|These titles and more are now owned by Rebellion.
A couple of years ago, Rebellion had made a similar purchase obtaining all the IPC/Fleetway comics from 1970 onwards, but now they own everything going back over 130 years. This means that old favourites such as The Steel Claw, The Spider, Grimly Feendish, and even Weary Willie and Tired Tim are now part of the same company that owns 2000AD... just as it was many years ago.
What can we expect Rebellion to do with this important acquisition? It's too early for them to reveal their plans but it's a fair guess that some reprint collections will be on the cards as part of their Treasury of British Comics line. It's also likely we'll see updated, grittier versions of classic characters, but I hope they don't stray too far from the optimism and heroism the characters had.
Do you have any preferences you'd like to see as reprint collections? Not that this blog has any influence on what Rebellion do of course. Just comment below on what you'd like to see. (Within reason, bearing in mind the books have to be commercially profitable. It's unlikely we'll see an Alfie the Air Tramp archive for example, enjoyable as some of us find John Jukes' artwork.)
My preferences would be...
The Best of Power Comics. Selecting stories from Wham!, Smash!, and Pow! by Leo Baxendale, Graham Allen, Brian Lewis, and more. (Ken Reid's work having already been reprinted.) Would be nice to have Mike Higgs in there too, although he owns The Cloak so it would need negotiation.
Johnny Future. Collecting the whole Missing Link / Johnny Future series by Alf Wallace and Luis Berjemo.
Football Family Robinson. Good lighthearted soccer strip from Jag (and then Tiger) with colour art by Joe Colquhoun (and later John Gillatt).
Kelly's Eye. From Knockout, and then Valiant, with art by Solano Lopez.
The Swots and The Blots. Not necessarily the Ron Spencer strips from the original Smash! series but definitely the revamped series by Leo Baxendale that began in the second series of Smash! in 1969.
...plus I'm sure there are loads of gripping adventure serials that although might not be commercially viable as stand alone books would make good "floppy" collections bagged with Judge Dredd Megazine (as with the recent Lawless Touch collection).
Whatever Rebellion decide to do with the strips, this is excellent news for fans of British comics and their history!