The Hotspur was a British boys' paper published by D. C. Thomson & Co. It was launched on 2 September 1933 as a story paper, the last of the 'Big Five'. It was relaunched as a comic in the 1950s and ceased publication on 24 January 1981.
The first issue of The Hotspur came with a black mask as a free gift and contained an offer for an electric shock machine:
It's a great prize, absolutely harmless and will give hours of fun. Just watch your pal's face when you give him his first electric shock!
Thomson's 'Big Five' papers were extremely successful; the name was used by both readers and the industry. In 1939 the company advertised combined weekly sales of over a million for the group; the first issue of The Hotspur sold over 350,000 copies. The Hotspur specialised in school stories; its Red Circle School stories replaced the public school stories in The Gem and The Magnet as reader favourites.
Like other British children's publications, The Hotspur was published weekly, except for the Second World War and its aftermath, when as a result of paper rationing it published fortnightly, alternating with The Wizard.
The original Hotspur story paper published 1197 issues, the last on 17...