Launching in 1964, Wham! had been the flagship title of Odhams' 'Power Comics' but with issue No.187, dated 13th January 1968, it met its fate. Frankly, Wham! had been in decline for quite a while. Its high quality glossy Photogravure printing had long given way to cheap newsprint, more budget cuts had seen the inclusion of Marvel reprint in the form of The Fantastic Four, its main artist Leo Baxendale had left for the more lucrative options of the Fleetway comics, and even the mighty Frankie Stein by Ken Reid had disappeared from the comic long before the last issue.
That said, Wham! was still livelier, cheekier, and more entertaining than some of its rivals. Let's take a look at a few pages from that final issue. Above is the cover by Mike Lacey, with The Tiddlers strip continuing on the back page. For cheapness, Odhams didn't use black ink on the covers of the newsprint issues of Wham!, utilising dark blue instead. (The same principle applied to companion comics Smash! and Pow!).
Wham! was fated to merge into Pow! the following week and it was announced with a full page ad...
The regular news page also made a big fuss of it...
Only a few strips from Wham! would make the transition to Pow! This issue saw the end of many long-running regulars; General Nitt and his Barmy Army, The Wacks, Glugg, Eagle-Eye, Footsie the Clown, Biff, The Humbugs, Danny Dare, and the Pest of the West. Here's a few examples of those final strips...
|Art: Mike Lacey.|
|Art: Gordon Hogg|
|Art: Stan McMurtry|
|Art: Stan McMurtry|
|Art: Graham Allen|
|Final 'Barmy Army' strip.|
|Art: Artie Jackson|
The strips that would survive were The Tiddlers (but only by merging with The Dolls of St.Dominics), Sammy Shrink, Georgie's Germs, and Marvel reprint The Fantastic Four. The final issue of Wham! and that week's issue of Pow! both ran the same episode of the F.F. (reprinting the start of Fantastic Four No.27) to encourage readers to buy the next issue ...
Wham! was definitely a better comic in its early days but its three and a half year run is still looked upon fondly by those of us who grew up reading comics in the sixties. Personally I think its merger with Pow! made for a stronger comic. In my next post I'll show a few pages from that first merge issue.
|Art: Jack Kirby.|
This wasn't exactly the final appearances of the characters as they'd return in new strips in the Wham! Annuals dated 1969 to 1971 but on a weekly frequency this was the end of Wham!