A Lost Youth
There was a time when you could walk into your local newsagents or paper shop and the shelves would be teeming with comics. Sadly those days are gone. Even the world’s longest running comic, The Dandy, which was once a permanent feature has disappeared from the shelves.
My introduction to comics came via the fist issue of Roy of the Rovers in 1976, with memorable stories such as Tommy’s Troubles, Hard Man with Johnny Dexter, Millionaire Villa and You are The Star. Not forgetting of course the star of the comic himself Roy Race of the mighty Melchester Rovers. My favourite story was Tommy’s Troubles which was the story of a young Tommy Barnes who was desperate to play football but attended a school which was rugby only. Every week I would expectantly wait for my dad to arrive with my fresh new issue of Roy of the Rovers comic to find out what had happened after last week’s gripping cliff hanger only to be left in suspense again some two pages later.
I later started reading Tiger comic, having been introduced to it from it’s stablemate Roy of the Rovers. Tiger differed from Roy of the Rovers which was football only as Tiger was a sport’s themed comic. My era was the 1970s and the early 1980s but as you can see from the history page, there have been literally hundreds of titles catering to numerous themes for boys and girls alike.
Although most of the comic titles are no longer printed, the comics are still avidly sought after by collectors and enthusiasts alike. Search British comics in eBay and you will find that there are literally thousands of British comics exchanging hands for, in some cases, considerable sums of money. In fact the continued interest in British comics has led to a number of books being published including British Comics: A Cultural History, The Ultimate Book of British Comics and Great British Comics to name but a few.
The Smell Of The Print…The Feel Of The Paper
My name is Darren Davies and I am…hmm cough splutter…over 40 years of age. My original love of British comics, and I purposefully make that distinction, came with my visit to the local newsagents and picking up that crisp newly printed first edition of Roy of the Rovers. There was something magical about those days, the comics had a visceral quality to them, the smell of the print, the feel of the paper, the magic of the stories took you to a different world, where you could experience an exciting roller coaster of emotions.
Great Goals! – Steve Spurs City!
An unmarked Steve Hunt equalises for Coventry City v Tottenham. It spurred City who eventually won the game 2-1.
After a while my dad would bring me a copy of ‘Roy of the Rovers’ and ‘Tiger and Scorcher’ with some sweets every Saturday morning. My brothers would be hovering around me looking to read them as well. Bemused that I wouldn’t allow them to read one whilst reading the other because I wanted to be the first to read them fresh and new. Such was my fascination with comics, I readily entered any competitions and tried to earn some extra pocket money. See ‘Great Goals’ where I submitted a Steve Hunt goal to Roy of the Rovers and won £3.00. However it wasn’t just the fact that I received £3.00, more importantly, I got to see my name in Roy of the Rovers knowing that all the readers would see that Darren Davies who lives in Birmingham had requested the goal. Fame!!!!!
I Bought The Case First! – Tiger Joke
Darren Davies From Birmingham
My comic fame, I say with a wry smile, was not just confined to Roy of the Rovers. I also sent in numerous jokes to Tiger, and if you see the joke that I had published, you will have some idea of my sense of humour or lack of it depending on your viewpoint.
I once even wrote to the publishers of Tiger comic and complained about the previous year’s annuals which were bound with glue that later meant the pages would fall out.
They replied with the following
Thank you for your letter. I am sorry that your TIGER annual pages fell out. I have instructed our printer to make sure that this does not happen with this year’s annual. Please accept my sincere apologies.
I hope you continue to enjoy everything we publish.
yours Sincerely, The Editor.