Saturday, 16 April 2016

KID'S KLASSIC KOMIC KOVERS - FANTASTIC #89...


Image copyright MARVEL COMICS

You're looking at the end of an era - the very last issue of
FANTASTIC, published in October 1968.  A week later, the
name appeared in tiny form as part of the masthead of SMASH!,
which 'incorporated' its former sister publication from that point
on.  Around five months later, Smash! was revamped and the re-
maining Marvel content vanished - along with the name Fantastic
from the cover.  Short-lived it may have been, but the comic
had certainly lived up to its name.

(Incidentally, that's not the real MANDARIN on the
cover - it's JIMMY HILL done up to look like him.)

16 comments:

George Shiers said...

Fantastic turns 50 next February. Smash turned 50 earlier this year but nobody seemed to notice.

Kid said...

To those who bought it back in the day, it's always with us, GS. (Even if we sometimes forget its birthday.)

Phil said...

Mandy is supposed to be Chinese yet he looks like a Vulcan down to the ears. I think that's Don Heck art but the other heads include Kirby and Kane. Kirby and Colan could reliably draw minorities as could Romita.
Fantastic wasn't part of Marvel UK was it,,? I don't think marvel started their own publishing until mighty World of marvel.

Kid said...

No, Phil, Fantastic was published by Odhams Press, who only licensed the use of the Marvel characters. I think the Mandarin head has been drawn by an Odhams artist.

Colin Jones said...

Until the internet came along I'd always assumed that MWOM #1 was the first time Marvel characters had appeared in a UK comic...

Kid said...

I knew it wasn't simply because I'm so ancient.

John Pitt said...

In hindsight, maybe Fantastic should have gone monthly, being as the reasons for the disappearance of all the Marvel strips weren't so much flagging sales, it was simply because all the weekly UK Power comics caught up with the US monthly originals!

Kid said...

Actually, that wasn't quite the case, JP. Remember that Fantastic usually split most of the stories over two, three or four issues. The real reason was a combination of low sales (although, nowadays, they would probably have been enough to keep the comic going) and the fact that IPC (who'd taken over Odhams) weren't keen on the Marvel content, preferring instead traditional British-style strips. That's why Smash! (whose sales must've been reasonably good) was relaunched as a Valiant-type comic.

John Pitt said...

Even though those stories were divided between issues, they still did catch up with the American Marvels on the spinner racks in the UK, particularly with the X-Men, Avengers and Thor. I'm not so sure with the FF & Spidey. I used to buy my fave US titles religeously as soon as they got over here, ( which could take anything up to a year in those days ) and I remember thinking when Fantastic were reprinting stories that I had not long bought in US format, " I wonder what they do when they catch up? "
The answer to this seemed to be ' stop! ' The sales to me certainly weren't waning and the demand from me was still there, so I guess it must have been everyone else who lost interest.
Personally speaking, I wanted my beloved Fantastic to go on, they could have started on Cap for one thing and perhaps printed some golden age All Winners Squad for a while. It was a sad day for me when it stopped with just a tiny bit of Thor continuing in Smash. And how about the Human Torch/ the Torch and Thing as the third strip? None of these had been reprinted in Power Comics.
The truth is, losing one of your favourite comics was a sad affair!

Kid said...

As you suggest, JP, they had other strips they could have reprinted, so catching up with the X-Men, Thor, etc., wasn't the nail in the coffin that led to Fantastic's cancellation. I think that was merely coincidental, but had the comic gone on for longer, lack of material would eventually have become a problem. I did like the new Smash! 'though. Got a full set. That reminds me, I'll have to revive the cover gallery I was doing of it.

paul Mcscotty said...

I never liked "Fantastic" or "Terrific" when I was a kid they were too expensive and I didn't like (at the time) comics dedicated to superheroes then (plus I preferred Superman and Batman then- Marvel was new to me) - also I seem to recall they were quite expensive for a weekly comic - little did I know that a few years later with the MWOM etc my tastes would change completely. I really liked the IPC / Fleetway “Smash” it was a great wee comic. Of course MARVEL characters (Tower, Charlton etc etc0 all appeared before then in Alan Class comics and others even after Odhams stopped publishing Marvel characters they appeared for a short time in the revamped TV21.

Kid said...

It's odd that most people seem to forget TV21 publishing Marvel stories, McS. Even 'though I occasionally bought TV21 at this time, I always considered MWOM as the natural successor to Fantastic, etc. I think that because TV21 never showed the Marvel heroes on the cover, it's sort of slipped people's memories that they included them.

Phil said...

Smash and Terrific were just before my time, I arrived in the UK the year of decimalisation. I think therefore I had two years of no Marvel comics does that seem right? Mighty World of Marvel was 1972 and Oldham's stopped publishing in 1970?

Kid said...

Odhams stopped publishing the last Power comic, Smash!, sometime in 1968, I think, Phil, although it continued to look exactly the same under IPC until around March 1969, when it was relaunched without Marvel strips. TV21 reprinted Spider-Man (by Romita), Silver Surfer, Ghost Rider (the western one) and Two-Gun Kid (I think) around 1970 or '71, so there was still a Marvel presence between Smash! and MWOM.

John Pitt said...

Yes, please! I was collecting those cover scans!

Kid said...

Coming soon, JP.

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