First Published: 4th October 2018
Last Updated: 27th February 2020
Recent Updates: I have updated information on the possible ownership of Polystyle Publications brands such as Countdown and TV Comic, which quickly led to further information that pretty much confirms the title’s brands are owned by REACH, who own also the national newspapers the Daily Mirror and the Daily Express.
I also recently clarified information on rights held by Rebellion in relation to strips published in Look-In such as “Follyfoot”, “Robin of Sherwood”, “The Six Million Dollar Man” and many, many more. I have also added details of some more DC Thomson licensed titles and merged the entries for Express Newspapers and the Mirror Group as they are now operating a single company, REACH; and updated details about the ownership of the TV Century 21/TV21 brand, now confirmed as owned by Rebellion. C. Arthur Pearson Ltd. titles such as Picture Romance Library added to list of Rebellion-owned assets.
Over the years, a number of companies have purchased rights to various comic brands and characters, often prompting questions about whether that company will start publishing collections of characters they don’t own on social media.
This list, based where possible on information supplied by the companies listed, attempts to identify the comics key companies own, and is largely focused on “classic” brands rather than ongoing titles such as 2000AD, Beano, Commando and The Phoenix.
We hope it answers many of the questions British comic fans may have about who publishes what. Where there is an official web site, fan web site or page about a particular title, we plan to include links to them.
Additions and corrections are very welcome. This is not intended to be an exhaustive list of every British comics title ever published or the number of each comic published, but hopefully offers some guidance to comic fans and prospective licensors of comics material.
Please note: Any days and month listed below in section refers to the cover date of the first and last issue. This is not the publication date, it is the “off sale date” – the date on comic titles was guidance to newsagents on when to take a title off the shelves and replace it with the new edition
Public Domain: A number of readers have pointed to early versions of certain international characters – for example, E.C Segar’s “Popeye” – now being in the public domain, and asked if strips featuring in some British comics are also now Public Domain.
The simple answer is that there is no simple answer, but while it’s true the earliest iterations of a character – for example, “Tiger Tim” , who first appeared in Tiger Tim’s Tales in 1919, – could be considered to now fall into this category. But the character was in continuous publication up until the 1950s and was revived, albeit modernised, later, the company now owning the character therefore retaining control of him (and his supporting strip cast).
If you’re confused about copyright law and what may or may not be in the Public Domain, you aren’t alone. For your initial reference, Wikipedia has a page detailing copyright lengths in individual countries across the world and there’s also a Public Domain Calculator here – which takes into account exceptions in different countries (for example, “Peter Pan” is in perpetual copyright in the UK). Do note that the algorithm has not been updated for a few years)
For a general guide on why Public Domain it is not as simple as it might appear in Europe, check out this article, “Copyright Untangled“, on Medium – note you may have to sign up for a free Medium account to view it.
To find out what is in the Public Domain in the United States visit https://law.duke.edu/cspd
Also, you should note that while a character’s copyright may be questioned, the character may subsequently have been trademarked by a copyright owner. There is an introduction to UK trademarks here on the UK government web site and you can search for UK trademarks here.
Intriguingly, a search for “Tiger Tim” reveals a “Class 16” trademark for Tiger Tim’s Weekly (for “Humorous printed publications for children”) was held by Time Inc, but they let this lapse in 1997. Time acquired many IPC comics titles, subsequently sold to TIMedia and now owned by Rebellion. The trademark was first taken out in 1948.
Tiger Tim Products Limited owned the “Tiger Tim” trademark from 1992 but did not renew it in 1999. The London-based company Origin Limited now owns the registered trademark to a much wider Tiger Tim product list that includes “printed matter”.
As a general rule of thumb regarding comic strips published in the UK based on book, film, TV, game or animation properties, initial discussion as to reprint would have to be with the the company or individual or author who owns the copyright/ trademark on the character or title.
However, in some instances, while others hold such character copyrights on some publishers, for example, Rebellion Publishing Ltd., have told me they own and control the script and the art on the titles they now own such as Look-In, so don’t assume there is a free rein on that material.
