Last Updated 16th November 2016
Back in 2007, while working for digital comics publisher ROK Comics, I approached Egmont UK about the possibility of publishing some of their many characters in a digital format. Because they also owned a number of Fleetway Editions characters, we also approached IPC, now Time UK, and I worked up a number of sample strips to show both companies how their characters might look on mobile devices, presented in a reformatted single panel, including Roy of the Rovers (which we began to publish), Ken Reid’s Faceache (owned by Egmont) and the Steel Claw (including an all-new version, drawn by Martin Baines, a character owned by TimeUK).
While the project never fully got off the ground – although our revival of Roy of the Rovers generated significant press attention at the time, outside of the comic press – one thing that came of this was a list of every classic comic character Egmont owned.
So for those of you suggesting Rebellion re-publish this or that character following the news of their acquisition of numerous classic brands from Egmont yesterday, this list might help steer your thoughts.
Do note that while Egmont indicated they owned the following comic brands and characters, this might not mean they own every character featured in the comics below. The general rule of thumb, per an agreement made between IPC and Egmont in the mid-1990s is that, with some exceptions, any comic or character first published before January 1970 by Fleetway Editions is the property of what is now Time UK, those rights to reprint most recently handled by US publisher DC Comics; and with some exceptions, any comic or character first published after January 1970 by Fleetway Editions is now the property of Rebellion.
So although for example, Ken Reid’s Frankie Stein continued to be published in the 1970s, he’s actually a Time UK-owned property, and although Valiant continued to be published until 1976, the title and any characters created for it before January 1970 are also owned by Time UK. So strips such as “Captain Hurricane” and “Kelly’s Eye” are owned by Time UK but “One-Eyed Jack“, created in 1975 by John Wagner and John Cooper, is owned by Rebellion, as are characters originally created for Thunder such as Adam Eterno, who ended up in Valiant.
If you want to known which major characters Time UK own – which include Steel Claw, Grimly Feendish, Bad Penny, Janus Stark, Zip Nolan and others – then your starting point should be the Albion mini series published by Wildstorm, written by Leah Moore and John Reppion, drawn by Shane Oakley. Any named character in that is owned by TimeUK. Wikipedia has an overview here.
The main exceptions to the “1970s” rule are Roy of the Rovers – now owned by Rebellion, first published in the 1950s in Tiger; Buster comic and several characters, first published in 1960; and the Eagle brand and many characters – both the original comic and 1980s revival – now owned by the Dan Dare Corporation. “The Rise and Fall of the Trigan Empire” is another strip that remains in the ownership of TimeUK, even though IPC sold rights to the Look and Learn title to the Look and Learn picture library (and other titles such as Playhour and Jack and Jill, which continued to be published into the 1980s).
My discussions with Egmont’s legal department and David Abbott at IPC (now TimeUK) added a couple of brands to Egmont’s 2007 ownership list, particularly the short-lived but fondly remembered (by me, anyway) Thunder, birthplace of great adventure characters like the aforementioned Adam Eterno and Black Max.
Thunder illustrates just how confusing understanding of the ownership of brands and characters by Egmont (now Rebellion) and Time UK can be. In the case of Thunder and its characters, there have been further claims online that TimeUK owns Adam Eterno, for example, because he makes an unnamed appearance in Albion. This is not true.
When the Albion mini series was published by Wildstorm, Andrew Sumner, then at IPC, and TimeUK’s David Abbott, who both oversaw IPC’s involvement in that project (and the subsequent other series, such as Battler Britton), went to considerable lengths to ensure that only TimeUK owned characters featured. Because Thunder was first published in October 1970, during my negotiations with Egmont in 2007/8, I specifically double checked the ownership of both brand and characters, and Egmont’s ownership was confirmed by David.
Andrew tells me that from memory (and it’s hazy after sveral years), when Albion was being put together, IPC originally thought they owned Eterno and then realised that he first appeared in 1970 not 1969, so they didn’t. Hence the fact that Eterno’s appearance in Albion is a non-specific nameless one.
We suggest you treat any visual references to now-Rebellion owned characters such as Adam Eterno in Albion as artist Shane Oakley having some fun in the playbox!
For information on other major comic rights holders in the UK, scroll down to the bottom of this page.
- Action – first published in 1976. For more information on this comic visit our “Sevenpenny Nightmare” section, compiled by Moose Harris
- All Action Monthly – first published in 1987. Ran for just eight issues
- Battle Picture Weekly – first published in 1975. For more on one of its best-known strips visit our “Charley’s War” section
- JET – first published in 1971. Merged with Buster after 22 issues. Its most enduring strip was Ken Reid‘s “Faceache“, which carried on in Buster for some time.Scream! – first published in 1984. For more on Scream! visit the Back from the Depths. Rebllion published a collection of the MONSTER strip from this title in July 2016
- Starlord – first published in 1978. Merged with 2000AD
- Thunder – first published in October 1970
- Tornado – first published in 1979. Merged with 2000AD
- Wildcat – first published in 1988. Billed by 2000AD‘s fictional editor Tharg as a “ghafflebette new comic… designed for the younger Earthlets among you”.
