Thursday, August 25, 2016

Great News, Chums! Rebellion buy Egmont's archive

Classic comics of the 1970s.
Breaking news: Rebellion, the publishers of 2000AD, have acquired the rights to the archive of Egmont comics. That includes comics that were previously published by IPC from 1970 onwards such as Cor!!, Battle Picture Weekly, Action, Whizzer and Chips, Jet, Shiver and Shake, Monster FunWhoopee!, Tammy, Misty, SpeedThunder, Krazy, Scorcher, Score 'n' Roar, Roy of the Rovers and more. 
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-oxfordshire-37177877

Although it's too early to say what Rebellion's plans are I'm speculating that we'll be seeing book collections of classic strips, not the actual return of weekly comics to newsstands. After all, they already have a collection of Misty strips coming out next month, so I'm guessing we'll see more product like that, which will be excellent. 
Cover art by John Richardson.

This is promising news as Egmont had done very little with their back catalogue and it was mostly languishing in limbo. Of course, the icing on the cake would be if Rebellion could also gain the rights to the comics published prior to 1970, which are now owned by Time Inc (who also seem to be doing nothing with them).

Amongst the strips I'd like to see collected are Adam Eterno and Black Max from Thunder, and a compilation of Ken Reid's Creepy Creations and World Wide Weirdies illustrations would be perfect. Let's see the return of The One-Eyed Wonk of Wigan! 

No doubt more news on this exciting topic will be revealed soon! 
Art by Ken Reid.

38 comments:

Brian Meenan said...

cant wait to see what they have in store lew hopefully new monthly or weekly reprint comics or even new stories.

paul Mcscotty said...

Excellent news - first time in ages I have been excited about comics. Even if this "only" results in reprinted material it will be great, but there was a hint of new stuff as well based on some characters. I would assume Adam Etern wouldbe a good fit fro 2000AD etc - Thansk for this great news article Lew

Lew Stringer said...

Some characters such as Adam Eterno would be an excellent fit into 2000AD so let's hope we do see new stories, Paul.

For reasons I've covered before, I very much doubt we'll see the strips reprinted in weekly or monthly titles, Brian. Launching a new comic, with a short shelf life like that, isn't so practical these days. I think we'll see book collections instead.

James McEwan said...

Would be great to see summer and winter specials for the classic comics like Whizzer and Chips and Monster Fun with a mix of established and new talent creating strips similar to what they do with 2000ad.

Lew Stringer said...

Well, I'm not holding my breath on that, James. In the latest update, Rebellion talk about characters from Action and Battle but there's no mention of humour stuff so I doubt we'll see anything along those lines for a while, if at all. It's early days yet though, and it wouldn't make sense for them to buy all that material without using it at some stage.

Stuart V said...

Per a chat I had with IPC back in the days when Albion was being published, Adam Eterno is one of the characters IPC (and hence Time Inc) has the rights to, so he won't be included in the Rebellion deal. Pre-1970 is mostly owned by IPC; post-1970 is mostly owned by Egmont Fleetway (and so now Rebellion, presumably). 1970 itself is the pivotal year, and it seems to not be quite as simple as "anything before/after" one specific date that year.

varszava_vavava said...

Why does egmont only own the post-1970 content? Was it not all the same company almost with different names?

Manic Man said...

I kinda wondered when I heard about this if it was just an old story someone forgot to report.. I mean, they announced Misty collection in April.. but they only just got the rights now?

Since it's BBC.. that even more makes me think it's old news.. maybe it's more a case of that had the rights to SOME of it, but that wasn't newsworthy, until they had the rest?

Sadly, the Humour comics are always the least likely to get reprinted or collected... a shame..

James Spiring said...

I agree with the other James that Rebellion should try that - but without new material. A summer special containing reprint in the same manner as The Dandy's? DC Thomson have been doing those all-reprint Dandy Summer Specials for a few years now (along with Beano ones, but they're a mix of new comics and activity pages instead of reprints, so not a like-for-like comparison), so the market seems to be there.

I wonder if they'll attempt to revive/reboot Roy of the Rovers? That title could easily be retooled to aim at an older audience like 2000AD does nowadays.

Lew Stringer said...