PaniniUK similarly own and control the script and the art on Doctor Who stories published in TV Comic, Countdown and TV Action.
Please read the individual entries for publishers for more specific information.
Based in Dundee, DC Thomson is best known today for the weekly Beano humour comic, and as publisher of Commando and EPIC, but it has a rich legacy of titles dating back over a century, including superhero-style characters published in the 1920s – well before they became popular in the United States.
• Michael Carroll has compiled a DC Thomson comics timeline here on Rusty Staples
Adventure (17th September 1921 – 14th January 1961) – merged in The Rover
Buddy (1st February 1981 – 6th August 1983) – merged into The Victor
Bullet (14th February 1976 – 2nd December 1978) – merged into Warlord
Champ (25 February 1984 – 19th October 1985) – merged into The Victor
The Crunch (20th January 1979 – 26th January 1980) – merged into The New Hotspur
The Hornet (14th September 1963 – 7th February 1976) – merged into The New Hotspur
• Victor and Hornet Fan Site – www.victorhornetcomics.co.uk
The Hotspur (2nd September 1933 – 17th October 1959) – relaunched as The New Hotspur
The New Hotspur (24th October 1959 – 24th January 1981) – merged into Victor
The Red Arrow (19th March 1932 – 18th March 1933) – merged into Adventure
Scoop (21st January 1978 – 10th October 1981) – merged into The Victor
Spike (22nd January 1983 – 28th April 1984) – merged into Champ
The Vanguard (13th October 1923 – 22nd May 1926) – possibly merged with Adventure
The Victor (25th April 1961 – 21st) November 1992
• Victor and Hornet Fan Site – www.victorhornetcomics.co.uk
Warlord (28th September 1974 – 27th September 1986) – merged into The Victor
The Wizard (23rd September 1922 – 16th November 1963) – merged into The Rover
The Wizard (1970 – 1st February 1970 – 25th June 1978) – merged into Victor
The Rover (4th March 1922 – 20th January 1973) – merged into The Wizard
The Skipper ( 6th September 1930 – 1st February 1941)
Bunty (18th January 1958 – 17th February 2001)
Blue Jeans (22nd January 1977 – 16th March 1991) – merged into Jackie with Jackie dated 23 March 1991
Cherie (1st October 1960 – 19th October 1963) – merged into Romeo
Debbie (17th February 1973 – 15th January 1983) – merged into Mandy – read Michael Carroll’s feature on this comic Rusty Staples
Diana (23rd February 1963 – 4th December 1976) – merged into Jackie
Emma (25th February 1978 – 8th September 1979) – merged with Judy
Hi! for Girls (4th March 1988 – 1992 – last issue publication date information welcome)
Jackie (11th January 1964 – 3rd July 1993)
Judy (16th January 1960 – 11th May 1991) – relaunched as Mandy & Judy – merged into Bunty
Mandy (21st January 1967 – 11th May 1991) – relaunched as Mandy & Judy – merged into Bunty
Mandy & Judy (18 May 1991 – 24th May 1997) – merged into Bunty
Nikki for Girls (23rd February 1985 – 9th September 1989) – merged into Bunty
Patches (10th March 1979 – 6th January 1989) – merged into Blue Jeans
Romeo (31st August 1957 – 14th September 1974) merged into Diana
Spellbound (25th September 1976 – 14th January 1978) – merged into Debbie
Suzy (10th September 1982 – 13th June 1987) – merged into Bunty
Tracy (6th October 1979 – 19th January 1985) – merged into Judy
TV Tops (10th October 1981 – 28th January 1984) – originally titled Tops, merged into Suzy
The Beano (30th July 1938 – Present)
Official web site: www.beano.com
BeanoMAX (15th February 2007 – 1 June 2013) – rebranded as Dennis the Menace and Gnasher’s Epic Magazine
The Beezer (21st January 1956 -15th September 1990) – relaunched as The Beezer and Topper
Beezer Golden Years Blog – thebeezersgoldenyears.blogspot.com (not updated since 2010)
The Beezer and Topper (22nd September 1990 – 21st August 1993) -Relaunch of The Topper and The Beezer
The Best of Beezer (1988–1996)
The Best of Topper (1988–1996)
Buzz (20th January 1973 – 4th January 1975) – merged into The Topper
Classics from the Comics (1st March 1996 – 1st October 2010)
Cracker (18th January 1975 – 11th September 1976) – merged into The Beezer
The Dandy (4th December 1937 – 4th December 2012) – renamed Dandy Xtreme between 2007–2010
Dennis the Menace and Gnasher’s Epic Magazine (1st July 2013 – 1st April 2016) – rebranded as: Epic!
