Saturday, 25 December 2010

Lest we forget those lost at Christmas.

Gerry Anderson's Thunderbirds Annual 1971
Christmas is a time for giving but also a time for remembering those we've lost. I am of course referring to annuals; those hard-backed slices of entertainment that could illuminate any Christmas morning and make even a plateful of turkey seem palatable. While I still have a fair few of the annuals I received in days gone past, there are a select few that're no longer with me, and I thought I'd dedicate a quick post to those.

As you can see from the pic on the left, I had the 1971 Thunderbirds Annual. In truth, even though I loved it at the time, I can't remember anything about its contents except that Captain Scarlet was in it. Why Captain Scarlet was in a Thunderbirds annual, I have no idea. I assume he was there by the same logic that saw the Silver Surfer turn up in TV21.

But the nub of this post isn't annuals that I remember. This post is about annuals I don't remember. For the most part, I recall  my lost annuals pretty well but there're two whose identities are as big a mystery to me as those of Billy the Cat and Katie were to their enemies.

The first mystery concerns a legendary figure of British athletics. I had an annual once in which there was a story about a mystery runner called WH Oami who, to everyone's astonishment, performed an unfeasible feat of distance running. At the tale's conclusion we discover that in fact it was all done by cheating, and the clue was in his name. As I'm sure you've spotted; WH Oami is another way of writing, "Who am I?" How could anyone doubt that all was not as it seemed?

The other annual lost from both my collection and my memory is one whose front cover featured a penguin on a sledge. When I got it one Christmas I was somewhat baffled to receive it as it was the annual of a comic I'd never even heard of let alone read, and seemed to be aimed at a much younger age group than myself. The cover was predominantly blue.

If anyone has a clue what either of these annuals were I'd be delighted to hear from you (I'm sure I can't be the only one in the world who remembers WH Oami). And remember, when it comes to such life-or-death information, those Steve Does Comics No-Prizes might be priceless but they're always available.

Thank you very much and Merry Christmas to you all.


Caescarna said...

Sounds like it could be a Bimbo annual cover as Penguins seemed to be a regular feature on these. As per:

Steve said...

Thanks, Caescarna. I think you might be right. The title certainly rings a bell. I shall have to investigate this further.

Steve said...

How strange. I've just checked it out and the Bimbo Annual that most closely resembles what I remember is the 1966 one but there's no way I got the book before the early 1970s, so, if it is that one, as it seems to be, the mystery of how I came to get given it deepens still further.

Anonymous said...

My impression was that the comics adaptations had all of the Gerry Anderson shows existing in the same universe, so Captain Scarlet could appear in a Thunderbirds annual, just as Captain America and Iron Man could have strips in Tales of Suspense, or Batman and Elongated Man could both be in Detective Comics. It also seemed that (in the comics version), Spectrum, W.A.S.P., and the World Space Patrol were inter-connected (just as the British Army, Royal Navy, and RAF are separate branches of the military, but they all are presumably under the Ministry of Defence). AFAIR, though, the TV shows themselves never crossed over with each other.

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