Saturday, December 31, 2011

 

Welcome To The Ancestral Trail

There comes a time when we look back on our younger days and remember some of the great times we had and the fun things we enjoyed. I'm not talking about a college student remember how easy high school once was, but rather how a man in his twenties remembers how he was as a child. In my case, I remember how, back when I still lived in South Africa, I used to line up toy cars in rows, fueling my parents' speculation that I would grow up to be a parking attendant. I remember how I always spent my Saturdays at my friend Timothy's house dreaming of building a motorized cart. And I also remember how I loved reading serialized magazines designed specifically for my age group.

The serialized magazines I'm taling about are similar to the Zoo Books that you see every now and again on television; back in South Africa, I can remember subscribing to quite a few series. A couple magazines I can recall from memory are Bugs and Dinosaurs, magazines which dealt with their obvious subject matter. However, there was one serialized magazine that, for me, stood out from the rest. Unlike all of my other serialized magazines, this one was a fantasy story. And I'm pretty sure that it's this series that started my love-affair with fantasy and science-fiction literature.

It was called The Ancestral Trail: An Epic Story of Myths, Magic and Monsters.

The Ancestral Trail was published by Marshall Cavendish in a fortnightly format from 1992 to 1993. Originating from a story by Frank Graves, it was adapted into MC's issue format by Fergus Fleming, who did the first half of the series, and Ian Probert, who did the second half. There were 52 issues in total, and several extras that came with every issue - extras like pieces to unique games created specifically by the magazine and clues to various contests. The series has long been out of print, and yet it is still one of the more memorable stories I've read.

It's actually quite amazing that I still love The Ancestral Trail. Looking over the story again, the reading level for the series is certainly for young children. However, the story itself is actually quite mature for its reading level; unlike the sanitized American landscape of children's literature and television, The Ancestral Trail actually tells a dark, almost macabre fable in which people are frequently killed in incredibly gruesome manners. Also, the story manages to take a derivative concept - the fetch quest - and breath new life into it with some interesting characters and a unique setting. Sure, a lot of the story looks like it owes a great deal to Tokien...but so does virtually every single fantasy author published today. The fact is that The Ancestral Trail is fun and exciting and has a fantastic story to tell. And isn't that what really matters?

However, because this series was created before the internet became what it is today, there is very little information available about it on the web. There are a few webpages here and there that talk about the series, but I feel that the information available on these sites don't reveal enough. Therefore, I'm going to take it upon myself to share with you as much as I possibly can about this series. I will look at each volume of the series individually, break it down, and show you why I love this series so much. There really is no purpose behind me writing this other than my own personal enjoyment, but if I manage to get you interested enough to seek out out-of-print copies, then that would be fantastic; this series, in my opinion, really is worth tracking down.

With that out of the way, please enjoy yourselves as you begin your journey through The Ancestral Trail, starting with an introduction to the series.

Comments:
Oh wow, this is fantastic.. I remember these from when i was a kid... they're packed in boxes at my parents house.. I so need to get them back..
 
Fucking awesome . I followed this religiously until my local newsstand discontinued stocking the series by the 19th issues!!!! How can I ever get #20-26? Help!
 
I still have this series, I found it a few days ago in my cupboard! I still have all the games cards and little alphabet tiles. I even made a box specialy for all the other pieces !! I have to read them to my daughter!!
 
It's really nice to see that someone in the whole wide web cares about this series.
I don't know anybody who even had recognised it ever came out.
I bought some issues when I was a kid, but sadly lost most of the cards and extras of it. I only have issues 1 to 3 and 10 left... I'd really like to buy the over ones to read them - in german. ;)
Maybe I can find someone who sells a few one... one day. ;)

Thank you for sharing this blog with us!

- gorr -
 
Thanks for doing the first part of the series... I bought every one up to issue 20, then the newsagent stopped selling it! As a result, I never got to see the "ending".

I'm assuming you're continuing to do the series, so thanks in advance for helping me to relive a great part of my childhood!
 
for 1 month i bought all comics by ebay...iam from germany, but i bought them in great britain (all 52 episodes for 12 pounds, very cheep :D ) it doesn´t mather to me, that i have to look for some words, that i don´t know!!!i love the whole story and the great painted pictures, iam a little fantasy-fan ;)
but maybe you can tell me, were i can find the last episodes, i have all comics, but some card are away and i don´t find them -_-

thanks a lot for making that possible Kornelius
 
Big up on telling this tale, my Gran bought me everyone and I loved them all. I destroyed mine by cutting the next issue picture out of them but it's only on the back. So glad that there are more people out there who enjoyed it. I have yet to meet another person who had even heard of it before. Keep the memory alive:)Luke
 
I have the complete set in carry box a bit worn otherwise in very good condition and also have the first 2 issues of the future ones.:) very good characters and good designs in the artwork.love it.
 
i have almost the whole series and am looking to sell them? biteme.ambrose@gmail.com
 
I have the complete set in excellent condition that I would like to sell to someone who will enjoy them. carley.ludlow163@gmail.com. Thanks.
 
I was never more excited than when I went to the CNA every two weeks to check if the latest issue had arrived!
 
I HAVE EVERY ISSUE 1-26 STORED IN THE GREEN CASE AND 27-52 STORED IN THE APPARENTLY IMPOSSIBLE TO FIND BLUE CASE. LIKE MOST BACK IN THE DAY I CUT THE CARDS N OTHER BITS OUT OF THE BACK OF EACH ISSUE BUT OTHERWISE SUPERB CONDITION.

IM THINKING OF SELLING THEM IF THE PRICE IS RIGHT.

MY DIRECT CONTACT IS 07850596388
 
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