Monday, 10 September 2018
Fantastic #1 (Power Comics/1967)
Fantastic #1 (Power Comics)
Various (w) & (a)
Regular readers of this blog will know that I have a particular interest in the "Power Comics" range of titles published by Odhams Press between 1964 and 1969. These comics introduced many readers to the Marvel superheroes with Spider-Man & Sgt Fury appearing in Pow!, The Hulk in Smash! and the Fantastic Four in Wham!
These titles also contained humour stories (Georgie's Germs, Eagle Eye etc) and some original adventure material. Fans were treated to an original Hulk story in Smash! that only recently was made available to U.S. readers.
The first three "Power Comics" were all traditionally formatted British comics and cost around 6d, the average price on the market to sustain sales. The launch of Fantastic came as a surprise. Not only did it feature long stories of Marvel Characters, it was in a smaller format halfway between the respective sizes of British & US comics. A 40 page black & white package that cost a whooping 9d!
Fantastic treated British readers to three Marvel Features. All first appearances from Thor in Journey into Mystery #83, X-Men #1 and Iron Man in Tales of Suspense #39.
Fantastic went on to last 89 issues merging with it's sister title, Terrific the last of the "Power Comics" as of issue #52.
As with all things Power Comics came to rather an abrupt end as Fantastic merged with Smash & Pow! Pow! had already consumed Wham! leading to the publication of Smash! and Pow! incorporating Fantastic. Rather a mouthful of a title.
The sole surviving Power Comic, Smash! was purchased (along with the Eagle) and totally transformed into a more traditional British "Boys Paper". The Eagle was merged with Lion, though Dan Dare was the only strip to survive the merger.
All Power Comics are worth picking up and collecting. Alan Class anthologies aside, these comics (including the Eagle which published Tales of Asgard) introduced many readers to Marvel back in the sixties. Later on Marvel would start up it's own UK publishing outlet, but that's another story.