Friday, April 07, 2017

50 Year Flashback: TERRIFIC No.1 (1967)

The fifth (and final) addition to Odhams' line of 'Power Comics' was launched on Saturday 8th April 1967 with Terrific No.1. Closely modelled on its companion comic Fantastic, in that the new publication also featured 40 pages and reprints of three Marvel strips. 

The free gift in Terrific No.1 is one that readers fondly remember; an iron-on T-shirt transfer of Iron Man. I wore mine with pride back in the summer of '67 and still have it, cut out from the T-shirt it was on (washed of course)...

...and here's me wearing that very T-shirt in Blackpool on that happy summer of 50 years ago...
Back to the comic itself, and it opened with the start of a Sub-Mariner story reprinted from Tales to Astonish No.70, story by Stan Lee, art by Gene Colan (using the pseudonym Adam Austin), inked by Vince Colletta...
The editorial page trumpeted the arrival of Terrific in fine 'Power Comics' fashion...
In the case of The Avengers, it was probably felt that new readers might be confused with a team of heroes they were unfamiliar with, so Terrific presented condensed versions of each hero's origin in a useful set of short strips. Readers of Smash! and Fantastic would have already seen the stories these panels were taken from, except for the case of Giant Man/Ant Man, as the origin had never been shown in a Power Comic prior to this...









With the origins out of the way, the main Avengers story began. Earlier Avengers stories had already been reprinted in Smash! so Terrific started by reprinting Avengers No.6 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby (with great inking by Chic Stone)...
The full-page ad for next week's free gift. (You can see a photo of the gift on an old blog post of mine here:
http://lewstringer.blogspot.co.uk/2010/11/free-inside-part-3.html )
Last but not least, the origin of Doctor Strange rounded off the issue, reprinted from Strange Tales No.115 by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko...
...and on the back page, the regular Power House Pin-Up kicked off with the Sub-Mariner, drawn by Jack Kirby...
Sadly, Terrific only lasted for 43 weeks before merging into Fantastic. Perhaps it was one too many Power Comics for kids to afford, perhaps it was just too expensive at 9d (when most comics were 7d or less). Personally, it was one of my favourites and I had every issue along with Fantastic, although I dropped Wham! around this time, possibly due to the expense of collecting all the comics.

Terrific and its companion comic Fantastic were a great way for young kids to discover the Marvel Universe. I do wonder though what impact they had on the sales of rival British comics. After being hooked on the exciting, savvy, Marvel stories, I couldn't even look at the comparatively dull D.C. Thomson adventure comics of the period such as Victor and Hornet. Obviously, overall, the traditional comics won out because the existence of the Power Comics was short and sweet, but Wham!, Smash!, Pow!, Fantastic and Terrific definitely helped add to the 1960s sense of coolness and fun. 

14 comments:

John Pitt said...

Well, what can I add to that, that I haven't already said before?
'67 was a great year for me, comic-wise! I had succumbed to Beatlemania in '64 and discovered Wham! (complete with The Wacks!), Dalekmania in '65 and Bat-mania in '66! But this year it was the turn of Power-mania, having already discovered the Hulk the previous (Bat-mad) year in Smash!, I soon got hooked on all three of '67's new Power Comics and even started buying Wham! again to make a full set!
But, as you said, it was a bit pricey for the average school kid, so there was a casualty - Bat-mania had got me hooked on TV Tornado around the same time, but I couldn't stretch to six per week out of my pocket money, so I stopped TV Tornado. I did manage to collect every single copy of Terrific though and it was a very close second favourite to Fantastic that year!

Lew Stringer said...

A wise choice I think, John. I was never very impressed with TV Tornado myself. It seemed a very poor comic to me, but I know some liked it.

qamar said...

Had to laugh at the sub-mariner pin-up

"species of fish extinct for milions of years, vanquished by submariner..."

Glad to say Conservation has come a long way since then lol!

Lew Stringer said...

Yeah, that'll teach those fish to STAY extinct! :)

Manic Man said...

okay.. I've seen this cover tons of times but didn't really notice but..
"Number One of the Paper YOU Demanded"..

