Friday, 6 March 2009
My mother used to do her shopping on a Saturday morning and we all (my older sister and younger sister)would sit around the coal fire waiting for her to come home with our comics. I would get the Hotspur and the Rover which had more reading than pictures with war stories and football sagas (Roy of the Rovers) that carried on each week, with characters like Alf Tupper the tough of the track written in comic strip. My older sister got the Bunty (the four Marys being one story I remember) or the Judy with my younger sister getting the beano or dandy. After we had read our own comics we used to swap them around and YES, I have to admit that I read both the girls comics although I would not have admitted it to my friends at the time for fear of being called a big Jessie. The beezer and the topper were the broadsheets of the comic world and when a new comic first came out there would be a gift in them to encourage you to buy them. Things like small plastic flutes or whoppers (a triangle shape piece of cardboard with paper glued at the edges inside so when you thrust it down the paper came shooting out making a loud bang) were two of the gifts that spring to mind but there were many more cheap and fragile tempters. Regardless of their worth it did the trick as we bought the comics and if we liked them would persuade our mothers to purchase them on her Saturday shopping expedition, which she often did as she too had been known to read them.
Other (American) comics like Archie and his gang, Casper the friendly ghost plus the super heroes like Superman, Batman and the Flame were all in my collection that was kept together and used for swapping with the other children in the neighbourhood who would come to the door periodically to swap when they needed a change of reading material. Sometimes if the comic you wanted was new and in good condition you would have to swap two old ones for the new one or if your swap mate wanted rid of some of the boring comics in his collection you could get a bargain of three for one, the problem being then was, you found it hard to exchange them too and found yourself having to do a similar deal when you wanted to get rid of them. The classics as they were titled (like Treasure Island and Kidnapped i.e.) were the hardest to get rid of and although educational it was the super heroes that caught our imaginations then, as the classics meant nothing to us except a quick read on a rainy day.
I wish I had my comic collection now as the older ones are sold for quite large amounts of money and its galling to think that most of them at one time or other had gone through my hands.
If only we knew then what we know now!