Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The Planet of the Apes Sunday Observer Special

The Planet of the Apes Sunday Observer Special was a free giveaway with the Sunday Observer newspaper dated 1 June 1975, promoting the Newton Comics series and the television show.

The Newton series was launched mid-1975 and by all accounts was quite heavily promoted in the Sunday Observer with full colour advertisements.

This is a 16-page digest-size booklet. All the pages are black and white with red ink highlights, apart from the covers and centre pages, which are full colour. It contains a number of behind-the-scenes articles mainly related to the television series with plenty of photos. There is also a competition to win a copy of the Newton comic, and a full-page advertisement for the comic, but there are no comics stories or excerpts in this issue.

The Planet of the Apes Sunday Observer giveaway is one of the scarcest items on Newton Comics collectors’ wishlists, and unlike the majority of the series issues, it’s an item rarely seen in collectors circles these days. In fact I’ve never seen one before, even though I’ve discussed it on occasion with other collectors.

And this is where it gets even more interesting – there may be two different Sunday Observer Planet of the Apes giveaways!

Last time I met up with Kevin Patrick we happened to be talking about this supplement, so naturally I sent him a scan when I received this copy just a few weeks later, and he mentioned the one he remembers had a different cover, possibly an amended or cropped version of the cover to Planet of the Apes #2, and that it also contained comics, possibly excerpts from the Moench and Tuska adaptation which ran as a back-up serial in the Newton series.

Given the Sunday Observer was party to a robust advertising program for the series, it does appear quite possible that there were indeed two different Sunday Observer supplements. And, if the recall of collectors is accurate (and I’ve learned it’s a pretty safe bet to trust the memories of kids who pored over their comics obsessively… hey, some of us never grow out of it!) and there was another supplement (as per Danny Best’s blog possibly dated circa 1 July 1976... this date is a Thursday, not a Sunday, so maybe that's a typo...?) it also stands to reason the second supplement might feature the cover from the second issue, just as the first supplement features the cover from the first issue.

I’d love to see confirmation of a second supplement - but for the moment, I'm calling this the missing link (sic) of Newton Planet of the Apes collections!


Anonymous said...

Overjoyed to finally see a scan of this very rare Newton special! It really does exist!

I learned of its existence some years ago while doing research on Newton Comics.The article has appeared in various print forms over the years; the latest being Phil Bentley's excellent "Word Balloons" #6.

It was indeed advertised on the front cover of Sunday Observer 1 June 1975 as a supplement. (July 1 1976 may have been a typo on my part)

Since then I have been curious to know if any copies survived to this day and am very pleased to see some have. Well done on tracking it down and many thanks for putting it up on your blog!



spiros xenos said...

Good to hear from you Robert.

Thanks for confirming the date and typo.

I'll take this opportunity to commend you on your pioneering article on Newton Comics, it was pretty much all we had for a while there in the pre-blog days.

I plugged Word Balloons #6 a few months ago, and from memory so did Kevin Patrick... at this rate Phil might need to look at a second print run!