Thursday, 25 October 2012

A VALIANT ATTEMPT AT A SMASHING COMBINATION...


Copyright relevant owner

Three weeks after the amalgamation of LION and THUNDER (as seen here), VALIANT and SMASH! succumbed to the same fate.  It's interesting to note how much more attractive and dynamic the cover to the first combined issue of Valiant & Smash! is compared to that of Lion & Thunder. Frankly, the editor who accepted the cover lettering for L&T was asleep at the wheel; he'd have been far better following the example of the editor of V&S, who clearly had a much sharper eye for recognising what makes a striking cover banner.



Take a look at the banner-blurbs over the mastheads (above) of the first two issues of L&T; poorly executed, inconsistently spaced - and completely unexciting.  Now look at the one on the V&S cover at the top of this post;  neat, zippy, punchy, colourful - all the things that a cover banner should be.



Well, now that I've vented about poor display lettering, let's take a look at the first issue itself.  Unlike L&T, V&S remained predominantly Valiant, with nine strips consisting of a whopping twenty pages, whereas Smash! was represented by only four strips totalling nine pages. Valiant stories included CAPTAIN HURRI-CANE, The CROWS, The NUTTSBANGER & MASHER, RAVEN On The WING, KELLY'S EYEThe WILD WONDERS, The GHOSTLY GUARDIAN, and 'heavyweight chump' BILLY BUNTER. Representing Smash! were JANUS STARK, The SWOTS The BLOTS, SIMON TEST, and HIS SPORTING LORDSHIP.


So why were these two comics amalgamated?  Declining sales of at least one of them is surely a given, but what had led to such a situation? A few months earlier, industrial action by printers had resulted in the suspension of various titles for around twelve weeks.  When publication eventually resumed, many readers had been lost along the way.  This resulted in some titles being amalgamated in an attempt to combine the circulation of two comics into one.


Anyway, that's more than enough waffle from me for one post.  Here's a few select pages from forty-one and a half years ago to hopefully refresh fond memories from yesteryear.  Enjoy.





Remember to click on images to enlarge, then click again for optimum size.

4 comments:

Dougie said...

Dr. Diamond's time-clock seems "relatively" familiar! I seem to recall Robot Archie travelling in time in a giant chess-piece castle- can you confirm?

Kid said...

Yes, Dougie - Archie became a time traveller in Lion weekly for a while, back about 1968 or '69. Some of the annuals also featured stories of this kind, although I'm unsure if they were new stories or reprints. I'll have to dig out what ones I've got and give them a check.

John Pitt said...

I see you had the first ish, at least! :-)

Kid said...

I bought it for a good while after the merger, JP. Nowadays I have the first 3, plus a few indivisual issues, I think.

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