The way I have always been taught to write scripts is to write it, then say the line out loud and see if it sounds right. That line fails.. really.. I think they are trying to say it's the first issue of the paper that You demanded.. but as it is, reading that line out loud doesn't work.. doesn't sound right at all.. Maybe "The First Issue of the Paper you Demanded" but.. while it's probably an okay line, it doesn't work if you say it out loud.. not every line needs to or should be perfectly natural but... I don't know.. that line just doesn't sit right with me.. I guess if you put in pauses at the line brakes it could be read to sound dramatic.. kind like "Number one! Of the Paper YOU Demanded"

minor thing I guess but oh well ^_^.. and I always preferred '"The Mighty Avengers' to just calling it 'The Avengers'.. I know the Show (which was later co-made with America) was never a HUGE hit when it came out and became more of a hit later (By the way, if you didn't know, one satellite cheap channel 'True Entertainment' has been showing The Avengers last few series for some time but now.. well, they say from the Beginning but it's just all surviving complete episodes.. Gotta be the first time in 40 years or so that episodes like 'Girl on the Trapeze' has been shown on TV. Back when Steed wasn't the big star and he was the dark and mysterious Agent..) oh and anyway, the problem with the comic was that they didn't do any Avenging really.. Defenders was a much better title..

Lew Stringer said...

I'm afraid I completely disagree, Manic. If you imagine that topline being said in a dramatic, hyperbolic fashion, like a voice over on an advert (as is the intention) then "Number One of the paper YOU demanded!" fits perfectly. Your suggestion that the line should be split into two sentences wouldn't work at all.

I'm confused by your paragraph about The Avengers TV show. You do know it's completely unrelated to the Marvel strip don't you?

Manic Man said...

Fair enough on the comment about the top line.. Still doesn't sit right with me but I'm sure there is some good way of saying it where it sounds just perfect I'm just having a hard time figuring out just the right way.. maybe if the "YOU" did a bit more to make it stand out more... oh well ^_^ comes down to personal taste really

re-reading (problem with reading a line a couple of times without an hour or two inbetween), I think my bit about the Avengers does sound a bit confused..

basically, it was more a reference to the title. Pretty much every time it's been named outside of the 'collectors market' (if you can call it that) they has been changes in the name partly to do with the Old TV show, from these early UK printings, to the early 2000s cartoon (renamed 'The Avengers: united they stand'). of course, like with a lot of trademark/copyright reasons, company names are put in sometimes so you get a lot of "Marvel's the Avengers"..

minds been all over the place more then it normally it too so the paragraph seams to have gotten really mixed up ^_^

though try going to a comic shop asking for an Avengers comics.. won't get any of the Gold key comics or anything.. any of course, in America, it's mostly called 'John Steed and Mrs Peel' in comics since.. mm.. kinda the 60s.. kinda like the whole 'Dennis the Menace' transatlantic problems..

Lew Stringer said...

In my earlier comment I mistakenly called it a "topline" (which goes over the masthead) when it's just a cover blurb. I agree it perhaps needed an exclamation mark at the end but I think it's still pretty 'shouty' (for want of a better term). Anyway, the main thing that we as kids were interested in was that it was a new comic and it had a brilliant free gift!

James Spiring said...

Manic Man, that 1999 Avengers cartoon was called United They Stand even in America: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Avengers:_United_They_Stand

Of course, the first movie was renamed Avengers Assemble to avoid confusion with Steed and Peel's Avengers.

Lew Stringer said...

Thanks, James.

John Pitt said...

Actually that blurb was absolutely true!
- I WAS that very Fantastic reader who demanded another from Alf and Bart!
It was me that it was aimed at!
:-)

Lew Stringer said...

Usually such blurbs would be pure hype but, yes, readers were asking for more Marvel strips, and Odhams delivered!

Ken said...

The instructions printed for the transfer iron on make no mention of actually telling the reader to ask an adult/parent to switch on the iron. Those great pre health and safety days when kids were allowed to cause mayhem around the house! Thinking back also to old chemistry sets, penny bangers sold over the counter, ... what could possibly go wrong?

Ken.

Lew Stringer said...

It was a given that the reader would ask his/her mum to iron on the transfer so the instructions were for the parents really. These days they err on the side of caution too much I think, but it's often so the publishers can cover themselves from any litigation.

Yeah, chemistry sets! I was always curious about those but never had one. There was always something that seemed more exciting to ask for at Christmas, like Mouse Trap Game or Action Man, so I never pursued a chemistry set.

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