I have to confess that when I first received Egmont’s list of titles in 2007, I was surprised by their claim to own both the Starlord and Tornado brands, since both titles were merged with 2000AD. Whether this was an accurate claim or not in 2007 is of course, now moot as Rebellion’s purchase of the Egmont classic library immediately resolves any issue there might have been.
- Hot-Shot – first published in 1988, merging into Roy of the Rovers in early 1989
- Score ‘n’ Roar – first published September 1970. Featuring both comic strips and magazine features, like Whizzer and Chips and Shiver ‘n’ Shake, it was originally built on a “two comics in one” structure, with Roar given away as a pull-out in Score; this idea was later dropped. Lew Stringer has a feature on the comic here on his Blimey! blog; and check out this unofficial blog for more information: http://scorenroar.blogspot.co.uk
- Scorcher first published on 10th January 1970, just coming into the “demarcation zone” of the IPC/ Time UK and Egmont rights split. Its best known strips are probably “Billy’s Boots”, which was re-published in Pete Nash’s Striker comic, “Hot Shot Hamish”, “Kangaroo Kid” and Nipper”, the latter written by Tom Tully. Scorcher absorbed Score ‘n’ Roar in June 1971, becoming Scorcher and Score, and merged into Tiger on in late September 1974 with the 5th October 1974 cover dated issue. (The Tiger brand remains in the ownership of Time UK, so no “Skid Solo” or “jihnny Cougar” reprints just yet). Scorcher‘s editor throughout its run was David Hunt, who went on to edit Battle. Annuals continued to be published until 1984. Lew Stringer remembers Scorcher here on Blimey! It’s Another Blog About Comics
- Roy of the Rovers – as a character, this comic strip football hero started out as the lead strip in Tiger in 1953, and got his own title in 1976. He also starred in a newspaper strip, published by Today in 1986, drawn by Kim Raymond, and a longer-lived one in the Daily Star, which was drawn by Yvonne Hutton until her death at the end of 1991, and by Mike Western for four years after that. Check out this blog for unofficial new adventures: http://royoftheroversstorkyk.blogspot.co.uk. Former Roy of the Rovers editor Barrie Tomlinson documents “Real Roy of the Rovers Stuff” in an eponymous book from Pitch Publishing, released in September 2016. Read about that here
- Big Comic Fortnightly – first published in 1988, this comic reprinted various strips from the likes of Buster and Whizzer and Chips, some still owned by Time UK and is the kind of title that will no doubt cause headaches for fans trying to work out which company owns what…
- Buster – first published in May 1960, Buster absorbed Radio Fun (in 1961, that brand and characters still owned by Time UK), Film Fun (1962, owned by Time UK), The Big One (1965, owned by Time UK), Giggle (1968, owned by Time UK), Jet (1971, now owned by Rebellion), Cor!! (1974, now owned by Rebellion), Monster Fun (1976, now owned by Rebellion), Jackpot (1982, now owned by Rebellion), School Fun (1984, now owned by Rebellion), Nipper (1987, now owned by Rebellion), Oink (1987, the brand – but not all the characters – now owned by Rebellion) and Whizzer and Chips (1990, now owned by Rebellion), and was finally cancelled on in 1999 with the issue cover dated 4th January 2000. For more on this comic and its characters, visit the unofficial Buster web site at www.bustercomic.co.uk
- Cheeky Weekly – first published in 1977, the comic got its name from lead character Cheeky, one of the characters from Krazy comic
- Cor!! – first published in 1970, merged into Buster in 1974. Annuals and summer specials continued to be published intil 1986. Some strips such as “Frankie Stein”, first published in Wham, feature in Cor!! and remain in the ownership of Time UK, but the title’s strips included “The Goodies”, based on the TV show, drawn by Joe Colquhoun, “Gus Gorilla”, drawn by Mike Lacey “Hire a Horror”, “Ivor Lott and Tony Broke” (some I believe written by Pat Mills), the adventure strip “Kid Chameleon” also drawn by Colquhoun and “The Robot Maker” by Ken Reid. Read an interview with Joe Colquhoun here | Lew Stringer looks back at the launch of Cor!! here on Blimey! | Kazoop! reviews the first year of Cor!! here
- Jackpot – first published in 1979, merging with Buster in 1982. Check out this page on Toonhound for more information
- Knockout – first published in 1971, merging with Whizzer and Chips in 1973. Not to be confused with Knock-Out, a humour adventure comic that ran from 1939 to 1963, that brand owned by Time UK
- Krazy – first published in 1976, merging with Whizzer and Chips in 1978. “The Krazy Gang” is probably its best kown strip, with character Cheeky spinning off into his own comic, Cheekly Weekly. Check out this page on Toonhound for more information
- Monster Fun – first published in 1975, merging with Buster in 1976. “Frankie Stein”, created by Ken Reid for Wham!, later in Shiver and Shake and Whoopee!, was the editorial figurehead, and also starred in the “Freaky Frankie” strip. This character is owned by Time UK. Check out this page on Toonhound for more information
- Nipper – first published 1987, merging with Buster after just seven months.