Epic! (1st May 2016 – March 2019) – rebranding of: Dennis the Menace and Gnasher’s Epic Magazine. Cancelled after 127 issues
Goodie Bag Mag (2003–2011)
Hoot (26th October 1985 – 25th October 1986) – merged into The Dandy
The Magic Comic (22nd July 1939 – 25th January 1941)
The Magic Comic (1976 – 31st January 1976 – 24 February 1979)
The Midget Comic (5th June 1930 – 12th September 1930)
Nutty (14th February 1980 – 14th September 1985) – merged into The Dandy
Plug (24th September 1977 – 24th February 1979) – merged into The Beezer
Sparky (23rd January 1965 – 9th July 1977) – merged into The Topper
The Topper (7th February 1953 – 15th September 1990)- relaunched as The Beezer and Topper
Bucky O’Hare (20th March 1992 – 11th December 1992)
Danger Mouse (1st July 2016 – 1st July 2017)
Hurricanes (30th September 1993 – 2nd December 1993)
National Geographic Kids
Thunderbirds are Go
WWE Kids Magazine (now published by a different publisher)
Animal Planet (2011–present)
Animals & You (1998–present)
Bimbo (18th March 1961 – 22nd January 1972)
Little Star (29th January 1972 – 24th January 1976) – merged into Twinkle
Pepper Street (19th January 1985 – 9th May 1987) – merged into Twinkle
Twinkle (27th January 1968 – 5th June 1999)
Pocket Library Titles
Commando Comics (1st June 1961 – Present)
Official web site: www.commandocomics.com
Football Picture Story Monthly (1st June 1986 – 1st October 2003)
Red Dagger (23rd October 1979 – 1st June 1984) – read our check list to Red Dagger here
Starblazer (1st April 1979 – 1st January 1991) – read our guide to Starblazer, including a full issue guide starting here with “Blazing through the Secrecy” by Jeremy Briggs
Blue Jeans Photo Novel (10th June 1980 – 1992, final publication date information welcome)
Blue Rosette Romances (1959 – 1st April 1965) – merged into Star Love Stories
Bunty Picture Story Library for Girls (1st May 1963 – 1997)
Debbie Picture Story Library for Girls (1st April 1978 – 1993, final publication date information welcome)
Golden Heart Love Stories (1957 – March 1965) – merged into Star Love Stories
Judy Picture Story Library for Girls (1st May 1963 – 1994)
Love and Life Library (1957 – March 1965) merged into Star Love Stories
Lucky Charm (23rd October 1979 – 1st June 1984)
Mandy Picture Story Library for Girls (1st April 1978 -1997, final publication date information welcome)
Silver Moon Romances (1958 – 1st March 1965) – merged into Star Love Stories
Star Love Stories (1st April 1965 – 1st September 1990 – Relaunch of Golden Heart Love Stories)
Beano Comic Library (1st April 1983 – 1997) -Relaunched as The Fun-Size Beano
The Beano Superstars (1992 – 2002)
Dandy Comic Library (1st April 1983 -1997) -relaunched as The Fun-Size Dandy
Dandy Comic Library Special (1987 – 1994)
The Fun-Size Beano (1997 – 1st November 2010) – relaunched from: Beano Comic Library
The Fun-Size Dandy (1997 – 1st November 2010) – relaunched from Dandy Comic Library
The Sunday Post (1936–present) features “The Broons”, “Nero and Zero”, “Nosey Parker Our Muddling Meddler” and “Oor Wullie”
The Dan Dare Corporation
The Dan Dare Corporation own the Eagle comics brand – both the original 1950s incarnation, including the space hero Dan Dare, and the 1980s reboot, and the characters that first appeared in that title (but not characters and strips absorbed into it from Tiger, for example)
Eagle (Volume One) ran for 991 issues between 14th April 1950 – 26th April 1969, before merging with Lion
Eagle (Volume Two) ran for 505 issues between 27the March 1982, monthly from May 1991 – January 1994
The company states on its web site that it owns “Computer Warrior”, “Storm Force”, “Ghost Squad”, “Manix”, “The Fists of Danny Pyke”, “Crowe Street Comp”, “Walk or Die”, “Survival”, “The Amstore Computer”, “Doomlord” and “Detective Zed”.
