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13 February 2021

UPDATED: The Anvil magazine - a guide

A question the other day from John Freeman has inspired today's post...his question was how many issue of The Anvil magazine where there? The Anvil was the parish magazine that the co-founders of Eagle Marcus Morris and Frank Hampson worked on before they launched Eagle. Marcus used his publishing genius to turn it from a parish magazine into a national magazine. I don't own any copies of The Anvil but I've had a look to see which issues I can find copies of, so here we go...

The history of The Anvil was presented by Adrian Perkins in the following issues of Eagle Times - part 1 in Eagle Times volume 13 issue 4 (Winter 2000); part 2 in volume 14 issue 1 (Spring 2001); part 3 in volume 14 issue 4 (Winter 2001); part 4 in volume 15 issue 2 (Summer 2002); part 5 in volume 18 issue 4 (Winter 2005).

This article draws heavily on Adrian's material is highlighted thus

Marcus Morris began publication of St James' [named after his church, St James', Birkdale] magazine in July 1945. This begat The Anvil in December 1946.

July 1945 issue of St James' magazine...

First issue of The Anvil, December 1946...

From its commencement in December 1946 The Anvil had 46 monthly issues, with Frank Hampson contributing to 26 of those (issues 15 to 40). Marcus Morris edited all issues of the Anvil, which ceased publication with the September 1950 issue, in addition to 17 editions of its immediate predecessor.

April 1948 issue...the first cover designed b Frank Hampson and finished by Harold Johns (who would also go on to work on Dan Dare)...

December 1948 issue...

From February 1949 until March 1950 Frank Hampson provided 14 ingenious three-colour cover designs, with the final three (January-March 1950) being full page illustrations. 

February 1949 issue - could have actually been produced in colour... 

April 1949 issue - could have actually been produced in colour

May 1949 issue - could have been produced in colour
June 1949 issue...

October 1949 issue...

November 1949 issue...

February 1950 issue - doubtless produced in colour but only a b+w cover to hand
Frank Hampson provided many pieces of interior art for The Anvil as well as these covers.

Here's a beautiful full colour cover for the March 1950 issue of 'The Anvil' - as Adrian notes in the article the image has been doctored slightly to reflect the (near) birth of Eagle. You should therefore not really expect to find the word Eagle on the front of an actual copy of  The Anvil for March 1950.

June 1950 & July 1950 issues, produced in the post-Frank Hampson era - again, doubtless produced in colour. Only b+w illustrations are to hand... 

Other statistics...
a). Price
Dec 1946 - Feb 1948 = 6d
Mar 1948 - Dec 1948 = 9d
Jan 1949 - Sep 1950 = 6d

b). Pagination

1945-8 = 18-24 page issues
1949 = 24 / 32 / 40 page issues
1950 = issues are 40 pages in length

Further reading

Eagle Times (issues noted above)
The man who drew tomorrow - Alastair Crompton
Tomorrow revisited - Alastair Crompton
Living with Eagles - Sally Morris and Jan Hallwood [this contains the most detail on the Anvil story]  

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