Thursday 9 December 2010

The Christmas Goose - Some Vintage Embleton

Well as it's the festive season, I thought I'd keep the theme running a little longer. This delightful piece comes from the 1959 Robin Hood Annual published by Adprint. Rather confusingly Amalgamated Press also published Robin Hood Annuals, so that U.K. newsagents would have both books on offer often on the same shelf. But Adprint did have two advantages over their competitors in that they had the rights to offer adaptations of the then popular TV series starring Richard Green and their second advantage was that they had the considerable talents of Ron Embleton to call upon.

As mentioned elsewhere on this blog Ron Embleton was an incredibly fast worker in addition to being a draftsman without peer in the field of UK comic strip artists, so while he was turning out stellar artwork for the Robin Hood annual, which he illustrated in it's entirety, he was also working away on similar books for Sir Lancelot, Hawkeye and the Last of the Mohicans, The First Book of Heroes and R.C.M.P. ... oh and yes! Two pages of Wulf the Briton for Express Weekly.

Bloody unbelievable!

So here is a heartwarming Christmas story set in Norman occupied England, when the good yeomen of Merrie England were bowing under the weight of exorbitant taxes - hmmmm not much change there now is there???


  1. This is a perfect example of the difference between this kind of beautiful work from the 50s and 60s and the dumbed down fare of today's equivalents.

    I find it incredible that here we are some 51 years on from the publication of the Robin Hood annual and yet we have nothing comparable on the shelves except spoon fed, flat, lifeless stuff for kids whose visual sense is far more sophisticated now, stimulated as it is with todays CGI games, animations and films, along with all the hightech toys at their disposal too.

    If only today's publishers could see what a mess they have made of things.

  2. I would definitely echo your observations regarding the parlous state of children's publishing Tim, but part of the problem with the target age group that would have been up for the Robin Hood annual in 1959 are nowadays going to have precisely those hi-tech toys and games vying for their parent's increasingly scarce resources.

    But like you I am still convinced that there is an audience out there for well conceived graphic novels, it's just that pretty well all aspirant creators are going to have to do it by their own efforts without any meaningful support from a publisher and I'm including creators who have their projects underwritten by publishers increasingly miserable advances and the corporate shackles that accompany their "largesse".