They also own “The Tower King”, which was collected by Hibernia Comics.
However, it’s been pointed out that “Storm Force” first appeared in Battle and “Ghost Squad” is a “Death Wish” spin off; both of these strips are actually owned by Rebellion.
The Dan Dare Corporation web site makes no mention of strips that were published in the original Eagle apart from “Dan Dare”, although they have been the first port of call by publishers to reprint, for example, Frank Hampson’s “Road of Courage”. Some strips published in Eagle remained the property of creators as they appeared elsewhere before appearing in Eagle – for example “PC 49” and “Riders of the Range”.
The DDC do own all feature material published in the original Eagle.
Express Newspapers/ The Mirror Group – REACH plc
This Section was Last Updated 27th February 2020
Express Newspapers is now owned by Mirror Group Newspapers, operating as REACH plc.
Mirror newspaper strip characters include “Andy Capp”, “Buck Ryan”, “Garth” and the “The Perishers” and Express-published newspaper strips include “Jeff Hawke”.
REACH presumably also hold “James Bond” assets previously archived at the Express.
REACH also own titles published by Polystyle Publicatons, including Countdown and TV Comic. There is more information on Polystyle’s assets in a separate section below.
The REACH archive includes artwork from the comic strip “Countdown” which appeared in Countdown comic, drawn by John M. Burns, published by Polystyle. They are certainly in a position to license its collection having discussed the possibility with MGM owners Warners, who own the rights to 2001: A Space Odyssey and the spaceships used in the strip.
REACH also hold artwork published in comics produced by City Editions in the 1960s, including TV Century 21.
Huckleberry Hound Weekly (1961-67)
Yogi Bear’s Own (1962-64)
Look and Learn
Excluding the rights to certain comic strips (such as “The Rise and Fall of the Trigan Empire”, now owned by Rebellion after their rights deal with TI Media in 2018) and some other easily identifiable material (some strips from Swift were also apparently retained by IPC), Look and Learn Limited own the rights to the following magazines:
The Bible Story (1964)
The Children’s Newspaper (1919-65)
Harold Hare (1959-64)
Jack and Jill (27th February 1954 — 29th June 1985 – presumably including the merger titles Dickory Dock, Playbox and Toby. The peculiar nursery title, Candy, a creation of Gerry Anderson, published between 1967 and 1968, also merged with Jack and Jill in 1969, so presumably it is also owned by Look and Learn)
Look and Learn (20 January 1962 – 17 April 1982)
Once Upon a Time (1969-73)
Playhour (1954-87 – presumably including merger titles such as Fun to Do, Fun to Know, Hey Diddle Diddle, Playhour Pictures, Tiny Tots and TV Toyland)
Speed and Power (1974-75)
Teddy Bear (1963-73)
Tell Me Why (1968-70)
World of Knowledge (1980-81)
World of Wonder (1970-75)
Look and Learn also owns the rights to the annuals and other books associated with these magazines. A few characters L&L bought have subsequently been sold on.
