Saturday, 15 June 2013

THIRD AND FINAL PART OF 'SMASHING' FACTS & FIGURES...


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And now, the end is here, and so we face the final portion (oops, nearly broke into a song there) - of SMASH! #2, featuring labels detailing the cast and cost of each page's production.  You now have the complete ish to peruse at leisure, as well as an insight into just how lucrative being a cartoonist could be compared to the average wage back in 1966.  Don't be fooled though - it wasn't easy money, and often involved working into the wee small hours of the night in an attempt to meet a deadline.

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 comics for girls and boys proliferated all across the country.  Sadly, it appears unlikely that we shall see such times again.










7 comments:

DeadSpiderEye said...

I wonder what your thoughts are on the decline of the comic scene. I still see quite a selection on the racks in Smiths but they all seem to be media crossovers, nothing original and pretty prosaic compared to their predecessors. I think British producers are subject to more difficulties, distribution is a major problem both cost wise and in the restrictive practices exercised. I did make some tentative enquires a while ago about trying to get print into venues and it was apparent to me that there was a lock out on competition. I think aesthetically people are moving away from the comic art idiom too, CGI is becoming more prevalent and soon simple line work could be beyond the scope of appreciation of kids. I suppose the interest in Manga goes against that trend but in Britain it's quite an eclectic scene and distribution has suffered some rationalisation in the US recently too. Anyway do you have any thoughts on this topic, most people seem to have given up on print here and are concentrating on the web and other electronic media.

Kid said...

Although WHS is still packed with publications for kids, there's no 'high-circulation' ones of the kind available in the '60s & '70s. What's more, they seem to have far more 'activity' content and pin-ups, as opposed to mainly comic strips. (Take a look at Dr Who Adventures to see what I mean.)

There's no one single reason for the decline of 'traditional' comics for kids, there's a variety of factors involved: More choice of what to spend their pocketmoney on other than comics, the disproportionate rise in prices of comics compared to my day, etc.

I much prefer printed periodicals, but unless we can return to inexpensive, mass-marketed, easy access weekly publications (which seems unlikely), then I'm afraid it looks like the writing is on the wall for comics as we know them. Sadly.

Andrew May said...

Hi Kid - Slightly off-topic, but hopefully of interest. Do you ever read Fortean Times magazine? The latest issue (just delivered to subscribers and in the shops next Thursday) includes a letter that poses a question about Odhams Fantastic comic! This is a follow-up to an earlier letter in which someone said they remembered a letter to the editor in “a children’s magazine of the late 1960s” in which a reader’s query about certain strange phenomena received an editor’s reply to the effect “you have experienced the Power of Pluto”. The letter in the current issue suggests this may have been in an issue of Fantastic around the time “The Power of Pluto” from Thor #128 was reprinted. This sounds feasible to me, but if anyone knows the definitive answer it will be you!

Kid said...

Tell you what, Andrew - I'll dig through my back issues later today and get back to you on that. Sounds as if it might've been Fantastic indeed. Either that, or Mickey Mouse Weekly (if it was out then).

Kid said...

Well, Andrew, I've taken a look at Fantastic #s 68 & 69, wherein 'The Power of Pluto!' was reprinted in June of 1968. I also had a look at a few issues either side of them, but, sadly, can find no mention of the letter or response you mention. (I also checked 'The Floor of 64' pages.)

However, it could still be in an earlier ish promoting that particular story - or in a later one referring back to it, so I'll have another look when I've got more time. There's also the possibility that it could've been in one of the other Power Comics, referring to what was happening in that week's Fantastic. Again, when I have the time, I'll dig them out and see.

Andrew May said...

Thanks for the help, Kid. Given the ephemeral nature of British comics in those days, my guess is that it would have been within a few weeks of the story appearing or readers wouldn't have been expected to catch the reference. If you can dig out a few other issues from around that time please do, but don't go wasting a lot of time on it. Unless, of course, you actually enjoy looking through old comics (now there's a thought...)

Kid said...

The reasons you've given, Andrew, is why I suspect it may have been in Smash! or Pow! It could also have been in Eagle, which was part of the Odhams group at that time and was publishing 'Tales of Asgard'.

I always enjoy looking through old comics - it's the digging them out I hate. Don't worry 'though, I'll have another look soon.

Remember, too, that comics were produced up to 8 weeks ahead, so letters (or answers) pertaining to any particular story could appear quite a bit after publication.

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