Rebellion Publishing, owners of 2000AD, are to publish a print edition of The Beatles Story, written by Angus Allan and Arthur Ranson, which charts the rise of the Fab Four from their early days through to the band’s break-up.
First published in 1981 in the British weekly comic Look-In, this will be the first time The Beatles Story has been published in its entirety in English in print.
Beautifully realised, The Beatles Story charts the history of the band from their struggle for success in the early 1960s through their entire career until the band’s split in 1970.
DJ Mike Read has called the strip “the only worthwhile strip record of the Beatles” and is one of two biography strips first published in British comic Look-In owned by its creators, the late Angus Allan and artist Arthur Ranson, the other being the story of Elvis Presley.
“Before The Beatles – Their Story in Pictures strip, Angus Allan, comic-book and Paperback Writer, and I had been teamed up by Look-in Editor Colin Shelbourn to do The Elvis Story,” recalls Arthur Ranson of the origins of his acclaimed Beatles comic strip. “Like Dreamers Do I suggested to Angus that we might retain the copyright – prompted by belief in its future possibilities and thinking possible returns When I’m Sixty-Four.
“Rather than just the Money there was also pride in ownership and an interest in creators rights. Creator ownership was at that time even less usual then it is now and Nobody I Know at the time had done that. Can’t now imagine the hubris that made me pushy so don’t Ask Me Why.
“When Angus heard the idea he was nervous about it,” Arthur continues. “Apart from the gamble that a reduction in fee would later be recouped I think it ran against his idea of how professional comics guys worked and he might be seen as a Bad Boy. I convinced Angus We Can Work It Out and the Two of Us took the proposal to Colin. I said I would not draw the strip on any other terms. (How was it I was so cocky?) With much less argument than I expected Colin agreed. Thank you, Colin.
“When Colin wanted The Beatles strip it was more or less understood that the same terms would apply. At Look-In’s expense Angus and I became Day Trippers, took A Ticket to Ride and went to Liverpool for research, visiting Penny Lane and all.
“ITV Publications reproduced the strip as a paper book only four months after its first appearance in Look-In, hardly Any Time at All. The impression I was left with was that whoever organised the reprint was so miffed when he discovered that Angus and I had the copyright that he made no attempt to sell it on so it wasn’t exactly Here, There, and Everywhere. Angus and I took on an agent to act on our behalf and he landed some foreign versions.
“Do You Want to Know a Secret? Drawing a weekly story with the hope of seeing it reappearing in a complete continuous format did need some thinking about,” Arthur reveals. “The space where the title would go required filling, but not with anything that was essential. For new readers the breaks are then not apparent and the story will move without interruption, Act Naturally…”
The story was previously re-published digitally in 2012 by ROK Comics over eight audio comics, which downthetubes understands will be available until November 2017 for Apple and Android devices. This digital edition, edited by John Freeman, the pages restored by Jim Campbell thanks to new scans from Shaquille le Vesconte, featured Beatles tracks recreated by top tribute band The Fab Beatles and additional audio material from Angie McCartney, Paul McCartney’s step mother, offering insider memories of The Beatles.
Various foreign language editions have also been published down the years, including, most recently, an edition from German publisher Boiselle & Ellert, which we reported on back in 2015.
• Pre-order the collected edition of The Beatles Story from Amazon.co.uk (using this link helps support downthetubes)
The Beatles Story © Angus Allan & Arthur Ranson