This Section was Last Updated 27th February 2020
Founded on 12th May 1960, Polystyle Publications closed in 1997 due to insolvency. A notice of the liquidation of assets appeared in the London Gazette on 24th October 1997.
The liquidation of the company by Croydon-based Levy Gee, completed on 20th November 2003, according to a timeline on OpenCorporates, but that site carries no actual documents to reference and Companies House does not offer them online.
Surviving Polystyle art assets and brands were once owned by London and North Surrey Newspapers, later later ARG (LNSN) Limited, until the 1990s. As an editor at Marvel UK in the early 1990s, I negotiated the purchase of all publishing rights from them to the Doctor Who strips published in TV Comic, Countdown and Countdown and TV Action. These rights are now held by Panini UK, who acquired them as part of their ownership of the assets of Marvel UK in the late 1990s. The paperwork for the purchase has been shared with Panini UK and Big Finish, and copies are also presumably held by BBC Worldwide.
ARG (LNSN) Limited ceased trading at around the same time as Polystyle Publications and its wrap up was also handled by Levy Gee.
Some of its newspapers are now owned by Newsquest, as the current owners of the Surrey Comet Group, but others, such as the Hounslow Chronicle are owned by REACH, owners of the Daily Mirror and Express newspapers.
Phil Creighton used to work for what was Surrey & Berkshire Newspapers, which was then owned by the Guardian, which then sold it to Trinity Mirror (now REACH). As part of the deal, he told downthetubes Trinity had to sell some of its Surrey titles, otherwise it would have created a conflict in the market, an agreement detailed here in a document published by the Office of Fair Trading (PDF).
“Simply put, Trinity, now REACH, retained control of the bulk of its titles,” Phil explains. “This means it is almost odds-on certain to retain ownership of the London and North Surrey Newspapers associated companies as, if I understand correctly, they only sold the affected titles to a rival publisher.”
This piece of the puzzle means we can now discount any claim of ownership of the Polystyle comic brands by Newsquest, and confirms limited past correspondence with what is now REACH that suggested they own by them.
By way of further evidence, if Newsquest has any ownership to these titles, no-one at the Surrey Comet Group seems aware of it. Enquiries into ownership of these brands in 2019 by downthetubes failed to generate any meaningful and concrete answers on this front.
The titles we believe REACH own are:
Countdown/TV Action (1971–73) – see notes below about the “Countdown” strip
Pippin in Playland (1975 – 1986)
Read To Me (1977)
TV Comic (1951–1984)
What Happened to Polystyle Publications Art Assets?
Presumably, very little art from TV Comic and other Polystyle titles survives unless owned by its original artists and/or their estates.
Polystyle’s liquidators attempted to contact artists/ licensors through the pages of the London Gazette in 1997. We do not know what happened to art that was not returned to them by 27th February 1998.
I personally saw art from TV Comic and other titles in the London and North Surrey Newspapers warehouse in Kingston in the early 1990s. It was in a disordered mess, with nothing bar perhaps one or two boards from Countdown/TV Action on view – a “Thunderbirds” page by Don Harley, propped up by a door, for one.
downthetubes is aware REACH hold art assets for the “Countdown” strip from Countdown comic, about 30 pages in total, but a list of comic strip assets held by Express Newspapers in 2008 to which we have access does not suggest much else.
As with the Rebellion-owned TV Century 21, TV21 and other licensed-based comics, REACH would only be able to license rights to the strips published that do not feature TV, film or other third party properties.
To license publication of “UFO” strips from Countdown, for example, you would require a license from ITV.
REACH have actively sought to license reprint of the “Countdown” strip, which would require agreement with them, in partnership with Warner, who own the licensing rights to 2001: A Space Odyssey, because space vehicles from the film feature in “Countdown” drawn by John M. Burns.
The Dickens Press was set up to handle Polystyle Publications books, including the I-Spy range. i-SPY books are today co-published by Collins and Michelin.
• The problems of newspapers consigning their archives (and paperwork) to history are discussed here on BoingBoing.
