THE W. E. JOHNS RED FOX PAPERBACKS

PAGE ONE OF three

 

 

20 DIFFERENT BIGGLES TITLES WERE PUBLISHED BY “RED FOX” BOOKS PLUS 26 REPRINTS WITH DIFFERENT COVERS

 

OF THESE 46 BIGGLES BOOKS, 20 WERE PUBLISHED BY RED FOX WITH THE DISTINCTIVE RED AND BLACK SPINE BETWEEN 1992 AND 1996.   SIXTEEN OF THE ORIGINAL TWENTY WERE THEN REPUBLISHED IN 2003 AND 2004 WITH “RETRO” STYLE COVERS AND MULTI-COLOURED SPINES.  ALL OF THESE RED FOX PAPERBACKS WERE A STANDARD 18 CENTIMETRES BY 11 CENTIMETRES IN SIZE.

 

TEN OF THESE BOOKS WERE THEN REPULISHED IN 2014 AND 2015 AT A LARGER SIZE, 20 CENTIMETRES BY 13 CENTIMETRES, WITH MORE MODERN COVERS FEATURING AIRCRAFT AND WITH THE PHRASE “ADVENTURES WITH AMAZING FLYING MACHINES!”

 

 

In 1989, Red Fox (the children’s paperback published division of Random Century) were offered the chance of re-issuing the Biggles books.  Caroline Thomas was asked by her publishing director to read some and report on their suitability for a modern audience.  She read a dozen and reported back that she didn’t think they would work.  They lacked an emotional content and were too formulaic.  However, after writing her report, Caroline kept on reading the Biggles books.  Her report was ignored and it was decided that six books would be published in July 1992 and four more would follow early in 1993.  Caroline was then asked to handle the project and enthusiastically accepted, having changed her mind since her report.  Caroline had to decide which six to publish.  She picked her favourite, Biggles Flies East and Biggles Learns to Fly (which was the only book the last publishers had kept in print).  Biggles Defies the Swastika was chosen as a fast moving adventure and Biggles in Spain as an inter-war adventure.  Biggles in the Orient was chosen for its detective element and finally, Biggles & Co., was chosen as it featured Von Stalhein and Caroline enjoyed the story.  Red Fox found an illustrator in Spain to do the covers, who signs as “FABA”.  As can be seen below, the illustrations are all excellent works of art, but some are particularly outstanding.  Caroline Thomas was interviewed for Radio 4 and the interviewer, John Hosken, himself a big Biggles fan, persuaded her to add Biggles Fails to Return to the list of titles to be released the following year.  Also chosen was Biggles Sweeps the Desert, but with the title altered to Biggles Defends the Desert, no doubt in case any readers thought Biggles had a brush rather than a brush with death.  Caroline was then struggling to choose two more titles and contacted John Trendler, editor of the fan magazine “Biggles & Co”, and together they both agreed on The Rescue Flight and The Cruise of the Condor.  Caroline then panicked about whether modern schools and libraries would “accept the presentation of cannibalistic South American Indians, evil half castes, and Uncle Tom-like black rubber tappers” in the latter story and reluctantly swapped that book for Biggles of the Camel Squadron.  The title was updated to Biggles of the Fighter Squadron so people expecting real Camels didn’t get the hump when they didn’t find them.  Caroline now had ten novels to publish.  She asked John Trendler to update the foot notes to help explain to the modern reader was a “mess” was and what a “Batman” did. Certain edits had to be made to the text, to remove the dreaded N word or other offensive comments.  It was also suggested to Caroline that perhaps she should cut out the references to smoking, but she didn’t act on that suggestion.  The twenty books eventually published included four of the five original John Hamilton books (the first Biggles books).  Biggles Flies Again was the one not republished.  Both of the “Boys’ Friend Library” Biggles books were published – the first time that Biggles in France was available since that now impossible to find paperback edition from 1935!  It is generally considered that the 20 Biggles books published by Oxford University Press between 1935 and 1943 are amongst the best.  Yet only 8 of these 20 appeared as Red Fox paperbacks.  It is interesting to note that Red Fox only considered the early Biggles books worth re-publishing.  With the sole exception of Biggles Foreign Legionnaire (originally published in September 1954), no Biggles book was re-published by Red Fox other than ones printed between 1932 and 1947.  All of the Biggles books from 1948 to 1970 (a total of 65 books!) were ignored, with that one exception of Biggles Foreign Legionnaire.  Why was that?

