Manly Boys and Comely Girls: British Annuals of Yesteryear Parodied

Manly Boys and Comely Girls - Covers


Avery Hill Publishing have announced the publication of Manly Boys and Comely Girls, two delightful ‘zines from Gareth Brookes and Steve Tillotson, just in time for Thought Bubble.

Manly Boys was first released by the creators back in 2009 as a pastiche from boys comics from the dim and distant past, when all English boys had to care about was playing cricket with his chums and getting one up on Johnny Foreigner whenever possible. It features advice on matters such as ‘Self-Touching is Bad‘ and ‘How to Tattoo Yourself‘, as well as everything else a young boy needs to know. (Although please don’t show it to any actual young boys because the authors have used bad words, and have been given a stiff telling off about it by the Head).


Manly Boys Annual: A Vision of the Future

Brookes and Tillotson have long threatened to complete its companion piece, Comely Girls, which Avery Hill are now able to present to you in its unfettered glory. It’s essentially like Manly Boys, but for girls. Finally we can find out about ‘Great Women of History and their Recipes’, ‘England’s Most Eligible Bachelors’ and ‘What About Spinsterhood?’

Truly your nations youth are saved!


Comely Girls Annual: A Respectable Lady's Guide to France


Steve and Gareth are long time friends and collaborators who have been working on comics both together and apart for years, to much acclaim and hilarity. Their work on books under the Banal Pig name express absurdity through everyday situations that are turned on their head, and it’s fair to say these latest books from the pair are no exception – and are definitely not safe in the hands of children (or some adults for that matter…)

The previously released Manly Boys now has a female counterpart in Comely Girls and both take the comics and topes of children’s annuals of years gone by and give them an insane twist. Stories in the originals that were originally full of plucky heroes and useful advice are taken for a bus journey into a crazy world. Instead of those ancient tomes useful features such as ‘How to Put Up a Tent’ or ‘Another Great Magic Trick’ We now get articles such as ‘What the Devil do Women Want?’ or ‘Marriage – The Path to Happiness.’ Pretty useful stuff, I am sure you’ll agree.

We also get some great new comics included, like ‘St Williams Plays Up.’ (A hockey game at a posh girls school that’s full of ‘modern’ girl vernacular) and ‘The Inter-County Firm Go Fishing’ that’s a mix between a fishing story and The Football Factory. Ripping stuff!

Manly Boys and Comely Girls by Gareth Brookes and Steve Tillotson will be launching at Thought Bubble on 15th November 2014 where they will be available to buy separately or in a very special ‘Double Pack’, which also comes with two badges. For more information visit the Avery Hill website: or shop at You can also follow them on Twitter @averyhillpubl

• You can find Steve Tillotson online at or on Twitter @banalpig

• Gareth Brookes can be found at or on Twitter @brookes_gareth

Antony Esmond is a comic reviewer and writer - his hips don't lie.

Categories: British Comics, British Comics - Current British Publishers, Comic Previews, downthetubes Comics News

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