It's complicated, varszava, but IPC and Egmont have always been separate companies unrelated to each other. Several years back, the rights were divided and Egmont got all the post-1970 characters, but there are exceptions. Buster is more complicated because it started in 1960 but the rights to characters were divided between IPC and Egmont.

From IPC publisher Andrew Sumner a few years ago....

Here's the list of the 28 Buster characters that are owned by Egmont Fleetway, not IPC.

Buster
Buster and the Big One
Wonder Worm
Rent-A-Ghost Ltd
Clever Dick
Faceache
Football Madd
Ivor Lott and Tony Broke
Chalky
Tomboy
Bluebottle and Basher
Mummy's Boy
X-Ray Specs
The Winners
Jack Pott
Toys of Doom
Back-Tracker Jack
Thunderbolt the Avenger
Galaxus the Thing From Outer Space
The Skid Kids
The Wizard of Football
Crabbe's Crusaders
Fishboy Denizen of the Deep
Pete's Pocket Army
Marney the Fox
Sammy Brewster's Secret Ski-Board Squad
The Leopard from Lime Street
Astounding Adventures of Charlie Peace (but this does NOT include rights to the Charlie Peace character, who was a real bloke and therefore in the public domain)

Lew Stringer said...

That's a shame, Stuart. It sounds like poor old Adam Eterno is doomed to drift in Time forever then.

Anonymous said...

I can't wait to see the comics back in the shops. Which do people here think they'll do first? Whizzer and Chips? Lion? Tiger? I wonder if they'll be printed on crappy paper? I don't mind! THEYRE COMING BACK! WHOOPPPEE!!MM

Lew Stringer said...

It's not a return of the individual comics, Anon. It'll be reprint collections and possibly things like new stories of old characters updated for 2000AD.

Lion and Tiger are not part of the deal. They're owned by Time Inc.

Anonymous said...

You don't know it all, Stringer. So much speculation, so little knowledge.

Irmantas said...

I am really curious about what they are going to do with the old material. Funny to see a scan of a Tammy from my blog used in that BBC article :)

Neil Taylor said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Neil Taylor said...

Hoping on a Tom thug and Pete's pimple collection.

David said...

I hope we will see some strips reprinted in the flimsy in the Judge Dredd Megazine.
They have reprinted some Battle strips there before

Paul McScotty- Muir said...

That's a shame that Adam Eterno won't be in that deal he is such a good character (and a great name) that shouldn't be left in limbo. Was good to read that list of Buster characters some corkers in there I would love to see in a collection(or revamped in some way) like the
Toys of Doom, Galaxus and Crabbe's Crusaders ( a personal favourite of mine the Wizard of Football I sadly cant see resurfacing) and of course Faceache and anything by Leo Baxendale. Fingers crossed we see something happening with this acquisition even a (paid for) online archive would be good.

STEPHEN ARCHER said...

There's something heart-breaking about the 28 Egmont-owned characters not being part of Rebellion's deal as almost all of them helped to MAKE Buster, none more so than Faceache. Still, we've potentially the likes of Bella Barlow in collected form to look forward to; Graham Allen's seminal Fiends & Neighbours wouldn't come amiss either.

Anonymous said...

Agree with you Lew, I can't see that there's a big enough market for relaunching the humour comics (apart from us oldies of course!). Christmas and summer annuals is the logical way forward there. I think that the "Monster" reprint collection of the Scream and Eagle strips gives a pretty good indicator of the main way the material they really wanted will be used, suspect that Action and maybe Battle character collections will be coming before we see Gus the Gorilla back in print!

Manic Man said...

Ah, question, re-reading the bit about Buster... aren't his rights a lot more complex? I Mean, he was created and sold as the Son of Andy Capp, he was Buster Capp.. so Daily Mirror/Creators Syndicate/ Maybe even Reg Smythe's estate, have a share in the rights? It's a bit complex to my understanding. hell, look at US law suits about the rights of Superman compared to Superboy... UK law is different but it seams unlikely that the Daily Mirror or Creators Syndicate didn't have some stake in it.. would IPC just buy the rights to call him 'Capp' and get the Daily Mirror to plug it?... was there a sale of rights.. Do they own the rights to Buster, but not to Buster Capp so there is a division in the character... so complex...