 

ALL OF THESE BOOKS WERE ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED AT £3.50 EACH EXCEPT FOR THE LAST TWO, (BIGGLES FLIES WEST & BIGGLES GOES TO WAR), PUBLISHED IN JULY 1996 AT £3.99 EACH

 

 

PAGE ONE – Shows the original 20 Red Fox Biggles books that were published between 1992 and 1996.

PAGE TWO – Shows the 16 other (reprinted) Red Fox Biggles books titles published in 2003 and 2004, which all feature NEW covers with different artwork.

PAGE THREE – Shows 10 larger sized reprints, published in 2014 and 2015, which all feature another set of NEW covers with different artwork.

 

 

IF YOU CLICK ON THE FRONT COVER OF ANY BOOK ILLUSTRATED BELOW, YOU CAN ENLARGE THE PICTURE SO YOU CAN APPRECIATE THE DETAIL OF THE ARTWORK.

IF YOU CLICK ON THE REAR COVER OF ANY BOOK, YOU CAN ENLARGE THE PICTURE FOR EASY READING.

 

 

 

BIGGLES LEARNS TO FLY – FRONT

Originally published in March 1935 – This paperback was published on 16th July 1992.  204 pages.

Cover illustration – FABA/NORMA.

 

BIGGLES LEARNS TO FLY – REAR

 

FOR A STORY SUMMARY – CLICK HERE

 

TO SEE THE ILLUSTRATIONS FROM THE LAST HARDBACK EDITION OF THIS BOOK – CLICK HERE

BIGGLES FLIES EAST. – FRONT

Originally published in August 1935 – This paperback was published on 16th July 1992.  238 pages.

Cover illustration – FABA/NORMA.

 

 

BIGGLES FLIES EAST – REAR

 

FOR A STORY SUMMARY – CLICK HERE

 

TO SEE THE ILLUSTRATIONS FROM THE VERY FIRST HARDBACK EDITION OF THIS BOOK – CLICK HERE

 

BIGGLES & CO. – FRONT

Originally published in April 1936 – This paperback was published on 16th July 1992.  192 pages.

Cover illustration – FABA/NORMA.

 

BIGGLES & CO. – REAR

 

FOR A STORY SUMMARY – CLICK HERE

 

TO SEE THE ILLUSTRATIONS FROM THE VERY FIRST HARDBACK EDITION OF THIS BOOK – CLICK HERE

BIGGLES IN SPAIN – FRONT

Originally published in May 1939 – This paperback was published on 16th July 1992.

208 pages.

Cover illustration – FABA/NORMA.

 

 

BIGGLES IN SPAIN – REAR

 

FOR A STORY SUMMARY – CLICK HERE

 

TO SEE THE ILLUSTRATIONS FROM THE VERY FIRST HARDBACK EDITION OF THIS BOOK – CLICK HERE

 

BIGGLES DEFIES THE SWASTIKA – FRONT

Originally published in August 1941 – This paperback was published on 16th July 1992.  190 pages.

Cover illustration – FABA/NORMA.

 

BIGGLES DEFIES THE SWASTIKA – REAR

 

FOR A STORY SUMMARY – CLICK HERE

 

TO SEE THE ILLUSTRATIONS FROM THE VERY FIRST HARDBACK EDITION OF THIS BOOK – CLICK HERE

 

BIGGLES IN THE ORIENT – FRONT

Originally published in April 1945 – This paperback was published on 16th July 1992.  190 pages.

Cover illustration – FABA/NORMA.

 

 

BIGGLES IN THE ORIENT – REAR

 

FOR A STORY SUMMARY – CLICK HERE

 

TO SEE THE ILLUSTRATIONS FROM THE VERY FIRST HARDBACK EDITION OF THIS BOOK – CLICK HERE

 

 

BIGGLES OF THE FIGHTER SQUADRON – FRONT

Originally published in March 1934 as BIGGLES OF THE CAMEL SQUARDON – This paperback was published on 4th January 1993.

