Thursday, May 01, 2014

The Day Batman Was Too Late

Art by Jack Kirby
I see that IDW have just published a collection of Batman Sunday newspaper strips from the sixties. (Batman: The Silver Age Newspaper Comics Vol.1: 1966 - 67). These were the same strips that UK comic Smash! reprinted every week on its cover back in 1966. 

However, there was one week when the copies of the strips were too late in arriving from the USA, so Smash! featured the Hulk on the cover instead. (See above. Smash! No.34, dated 24th September 1966.) Page two explained the reason...

The Incredible Hulk was a regular reprint series in the pages of Smash! anyway, so promoting him on the cover, albeit as a last-minute fill in, was a good way for the editors to turn a problem to their advantage. That iconic image of the Hulk originally appeared as half of the cover to Tales to Astonish No.67 (1965) and a small version was later used regularly in the corner box of Astonish, and its successor The Incredible Hulk every month for a few years.

By the way, that same issue of Smash! was the one which featured the infamous goof by an Odhams art bodger. Extending panels for a reprint of Avengers No.2 to fit Smash's different page layout, he obviously didn't know the panel below was a close up of Iron Man's eye and he added an extra pupil!


While I'm at it, I can't let the moment pass without showing the back cover to that issue, featuring an episode of Ken Reid's Queen of the Seas. It's Ken at the top of his game, despite the muddy printing on the cheap newsprint.

The following week, the cover of Smash! was back to its regular look, with the delayed Batman strip in its usual place.  

If you're interested in buying the collection of Batman strips you can order it through Amazon by clicking here.

By the way, I'm sure you already know (but there's always someone who says the images are too small), - click on the images to see them much larger and to read them better. 

7 comments:

LIME STREET HERO said...

Wait. Hulk AND Batman in the same comic? Really? DC and Marvel collaborating? I don't think so. This is a phoney cover right??

Lew Stringer said...

Wrong. Smash was a real comic. You'll find it mentioned on various places on the net. You might even be able to buy a copy on eBay if you're lucky.

John Pitt said...

Great post, Lew. I don't remember this issue even though I probably had it.Off to Amazon now to check out that book.
( I do remember the TTA issue the Hulk was lifted from, though. )

LIME STREET HERO said...

I know Smash was real. Janus Stark, Birdman. That Hulk and Batman thing is what's phoney.

Lew Stringer said...

If you say so.

Keith Apperley said...

URL: http://pages.ebay.com/link/?nav=item.view&id=321395525249&alt=web

Ocadpete said...

I love 'experts' who don't know what they don't know. I've always thought Smash was just about the perfect comic. Leo Baxendale, Ken Reid, Batman and the Hulk all in the one comic. And then when it merged with Pow adding The Cloak! Happy Saturday mornings.

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