Nostalgic notions, sentimental sighings, wistful wonderings, rueful reflections, poignant ponderings & yearnings for yesteryear! (With a few profound perplexities & puzzling paradoxes thrown in as well.)
Thursday, 3 March 2011
SMASH, BANG, WALLOP, WHAT A COMIC MAG...
The 1st issue of Smash! (February 1966)
It lasted a total
of 257 issues -
and there would've
been more if not for
a printing strike
lasting for several
weeks in 1970.
companion titles WHAM! (187 issues),
POW! (86 issues),
(89 issues) and
becoming a "best
of" repository for all
of them - but only
for about 6 months.
Then it was out with
the old and in with the new, and what would've been number 163 became
the first issue of the 'NEW'SMASH!, devoid of MARVEL COMICS
reprints and more in line with the traditional British boys' comics like
VALIANT andLION. (It's the 42nd anniversary of that relaunch on
the 8th of this month, unless I'm very much mistaken.)
SMASH! was a superb comic, and the one in which I was first
introduced to the FANTASTIC FOUR. When ODHAMS PRESS
first reprinted the origin of the FF, they did so in WHAM! and SMASH!
simultaneously - curiously (and erroneously) claiming exclusivity for each
title at the end of the first episode of the two-part tale. Want to read the
conclusion of the Marvel quartet's debut adventure? You could only do so
in the next issue of WHAM! - according to WHAM!, that is. If, however,
you were reading SMASH!, it was claiming sole publishing rights for the
next part of the story. An intentional two-pronged promotion of the good
ol' FF to double their readership potential? Or an emergency measure
necessitated by the non-arrival of a regular strip for SMASH!? I guess
only ALF, BART and COS know for certain - I sure don't.
Art by Jack Kirby & Vince Colletta
When I later discovered that REED, BEN, SUSAN and JOHNNY were
regularly appearing in WHAM! ("THE COMIC WITH THE FANTASTIC
FOUR!"), I started buying that title too in order to feed my infatuation with
the INVISIBLE GIRL, but I continued to buy SMASH! as well. Then POW!
(after WHAM! was merged with it) and alsoFANTASTICand TERRIFIC.
It's ironic that SMASH!, having been the first 'POWER' periodical I read -
and the one in which I first discovered Marvel's most famous family - was
also the last title standing, as well as the comic in which the FF made their
home for the last few months of their Odhams Press existence.
The 1st revamped issue (March 1969)
As mentioned, the
title was relaunched -
in March 1969 - in a
some stories originally
intended for a comic
which, for reasons
unknown, was sadly
and - eventually -
PERIL being but a
couple of examples.)
It lasted for 95 issues
before being merged
with VALIANT on 27th
March, 1971 (issue
dated 3rd April).
The Codemaster cards & envelope
All things come to an end, alas - but SMASH! did not die with the
last issue of its regular comic. Click here for the rest of the story.