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Saturday, December 22, 2018

The Christmas VALIANT AND TV21 (1973)

No snow on the logo, but Mike Western's Christmassy cover art gives the comic plenty of festive cheer. If you don't know the answer to "Who Is It?" you need to brush up on your pop culture history. 

Inside, Captain Hurricane was doing his bit to wipe out Nazis before indulding himself in Christmas dinner. art by Charles Roylance...
Janus Stark had been going for nearly five years at this point and the stories could be somewhat trite but he remained a popular character. Art by the Solano Lopez studio...

Although Valiant was mainly an adventure comic, it also featured quite a few humour strips during this period. The Swots and the Blots had joined Valiant in 1971 when Smash! had merged into it. A great strip that deserves to be collected. Originally by other hands, Leo Baxendale took over the strip and made it his own in 1969, and was still going strong by this 1973 episode...

The centre pages featured Star Trek, with all new strips exclusive to Valiant drawn by John Stokes. It had been in Valiant since the merger with TV21 in 1971. Although this was the final episode, the TV21 logo continued to be on the comic's masthead for several more months, even though no strips from TV21 remained, and the comic had no strips based on TV shows at all. A shame that the once mighty TV21 should fizzle out in such a way.

Valiant contained reprints at times to save on budget, and Micky the Mimic was a reprint from an early Sixties Buster.
The famous Billy Bunter had joined Valiant in 1963 when Knockout merged into it, and continued to run until the final issue. Art by Reg Parlett...

On the back page, the long running Nutts continued to amuse, with art by Angel Nadal. This strip began in Valiant No.1 in 1962 and lasted until the final issue in 1976, although some were reprint in later years.
Christmas is getting closer! Another festive flashback tomorrow! Which year will we visit next?



8 comments:

Peter Gray said...

Bing Crosby! Love the cover!

NP said...

Suddenly the idea of collecting Leo's Swots and Blots into a handsome volume (or 3) doesn't seem like pie in the sky any more! It was the only 2 pages that kept me buying Smash! into 1971.

Lew Stringer said...

Yes, I'm sure it'll happen one day, Nigel. I hope if they do they'll just focus on Leo's stuff, not the 1966-68 pages by others. It's all good but Leo took the strip into a new direction and defined it in 1969 when IPC relaunched Smash!

Colin Jones said...

Strange to think this issue was a mere 30 years from the release of "White Christmas" - the same distance we are now from Cliff Richard's dreadful "Mistletoe & Wine".

Kevin Larkin said...

I recently picked up some old Buster comics in a charity shop (three for a pound!), and thought the artwork on the Buster's Dreamworld story looked somewhat European. Seeing The Nutts - clearly by the same artist - credit here, it looks like I was right.
And it seems like all kids in '60s/'70s comics hung out in sheds - oops, I mean "gang huts" - stuck right in the middle of the garden!

Lew Stringer said...

That's true, Kevin. Me and my mates used to have gang meetings in a friend's shed too. :D

John Kerry said...

I always found the Who Is It? feature interesting. Although some were easy there were some I didn't know due to my being a Canadian. The Jimmy Savile one comes to mind, as the name was unknown over here.

Lew Stringer said...

Some of the choices read like a rogue's gallery now that we know what monsters they really were.

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