208 pages.

Cover illustration – FABA/NORMA.

 

The particularly exciting cover picture on this book was also used as the cover of the reprint of a biography of W. E. Johns.  Called BIGGLES! – THE LIFE OF CAPT. W.E. JOHNS by Peter Berresford Ellis & Jennifer Schofield, this was a 1993 edition of the 1981 original.

 

 

BIGGLES OF THE FIGHTER SQUADRON – REAR

 

FOR A STORY SUMMARY – CLICK HERE

 

TO SEE THE ILLUSTRATIONS FROM THE VERY FIRST HARDBACK EDITION OF THIS BOOK – CLICK HERE

 

BIGGLES AND THE RESCUE FLIGHT – FRONT

Originally published in May 1939 as THE RESCUE FLIGHT – This paperback was published on 4th January 1993.

205 pages.

Cover illustration – FABA/NORMA.

 

 

BIGGLES AND THE RESCUE FLIGHT – REAR

 

FOR A STORY SUMMARY – CLICK HERE

 

TO SEE THE ILLUSTRATIONS FROM THE VERY FIRST HARDBACK EDITION OF THIS BOOK – CLICK HERE

 

 

BIGGLES DEFENDS THE DESERT – FRONT

Originally published in September 1942 as BIGGLES SWEEPS THE DESERT – This paperback was published on 4th January 1993.   206 pages.

Cover illustration – FABA/NORMA.

 

BIGGLES DEFENDS THE DESERT – REAR

 

FOR A STORY SUMMARY – CLICK HERE

 

TO SEE THE ILLUSTRATIONS FROM THE VERY FIRST HARDBACK EDITION OF THIS BOOK – CLICK HERE

 

BIGGLES FAILS TO RETURN – FRONT

Originally published in October 1943 – This paperback was published on 4th January 1993.   222 pages.

Cover illustration – FABA/NORMA.

 

BIGGLES FAILS TO RETURN – REAR

 

FOR A STORY SUMMARY – CLICK HERE

 

TO SEE THE ILLUSTRATIONS FROM THE VERY FIRST HARDBACK EDITION OF THIS BOOK – CLICK HERE

 

 

 

 

BIGGLES THE CAMELS ARE COMING – FRONT

Originally published on 7th September 1932 as THE CAMELS ARE COMING – This paperback was published in 1993.

203 pages.

Cover illustration – FABA/NORMA.

 

BIGGLES THE CAMELS ARE COMING – REAR

 

FOR A STORY SUMMARY – CLICK HERE

 

TO SEE THE ILLUSTRATIONS FROM THE VERY FIRST HARDBACK EDITION OF THIS BOOK – CLICK HERE

 

BIGGLES IN FRANCE – FRONT

Originally published in November 1935 – This paperback was published in 1993.

223 pages.

Cover illustration – FABA/NORMA.

 

 

BIGGLES IN FRANCE – REAR

 

FOR A STORY SUMMARY – CLICK HERE

 

TO SEE THE ILLUSTRATIONS FROM THE FIRST HARDBACK EDITION OF THIS BOOK – CLICK HERE

 

BIGGLES THE CRUISE OF THE CONDOR – FRONT

Originally published in August 1933 as THE CRUISE OF THE CONDOR – This paperback was published on 21st July 1994.

206 pages.

Cover illustration – FABA/NORMA.

 

 

BIGGLES THE CRUISE OF THE CONDOR – REAR

 

FOR A STORY SUMMARY – CLICK HERE

 

TO SEE THE ILLUSTRATIONS FROM THE VERY FIRST HARDBACK EDITION OF THIS BOOK – CLICK HERE

 

 

BIGGLES AND THE SECRET MISSION – FRONT

Originally published in May 1937 as BIGGLES – AIR COMMODORE – This paperback was published on 21st July 1994.   190 pages.

Cover illustration – FABA/NORMA.

