Friday, January 19, 2007
Power Comics and comics fandom
With Pow! and the other Odhams comics being the UK home for Marvel reprints it was inevitable that comics fandom would show an interest in the weeklies. No doubt this was also helped by the fact that comics fan Steve Moore was on the staff. The Odhams "Power Comics" (Wham!, Smash!, Pow!, Fantastic, and Terrific) had a good rapport with their readers thanks to the News From the Floor of 64 feature which ran in all five titles. (The name referring to the address of Odhams at the time; 64 Long Acre, which I understand today is the location for Field and Trek a shop selling camping supplies. )
The News columns in the comics were basically a UK version of Marvel's Bullpen Bulletins, providing chatty information about the comics and their creators. However, they also revealed the early days of active comics fandom in this country. As the examples here show, Odhams were quite happy to mention comics fanzines and plug the very first UK comics convention. (By the way the Spot the Boob Contest mentioned in one of the News columns scanned here shows how things have changed. In the 1960's a boob was slang for a mistake! Snigger. Fnar fnar.)
Sadly, after the demise of the Odhams comics, IPC were not so keen to connect with their readers in the same fashion and such news pages were dropped. A great shame, as, to my mind anyway, it made comics such as Cor!! and Whoopee! seem more distant than their predecessors had been. (It was pleasing though that when 2000AD arrived it gradually developed a more informal connection with its readers, as Marvel UK also did, and as Panini does today.)
Incidentally, I've also added a scan of another Pow! cover to this entry, as an example of how the standard US comics page was edited and rearranged to fit the larger UK size. (They'd usually redesign two US pages to fit one UK page.) This is a Steve Ditko strip from one of the Marvel anthology titles (Strange Tales or similar).