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Look and Learn magazine.

Look and Learn magazine was an instant hit when it was launched in 1962, being bigger and containing far more colour pages than other black-and-white comic strip magazines of the time.

Now the colourful 24-page weekly, which once boasted one million child readers around the Commonwealth, is being re-launched, bringing the well-loved stories of Ben-Hur and Britain's epic wartime battles alive for a new generation of readers.

Look and Learn, with its wholesome, educational image, was a kind of literary Blue Peter.

A new company, Look and Learn Ltd, has been formed and has bought the publishing rights of the more than 1,000 previous magazine issues.

The new company plans to re-print many of the old articles and comic strips, with the aim of offering it as a direct challenge to magazines full of soap opera news, reviews of violent video games, sex advice and the antics of pop stars.

There will be a limited run of 48 issues, on a subscription only basis, though editions will also be downloadable via the internet.

The original Look and Learn was the brainchild of Len Matthews, who, in the early 1960s, was juvenile publications director at Fleetway Publications.

The first issue, dated 20 January 1962, lived up to its editor's claim that it was 'a treasure house of exciting articles, stories and pictures'.

At 10-in by 13'in (26 x 35cm), it was larger than most children's comics then on the news-stands and, with half of its 24 pages in full colour, it stood out from Fleetway's black-and-white comic papers. A photograph of the young Prince of Wales, Charles, dominated the first cover, alongside a painting of the first Charles, Prince of Wales, from 300 years earlier.

Look and Learn would always dedicate its front cover to a single painted illustration on a variety of subjects, from famous characters in books to famous dogs from history.

The magazine featured articles of art, history, nature, literature and astronomy.

It contained plenty of interest for girls and stories of derring-do for boys.

Chief among such tales was the long-running comic strip saga The Rise and Fall of the Trigan Empire.

Penned by Michael Butterworth and painted in colour by Don Lawrence, the strip concerned a tribe from the land of Vorg, on the distant planet of Elekton, whose visionary leader, Trigo, dreamt of building a fabulous city and uniting his people.

Trigo met Peric, a great scientist and architect who turned his vision into reality.

The story was largely based on Earth's history, taking Roman and Greek elements, plus some from Egypt and feudal Britain. The strip was on an epic scale and its sweeping, extravagant battle scenes turned it into a classic.

The editor of the 2006 version of Look and Learn, Stephen Pickles, said, 'There's definitely a wistful, yearning feeling about it all - from castles, kings and damsels in distress to more Blue Peter-type things like how to prepare your own conkers.

'That's what many adults remember about being young and reading Look and Learn and they want that for their own kids too.

'You can have your, 'Wham! Bam! I've killed 20 bad guys in 30 seconds' - but you can read about Robin Hood and King Arthur too.'

Until 1982, when it was dropped by IPC Media, Look and Learn gripped its legion of young fans with a combination of historical adventures, stories of myth and legend and contemporary educational features, such as the making of the QE2.

Robin Turner The Rise and Fall of the Trigan Empire: The Rise and Fall of the Trigan Empire, later called simply The Trigan Empire, was a sci-fi comic strip series which first appeared in The Ranger.

It is most associated with Look and Learn, in which it ran from 1965 to 1982.

The Trigan Empire was largely modelled on the Roman empire and Trigan City, the capital, was built on five hills, in a similar fashion to the seven hills of Rome.

The Trigans flew spaceship-like atmosphere craft and their clothing was similar to that of ancient Rome.

The chief rival in power to the Trigan Empire was Hericon, which seemed to mirror the Byzantine Empire. The strip later appeared in the form of a book, Tales of the Trigan Empire.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2006 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Sep 21, 2006
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