I found a small image of this transfer online, described as "Iron-Man". Clearly, it wasn't Iron-Man! I could see the character was Japanese in origin, but it took quite a lot of detective work to find out exactly who it was, & where the transfer came from. The main reason it was difficult was because, most unusually, it isn't isn't even advertised anywhere in the comic it was given away in!
Whoever heard of a surprise Free Gift that's genuinely surprising because unmentioned in giant letters on the front page? Let alone anywhere at all inside! Bizarre, yet true; there's no clue to its existence anywhere in its own comic. It just came without explanation, like a fresh haddock in a packet of cornflakes.
Searching for its origin was pretty fruitless for a while, since you couldn't find it by the standard method of checking front covers. At first I thought it could be French, since the French were more into animé than the British at the time (the serial number, LP221, reveals the approximate date). However, eventually someone came forward who remembered it from a copy of Eagle comic. But… not the issue shown above!
And yet, in that comic could be found the above final paragraph.
So… there's a poster in this, the 17th December issue, & a special sticker in the next issue. But no mention of any transfers. And no mention of any of this on the front cover, where any self-respecting publicist would put it…
No; the only mention of any Free Gifts in either of these comics is hidden away, in the middle of page two of the first of the two issues.
It's as if they don't want you to have a Merry Christmas. No clues on the cover of the 25th December — Christmas day — issue. Where are the jokes about Christmas presents?
Photo courtesy of hannah11zoe
Anyway, here's a photo of the poster from the first issue — above — & the "special sticker" (hint: it's so special it's not even a sticker) from the second issue — below.
Photo courtesy of hannah11zoe, who added the staple; no staple originally supplied!
Note that the logo on the transfer sheet reads "Action Transfer Products", which is the name of the company who handled transfers for Thomas Salter.
Many thanks to Steph (hannah11zoe) for her help with this page & with many other comic-related questions over the years.
Picture Credit: The SPLAT Scan Archives — hannah11zoe
© Tom Vinelott 2023