Tuesday, 22 July 2014
Fantastic & Terrific: The Odhams line of comics (Part Two)
Following on from launching Pow!, Odhams went on to produce two more comics in their line now proudly called Power Comics complete with Marvel style editorials and news pages with Alf & Bart. The first of the these comics was Fantastic.
Launched in February 1967, Fantastic had a completely different format to Odhams (and other British comics of the time) being very much in a "magazine" format on higher grade paper. It also had a higher page count and of course a higher price, 9d.
Fantastic was aimed at the older child or teenager and consisted mainly of Marvel comics reprints featuring in the first issue the origin stories of Thor, Iron Man and the X-Men. In addition it ran a British strip about a hulk like character in the Missing Link who later evolved into the futuristic Johnny Future.
Unlike the other comics in the Power line this was not high on my reading list in the sixties due to the easy availability of American comics in newsagents even in deepest Surrey. It is only now as an adult that I've developed an appreciation of this comic (and its sister title Terrific) and have slowly added editions to my personal collection.
Fantastic ran for a total of 89 issues (merging with Terrific as of issue 52) making it a comic not too difficult to collect. Prices on most editions (except those which still bear their free gifts and the slightly more difficult to find Summer Special) are very reasonable.
The final Power Comic to launch was Terrific. Published in the same format as Fantastic it featured the adventures of the Sub-Mariner, Doctor Strange and The Avengers.
However the title lasted under a year (43 issues) before low sales and increasing financial difficulties for the publishers forced Terrific to merge with its' older sibling Fantastic.
The new combined title Fantastic and Terrific went on for a while reprinting the more popular strips such as The Avengers, Thor, Doctor Strange and The X-Men for another 9 months until it was forced to merge with Power Comics only other remaining title Smash & Pow!
Although these titles didn't last long they did provide the template that Marvel themselves would use in the seventies when Stan Lee launched his own British editions of Marvel Comics.
These titles are remembered fondly by those who bought them and are a cheap way of getting to read the early Marvel stories that fans have come to love and enjoy.
Part One of this series on Odhams can be found: Here
Upcoming: Part Three