Saturday, April 30, 2011
Hurricane and Champion Index
Steve Holland is a diligent hard working researcher of old comics, story papers, paperbacks and suchlike whose articles and books are always rewarding. His latest venture, an index for the Hurricane and Champion comics of the 1960s shows all the dedication and research one has come to expect of him.
Personally I was never a follower of those comics as a child. Compared to TV21, Smash! and Marvel Comics they seemed a bit flat and outdated. However I can appreciate Hurricane and Champion far more now from a mature perspective, and even though I only have a couple of issues in my collection I found Steve's history of those comics a fascinating read. If I enjoyed it I'm sure that actual fans of those titles will be over the moon with this book.
The cover itself is a treat. Shot from the original artwork it mimics the cover design of the early issues of Hurricane and is wraparound printed on quality stock paper. Inside, the first 29 pages are taken up with a thorough history of the two comics. Both were short lived Fleetway titles, with Hurricane running for 63 weeks and Champion for just 15. This is followed by the index itself, listing every story and the length of its run and, where possible, the names of the relevant artists.
Editors names are also listed, as are the free gifts given in the issues. The book is well illustrated throughout with sharp, well reproduced sample panels from the comics. There's also a cover gallery of the annuals in the back. (The annuals continued for several years after the weeklies folded.)
Hurricane and Champion were brief, blink-and-you'll-miss-them titles that soon merged into Tiger and Lion respectively. Champion was a curious mix of new UK material and European translated reprint that never really gelled with the British market. Hurricane was the better title, but still failed to make much of an impact in the busy comic environment of the 1960s. However it's great to see this nice pocket history of those titles and I hope Steve does more. (He implies that a Jag index might be in the future, which is a comic I really enjoyed.)
You can buy a copy of the index directly from Steve at Bear Alley Books at this link:
While you're there, take a look around the site to see his other books, and then visit Steve's other blog, Bear Alley. It's an essential site for anyone interested in the history of comics.