Boys' World still enjoys an astonishingly high reputation on today's comics websites and blogs. It had a comparatively short run in the early 1960s but its quality was never in question, and the comic's hardcover annual edition ran on for years after the weekly had expired. Here is a quote from one of the readers recalling their happy memories of Boys' World at the website 26pigs.com. Nick George writes: "While the comic may have expired in 1964, there was certainly a Boys' World Annual being produced after the incorporation into Eagle. I got the 1968 copy as a Christmas present and its rather tattered condition is testament to how much I enjoyed it. Printed for Odhams in Holland by Jan de Lange it contains a range of technical articles, stories and comic strips, including some that though uncredited look suspiciously like the work of Don (Trigan Empire) Lawrence. Presumably lifted from the Boys' World archives, unfortunately I have no idea how many others were produced." The Archive is pleased to clarify a few points. The annual did continue until at least 1972. The great Don Lawrence did contribute to the 1968 edition, and here is his artwork for a complete strip story that appeared there, The Chequered Flag. None of the publication's writers and artists were identified. For some reason, bylines were rare in the comics of the period. But the annual in question was put together in 1967 by Archive friend Keith Chapman, then a young editor at Odhams Books, later better known to us as western novelist Chap O'Keefe. Keith also wrote the scripts for five of the nine adventure strips featured in the annual, including The Chequered Flag, plus some of the articles. None of the material came from the Boys' World archives. Keith says, "Everything in that annual was new." The comic strip pages below are scanned from sharp, proof copies of Lawrence's art as originally supplied to the publisher by the annual's Dutch printer. However, although a pristine copy of the book in which the pages appeared was available, we thought a picture of it in a much-worn, much-enjoyed condition would be appropriate.
Oh, the nostalgia! Don Lawrence died just after Christmas in 2003, aged 75. The Telegraph newspaper said his science fiction comic-strip series The Rise and Fall of the Trigan Empire was considered one of the finest examples of the genre. "It was first produced by Lawrence and the writer Mike Butterworth for Fleetway Publications' Ranger comic in 1965; then, when Ranger folded after only 40 issues, it appeared in Look and Learn, the educational weekly-cum-comic. Illustrated in full colour by Lawrence over two pages, it is a tale of swords and spears against strange beasts and hover tanks." The Trigan Empire series and other Lawrence strips have been reprinted in comic, magazine and book form for an international audience. The artist's work is highly regarded throughout Europe, but particularly in the Netherlands. In later years, when Lawrence lived in the Old Post Office at Jevington, West Sussex, European fans would drop in on him while holidaying in Britain.
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