The latest Phil-Comics auction running now on eBay offers some terrific British and US comics gems, including an often much sought after edition of Polystyle’s TV Comic featuring the Daleks.
TV Comic Number 788, cover dated 21st January 1967, the Daleks appeared in the title’s “Doctor Who” strip exactly one week after “The Daleks” strip ended in rival title TV Century 21, in a story today known as “The Trodos Ambush”, written by Roger Noel Cook and drawn by John Canning.
The arrival of the Daleks in TV Comic – appropriately dispatching the Trods, the monsters originally created for the title because the publisher couldn’t use the Daleks while they ran in TV Century 21 – was something of a coup at the time, their arrival achieved in near record time.
Paul Scoones, author of the invaluable Doctor Who book The Comic Strip Companion, notes that City Magazines, the publishers of TV Century 21, advised the BBC that they wouldn’t be continuing “The Daleks” strip on on 2nd November 1966 – and that therefore the publishing rights would become available in January 1967.
“The TV Comic deal was signed 22nd December,” Paul recounts. “The final instalment of the TV Century 21 strip appeared in #104, cover-dated 14th January 1967, and the Daleks made their TV Comic debut in #788, cover dated 21st January.
Polystyle must have begun work on the strip before the deal was signed, confident in the knowledge an agreement would be secured.
“It is an unusually tight timeframe,” he noted in discussion on the Doctor Who Comics and Art Facebook group. “I’m sure they were given an early heads-up. TV Comic probably wanted to have a Dalek cover on the shelves the first week after the end of the TV Century 21 strip to capture some of that title’s readership.”
“The Trodos Ambush” was the first battle between the Second Doctor and the Daleks, but it was not the last. Although the Daleks were soon superseded by the Cybermen as a TV series-sourced enemy in TV Comic, he and comic strip companions John and Gillian crossed paths again immediately in “The Doctor Strikes Back”.
Later that year, the Daleks returned in “The Exterminator”, but the pepperpot perils would then not make an appearance in a British weekly comic until their arrival in “Sub Zero”, in Countdown for TV Action in 1972, although they did appear in The Daleks annuals and stories in Doctor Who annuals.
Also among the 360 listings in the Phil-Comics auction, which ends this weekend, are a near pristine Beano No. 452 (1951) with the first “Dennis the Menace”, Detective Comics #359 (first Batgirl), plenty of first issues (some with gifts), TV-themed comics and annuals – plus a set of comedian Ken Dodd‘s teeth!
Run by Phil Shrimpton, Phil Comics specialises in vintage comics and related items such as annuals, holiday specials, free gifts and original artwork.
Holding monthly eBay auctions, often with 500+ listings, they aim to bring a diverse array of items – and are always on the lookout for vintage comic collections, either to buy or auction on commission.
Here’s a selection of lots on offer…
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With thanks to Paul Scoones and Lew Stringer on the Doctor Who Comics and Art Facebook group