Monday, 2 November 2015
Lion Annual 1971
The new crop of "Annuals" are hitting the shops ready for Christmas, but they are just not up to the standards I expected as a child/teenager. Over sized and in colour but thin on content with very restricted comics material. Shame really.
Back in the day we were treated to quite weighty tomes. Not perfect but plenty to read and entertain in the winter months when going out was far to cold in the country. The Lion Annual 1971 is one that appears familiar and yet I have no memory of buying it which may seem odd but we are talking about 45 years ago after all.
The Lion was one of the better boy's comics which had been launched in the fifties but was sadly to end in the mid-seventies when it merged with Valiant, IPC/Fleetway's flagship title.
Starting off with Gargan, the tale of a boy and the last Yeti searching for a stolen magic mirror to stave off death and disaster, was one of the charming adventures that only ever seemed to appear in British comics. Monster goes to the rescue, is misunderstood and hunted until the truth is cleared.
Followed by Zip Nolan, the US motorcycle cop where the reader was invited solve the mystery with a panel giving the main clue ,along with Robot Archie saving the day in ancient Rome, hi-jinks with Mowser, Lion's aristocratic pet and a number of one off stories including Last of the U-Boats there is plenty of fun to be had.
Sadly Dan Dare (Eagle had merged with Lion in the sixties) only appeared in a text strip. I never understood why comics insisted on publishing these. We read comics for... comic strips. Books were for text stories. There were a few too many in this edition for my liking.
However the one-off and complete The Menace of the Killer Plants was worth the price of entry alone. A Triffids rip-off to be sure but entertaining. I'm sure this was a reprint. Do any readers know it's origin?
The Annual ends with two familiar strips Turville's Touchstone and Oddball Oates. A worthwhile addition to anyone's collection.
The Lion Annual outlasted the comic itself which folded in 1974.
First and last Lion Annuals: