running for only 89 issues, Boys’ World’s had an impressive list of contributors and an interesting history. Its contributors included the artists Colin Andrew, Harry Bishop, Frank Bellamy, Luis Bermejo, John M. Burns, Ron and Gerry Embleton, Gerald Haylock, Frank Humphris, Frank Langford and Brian Lewis and its writers included the now famous science fiction novelists Harry Harrison and Michael Moorcock as well as Edward Cowan, David Motton, Willie Patterson and Tom Tully.

Boys’ World was produced alongside Eagle by Odhams Press as a companion paper and for most of its life had the same editor, Bob Bartholomew. Like Eagle, it carried a range of regular informative features as well as adventure and humorous strips, although thanks to its creator, Jim Kenner, it had a style that was all its own. With the scary What is Exhibit X? strip, inspired by the Quatermass television serials and Wrath of the Gods, which drew heavily on Greek mythology, it was darker and edgier than Eagle.

Steve Holland’s well researched book tells its story with insights from several of its surviving staff, including sub editor Brian Woodford, annual editor Keith Chapman and Michael Moorcock. There are also extensive quotes from Bob Bartholomew.

As a companion paper to Eagle, Boys’ World had the same page count as Eagle and also included six colour pages with some memorable colour strips and features, so it is unfortunate that the book is entirely in black and white except for the cover, especially as an instalment of the Ticket to Adventure feature has been reproduced so impressively on the back. Nevertheless the book captures the essence of Boys’ World extremely well and is a fitting tribute to a worthy paper.

• Boys’ World: Ticket to Adventure by Steve Holland costs £19.99 with postage at £4 and is available from Steve Holland via his Bear Alley blog

Boys' World Sample Spread 1

Boys' World Sample Spread 2

Boys' World Sample Spread 3

Boys' World Sample Spread 4

Boys' World Sample Spread 5

Born in Preston, Steve Winders has been a lifelong fan of Dan Dare and Eagle and of Doctor Who since its first episode. He has written many articles about the 1960s Eagle, the various incarnations of Dan Dare and the fictional exploits of the Harris Tweed Appreciation Society for Eagle Times and its predecessors and regularly reviews new works about British comics for Down The Tubes and Steve Holland’s Bear Alley blog. He has also written articles about another interest, Robin Hood, for the online Adventures of Robin Hood Appreciation Society Magazine. Other interests include the American West, which was inspired by the famous Eagle strip, Riders of the Range, Astronomy and soccer. He is a supporter of Preston North End. He has taught for over 40 years, in Lancashire, Mid Glamorgan and Plymouth. He is married and has three children.

Categories: British Comics - Books, Classic British Comics, Featured News, Reviews

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