- Oink! – first published in 1986, merging with Buster in 1988. Devised and edited by Patrick Gallagher, who brought in cartoonists from outside the IPC stable, and who own the characters they created, including Tony Husband, Mark Rodgers, David Leach and Jeremy Banx. For more on Oink! visit this brilliant blog crated by Phil Boyce – http://the-oink-blog.blogspot.co.uk. Some of the characters that survived the merge with Buster may now be owned by Rebellion
- School Fun – first published published in 1983, merging with Buster in 1984. Conceived by comic writer and teacher Graham Exton. Check out this page on Toonhound for more information
- Shiver and Shake – first published 1973, merging with Whoopee in 1974. Probably best known for strips such as “Sweeny Toddler” and “Horrornation Street”. Shiver and Shake annuals continued to be published for more than ten years. Check out this page on Toonhound for more information
- Whizzer and Chips – the first “two comics in one” title, first published 1969 (and one of the exceptions to the “January 1970” agreement. It absorbed Knockout (in 1973), Krazy (in 1978) and Whoopee! (in 1985), merged into Buster in October 1990. For more on Whizzer and Chips visit this unofficial blog – http://whizzerandchipscomic.blogspot.co.uk
- Whoopee! – first published in 1974, absorbing Wow! (in 1983), Shiver and Shake (in 1984) and Cheeky Weekly (in 1980) until its own merger into Whizzer and Chips in 1985. Check out this page on Toonhound for more information
- Wow! – first published in 1982, merging with Whoopee! in 1983. Check out this page on Toonhound for more information
For more information on all British girls comics, visit http://girlscomicsofyesterday.com
- Jinty – first published 1974, absorbing Lindy (in 1975) and Penny (in 1980), merging with Tammy in 1981 after running for 393 issues. For more about Jinty visit the brilliant A Resource on Jinty site
- Katy – first published 1986, a short-lived anthology title reprinting strips from titles such as Jinty, Misty and Tammy
- Lindy – first published in 1975, merging into Jinty in the same year
- Misty – first published in 1978, merging with Tammy in 1980. Created by Pat Mills.
- Penny – first published 1979, merging with Jinty in 1980.
- Pixie – first published 1972 and merged with Tammy in 1973.
- Sally – first published in 1969, merging with Tammy in 1971. A largely fantasy comic-led title with strips that included superhero “The Cat Girl” and “Maisy’s Magic Eye”
- Sandie – first published in 1972, merging with Tammy in 1973, edited by John Wagner.
- Tammy – first published 1971, absorbing Sally (in 1971), Sandie (in 1972), June (in 1974), Misty (in 1980), Jinty (in 1981) and Princess in 1984. Plans to merge the title into Girl (a revival of the original Girl brand, owned by Time UK) foundered after a strike. The most recent archive of the excellent but now apparently defunct The Tammy Project web site on Wayback Machine is here but sadly it isn’t a patch on other archives of comic web sites. The original Tammy blog is here
- Princess – another exception to the “January 1970” rule, it appears, as as Princess was first published in 1960, absorbing Girl in 1964. It merged with Tina in 1967 to become Princess Tina, which lasted until 1973. Editors included Desmond Pride and its last editor, John Wagner.
Please note this section may include ‘modern’ Nursery titles which were being published by Egmont in 2007, none of which are still in print
- Bonnie (first published in 1974, published until 1975)
- Chips Comic (1983-1984)
- Fun To Do (1978 -1982)
- Fun to Know (1979-1980)
- Playbox – not to be confused with the earlier Playbox comics, owned by Time UK
- Robin – the “New Robin”, not the original first published as stablemate of Eagle, Swift and Girl
- Teddy Bears Playtime (1963-1973 – another exception?)
Egmont “Classic Comic” Characters
The following is a list of classic comic characters Egmont considered their most popular back in 2008, all now owned by Rebellion. I’ve added the main Thunder characters to this list was added after discussion I had with both Egmont and IPC on who owned the comic.