The cover illustration echoes an original illustration from the first edition.

 

 

BIGGLES AND THE SECRET MISSION – REAR

 

FOR A STORY SUMMARY – CLICK HERE

 

TO SEE THE ILLUSTRATIONS FROM THE VERY FIRST HARDBACK EDITION OF THIS BOOK – CLICK HERE

Look at the second one, (labelled page 59) and note how the composition is identical to the cover of the Red Fox paperback.

BIGGLES DELIVERS THE GOODS – FRONT

Originally published in April 1946 – This paperback was published on 21st July 1994.   205 pages.

Cover illustration – FABA/NORMA.

 

BIGGLES DELIVERS THE GOODS – REAR

 

FOR A STORY SUMMARY – CLICK HERE

 

TO SEE THE ILLUSTRATIONS FROM THE VERY FIRST HARDBACK EDITION OF THIS BOOK – CLICK HERE

BIGGLES FLYING DETECTIVE – FRONT

Originally published in August 1947 as SERGEANT BIGGLESWORTH C.I.D. – This paperback was published on 21st July 1994.   222 pages.

Cover illustration – FABA/NORMA.

 

BIGGLES FLYING DETECTIVE – REAR

 

FOR A STORY SUMMARY – CLICK HERE

 

TO SEE THE ILLUSTRATIONS FROM THE VERY FIRST HARDBACK EDITION OF THIS BOOK – CLICK HERE

 

BIGGLES AND THE BLACK PERIL – FRONT

Originally published in March 1935 as THE BLACK PERIL – This paperback was published on 1st June 1995.

192 pages.

Cover illustration – FABA/NORMA.

 

BIGGLES AND THE BLACK PERIL – REAR

 

FOR A STORY SUMMARY – CLICK HERE

 

TO SEE THE ILLUSTRATIONS FROM THE VERY FIRST HARDBACK EDITION OF THIS BOOK – CLICK HERE

BIGGLES FOREIGN LEGIONNAIRE – FRONT

Originally published in September 1954 – This paperback was published on 1st June 1995.   190 pages.

Cover illustration – FABA/NORMA.

The cover illustration echoes an original illustration from the first edition.

 

BIGGLES FOREIGN LEGIONNAIRE – REAR

 

FOR A STORY SUMMARY – CLICK HERE

 

TO SEE THE ILLUSTRATIONS FROM THE VERY FIRST HARDBACK EDITION OF THIS BOOK – CLICK HERE

Look at the second one, (opposite page 65) and note how the composition is identical to the cover of the Red Fox paperback.

 

 

BIGGLES FLIES WEST – FRONT

Originally published in September 1937 – This paperback was published 4th July 1996.

190 pages.

Cover illustration – FABA/NORMA.

 

BIGGLES FLIES WEST – REAR

 

FOR A STORY SUMMARY – CLICK HERE

 

TO SEE THE ILLUSTRATIONS FROM THE VERY FIRST HARDBACK EDITION OF THIS BOOK – CLICK HERE

BIGGLES GOES TO WAR – FRONT

Originally published in May 1938 – This paperback was published on 4th July 1996.

189 pages.

Cover illustration – FABA/NORMA.

 

BIGGLES GOES TO WAR – REAR

 

FOR A STORY SUMMARY – CLICK HERE

 

TO SEE THE ILLUSTRATIONS FROM THE VERY FIRST HARDBACK EDITION OF THIS BOOK – CLICK HERE

 

THE RED IN THE SPINES OF THESE BOOKS WAS VERY PRONE TO FADING FROM SUNLIGHT

 

CLICK HERE

TO GO TO

PAGE TWO

 

THE RED IN THE SPINES OF THESE BOOKS WAS VERY PRONE TO FADING FROM SUNLIGHT

 

These pages were added to   www.biggles.com   on 18th August 2019 which is EXACTLY 72 years to the day that “Sergeant Bigglesworth C.I.D.” was published in 1947.  That book was republished by

Red Fox as “Biggles Flying Detective” – (see above) – but was an important one in the Biggles saga as it was the first “Air Police” story.  Almost every book that followed was then an Air Police story.