40 Years of Spider-Man in the UK

It’s an incredible 40 years this week since Spider-Man first made a regular appearance in a British comic, so cartoonist Lew Stringer has done a little tribute to that title, POW!, on his blog.

There’s a few entries about the weekly, including one spotlighting Mike Higgs fantastic The Cloak strip, which for Lew was the real reason he bought Pow!

The Cloak was the creation of Birmingham-based cartoonist Mike Higgs, a lifelong fan of comics and pulp magazines. Lew reveals that in 1964 Mike had produced a fanzine entitled The Shudder, a parody of pulp magazine legend The Shadow, and with a few tweaks this character became the inspiration for The Cloak strip that he submitted to Odhams.

“The editors of Pow! liked what they saw,” Lew writes. “Their line of comics already had serialized spy strips (Eagle-Eye, Man from B.U.N.G.L.E. and Wee Willie Haggis) but clearly they saw that The Cloak was something unique. The other strips were in the Leo Baxendale mold (more or less the closest thing Odhams had to a house style) but Mike Higgs’ work had none of that, being more influenced by Peter Maddocks and Elzie Segar. More importantly, his style looked very contemporary, very Sixties… and the one thing that set Odhams above their competitors was how much they reflected the “swinging sixties”.

Lew’s blog is rapidly proving a fascinating insight into some classic comics and, perhaps more importantly, the origins of British comics fandom. Well worth a look!

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1 reply

  1. Thanks again for the plug John! Incidentally I’ve just added some more info I found. Back in 1968 Odhams were happy to promote comics fandom so I’ve uploaded a few scans of their news items of the time.

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