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1/22/2020 11:02 am  #1


Reference tomes that cover British comics

In no particular order:
The Encyclopedia of Comic Characters by Dennis Gifford
http://images.45worlds.com/f/bk/dennis-gifford-editor-encyclopedia-of-comic-characters-bk.jpg

Denis Gifford was a historian of comics, especially British ones, and published a number of titles about them (and similar subjects). He had been a writer of British comics back in the late 1940s and early 1950s, and was reputed to have the largest collection of comics in the U.K. prior to his death in 2000. 

The Encyclopedia of Comic Book Characters showcased above was the first reference book I bought when I decided it was time to begin seriously researching British comics (beyond what I'd picked up as a kid buying them). As the title and front cover blurb note, it contains entries on a ridiculous number of British characters. Given the sheer number of entries, it's closer in format to the DK Encyclopedia than Handbook profiles, but for anyone interested in getting a broad overview of a lot of British characters, it's great start. I've temporarily mislaid my copy, so I can't list all the entries, but will endeavour to do so once it turns up. In the meantime, here's an example entry that I found online. 
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-23ximNO2W2s/T9WbqhJKLqI/AAAAAAAADag/imQNapKdVBI/s1600/hpt+rod.jpg

Last edited by Loki (1/22/2020 11:02 am)

 

1/22/2020 11:16 am  #2


Re: Reference tomes that cover British comics

Super Duper Supermen!
https://comicvine1.cbsistatic.com/uploads/original/8/85763/7218461-superduper.jpg
Another reference by Denis Gifford, this focuses on superheroes and similar characters from the 1940s and 1950s, and is a much slimmer book than the above (96 pages vs. 256 pages), but it covers each character with more depth, using two pages apiece. One provides information about the character while the second includes either a cover or a page of their comic.
https://pictures.abebooks.com/WHITING1/4848318991_3.jpg
List of entries (character and publisher) provided by Andy Nystrom:
Robert Lovett (Gerald G. Swan)
Krakos (Gerald G. Swan)
Halcon (A. Soloway; Collins)
Powerman (Cartoon Art)
Crash Britanus (W. Daly)
Streamline (Cardal)
Tola the Strong (Ensign)
Speed Gale and Garry (Cartoon Art)
Electro-Girl (Cartoon Art)
Superboyo (R. Turvey)
Ju-Jitsu Jimmy (Buchanan)
Maxwell the Mighty (Hotspur)
Marsman (Cartoon Art)
Zom of the Zodiac (Scion)
Litening (Scion)
Quicksilver (Children's)
Ace Hart (Foldes)
Maskman (Scion)
Captain Crash (Rayburn)
Wonderman (Paget)
The Tornado (Paget)
Atom (P.M.)
Ray Spede (Philmar)
Gail Garrity (Paget)
Captain Might (Modern Fiction)
Captain Magnet (Cartoon Art)
Captain Zenith (Martin & Reid)
Electroman (Scion; George Turton)
Mr Apollo (Gerald G. Swan)
Masterman (United Anglo-American Book; Streamline)
Captain Vigour (Sports Cartoons)
Steve Samson (Sports Cartoons)
Superstooge (Gerald G. Swan)
Captain Universe (Arnold Book)
Marvelman (L. Miller & Son)
Young Marvelman (L. Miller & Son)
Marvelman Family (L. Miller & Son)
Captain Miracle (Mick Anglo)
The Purple Hood (John Spencer)
Mark Tyme (John Spencer)

Last edited by Loki (1/22/2020 2:43 pm)

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1/22/2020 11:26 am  #3


Re: Reference tomes that cover British comics

Victorian Comics
https://comicvine1.cbsistatic.com/uploads/original/8/85763/7218481-victorian.jpg
Another Gifford book, this one covering the British comics of the 19th century.
https://comicvine1.cbsistatic.com/uploads/original/8/85763/7218479-9177276842-s-l16.jpg

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1/22/2020 11:32 am  #4


Re: Reference tomes that cover British comics

Space Aces!
https://themagicrobot.files.wordpress.com/2011/01/space-aces1.jpg?w=480

Similar in style to Super Duper Supermen!, Space Aces! covers science fiction/spacefaring heroes from the 1940s and 50s.
https://themagicrobot.files.wordpress.com/2011/01/space-ace-info.jpg?w=480

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1/22/2020 1:30 pm  #5


Re: Reference tomes that cover British comics

The British Superhero by Chris Murray
https://comicvine1.cbsistatic.com/uploads/original/8/85763/7218580-5007457235-81nla.jpg
A detailed academic (but not dry read) look at the history of superheroes in British comics. Somewhat expensive since it effectively published as a University textbook, but very much worth the price.