In addition to its current publishing catalogue which includes Marvel superhero strips published under license, Panini acquired Marvel UK’s assets in the mid 1990s, which includes the Doctor Who strips published in TV Comic, Countdown etc. and therefore own and control the script and the art on those strips.
It does not own the Marvel UK characters such as Death’s Head, Dark Angel, the Knights of Pendragon and Warheads, which remain Marvel property.
• Starlogged regularly features Marvel UK items
Rebellion Publishing Limited
Rebellion have owned 2000AD, Judge Dredd Megazine and other related titles for some years, but bought Egmont UK’s classic comics archive and art in 2016 and acquired most of the IPC titles published before 1970, owned by TI Media, in 2018.
Prior to this, ownership of many classic British comics was split between IPC, which was bought by Time Warner – prompting publication of the Albion mini-series by Leah Moore, John Reppion and Shane Oakley and two other mini-series – and Egmont UK. (The indications are that Rebellion own these series).
In the 1990s, Egmont and IPC agreed a split on rights that meant that titles published before January 1970 remained the property of IPC and any titles and characters published after that were the property of Egmont. That complicated arrangement – there were exceptions to the agreement, such as characters published in Buster, still being published by Egmont – is now negated.
In addition to the comics below, Rebellion also owns “classic” characters such as Sexton Blake and Billy Bunter. They also, it is believed, own comics titles published by C. Arthur Pearson Ltd, which, it has been suggested, IPC acquired when they took over publishing Mirabelle in the mid-1960s. These include Western Picture Library, some of which were later reprinted by Fleetway/IPC. These are listed below indicating the original publisher.
This list does not include the various Disney titles published by IPC under license, continued by Egmont UK.
Please note that in the late 19th century and early 20th some comic titles relaunched with second volumes, almost immediately after the end of the first, with no real indication of change other than in the indicia. For the purposes of clarity, we’ve referred to subsequent volumes as “Volume Two” etc in the list below. But do note there may be little or no indication of a “new volume” in the titles themselves.
Paperwork on the ownership of titles for Amalgamated Press, IPC and related company titles is not as detailed as it is for companies such as DC Thomson.
Adventure and Sports Comics
Note that many adventure comics also included humour strips, until the 1980s/90s
2000AD (26th February 1977 – present)
Action (First series – 14th February 1976 – 16th October 1976
Action (Second series – 4th December 1976 – 12th November 1977) – merged with Battle Action
Adventures of Robin Hood (1959 – ??, C. Arthur Pearson title)
All-Action Monthly (February – September 1987)
Air War Picture Stories (1961 – ??, C. Arthur Pearson title)
Battle Picture Library (1961 – 1984); Battle Action (19th November 1977 – 1st October 1983); Battle Action Force (8th October 1983 – 23rd January 1988) — merged with Eagle
Buccaneers (1959 – ??, C. Arthur Pearson title)
The Boy’s Leader (Story Paper, C. Arthur Pearson title)
Champion (26th February 1966 – 4th June 1966) – merged with Lion
Chronicles of Judge Dredd (1981)
Comet (1909, C. Arthur Pearson title)
Comet (20th September 1946 – 17th October 1959) – merged with Tiger
Crisis (17th September 1988 – October 1991)
Diceman (January 1986 – October 1986)
Fantastic (18th February 1967 — 7th September 1968) — merged into Smash!
Heroic Adventure Library (1964 – ??, C. Arthur Pearson title)
Hurricane (29th February 1964 – 8th May 1965) – merged Tiger
Jag (4th May 1968 – 29th March 1969) – merged with Tiger
Jet (1st May 1971 – 25th September 1971) – merged with Buster
Judge Dredd Megazine (October 1990 – present)
Judge Dredd: Lawman of the Future (1995 – 1996)
Knockout (4th March 1939 16 February 1963) – merged with Valiant (note there was also a later humour title with the same title)
Lion (23rd February 1952 – 18th May 1974) – merged with Valiant
Look Alive (18th September 1982 – 16th October 1982)
Mystery & Suspense (8th April 1997 — 30th October 1998)
Picture Stories of World War Two (1960 – ??, C. Arthur Pearson Ltd. title)
Pow! (21 January 1967 — 13 January 1968) — merged with Wham!