FOOTBALL CHARACTERS AND STRIPS
Roy of the Rovers
Billy’s Boots — Scorcher and other titles
Nipper — Score ‘n’ Roar
Jack of United — Score ‘n’ Roar
Jimmy of City — Score ‘n’ Roar
Hot-Shot Hamish — Scorcher and other titles
Goalkeeper — Roy of the Rovers
Playmaker — Hot-Shot and Roy of the Rovers
Look Out for Lefty — Action
ADVENTURE CHARACTERS AND STRIPS
Hellman of Hammer Force
Battle Picture Weekly
The Spooks of St. Lukes
GIRLS CHARACTERS AND STRIPS
The Cult of the Cat
The School of the Lost
The Four Faces of Eve
The Body Snatchers
Bella of the Bars
HUMOUR CHARACTERS AND STRIPS
Galaxus: The Thing From Outer Space
Leopard from Lime Street
Toys of Doom
Here’s a list of the “pre-1970” 28 Buster characters that were owned by Egmont Fleetway, not IPC (Time UK):
- Astounding Adventures of Charlie Peace (but this does not include rights to the Charlie Peace character, who was a real bloke and therefore in the public domain)
- Back-Tracker Jack
- Bluebottle and Basher
- Buster and the Big One
- Clever Dick
- Crabbe’s Crusaders
- Fishboy: Denizen of the Deep
- Football Madd
- Galaxus the Thing From Outer Space
- Ivor Lott and Tony Broke
- Jack Pott
- The Leopard from Lime Street
- Marney the Fox
- Mummy’s Boy
- Pete’s Pocket Army
- Rent-A-Ghost Ltd
- Wonder Worm
- Sammy Brewster’s Secret Ski-Board Squad
- The Skid Kids
- Thunderbolt the Avenger
- Toys of Doom
- The Winners
- The Wizard of Football
- X-Ray Specs
Ivor Lott and Tony Broke
Six Million Dollar Gran
Full o’ Beans
Fit Fred & Sick Sid
Badtime Bedtime Book
Shiver ‘n’ Shake
Who’d Kill Cockney Robin?
Whizzer & Chips
Harry’s Haunted House
Spare Part Kit
Who Owns All Those Other Comic Characters I remember?
The Dan Dare Corporation
The Dan Dare Corporation owns Dan Dare, some – but not all – original Eagle characters, and most characters published in the 1980s Eagle, including Doomlord, although ownership of some will, I imagine be a matter of discussion, given later comic mergers.
Dundee-based DC Thomson has its own massive library of comic titles and characters, including Beano, Sparky, Commando, Bullet, Bunty, Dandy, Judy, Jackie, Warlord and more.
Look and Learn
Look and Learn is a London-based picture library specialising in historical pictures and vintage imagery. It is a member of BAPLA (the British Association of Picture Libraries and Agencies).
Excluding the rights to certain comic strips (such as “The Rise and Fall of the Trigan Empire”) which remain with TimeUK and some other easily identifiable material, Look and Learn now own the rights to the following magazines, listed here in chronological order: The Children’s Newspaper (1919-65), Robin (1953-69), Swift (1954-63), Jack and Jill (1954-85), Playhour (1954-87), Harold Hare (1959-64), Look and Learn (1962-82), Treasure(1963-71), Teddy Bear (1963-73), The Bible Story (1964), Ranger (1965-66), Tell Me Why (1968-70), Once Upon a Time (1969-73), World of Wonder (1970-75), Speed and Power (1974-75), and World of Knowledge (1980-81). Look and Learn also owns the rights to the annuals and other books associated with these magazines.
As well as images, they are able to license text, puzzles, educational comic strips and comic characters to publishers and others for re-printing, adaptation or other uses. There are few subjects of perennial interest to children that were not covered in Look and Learn or its junior version Treasure. The Children’s Newspaper is a unique record of the most eventful years of the twentieth century; and magazines such as Jack and Jill and Playhour contain an abundance of material capable of delighting the very young. Please contact them with an outline of your areas of interest.
Time UK (formerly IPC)
If you want to known which major characters Time UK own – which include Steel Claw, Grimly Feendish, Johnny Cougar, Bad Penny, Skid Solo, Janus Stark, Zip Nolan and others, and comics such as Valiant and Lion – then your starting point should be the Albion mini series published by Wildstorm, written by Leah Moore and John Reppion, drawn by Shane Oakley. Any named character in that is owned by TimeUK. Wikipedia has an overview here.
What was your favourite comic as a child? Everyone has one – the one you would faithfully read each and every week then take to school to swap, the one you collected in dusty piles under the bed and refused to throw out. Was it The Beano, or perhaps Dandy, Nutty, Eagle, or 2000AD? No matter which comic was your all-time favourite, or which superhero character you wished you could be, they are all remembered in Graham Kibble-White’s Ultimate Book of British Comics – a fact-filled and hilariously funny encyclopaedia, which reveals how these quirky and colourful creations have shaped the lives of British children since the 1970s.
• The UK Comics Wiki is a very useful starting point for comic title information and strips published in each