Robot Archie / Lion original cover artwork (1965) by Ted Kearon from Lion 15 May 1965 The title headers are publisher's photocopies (to save them being drawn every week) Indian ink on board,

British Comic Heroes under one roof! Rebellion snaps up TI Media’s classic comics catalogue

2000AD publishers Rebellion have acquired all the comic titles owned by TI Media, reuniting publications dating back to Comic Cuts with the titles they purchased from Egmont in 2016. This means virtually every classic British comic title published out of London over the last one hundred years is now owned by Rebellion.

The deal does not include titles owned by Dundee-based DC Thomson, Look and Learn or Dan Dare Corporation, who own Eagle and Dan Dare.

Robot Archie / Lion original cover artwork (1965) by Ted Kearon from Lion 15 May 1965 The title headers are publisher's photocopies (to save them being drawn every week) Indian ink on board,
Robot Archie / Lion original cover artwork (1965) by Ted Kearon from Lion 15 May 1965
The title headers are publisher’s photocopies (to save them being drawn every week)
Indian ink on board.

BBC News reports that altogether, Rebellion has bought 400 separate weekly and monthly titles, a massive catalogue of British comic titles dating back more than 130 years.

Louis Crandell, the Steel Claw, up against alien invaders... Art © Time Inc UK
Louis Crandell, the Steel Claw, up against alien invaders… Art © Rebellion

It means the Oxford-based company now has the biggest catalogue of English language comic book properties in the world, a deal which unites Billy Bunter, Robot Archie, the Steel Claw, Janus Stark, Sexton Blake, and titles such as Comic Cuts, School Friend, Valiant, Look-In (although re-publishing most of Look-In‘s TV-inspired strips will require licenses with third parties) with Judge Dredd, Roy of the Rovers, Adam Eterno, Black Max and titles such as 2000AD, Misty, Thunder, Buster and many others.

Rebellion now also owns the hugely admired “The Rise and Fall of the Trigan Empire“, which was not sold with the Look and Learn title.

Rebellion claims Comic Cuts – which held the record for the most issues of a British weekly comic for 66 years until The Dandy overtook it – gave the comic book medium its name.

“Rebellion’s reputation is not just as an innovative and forward thinking comic book publisher, but as the first company to respect and do justice to the extraordinary legacy of multiple generations of artists and writers who developed the comic book medium in this country,” says Jason Kingsley, CEO of Rebellion.

Billy Bunter by C.H. Chapman“It gives me great pleasure to secure the future for this extraordinary archive and I am incredibly excited to able to bring back into print so many lost treasures.”

The archive includes an adventure comic called Marvel, which ran from 1898 to 1922, but is unrelated to the American comic publisher.

downthetubes understands there was some fierce competition for the archive with bids from Titan Comics and others before a deal with Rebellion was struck.

Needless to say, this is exciting news and we look forward to hearing more details from Rebellion in coming weeks.

Just some of the titles Rebellion own, including those acquired from Egmont in 2016
Just some of the titles Rebellion own, including those acquired from Egmont in 2016

What People are Asking…

Lion and Thunder cover dated 23rd October 1971Which titles do Rebellion now own in addition to 2000AD, Crisis, Judge Dredd Megazine and the titles they bought in 2016 from Egmont?

Comic Titles we understand are now owned by Rebelllion, purchased from TI Media appear below. Please note, this list is not exhaustive and corrections are welcome.

We will update this list in due course.

Last update – 28th September 2018

Boy’s Titles

Air Ace Picture Library
Billy Bunter
Boy’s Realm Boys’ World
Champion
Fantastic
Film Fun
Fleetway Super Library
JAG
Hurricane
Lion
– which published space hero Captain Condor and Robot Archie
Meteor
Pocket War Library
Pow!
Rocket
Scorcher
Secret Agent Super Library
Sexton Blake Detective Library
Smash!
Space Picture Library
Stupendous Picture Library
Super Detective Library
Super Thriller
Terrific
Thriller Comics
Thriller Picture Library
Tiger
Top Secret Picture Library
True To Life War Picture Stories
True War
Valiant
Vulcan
War Picture Library
Wham!

