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Saturday, December 19, 2015

The Christmas SMASH! (1969)

In past years on this blog I've shown pages from all the previous festive editions of Smash! comic so I thought I'd complete the 'set' with this one. (There was no 1970 Christmas issue because the comic was on hiatus for several weeks due to a printer's strike.)

When Smash! was revamped by IPC in March 1969 (after its three year run under Odhams) it became more of a traditional adventure comic and its covers reflected that, with art by Geoff Campion, and later by Eric Bradbury. This is the only issue in the IPC run that sported a humour cover. The artwork is by Mike Lacey, and features many of the humour characters from the interior strips.

Not every strip in this 40 page issue had a Christmas theme, but the final chapter of the latest Janus Stark story didn't disappoint. With art by Solano Lopez, we get a traditional slap-up feast panel at the end.

This Big 'Ead half pager was a reprint from Buster from nine years earlier. Art by Angel Nadal. What I found more interesting was the ad on the other half of the page, announcing the end of the halfcrown coin. This was a large coin that was the value of 12 and a half pence in decimal currency. I can't say I really missed it when it went. 

Although primarily an adventure comic at this time, Smash! still featured a few humour pages. Bad Penny was a popular character that had begun way back in issue 1 in 1966. Leo Baxendale returned to the character when IPC took over, and this is one of his...

Another great strip by Leo was The Swots and the Blots, which he'd taken over with the first IPC issue. An excellent, fast-paced, daft, funny strip. Some of his best work of the period.

The next strip doesn't feature a Christmas theme but I thought you might be interested in seeing it. Tri-Man was one of IPC's attempts to do a superhero. It didn't last long, despite nice artwork by the Solano Lopez studio.

More Christmas comics soon! 


Raven said...

Personally, I tend to feel that the quite staid covers of IPC adventure comics like Smash and Valiant made them *look* more like traditional adventure comics (parents might even think they were picking up something Look and Learn-ish) but *didn't* actually reflect the outlandish, offbeat and very often quite contemporary inner content at all! That's the peculiar thing about them.

I have this issue myself and think you've picked two real highlights - the Baxendale (love his style in this period; Swots and Blots are like a really unrestrained and freakish Bash Street Kids; he'd never have been allowed to do this at D.C. Thomson) and Janus Stark.

Hibernia Comics said...

Great cover Lew. Well before my time, but I have over the years collected most of the relaunched Smash comics, and I love them, its such a pity it didnt last. A brilliant comic and a cover to one of the few I now dont have.

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