===Why I Bought This===
As some of you may have seen I enjoy the nostalgia of Rupert Annuals so to buy this Rupert Bear Companion book was a natural progression.
Published by Egmont, the same people who do the annuals.
Large 11 x 11 inch square book which comes shrink wrapped in cellophane.
The Rupert Companion by Ian Robinson (editor of Rupert stories for over 13 years).
'Tells the fascinating story of how this little bear became a national treasure'.
Shiney front and back embosed covers - green material spine.
Front cover has images of Rupert and Alfred Bestall.
Attractive dark end papers showing old printing boxes with letters and various Rupert images in the different sections - badges, images from books and chocolate wrappers etc.
Book produced using good quality paper.
Printed in Singapore.
Hardcover: 128 pages
Publisher: Egmont Books Ltd (1 Nov 2010)
*Rupert and Mary Tourtel.
*Rupert and Alfred Bestall.
*Ruert after Bestall.
*Rupert Toys and TV.
*Rupert and Chums.
Full price is £25 but currently on Amazon for £17.50.
This book is wonderfully presented in cellophane and with strong thick covers, great quality paper and superb colour images troughout. For this alone it is worth buying - even before you read any of the text.
For those who do not know, Rupert first began life as a strip cartoon in the Express Newspaper in 1920. After being in many books he eventually had his own Annual which began in 1936 and which continues to this day.
===Rupert and Mary Tourtel===
Mary Tourtel was the creator of Rupert Bear and produced him for the first 15 years.
The first episode was 'Little Lost Bear' which came out in the Express Newspaper on 8 November 1920. It was a single frame cartoon and was on the Women's Page. Rupert then looked a little more 'bear like'.
Other papers also had cartoons - the Daily Mail had 'Teddy Tail' and the Mirror 'Tiger Tim' and 'Pip, Squeak and Wilfred'.
Unlike some other cartoons Rupert was always finely drawn and never had speech bubbles. Rupert's world revolved around fairy tales and magic mixed in with daily life. At this time Rupert had a blue jumper and cream check trousers and scarf.
In 1932 the Express began the 'Rupert League' - essentially a fan club that issued special badges and cards - this was so popular it was costing the newspaper a fortune (£3,000 a week) to keep running and it closed shortly after Tourtel retired in 1935.
===Rupert and Alfred Bestall===
1935-65 (but still did some illustrating)
Alfred Bestall was Rupert illustrator for over 30 years and he began with the 1936 annual. It was then that Rupert changed colour from a blue to a red jumper and from cream check trousers and scarf to yellow check ones.
Even during the paper shortages of the war the annual was still produced, subsidised by the government to keep up public morale. In 1940 te annual was full colour.
Over one million annuals were sold in 1948 and by 1950 it rose to 1.7 million.
The origami feature was introduced in 1946 and the item made would usually be included in one of the stories in some way.
Bestall continued to do the end papers and covers until 1973.
Bestall finally worked on a story in the newspaper in 1965.
In 1985 Alfred Bestall was awarded the MBE but sadly was too ill to visit the Palace to collect it.
===Rupert after Bestall===
John Harrold joined the team in the 1970s but it was not untill 1985 that he became Rupert's sole artist.
From September 2002 the Express have only been using recycled stories in the newspapers, ending 82 years of adventures.
Rupert is the longest running newspaper strip in the world.
Rupert Annuals - as opposed to just books about him, first began in 1936. This was when he gained his red jumper and yellow and black checked trousers and scarf - before this he had had a blue jumper and cream check trouers and scarf.
The annuals were so popular they were even allowed to continue throughout World War 2.
After the war competition began to get fierce and so other elements were introduced into the anuals. Bestall introduced origami and in 1960 Magic Painting became a regular feature.
It was in 1973 that there was the controversy over the colour of the bear's face on the cover of the annual - Bestall had done the drawings for the cover but the publishers changed the face from brown to white without consulting him. It is the few brown face editions wih are worth thousands - not the numerous white faced copies that later went on sale. Only twelve or so of the brown faced editions were produced and one sold for £23,000 in 2007.
===Rupert Toys and TV===
I am not a fan of the current New Adventures of Rupert on TV but I did enjoy the series made by Canadian company Nelvana which reproduced the stories and characters from the Annuals very well.
I also collect the Doulton figures which are made of Rupert and his chums - only if they are bought for me though as they are quite expensive.
There is a museum in Canterbury partly dedicated to Rupert which opened in 2003 as Mary Tourtel (Rupert's creator) lived in Canterbury.
===Rupert and Chums===
This as a picture of each character that has been included in Rupert Annual stories over the years and a little description of each one. 64 characters are included in all - most I remember but a few are ones that have only been in the odd story and not in an annual I have seen.
This is a great chapter which has a small image of every Rupert Annual cover from 1936. A super way to jog you memory of which annuals you had as a child - I remember many from tehe1960s onwards - all superbly reproduced here in full colour.
===To Sum Up===
I think this book is marvellous - both from the point of view of the quality of the paper, the fantastic colour images and also the titbits of information -some of which I did not know.
Excellently published by Egmont this is of a much higher standard than the Rupert Annuals they produce - and if I had not known I would not have thought it was published by the same people.
The full price is quite expenisve but now it is reduced on Amazon this would be a great addition to any Rupert fan's collection.
===Would I Recommend?===
'Committed to ethical publishing.'
This is a fan club for Rupert which has regular newsletters and articles on Rupert.
Their website is at - http://www.ee.ed.ac.uk/~afm/followers/