My word, doesn’t time fly when you are having fun. I have just looked through my archives and seen that it has almost been a year since I did my last reference post. You can find links to Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 here and I hope that you find some recommendations that you will enjoy.
Prior to the internet becoming the boon that it is now to amateur researchers such as myself, comic fans had to rely on word of mouth to find books that referenced our hobby and treated it with a bit of gravitas.
I have mentioned a few books so far, but it is always worth adding to the list books that I think it is worth any comic fan picking up. One book that I think worth adding is a bit of an oddity. And that is the D C Thomson Bumper Fun Book edited by Mary Cadogan. This does not portray D C Thomson’s in the best light but in the absence of any formal history, it is currently the closest thing we have to a history of the company.
And yes, it was in such a very strange format. The only publication that I have seen in the same format is the Giant War Picture Library published by Fleetway in the 1960s. At the time of this article, I would not recommend trying to pick one up as the few copies being offered for sale are being offered at prices over £230.00!
The next book that I am going to recommend comes from two pioneering historians of comics and they are W O G Lofts and D J Adley. This is their magnum opus The Men Behind Boys’ Fiction which is an encyclopedia of all the data that this pair of comic fans had discovered from the 1890s up to 1969 about the Boys’ Fiction Papers. This is definitely a dip into book that you will go to for specific information. While it will not be the definitive listing of every single writer during that period, it is certainly a very robust attempt to collate as much information as possible.
Alas, my copy of this book does not have the dust jacket, but as it is full of fascinating facts, I can live with that.
To complete this article, I am going to get a little bit more modern but still stay in the 20th Century, I am going to recommend any of the Duncan McAlpine Comic Book Price Guides. These were created mainly for comic shop owners so they would have a rough idea of what comics were worth and were shamelessly US-centric, but there is still a wealth of information in the UK sections. I only have the 1996 version, but I can heartily recommend any one of the series as being worth picking up.
There is a wealth of material on some British comics that I have yet to find in there and the prices that was considered as a good price for some British comics at that time will make you weep!