Fleetway Novelisations

One of the earlist US examples of a comic character getting his own book: Buck Rogers Big Big Book (circa 1937)
A Whitman Big Little Book: Buck Rogers (1938)
Whitman novelisation of Terry and the Pirates (1943)
D.C. Thompson's Treasure Island () illustrated by xx

We are all familiar with the symbiosis between film and books: the books providing the material for films, which in turn produce the Book of the Film. There is also a connection between comics or more particularly comic characters and books.

As usual it was in the United States that this phenomonon started. The Whitman Publishing Company were undergoing hard times prior to the Second World War, and in a desperate attemptto keep afloat they started to release a series of book saimed at children, and in particular their favourite characters from the newspaper strips. Remember that at this time, newspaper strips wer probably more popular than the comic books, and far more easily available as Dad always used to have a newspaper to read, whilst the kids got The Funnies.

With the sucess of the Big Little Books and the Big Big Books, Whiltman started publishing in hardback book form such comic character adventures as Terry and the Pirates, Smilin' Jack and later a whole host of lesser numeries. Whether these were intended to ensnare "adult" readers or just to create another market is not really known.

In the UK the publication of books based on the comics never really caught on although several valiant tries have been made. This was probably because the Story Paper was actually a far better alternative to the hard- or soft-backed novel medium.



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