(If you're interested in ads as well as free gifts, you might want to have a quick look at the following article first, & then return here for the details:)
Between 1964 & 1985, the years with which we are concerned, surprisingly few comics contained free gift Letraset transfers. Here is a complete list of those thirteen promotions (well, we think it's complete, although you never know when something else might unexpectedly surface from the depths — despite our regular submarine patrols).
Only eight promotions fall in the period when Letraset were still producing their own Consumer Products, & the first is as late as 1970.
Even so, there's quite a lot of material to view, so for convenience I've split this article into thirteen pages — one for each promotion.
You can choose the promotion you want from the following list, but for best results it's recommended that you read each page & then follow its "Next Page" link when you come to it.
IPC printed one of their standard four-page pink paper advertising inserts in their comics, this time to announce their latest new comic — the ungrammatically-named "Cor!!". The page shown above is from "Smash!", 6th June 1970, & it prepares you for the arrival of issue 2 of "Cor!!" on the 8th June.
Unfortunately, as you can see from the front cover of "Cor!!" No.2, the cover date actually turned out to be 13th June.
But notice how thoughtful the writer was, in tipping his hat to SPLAT — many decades before we even came to exist.
Also shown here is the wrapper for a packet of "Double Treat", & (courtesy of Martin Davies, eBay ID: bricabrac1965) some pieces of Anglo Bell Boy Bubble Gum still in their wrappers.
Of course, the parts of all this that most directly concern us are the transfers. Their use in this promotion is, in fact, a re-use; the transfers had been used a couple of years earlier, in packets of Somportex "Combat" Bubble Gum.
However, it turns out that the vital & controversial bit of the wrapper is the last line, which is torn off & missing from mine. So Ace of Cards comes to the rescue with his wrapper:
What was the controversy? Just the usual; Letraset had supplied these Combat transfers to Somportex for their chewing gum, & then later on they turned up along with Anglo's chewing gum. This confusion has led to catalogues & dealers listing the transfers under the wrong company. I don't honestly know if Anglo & Somportex had a relationship, or if Letraset had simply performed their usual trick of selling the same transfers to two different companies without compunction. — You be the judge!
We only had this one (above) of these twenty transfer sheets for a very long time, but here's one of those serendipitous happenstances that makes running this website worthwhile: StellarX came across these fourteen brilliant sheets very neatly rubbed-down & documented in pencil.
Anyone familiar with the film "Amélie" will understand the importance of tracking down the author of this work.
Another fascinating anecdote concerns a Seller on eBay who listed, back in 2012, thirty-eight identical sheets of three different gravure rolls. I bought one each of his Disney & Patterson Blick 'Monsters to Caveman' rolls, but he was a mysterious fellow whose address was a disused petrol station in the middle of nowhere, & he vanished suddenly & completely while we were trying to negotiate a price for his Combat sheets. One of our members had luckily already managed to buy one for a small fortune, but then arranging to get it here for a quick scan turned out to be a logistical nightmare which we could never accomplish!
We did, however, have the auction listing photo which showed us what a complete sheet would look like:
Then quite recently I was able to purchase a complete set of all the individual transfers for a very reasonable sum. Having scanned them & having referred to the auction photo, I can now show you an accurate simulation of an uncut sheet of Combat transfers:
Picture Credit: The SPLAT Scan Archives (with thanks to StellarX & Jess Harper) — Martin Davies — Ace of Cards — Amélie Poulain
© Tom Vinelott 2018