Private-Eye Picture Stories (1961 – ??, C. Arthur Pearson Ltd. title)
Revolver (July 1990 – January 1991) – merged with Crisis
The Scout (Story Paper, C. Arthur Pearson title)
Scream! (24th March 1984 – 30th June 1984) – merged with Eagle
Scream fan site at www.backfromthedepths.co.uk
Secret Agent Picture Library (1961 – ??, C. Arthur Pearson Ltd. title)
Sea War Picture Library (1962 series, C. Arthur Pearson Ltd. title)
Smash! (5th February 1966 – 3rd May 1971) – merged with Valiant
Speed (23rd February 1980 – 25th October 1980) – merged with Tiger
Starlord (13th May 1978 – 7th October 1978) – merged with 2000AD
Sun (11th November 1947 – 17th October 1959) – merged with Lion
Thunder (17th October 1970 – 12th March 1971) – merged with Lion
Terrific (15 April 1967 — 3 February 1968) — merged into Fantastic
Thriller Comics (November 1951 – May 1963)
Tiger (Sept. 11, 1954 – March 30, 1985)
Titbits Science Fiction Comics (1953 – C. Arthur Pearson title)
Titbits Wild West Comics (1953 – ??< C. Arthur Pearson title)
Tornado (24th March 1979 -n 18th August 1979) – merged with 2000AD
True War (1978)
TV Picture Stories (1958 series, C. Arthur Pearson Ltd. title) – also listed under “Film and TV” titles below
Valiant (6th October 1962 – 16th October 1976) – merged with Battle
Valiant – Story of the West (April 1962)
Vulcan (27th September 1975 – 3rd April 1976) – merged with Valiant
War Comic Home Journal (25th November 1899 – 10th February 1900)
War Picture Library (1 September 1958 – 3 December 1984)
Western Picture Library (1958 – ??, C. Arthur Pearson Ltd. title)
Wham! (20 June 1964 – 13 January 1968) — merged into Pow!
Wildcat (22nd October 1988 – 25th March 1989) – merged with Eagle
Wild West Picture Stories (1960 – ??, C. Arthur Pearson title)
World War Picture Stories (1960 – ??, C. Arthur Pearson title)
Sports Comic Titles
Hot-Shot (13th August 1988 – 28th January 1989) – merged Roy of the Rovers
Johnny Cougar’s Wrestling Monthly (October 1992 – March 1993)
Roy of the Rovers (25th September 1976 – 20th March 1993)
Best of Roy of the Rovers Monthly (April 1988 – June 1990)
Roy of the Rovers Monthly (July 1990)
Official Roy of the Rovers site: royoftheroversofficial.com
Scorcher (10th June 1970 – 26th June 1971) – merged with Scorcher & Score
Scorcher & Score (3rd July 1971 – 5th October 1974) – merged with Tiger
Score n’ Roar (19th September 1970 – 26th June 1971) – merged with Scorcher & Score
Shoot (16th August 1969 – December 2008
Sports Fun (11th February 1922 – 6th May 1922)
Tiger (11th September 1954 – 30th March 1985) – merged with Eagle
Note: Tiger did not start out as a solely “sports” comic but became one
Film and TV Titles
Emergency Ward 10 (1958 – ??, C. Arthur Pearson title)
Film Picture Library (1959 – ??, C. Arthur Pearson title)
Look-In (9th January 1971 – 1994)
A special word about Look-In, as questions about strips it featured get asked a lot. Rebellion now owns the “Look-In” brand but as with TV Century 21/ TV21 and Lady Penelope, most of the strips featured based on TV properties – Follyfoot, The Tomorrow People, Space: 1999 and many more – these were published under license and reproduction would require a licensing agreement from the current property holders.
However, while others hold the character copyrights on TV properties, In January 2020, Rebellion told downthetubes they own and control the script and the art on the Look-In material, so don’t assume there is a free rein on that material.
