Saturday, 11 March 2017

REMINISCING REPOST: SMASH, BANG, WALLOP, WHAT A COMIC MAG...


The 1st issue of Smash! (February 1966)
It lasted a total of 257
issues - and there would
have been more if not for
a printing strike lasting
several weeks in 1970.

It outlived companion
titles WHAM! (187
issues), POW! (86),
FANTASTIC (89)
and TERRIFIC (43),
essentially 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 have
been #163 became the
first issue of the 'NEW'
SMASH!, devoid of
MARVEL reprints and more in line with the traditional British boys comics like VALIANT and LION.  (It was the 48th 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 conclusion of the first episode of the four-part tale.  Want to read
the next instalment of the 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 FF
to double their readership potential?  Or an emergency measure neces-
sitated by the non-arrival of a regular strip for SMASH!?  I guess
only ALFBART and COS know for certain - I sure don't.

Art by Jack Kirby & Vince Colletta

When I later discovered that REEDBENSUSAN 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 also FANTASTIC and 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
completely different
format, featuring
some stories originally
intended for a comic
called BLACKJACK,
which, for reasons
unknown, was sadly
never published.
(CURSITOR DOOM,
and - eventually -
The PILLATER
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

4 comments:

John Pitt said...

Which issue of Smash! printed the origin of the FF, Kid? I can't remember that happening . I wouldn't have known that it was a Marvel strip when I read it! I didn't even know that the Hulk was!

Kid said...

The first part of the FF's origin appeared in Smash! #27, cover-dated 6th August 1966. It appeared in that week's Wham! at the exact same time.

John Pitt said...

Cheers Kid, I would have had that one too! I just can't remember the FF in it!
In the same way that I can't remember Plastic Man being in the Okay Adventure Annual for Boys!

Kid said...

I'd actually forgotten that I'd first read the FF origin in Smash!, JP, and wondered why, in memory, I associated it with Batman. I'd assumed that because the FF appeared in Wham!, that's where I must've read their origin, but I realised my error when I discovered many years later that the story had been reprinted in both comics simultaneously.

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