Smash comic #8 - 26 Mar 1966 ODHAMS PRESS REFERENCE COPY

eBay “SMASH Comic” item reveals rare insight into writers and artists working on British comics in the 1960s

Nestling among hundreds of comic lots currently on offer from online eBay auctioneer Phil Comics is a copy of SMASH Issue 8, cover dated 26th March 1966, that some collectors might turn their noses up, because each strip inside has been obscured in places by a sticker. But these are no ordinary stickers, because this is a rare “Pay Copy“, a product of the comic’s editorial team at publisher Odhams, revealing who wrote and drew the strips – which for many comics archivists will be gold dust.

Smash comic #8 - 26 Mar 1966 ODHAMS PRESS REFERENCE COPY

The records of who wrote and drew many British comics in the past are often shrouded in mystery. Unlike American and European comics, until the arrival of weekly titles like Action and 2000AD, few comics included credits, and while the artists on most strips can be identified, the writers remained anonymous, unless they mentioned their current work in interviews, as the legendary Frank S. Pepper did in one interview we recently re-published.

Offered in the latest Phil Comics auction is a reference Pay Copy of SMASH Issue 8, which includes details not only of the artists who drew the strips, but the writers, too, which may seem a small thing to regular readers more interested in simply enjoying the comic, but for archivists like myself, and rights holder Rebellion, I’m sure the information will be fascinating!

The details on this Pay Copy – one of a few that have turned up on auction sites in recent years are far more informative than those on Fleetway nursery comics, which normally had the information just pencilled onto the art, according to comics fan Dave Howarth and then only the name of artist or just, frustratingly, the agency they worked for.

The stickers reveal writers, artist, letterer, which scripts were written in house – and the price paid for the work, including information on strips by greats such as Leo Baxendale, Brian Lewis (as “B.M. Lewis”), Ron Spencer and Ken Reid. They also detail the services of companies such as Linden Artists, still in existence today.

Smash comic #8 - 26 Mar 1966 ODHAMS PRESS REFERENCE COPY

Smash comic #8 - 26 Mar 1966 ODHAMS PRESS REFERENCE COPY

Smash comic #8 - 26 Mar 1966 ODHAMS PRESS REFERENCE COPY

Alongside many first issues of British comics complete with free gifts, individual copies of titles such as TV Century 21 and Thriller Picture Library, the latest auction also includes a rare 1940s printer proof of the cover of Beano Issue 267, published in 1945.

Mighty World of Marvel #1 -1973 -With Free Gift
Mighty World of Marvel #1 -1973 -With Free Gift

Thriller Picture Library 376

“We have sold a handful of these 1940s front cover printer’s proofs,” say Phil Comics, “but they are still rare items and unique in that only one per issue was produced – but very few survived / in the public domain, to our knowledge.

“The printed piece has been laid onto a sheet of thin brown paper and this backing sheet, cut down from larger, original size) has some nicks and chips…This was signed by a member of DC Thomson staff on 1 Aug 1945, showing the comics were prepared several weeks in advance.”

Beano Issue 267 - Printer's Proof Issue Cover dated 22nd September 1945

Also in the auction are a number of comics previously owned by the late comics artist Jim Baikie, including many rare fanzines and short run US adult and underground comics.

“Our current auction offers numerous comics from his collection, several of which are obscure, interesting titles, so we hope you enjoy browsing them,” says Phil. “We’ve included the search term “(-JB-)” in the title of each listing so you are able to search for and identify them.”

They range from a copy of Robert Crumb’s Uneeda Comics, published in 1970, to a copy of Tiger Tim’s Weekly published in 1935 – a childhood memento, perhaps?

A copy of Uneeda Comix from 1970 - a Robert Crumb production. This copy was previously owned by the late Jim Baikie
A copy of Uneeda Comix from 1970 – a Robert Crumb production. This copy was previously owned by the late Jim Baikie

Tiger Tim's Weekly - Issue 712 - cover dated 13th July 1935

Jim Baikie was an Eisner Award-winning Scottish comic artist, hailing from Orkney, and was perhaps best known as co-creator of 2000AD‘s alien-on-the-run, Skizz. He was a very well-respected contributor to girl’s titles, starting work in 1966 for Valentine and later in Lady Penelope, June and School Friend, Jinty, Sandie and Tammy. His work in annuals and specials was varied with pages included in Dan Dare, Doctor Who and Lady Penelope and indeed the cover of the 1969 TV Tornado annual.

In the 1980s he was published in Crisis, Warrior and Eagle and he also had a great career with American comics. Jim worked until 2004 when complications from Parkinson’s Disease made it impossible to continue.

Check out all the latest item on offer from Phil Comics here on eBay

• You can read our tribute to Jim here and Alan Moore’s tribute to him here on downthetubes

SMASH ISSUE 8 – COST DETAILS

With thanks to Phil Comics

Note – this list doesn’t include the costs and credits of every strip featured in the issue, which also featured the humour strips “Charlie’s Choice”, “Percy’s Pets”, “Danger Mouse”, “The Nervs”, “The Tellybugs”, “The Swots and the Blots” and “Ronnie Rich” , and the adventure strip “The Ghost Patrol” and “Brian’s Brain”

Cover: “The Man from B.U.N.G.L.E – Stampeding Horse”

Script  – Inhouse, No Credit
Cover Art by Ron Spencer – £20
Colouring by Linden Artists – £2

“Queen of the Seas”
Script by Ken Reid -£10
Art by Ken Reid -£48
Lettering by F. Kingsford -£4 4 Shillings

“Death of Enoch Drip”
Script by Ken Reid -£10
Art by Ken Reid -£48
Lettering by F. Kingsford -£4 4 Shillings

“Bad Penny”
Script by Leo Baxendale -£10
Art by Leo Baxendale -£50
Lettering by Link Studios -£4 4 Shillings

“Old Toys”
Script by Leo Baxendale -£10
Art by Leo Baxendale -£50
Lettering by Link Studios -£4 4 Shillings

“The Great Drain Robbery”
Script by S. Sherrard -£5
Art by Link Studios -£18
Colouring by Linden Artists -£2
Lettering -Inhouse

“Space Jinx”
Script by B.M. Lewis – £10
Art by B.M. Lewis -£44
Colouring by Link Studios -£4
Lettering by D. Charters -£4 4 Shillings

“Grimly Feendish”
Script by S. Sherrard -£5
Art by Link Studios -£18
Colouring by Link Studios -£2
Lettering -Inhouse

 

 

 

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John Freeman

The founder of downthetubes, John works as a comics editor, writer, as Creative Consultant on the Dan Dare audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing for over 30 years, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. 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.

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