First & Last: Bunty Annuals

There were 50 years of Bunty Annuals, the first one dated 1960 and the last 2009. From 1960 up to 1973, the Bunty covers had a distinguished look, the Bunty logo, with a banner underneath it declaring itself “the book for girls” . From 1965 on this banner also included the year. There was a white border and  in the central picture Bunty was doing some activity, Haggis (the dog) would often appear. The 1974 and 1975 annuals were quite similar but they dropped the banner and had a blue and a pink border respectively. After this borders are done away with completely. In 1989 there is a switch from pictures of the blonde namesake to photos of cover girls. From 1994 on wards there are banners to advertise some of the contents. The 2008 and the 2009 annual are more explicit in their advertising and also includes some celebrity faces on the cover.

bunty_ann_1960bunty_ann_1976bunty_ann_1985Bunty_Ann_1995bunty 2009

The big difference between the first and the last annuals is the number of pages, 128 pages was the standard up until 2007, in 2008 that dropped to 96 pages and then to 80 pages in 2009. That’s a 48 page difference, so of course there is a lot more in the 1960 annual. They both have a contents page, which I think is nice to have, they are presented quite differently though. The 1960 annual is quite simplistic with an illustration around the border, while the 2009 one, is a bit more busy with lots of photos and different coloured writing. Throughout the 2009 book, there is a clear colour scheme and layout that is meant to grab the reader, there is a lot more pink bubbly titles and  the lettering is bigger and bolder.  Of course there are more photos used throughout the 2009 annual, while the whole of the 1960 annual is illustrated. The 2009 does make an effort to credit some people (text story writers and some illustrators) which is nice to see.

b60_contents           B09_contents

Including funny strips there are 21 picture stories in the first annual compared to the 4 in the last. Actually I think the 2009 annual could have found room for a short funny strip like Bugsy, Girls Talking or better yet the comics namesake, a Bunty strip. Both annuals have only 1 Christmas themed story. The other story themes covered in the 1960 annual are; adventure, animals, ballet, career girls, family life, friendship, historical, hobby/talent, horses, school, war. That’s  quite a variety; in comparison the 2009 annual themes are; animals, friendship, romance, school, spooky, sport (which isn’t a bad mixture considering there’s only 8 stories). The 1960 book, nearly all the stories feature regular characters from the weekly issues. By the time the 2009 annual appeared there was no weekly issues but 2 long time favorites, The Four Marys and The Comp appear. The Four Marys appeared in every annual, the story may have changed somewhat over the years, but it is still very recognisable.

The features in the books also show the difference in focus for the years. The 1960 book focuses on more informative factual articles about animals, women during the war, it also looks at poems and ballet.  The 2009 book has some articles about animals too, but focuses on facts about actors/actresses as well. Both annuals have a crafty feature. The 2009 annual does have a lot more features so it also includes; quizzes, puzzles, posters and pieces on readers.

It is hard to compare the two books as the 2009 book is at a clear disadvantage being so much shorter than the 1960 book. Artistically the 1960 book is better, even in it’s layout, it very prettily put together. The 2009 book has some highlights and I appreciate the more puzzle and quiz based features. While I would have liked more stories in the 2009 book (which is why I enjoyed the The Best of books better), I am not the target market, and it must have been harder to entice readers in especially when there was no weekly issues, so readers wouldn’t be so eager to see their favourite characters.  Although I still  think more stories would have given it more value to the reader, 8 stories is what you used to get in a weekly issue not an annual! Still, 50 Bunty Annuals is an impressive run and I think someone would be able to find something to enjoy in any one of those annuals

 Annual 1960 2009
Dust jacket  Yes  No
Cover Illustration  Cover Girl
Page Count  128  80
No. Full Colour Pages  62  80
 No. Picture Stories  12  4
 No. Funny Strips  9  0
 No. Text Stories  8 2
 No. Photo Stories  0  2
 No. Features  10  22
 No. Christmas Stories  1  1


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