Thursday, 23 August 2007

Look and Learn and Robin Hood Go Mobile

ROK Comics is pleased to announce a partnership with Look and Learn Ltd. to bring its extensive archive of classic British comics to mobile phones. In addition, as we reported in July, Look and Learn is making its extensive image archive available to ROK Comics’ parent company, ROK Media, to offer as mobile phone wallpapers via

ROK Comics aims to adapt some of the most outstanding comics from Look and Learn, Jack and Jill, Playhour, Swift and Robin for mobile presentation, bringing the stunning art and stories from the comics to a whole new audience around the globe, working with over 30 selected telecom partners.

The first strip to be adapted for mobile phones is Robin Hood which was written by Clifford Makin and drawn by Frank Bellamy (who went on to draw Dan Dare for Eagle, Thunderbirds for TV21, Garth for the Daily Mirror and Doctor Who illustrations for the Radio Times). The Robin Hood strip originally appeared in Swift in 1956-57 and is the first of a number of Frank Bellamy strips ROK Comics is to publish.

The adapted comics are available for purchase at and via Multi Media Message delivery to any MMS-capable phone on almost any network worldwide.

Laurence Heyworth, Publisher of Look and Learn, said: “Viewed on mobile phone, these comic strips and images have great retro appeal. We are delighted that this material is now being used in ways that could only have been dreamed of by its creators.”

"Robin Hood looks as fresh today as when it first appeared," says ROK Comics Managing Editor John Freeman, formerly an editor at Marvel UK and Titan Magazines. "We feel sure that this strip will capture the imaginations of today's mobile users.”

ROK Comics Robin Hood page:

(You will need a mobile phone capable of receiving MMS to view the Robin Hood comic strip. The first episode can be viewed free on the site.)

Look and Learn was Britain's most successful illustrated children's educational magazine, running between 1962 and 1982 for over a thousand issues. Throughout the 1960s, the magazine regularly sold several hundred thousand copies a week in the United Kingdom and around the world. During its 20 year run, it incorporated eight other magazines, including The Children's Newspaper (1919-65) and Ranger (1965-66), before itself coming to an end.

When Look and Learn closed it left behind a treasure trove of material which was to lie largely forgotten for nearly a quarter of a century. In late 2004 a new company was set up to acquire from IPC Media the rights to Look and Learn and the magazines that were incorporated into it (excluding some comic strips), together with what remained of the archive of original artwork. Since then, a small team has tracked down much more of the artwork, so that the company now owns many thousands of the paintings used in the magazine; it has also been able to borrow thousands more paintings from the Illustration Art Gallery, the leading dealer in this field, for scanning and incorporation into the digital archive.

As well as re-assembling the archive of original artwork, the team has written a history of Look and Learn, compiled biographies of the major illustrators, digitised the magazine and much of the artwork and created a website and on-line picture library. It has also digitised the entire run of The Children’s Newspaper, an issue of which is being re-published every day at

In May 2006, the company acquired, again from IPC Media, rights to a number of nursery papers published at the same time as Look and Learn, including Jack and Jill (1954-85), Playhour (1954-87), Swift (1954-63) and Robin (1953-69), each of which sold several hundred thousand copies a week during the 1960s.

Look and Learn is currently publishing a limited series of 48 issues of a new magazine made out of the best of the original magazine.

On 6 September 2007 Century/Random House is publishing The Bumper Book of Look and Learn, a lavishly illustrated tribute to the magazine.

Various images from British magazines such as Bible Story and Look and Learn and other associated titles are now available as wallpapers for mobile phones, produced under license from Look and Learn by ROK Media.

The wallpapers so far include Bible Story images like this fantastic one of Noah's Ark by James E. McConnell, images conjuring up the Wild West and some travel images, with many, many more to come.

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