...Whizzer & Chips (my comic of choice - I was a Chip-ite, for those who remember that all important choice of Whizz-kid or Chip-ite...)...
I vaguely remember there being a distinction, and vaguely remember that this was because Whizzer & Chips
was formed from a merger of two separate comics (like Tiger and Speed
was, I think) whose old readers were keen to maintain their identities. But that could be totally wrong! We never got Whizzer & Chips
at home (we got The Dandy
) but there were a lot of issues in our classroom's drawer full of old comics that people had brought in, which we were sometimes allowed to read in wet break times. (That memory has just bought back the smell of our damp portacabin classroom.)
I think our first Tintin book was a hardback copy of The Secret of the Unicorn
my dad brought home for me and my siblings to share. I've got some memory of it not being a new copy, but can't remember where he said he'd bought it. I think it caught his eye because he remembered reading Tintin in The Eagle as a boy. I also remember seeing the Belvison serial of The Crab with the Golden Claws
on TV during a school summer holiday and then seeing the paperback in a shop in our nearest town, and being allowed to buy it, again jointly owning it with at least one of my siblings, I think. (The town didn't have a bookshop, so some newsagent or giftshop must have been stocking it because of the TV serial being on.) I can't quite recall which of these incidents came first, but both would be in the mid-1970s.
After that, me and my older brother and sister would buy Tintin books on trips to Bristol, the nearest place with a proper bookshop. I think we'd be taken there when we'd been given book tokens for brithday or Christmas presesnts. Not all the books had been translated then, and maybe they didn't always have all the titles in stock anyway, so there was always the anticipation that when we got to the bookshop there'd be some we hadn't seen before. It seemed to take ages for America
and Blue Lotus
to come out in English (and Congo
never did during my childhood), and by then we'd worked out from the endpaper character portraits in our hardbacks that there must be books we were missing set in America, China/Japan and Africa. Also, I found the bookshop sometimes had the original French versions of America
and Blue Lotus
in a French language Tintin section of the shop, which really
whetted my appetite for the English translations to come out! (Neither my knowledge of French nor my finances were sufficient for me to consider buying the French versions!)
All this anticipation gave me a reccuring dream, which I've had since then and throughout my adult life, of going into a bookshop and finding new Tintin books I didn't know existed (and which don't exist in real life, of course). I always wake up just before I can buy them and read them properly, and the details of what the books consist of quickly fade!