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Saturday, 14 November 2009

Most Bizarre British Comics Tie-In 2009

And the 2009 downthetubes award for the most bizarre British comics tie-in merchandise of the year goes to...

Firstly let's remember that our favourite piece of bizarre British comics tie-in merchandise to date has been the Jackie Knitting Set. DC Thomson have licenced a lot of different Jackie products over the last few years on the back of the success of the original Best Of Jackie hardback book published by Carlton/Prion in 2005. These have included mugs and key rings with the Jackie compilation music CDs being perhaps the most successful of the recent batch with the fourth album, Jackie The Annual 2010, being released last week. Despite these the Jackie Knitting Set still takes the biscuit and when we spoke to DCT editor Bill McLoughlin, who now works for the company's licencing department, about it he described it as "probably the most unusual and I'd be hard pushed to come up with something more quirky!"

In the meantime Ron Grosset and his team at Waverley Books have had a lot of success with their Broons tie-in books beginning with Maw Broon's Cookbook in 2007. These have always been lovingly compiled, beautifully produced and competitively priced. One reason for the competitive price is Waverley Books' deliberate policy that they are not sold for a big reduction in shops such as Bargain Books or as a loss leader in supermarkets.

The selection of Broons tie-in books from Waverley now include both the Maw Broon's Cookbook and Maw Broon's But An' Ben Cookbook as well as the Broon's Burns Night, Broon's Book Of Gairdening Wisdoms and the recent Maw Broon's Remedies An' Suchlike. Earlier this year Waverley branched out with Maw Broon's But An' Ben Apron which is exactly what it sounds like, an apron, even if Amazon confusingly list it as a 1 page paperback box set. The latest item from Waverley is Maw Broon's But An' Ben Spoon.

Never mind Nigella's solid beech Serving Hands or Jamie Oliver's Ubuntu Pinch Pot, for a mere £1.99 you can now get a wooden kitchen spoon with the Broon's But An' Ben design on it, 12 inches long and, as the packaging proudly proclaims, designed for both "right-handed or left-handed operation".

Now that gets our award for the most bizarre British comics tie-in of the year.

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