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1/22/2020 2:06 pm  #6


Re: Reference tomes that cover British comics

Football's Comic Book Heroes by Adam Riches
https://comicvine1.cbsistatic.com/uploads/original/8/85763/7218587-7589329298-71RBB.jpg

To Americans, having an entire reference book covering just football (soccer)-related characters and comics might seem a bizarre concept. Let's face it, if you did a reference book covering all the American comics and characters who are based around American Football, it'd barely be big enough to fill a few dozen pages. A handful of largely forgotten Golden Age characters, NFL Superpro, and yeah, that's pretty much it. However, British comics were a different story. The most common format for British comics was the weekly anthology title carrying half a dozen strips each issue, a mixture of action stories and humour strips. The need for a range of stories to appeal to the widest possible audience meant every kind of story got some coverage, including sport-related strips, and football being the most popular sport meant it was the most common sporting strip. And then when UK comics began experimenting with comics all based around one theme (war stories, SF stories, horror, etc.), inevitably one of those themes was football, so we got entire comics based around it. Not only that, those football themed comics had to somehow make each strip seem distinct, which led to some truly outré footballing strips:
Want a strip about just the ups and downs of a gifted (but otherwise normal) footballer? Sure, try Roy of the Rovers and umpteen others.
Want a strip about a footballer with superhuman strength so great that his kicks launch the ball like a cannon shot? Hot-Shot Hamish.
Want a strip about a feral boy who returns to civilization able to move at almost superhuman speeds...so of course he becomes a footballer? Speed's Fastest Footballer on Earth.
Want a strip about a feral boy raised by kangaroos in the Australian outback who then returns to the UK with superhumanly strong legs? Kangaroo Kid
Want a strip about a schoolboy who is rubbish at football until he wears the seemingly possessed boots of a former footballing legend? Billy's Boots.
A strip about convicts forming a football team as part of an elaborate escape plot? Lags Eleven
A strip about a cop going undercover in a football team in order to discover which player is secretly a criminal mastermind? Mark Your Man
A ghost that covertly helps his former team win matches? You'll have to be more specific - do you want Buster's Ghost or The Footballer Who Wouldn't Stay Dead?
A ghost that becomes solid again in order to pretend to be a living player and help his former team win matches? Phantom of the Forest.
A footballer who is secretly a superhuman cyborg? Simon's Secret
A footballer who is secretly a superhuman robot? Project 97
and so on. 

So there's more than enough material to fill a decent sized (256 pages) reference book, and enough variety to make it interesting, even if you (like myself) are not a big fan of the sport.

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1/22/2020 2:40 pm  #7


Re: Reference tomes that cover British comics

I have Super Duper Supermen. I just doublecked the main Non-Marvel thread to see if I listed the characters. I did but back in 2010. That makes me feel old.


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1/22/2020 2:44 pm  #8


Re: Reference tomes that cover British comics

Andy E. Nystrom wrote:

I have Super Duper Supermen. I just doublecked the main Non-Marvel thread to see if I listed the characters. I did but back in 2010. That makes me feel old.

Thanks for the heads up. I've added it to the post.

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1/25/2020 11:22 am  #9


Re: Reference tomes that cover British comics

Loki wrote:

In no particular order:
The Encyclopedia of Comic Characters by Dennis Gifford
http://images.45worlds.com/f/bk/dennis-gifford-editor-encyclopedia-of-comic-characters-bk.jpg

Denis Gifford was a historian of comics, especially British ones, and published a number of titles about them (and similar subjects). He had been a writer of British comics back in the late 1940s and early 1950s, and was reputed to have the largest collection of comics in the U.K. prior to his death in 2000. 

The Encyclopedia of Comic Book Characters showcased above was the first reference book I bought when I decided it was time to begin seriously researching British comics (beyond what I'd picked up as a kid buying them). As the title and front cover blurb note, it contains entries on a ridiculous number of British characters. Given the sheer number of entries, it's closer in format to the DK Encyclopedia than Handbook profiles, but for anyone interested in getting a broad overview of a lot of British characters, it's great start. I've temporarily mislaid my copy, so I can't list all the entries, but will endeavour to do so once it turns up. In the meantime, here's an example entry that I found online. 

I could have sworn I already listed the contents of this, but I'm not seeing it now. Perhaps it got lost in one of the moves. I did post the listings for Gifford's The Great Cartoon Stars.

 

2/11/2020 9:08 am  #10


Re: Reference tomes that cover British comics

When the Comics Went to War - just as Football's Comic Book Heroes covers British football (soccer) strips and comics, When the Comics Went to War covers war strips and comics.
https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51%2Bfr5oZb4L.jpg

As with the football strips, the weekly anthology nature of so many British titles has resulted in a ridiculous variety of war-related strips; the two World Wars dominate the numbers, but other conflicts do get covered, with stories ranging from "normal" soldiers in all of the services to spies and resistance fighters and more.

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2/23/2020 12:01 pm  #11


Re: Reference tomes that cover British comics

Aside from the first two books, do the other books have individual character profiles or are they formatted more as history books?

 

2/23/2020 3:54 pm  #12


Re: Reference tomes that cover British comics

zuckyd1 wrote:

Aside from the first two books, do the other books have individual character profiles or are they formatted more as history books?

Victorian Comics - don't know, as don't have a copy (need to get one), but I suspect history format..
Space Aces is the same format as Super Duper Supermen, so kind of profile oriented.
British Superhero - more history format. Still a good read though.
Football's Comic Heroes and When the Comics Went to War - both closer to the history format (you can see a bunch of interior images if you check them out via Amazon.co.uk)

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10/01/2020 10:26 am  #13


Re: Reference tomes that cover British comics

There is also A-Z of Judge Dredd
https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1179650493i/941952._UY475_SS475_.jpg

Last edited by Sidney Osinga (10/01/2020 10:28 am)

 

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