Saturday, October 25, 2014

Britain AD2170 (LION 1970)

Tonight's episode of Doctor Who (In the Forest of the Night) reminded me in some ways of a short lived strip that ran in Lion weekly back in 1970/71, particularly the cover shown above (drawn by Geoff Campion). 

Britain AD2170 began in Lion dated 25th July 1970. A three page serial illustrated by Solano Lopez (and possibly his studio assistants) it told the story of four British astronauts who return to Earth after a five year mission. They discover that Earth is covered in a dense jungle and people have reverted to a primitive state. Borrowing an explanation from Planet of the Apes, the story proposes that the ship must have travelled into the future and that they've actually arrived in the year 2170.

Here's the first episode. Click pages to see them larger...



As in tonight's Doctor Who, London is overgrown with trees and vegetation and wild beasts are on the prowl. We learn that society has broken down into tribes, one of which are the savage 'Snakemen' who wear armour made from car tyres. They appear on the cover to Lion dated 22nd August 1970, drawn by Geoff Campion (who was illustrating most of Lion's covers at this time)...

The astronauts use the remnants of civilisation to fight the Snakemen but there's a greater danger from a huge scaly Godzilla-like monster that roams London, although how and where it originated isn't really explained.

Along with Smash!, Buster, Valiant, and some girls' titles, Lion hit a glitch in late 1970 due to a printer's strike. The issues dated November 14th were the last for several months, and the comics vanished from the shelves until the ones dated 6th February 1971. As with all the other serials, Britain AD2170 continued from where it had left off but the strike had affected sales of the comics. Lion and Thunder were set to merge, and so in the issue of Lion dated 13th March 1971, Britain AD2170 was brought to a conclusion. Here's the final episode...




Britain AD2170 wasn't one of the greatest strips to have appeared in a British comic but it had its moments and was suitably exciting. Personally I found Lion to be one of the better UK adventure comics of the seventies and was a good comic to lay the foundations for 2000AD a few years later. I'll be blogging more about Lion in future posts when I have time, hopefully before the year 2170.  

6 comments:

Paul McScotty -Muir said...

Great to see this strip and Lion again, Lion was always one of my favourites UK comics (with Valiant, IPCs Smash, and Buster) that I got (almost) every week from about 1969 - 1973. I loved these type of adventure serials that UK comics did (imho) better than anyone else the likes of the "White Eyes" , Pillator Peril, The Battle of Britain etc were always great to follow. I agree I think this looks like it was drawn or had help from Solano's studio than from the man himself (no matter its still some very nice artwork).

Lew Stringer said...

Yes, it was my favourite of the early 1970s IPC adventure comics too. It reminds me that my dad started reading comics again a year or so before he died. He enjoyed some of the strips in the combined Lion and Thunder (White Eyes, Black Max, Adam Eterno) and also liked Marvel's Werewolf by Night.

John Pitt said...

Great post, Lew. I didn't get Lion nearly as often as I should have ( for me, it was always Valiant - Lopez did some gothically atmospheric Kelly's Eye strips here, too! ), so it's good to now see what I missed. I would have LOVED this strip!

Lew Stringer said...

Yes, Valiant was a good comic too. I've blogged about that a few times in the past.

Lion had some great strips in the early seventies, but sadly it didn't save it from falling sales.

Colin Jones said...

Peter Capaldi's a great Doctor Who but the stories he's in are another matter and that trees story on Saturday was the worst so far. And as for those annoying kids...why can't Clara live in the Tardis so she wouldn't have to go near that school :(

Lew Stringer said...

Because she wants a career I guess. Also, I'm guessing that Coal Hill School isn't there by coincidence, as it was the school seen right back in episode one in 1963.

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