Larkin and Greyfriars

Regular readers of this blog will know that I am rarely so enthusiastic as when exploring old issues of the Magnet comic, in which ‘Frank Richards’ each week delivered new instalments of the exploits of Harry Wharton, Billy Bunter and co. at Greyfriars School. Visiting Hull just in time to catch the deeply enjoyable Philip […]

Talbot Mundy… and the Magnet again

It’s India month at the Sheffield Popular Fiction Reading Group, and my report on Talbot Mundy’s King of the Khyber Rifles can now be read online on the group’s blog. Like Buchan’s Greenmantle, also published in 1916, this is a story about one man sent to combat a Turkish plan to inflame the Empire’s Muslims […]

Who read the ‘Magnet’?

In its heyday the Magnet sold over 200,000 copies a week. Since many copies were likely to have been shared, passed around or swapped the readership would have been higher than this. In 1916, the magazine printed this page of readers’ photos. One wears a a straw boater and one a yarmulke; others wear cloth […]

Billy Bunter versus the Suffragettes

This November I’ll be giving a talk on the wartime Magnet comics to the Being Young in World War One conference in Manchester. I’ll be arguing that the comics had a nuanced approach to the war, remaining firmly patriotic while suggesting that the demands of war should not make people forget the civilised decencies of […]

Being Young During World War One

A conference on the subject of growing up during the Great War will be held at Manchester Metropolitan University on November 6th to 7th this year. I’m very happy about this because I got the email yesterday to say that they are going to let me give my paper on the Magnet comics during the […]