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Homepage. This page: A boys' comic from the 1930s featuring a fictitious high-octane story of speed record attempts.

Fictional tale of a land speed demon!

The ongoing hunt for early comics and comic books, with a motoring theme to their cover or the stories within, continues. This copy of "Boys' Magazine" dates to March 14th 1931, and cost the lucky reader 2d for his Saturday read. The cover features a land speed record car, driven by an Archibald Ignatius Warrener, hurtling along at an epic pace, scattering scallywags in its wake. The game of football also is mentioned, not a game that's ever appealed to me or I've understood the fascination for, but each to their own I suppose.
Story about a land speed record attempt in the 1930s
A number of different stories feature in this week's comic, but the first story - titled "World's Record Warrener" - is the one that appeals to me. At a time when land speed record attempts were regularly in the news, capturing the imagination of young people in short trousers and their parents alike, any story that begins with the following introduction was guaranteed to appeal...
WHIZZZZZZ! BURBLE! ZOOOOM! RECORDS REEL INTO CHAOS - SMASHED WHEN ARCHIE WARRENER, THE MILLIONAIRE DAREDEVIL DUDE, SETS OUT TO SNATCH THE SPEED LAURELS ON LAND AND SEA!
Gigantic Speed Yarn!
Meet and Greet Archibald Ignatius Warrener, the Strangest Speedster in Fiction. You'll Make the Mistake of Your Lives if You Think He's a Dude. Nonno! Nonno" Archie is Compressed Dynamite and an Incurable Speed Demon from the word "Go!"

Speed record action!

The gist of this grippingly ripping yet fictional yarn is as follows:
Bentley-owner Archie Warrener was a wealthy individual with time on his hands, who had the desire to finance a world speed record attempt. He'd advertised in a newspaper offering finance for such a venture, when inventor John Harcourt came knocking on his door, with designs for a new revolutionary engine. Archie suggested that if the engine was "... the jolly old goods ...", ie that it worked as intended, he'd fund the creation of not only a racing car with which to challenge for a land speed record attempt, he'd also install the engine in a motor launch to have a dabble at the water speed record too.
Needless to say, unscrupulous tyrants were soon to hear of Harcourt's designs, and were out to get the rights for his ideas at a cut-down price. On hearing of Archie's plans for world stardom by working with Harcourt on both land and water speed record attempts, the villains in this piece - Messrs Rubitsch and Kellerman - vowed to put a substantial spanner in the duo's works.
They hatched their dastardly plans, designed to de-rail Archie's offer and send Harcourt running to their door, to accept their much lower offer for his engine's designs. Dodging gunfire and other unsavoury situations, the hero of the story gets to make the first of his attempts, for the water speed record in his creation, named Union Jack. Rogue-ish types once again try to scupper his plans, but, after a frantic scrap on board the speeding machine, Archie wins out despite being left tied up in his boat, its throttle opened wide by a bad egg by the name of Clisby, immediately before he hopped off into the safety of his own boat. Despite these setbacks, Archie achieved his first goal of securing the water-based record, to rapturous applause from the spectators.
Attempts to thwart his attempts at the land speed record came to nought also, and Archie - despite the underhand efforts of the gang out to nobble Archie and Harcourt's best-laid plans - secured this record too, achieving the blistering average speed of 255 miles-per-hour behind the wheel of Greyhound, his record car.
As yarns go, this one's a corker!

Elsewhere in this boys' comic.

A number of other stories, un-related to motoring, feature in this week's issue, as does a page of jokes for which the lucky scribes each receive a fountain pen as a prize.
A number of interesting advertisements appear inside the rear cover. Offers of postage stamps pre-dominate, but amongst them are offers of miracle products designed to increase your height (!), while a company in Colwyn Bay could sell young lads all the ventriloquist's equipment they could ever need, including invisible voice instruments guaranteed to astonish and mystify. A laboratory in London sounded a lot more fun though, as they'd happily send you explosive cigarettes, bombs, itchykoo, sneezing powder and other novelty items. A jolly good wheeze by the sounds of it!
In all, 620 copies of Boys' Magazine were produced during this comic's life, before merging into The Champion, another title often featuring motoring adventures on its covers.
Return to the Motoring Collectables section.

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