Sunday, 31 January 2016


Fifty years ago, back at the end of January, a new comic periodical
debuted in Britain - SMASH!  It was the sister publication to WHAM!,
launched a year and a half earlier in June of 1964.  That's the cover of the
first issue above, just in case you ignore the pictures and immerse your-
selves in my award-winning, witty and absorbing writing style, the envy
of many a blogger across the land.  (What award?  Well, you award it
your full attention, don't you?  That's a big enough award for me!)

Guess what 'though?  I haven't yet scanned the complete contents of
Smash! #1, but a few years ago, I presented a three-part series of the
contents of issue #2.  So being a benevolent sort of fella, I decided to
show them again, but this time complete in one post to save you the
inconvenience of keeping track of three separate instalments.

So what are you waiting for?  Wonderment aplenty lies ahead!


Something you won't know is that the ODHAMS PRESS bound
volume of the first 50 issues of SMASH! didn't include #2.  It wasn't
pulled out later - it was simply missing when the comics were gathered
for binding.  Luckily, I have a spare copy of that 2nd collectors' classic
(as I do of #1 also) - and it too is an Odhams file copy, the one with
details of who did what and how much they got paid for doing it.

If I recall correctly, I had practically a full year's worth of these
issues, each with a label on every strip noting the financial facts and
creative cast of those involved.  (Odhams kept two sets - one with labels
and one without, and I was given both.)  I gave the labelled ones away,
but retained #2 so that I could transplant it into my unlabelled volume
and complete the set.  First, 'though, I carefully steamed off the labels
to conserve the information for comics historians everywhere.

So, enjoy reading some sensational strips from one of Britain's
brightest comics of the '60s, and indulge your curiosity at how much
the contributors got paid for their labours.  Sadly, there just aren't as
many opportunities available nowadays for budding cartoonists, as
weekly comics (with the exception of The BEANO) are mainly
a thing of the past. 

So gaze upon these pages of Smash! and recall a time in the
nation's history when seemingly countless high-circulation comic
periodicals for girls and boys proliferated all across the country.
Sadly, it appears unlikely that we shall see such times again.


(And in case you wonder why THE GHOST PATROL was
'free', it's because it was a retitled reprint of THE PHANTOM
PATROL from SWIFT, a few years before.)



Jim Shelley said...

Thank you for this!

Kid said...

And thank you for thanking me for this. You're a fan of British comics, I take it?

Mark Carter said...

Thanks for reproducing the whole comic. I loved Smash! back in the day, and still do. It's the only comic from my youth that I've bothered to reacquire during the past few years. I was too young to start getting it from issue 1, though. I think I started reading it in about 1968.

Kid said...

It was revamped in March 1969 as a sort of Valiant clone, MC, and lasted to 1971. Did you get that version?

Philip Crawley said...

Thanks for posting these. Takes me back. Some of these must have filtered though to us here in Australia because seeing the Work of Baxendale and Reid conjures up childhood memories. Even though only one issue of WHAM! survived through to be with me in what's left of the collection I must have once had, I would have seen a few issues back in the day I reckon. Great to see Queen of the Seas and be reminded what an awesome talent Ken Reid was at the top of his game. I believe there's a collected volume of Queen of the Seas in the same format as the Frankie one. Nice to get hold of one of those - as if! Wouldn't mind seeing more of Ken Raid's Queen strips if at all poss...

Andrew May said...

I'm fascinated by the financial details, which you've posted before. The cover price is 7d, which is about 3p in decimal money. Some of the contributors were paid £30, which doesn't sound much until you realize it's a thousand times the cover price. An equivalent weekly comic today might have a cover price of £2. Do contributors get a thousand times that (i.e. £2000)? I doubt it. If they did, £2000 a week for 52 weeks would add up to over £100k, which is a lot of money!

Kid said...

I've got both the volumes you mention and more, PC. I must have all (or most of) the original issues of Smash!, but some of them are in bound file copies which are difficult (if not impossible) to scan. And there'll be more QOTS before too long, I'm sure you'll be glad to hear. Keep watching.


Actually, Andrew, if I recall rightly, one of The Beano artists commented on one of the original posts, saying that DCT don't pay much more than that now. As for the price, comics are printed on better quality paper these days, and in full colour, so it's difficult to do an exact comparison, but the wages certainly haven't gone up in line with the cover prices.

John Calder said...

I suppose we shouldn't judge by appearances but I will say this, some comic artists I've seen never dress like they have any wealth. Perhaps it's part of the image and rebellious nature but they're only drawing for Beano and 2000AD for heaven's sake! It's not counter culture is it?

Paul McScotty -Muir said...

I have about 15 of these (with the cost in them) for Smash and a couple for POw that I picke dup at Memorabillia way back (90s) in Glasgow - £30 etc was a lot of money bajk in the day and as I recall Ken Reids weekly Odhams salary (based on 2 or 3 strips) was more than my Dads monthly salary at the time (and whilst we were not well off my Dad had a pretty decent job) Sadly I doubt comic artists get paid that (equivilant)now.

Kid said...

And remember, McS, DCT only paid half that, but their artists probably still earned more than the average wage, depending on how fast they were and how many pages they turned out.

(Originally posted on 1 February 2016 at 19:02.)

Mark Carter said...

Yes, Kid, I'm pretty sure that I stayed with the comic during its 1969 revamp up until the end. It's only since I've been buying old issues that I realised that the later issues were really a poor relation to its 1966-68 heyday.

(Originally posted on 1 February 2016 at 20:15.)

Kid said...

Must confess I liked the new Smash!, MC, but you're right - the original version was better.

(Originally posted on 1 February 2016 at 20:38.)

Lionel Hancock said...

Once The Legend Testers made their impact I rated Smash as Britains No 1 comic.

(Originally posted on 25 February 2016 at 05:00.)

Kid said...

Who didn't love The Legend Testers? A great strip.

(Originally posted on 25 February 2016 at 10:32.)

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