Mirabelle Issue One - CoverGirls Titles

Bonnie
Girl
Girls Crystal
Girls Fun
Glamour
June
Marilyn
Marty
Mirabelle
Penelope
Penny
Poppet
Princess
Princess Tina
Romeo
Roxy
Sally
Sandie
School Friend
Schoolgirl’s Weekly
Schoolgirls’ Picture Library
Tina
Valentine

Humour Titles

Comic Cuts
Funny Wonder
Giggle
Knockout
Krazy
Radio Fun
Wow!

Rebellion now also own all the characters published in titles such as Whizzer and Chips, some of which had been owned by IPC/ Time/ TI Media, some by Egmont as part of a 1990s deal struck demarcating character ownership between IPC and Egmont.

Young / Educational Titles

Although IPC published a number of nursery and educational titles, Look and Learn Ltd owns these nursery comics: Jack & Jill, Playhour, Robin, Swift, Harold Hare’s Own, Once Upon a Time; and also all the educational mags like Bible Story, The Children’s Newspaper, Finding Out, Look and Learn, Treasure, World of Knowledge and World of Wonder.

Comics archivist and publisher Steve Holland notes that there were a small handful of strips that were not part of the deal when L&L bought the nursery titles, including, importantly, “The Rise and Fall of the Trigan Empire“; also a few characters L&L bought have subsequently been sold on.

Countdown Issue OneDo Rebellion now own TV Comic, Countdown and TV Action?

No. Polystyle, who published those comics, was absorbed by London and North Surrey Newspapers, which was absorbed by the Mirror Group.

All the original strips published in those titles, including “Countdown” drawn by John M. Burns, are owned by the Mirror Group (although the artwork resided in the Express newspapers archives in 2008, but its whereabouts is now a mystery).

Of course, if you wanted to publish the strips based on TV shows that appeared in TV Comic or Countdown, such as The Telegoons,  UFO and Thunderbirds, you’d have to license from both the Mirror and the TV company that produced them.

The only exception to this is the Doctor Who strips in those titles, whose rights were purchased by Marvel UK in the 1990s, whose assets were then bought by Panini.

TV Century 21 No 1 (1965) with free gift Special Agent Identicode decoder and free gift from No 2 - and Special Agent Badge.
TV Century 21 No 1 (1965) with free gift Special Agent Identicode decoder and free gift from No 2 – and Special Agent Badge.

Similarly, City Editions, who owned TV21 and Lady Penelope, was absorbed by Express Newspapers, although TV21‘s ownership may be a bit muddled as it was absorbed into Valiant.

So we can expect to see reprints from Look-In very soon?

That will depend not only on Rebellion’s ownership of the Look-In title (and any art that has survived), but negotiations with the owners of the TV properties that featured in the comic.

The cover of Look-In, cover dated 11th August 1979, featuring Sapphire and Steel
The cover of Look-In, cover dated 11th August 1979, featuring Sapphire and Steel

Some copyright owners – ITV, for example – may be more inclined to negotiate deals than others.

However, it appears the rights on some shows you would think were owned outright by ITV, such as Sapphire and Steel (brought to life in Look-In by Angus Allan and Arthur Ranson), are a bit murky, and the owners have previously been reticent about negotiating a reprint deal.

Published by

John Freeman

The founder of downthetubes, John describes himself as is a "freelance comics operative", working as an editor, as Creative Consultant on the Dan Dare audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. John has worked in British comics publishing for over 30 years. His credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine at Marvel UK and Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine at Titan Magazines. He also edited STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics, including Team M.O.B.I.L.E. and The Beatles Story. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare” for Tian Books. He’s the writer of “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood for digital comic 100% Biodegradable.

Let us know what you think about this story

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.