Tiger comic

Artwork and comic from the Derek Birnage collection, estimate £3000-5000 at Bentley’s.

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By 1976 he had his own magazine, but in the early days the Melchester Rovers star graced the pages of Tiger comic, as a lot coming up at Kent auction house Bentley’s on March 4 indicates.

The Cranbrook saleroom is offering the collection of the late Derek Birnage (1913-2004). As founding editor of Tiger, he helped create and develop the character, including writing his exploits for four years and being in overall charge of him for a further five. Birnage was also editor of Champion comic.

Amalgamated Press launched Tiger in 1954 as a sports-led companion to Lion comic. Courtesy of writer Frank Pepper and the artist (and then scripter) Joe Colquhoun, Roy Race made his appearance. Birnage took charge of the writing himself from 1959-63 – although it was attributed to Bobby Charlton for two years.

Consigned by Birnage’s family, the collection will include original artwork, original paste-up for Tiger No 1 issue (Roy’s debut), bound sets and loose editions or early comics, Birnage’s typewriter that he wrote the Roy of The Rovers scripts on, internal letters relating to the comics, original press cuttings and more.

It is estimated together at £3000-5000.