Overseas readers of The Victor and The Hornet

The Victor and The Hornet comics were not only enjoyed by lads (and lasses) in the UK, but also by readers in other English speaking parts of the world. When I say 'the world', it probably meant countries and colonies of the former British Empire. (Many readers were children of military families who had been posted overseas with their parents on tours of duty). Countries such as Australia, Canada, Cyprus, Gibraltar, Hong Kong, Malta, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa and other African countries, South America, the Middle and Far Easts and so on. Were these comics enjoyed in European countries or America or non-English speaking countries such as Russia for example? Can any reader confirm or deny this?

Letters to the Editors pages of both comics received letters from readers around the world. Please see the Hornet Letter page for examples. (I know both comics reached Australia and New Zealand as the National Library of Australia hold a complete run of The Hornet, but not sadly of The Victor, and Aussies and New Zealanders have told me that they read The Victor).

A world wide subscription service was provided by both comics to encourage readers to buy and receive their weekly dose of top war, adventure and sport action no matter where they were in the world. Please see the adverts below.

© D.C. Thomson & Co. Ltd. © D.C. Thomson & Co. Ltd.

A friend of this website Alex Vella of Malta has kindly written about his enjoyment of reading The Victor and of British comics in general.

'The Victor, as well as most if not all other British comics, were on sale here up to well into the seventies. I was brought up in two neighborhoods as a boy, both of which had British Service families living in flats and houses in them. Local newsagents stocked these comics on a regular basis as well as the most popular British Daily’s. We got the comics, including The Victor, one week later than they were issued in the UK. These, and all other comics and newspapers, were identical in all respects to what was issued in the UK. The only thing was that we had to pay a higher price here. The Victor during my time used to initially have a cover price of 5 (old) pence while I would have to pay 7 pence over here. We used to get most of the freebees but special offers were only available in the UK "GRRRRRR......."

My first Victor was No. 179 of the 25th July 1964 while my last one was No. 552 of the 18th September 1971. The final price was 2.5 new pence in the UK but I do not remember what I paid for it over here at this stage. Interesting to note is that in these seven years it only went up in price by around 1 old penny or 0.4 new pence. I bought these on a weekly basis from my neighbourhood newsagent and they still bear my name pencilled on the cover as they were ordered. I also bought Commando on a regular basis for sometime although not for as long as The Victor. These, and all other pocket war comics, used to cost one shilling in the UK and one shilling three pence over here.

British comics had, and still have, a great deal of readership in Malta: Dandy and the Beano especially. In my day Topper, Beezer - and later Buster - also enjoyed great popularity. I know it for a fact that the current Catholic Archbishop of Malta, who is in his early 60’s , still read the Beano or Dandy well into his adult life. Unlike you I liked the Braddock strip very much. I was at the beginning of my model making life then and Braddock introduced me to a lot of the lesser known planes such as the Battle, Sterling , Dewotine, Blenheim etc. I also enjoyed Keith Shone’s drawings. I agree with you [the Editor] about story content though.'

Copyright Alex Vella, 2008.

[Editor - I enjoyed Keith Shone's artwork, but my own view on the Braddock strips was that the pilot spent too much time in conflict with higher authority figures in some of the strips. I appreciate that Braddock is regarded as one of the great British comic characters, so I apologise in advance to those readers for my negative views.]

If any overseas lad (or lass) read either The Victor or The Hornet and you would like to have your thoughts added to this page, please let me know. Thank you.

(World map is from The Faber Atlas, edited by D.J. Sinclair, published in Oxford, G.E.O., 1956.-)

© Adrian Banfield, 2008.