Christopher Nevell said...

This is indeed Great News Lew! To clarify I understand the pivotal date is 1st January 1970 (although Comics International once mentioned June 1969 and so Sally onwards - so some confusion in my mind but hopefully not the solicitors' ! ). Adam Eterno though mystifies me as I thought he first appeared post 1970 but on one of his licensing pursuits, Starscape from the Comics UK forum was told they didn't own him).

Lew Stringer said...

Thanks for your comments. I've been out all day so I'll respond properly over the weekend. Two important quick points though; I've been told that Egmont did own Adam Eterno so he is part of the deal. Secondly, Stephen, maybe you've misunderstood. Those 28 Buster characters are amongst the ones Egmont have sold to Rebellion, so all's well.

Lew Stringer said...

Manic, I don't think they'll fight over the Buster character. The 'Son of Andy Capp' line was dropped after the first several months. If the Mirror or Smythe's estate wanted to make a claim on the character they'd have done it while it was in print last century.

Stuart V said...

An amendment regarding my earlier post. Though I was told back in 2005 that Adam Eterno had ended up under IPC's ownership, apparently in 2007 both Egmont and IPC confirmed him to be part of Egmont's lot. Not sure what happened, but clearly there was some confusion somewhere in the deal (bear in mind that in 2007 Egmont apparently also thought they still owned the Starlord and Tornado characters). Regardless of the ins and outs and contrary to what I originally said, based on the most recent confirmation of ownership, Eterno should be part of the lot Rebellion has purchased.

Christopher Nevell said...

I see on the Comics UK forum that Frankie Stein is not part of the package as he of course started in Wham pre 1970. While that's disappointing as someone who grew up with the Robert Nixon version, nevertheless it does clarify that IPC have sole ownership.

Christopher Nevell said...

Another reprint for consideration - Badtime Bedtime Tales from Monster Fun

Lew Stringer said...

That's right, Christopher. Only a few years ago, Egmont were planning a Frankie Stein revival but IPC clamped down on it.

I should have used a different cover in the photo above to avoid confusion.

Lew Stringer said...

Anon, if you know some solid info, please share it instead of being snarky.

Lew Stringer said...

David, it'd be great to see some Fleetway material bagged with Judge Dredd Megazine. A good way to test audience reaction, and to encourage fans of classic material to buy the Meg!

Steve Fisher said...

Vulcan was 1975 wasn't it? So a collection of Vulcan in an omnibus would be my choice.

meherenow said...

Totally awesome news!

Unfortunately one of my faves to look out for is "Janus Stark" and that looks like it's not in the deal by a whisker, just have to dust off those old Valiants I managed to get hold of (not born when first available).

A collected Sweeny Toddler would be great if Rebellion intend to repack the funnies as well as the adventure stuff, in fact that "Judge Sweeny" parody springs to mind from near the end of Whoopee!'s run.

Hopefully the floppies in the Megazine will benefit because there's just a lot of stuff in there recently that just feels so recent to me, even though most of it is 10 or more years old now!

Lew Stringer said...

Let's hope we hear news of new books soon.

Steve, Vulcan reprinted 1960s strips from Lion and Valiant, so not available to Rebellion.

Hibernia Comics said...

Its great news, and as for the funnies, I wouldn't bet on them not doing something with them.
The have been very proactive in publishing nearly everything in the 2000AD back catalogue, with the exception of a few minor tales.
So if they own properties I expect them to use them, BUT it is going to take a long time for them to appraise exactly what they own and the quality of it.

Lew Stringer said...

Yes, exciting times. The great thing is the material is now with a company that has comics as its main focus. I'm looking forward to what happens next!

John Sinclair said...

Fabulous news. It'd be great to see some of these characters back in print - I would expect the adventure strips to be the most likely, if only in reprint form.
Of course the major problem will be marketing them to today's youth who don't have the weekly comic habit, or it seems any comic buying habit....
By the way, what is the situation with the Steel Claw and The Spider? They would seem the most accessible for today's market...?

Lew Stringer said...

Characters from Lion and Valiant are not part of the deal. The Steel Claw and The Spider are owned by Time Inc.

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