The music strips were originated for Look-In were all originally copyright IPC, with the exception of “The Beatles Story” and “The Elvis Story” which are owned jointly by the widow of Angus Allan and artist Arthur Ranson. However, from experience, it might be that anyone wanting to reproduce, for example, a collection of the “Bucks Fizz” strip (and yes, it has come up in discussions!), would also have to negotiate some kind of agreement with the agents for that band, especially if they were seeking to collect the strips for publication in the United States, where copyright over your likeness is more strictly enforced.
TV Picture Stories (1958 – ?? C. Arthur Pearson title)
The “TV21” Family
In 2019, Rebellion confirmed to downthetubes that they own the TV Century 21 title, which suggests they also own TV Tornado (which merged with TV21 with Issue 192) and Solo which was merged with TV Tornado with Issue 37.
As titles, Joe 90 and Lady Penelope, two of the sister titles to TV21 published by City Editions would have today be licensed for use from ITV, but the later incarnation of Lady Penelope, titled simply Penelope, later merged with Princess Tina, is presumably also owned by Rebellion.
The peculiar nursery title, Candy, published between 1967 and 1968, merged with Jack and Jill comic in 1969, a title brand and characters owned by the Look and Learn – see above.
Most of the strips featured in titles such as TV Century 21, Lady Penelope, Solo and Tornado were based on TV properties, published under license and reproduction would require a licensing agreement from the current brand holders. so, although Rebellion owns some of the City Editions titles, to license publication of “Thunderbirds” strips from TV21, for example, you would require a license from ITV.
Reproduction of “The Daleks” for TV Century 21 would require a joint license from the BBC and the agents of the Terry Nation Estate. This joint licensing issue is in part why a hardcover collection has never happened and the only collection remains the Special edited by Gary Russell for Marvel UK in the 1990s, possible in part because MUK was then a Doctor Who license holder.
Strips such as “The Monkees” for Lady Penelope were also produced under license and would require permission for reproductions from the band’s agents (in the case of The Monkees, RHINO).
However, while others hold the character copyrights on TV properties, In January 2020, Rebellion told downthetubes they own and control the script and the art on the TV Century 21-related material, so as with Look-In, above, don’t assume there is a free rein on that material.
However, Chertok TV, owners of “My Favorite Martian” (published as “My Favourite Martian” in TV Century 21), established ownership of that strip and its physical artwork while it was still held by Express Newspapers.
Other rights holders of strips such as “Burke’s Law” and “The Munsters” would own also the rights to those strips.
However, the ownership of non-TV strips created for publication in TV Century 21 now appears to rest with Rebellion. It is our understanding that Anderson Entertainment have in the past been unable to assert rights to “Catch of Kill”, “Hold the Front Page”, “The Investigator”, “Project SWORD”, “Secret Agent 21” (and its incarnation as “Mr Magnet”) and “Super League”.
It should, of course, be noted that these strips did on occasion feature Gerry Anderson-related vehicles and some elements from the wider “Century 21” universe, which would complicate the reprinting of some strips.
Of the strips in Lady Penelope, only “What Did That Dog Say?” – a humorous stories about a girl who can understand the language of dogs thanks to a magic ring – might be owned by Rebellion. Created by Angus Allan, this first appeared in Lady Penelope as a text story, but it was popular enough to become a weekly comic strip. Later it would be renamed “What Did That Dog (And Cat) Say?” when the main character, Cathy, gained the ability to understand cats as well as dogs.
TV 21 & Joe 90 (27th September 1969 25 September 1971) – merged with Valiant
See notes about Express Newspapers above on the TV21 brand
Bonnie (16th March 1974 – 10th May 1974)
Continental Film Photo Stories (1960 – ??, C. Arthur Pearson title)
Dreamer (19th September 1981 – 15th May 1982) – merged with Girl
Comics writer Alison Mary Fitt tells us this was a beautiful story magazine for girls that included photo picture stories, a sort of Junior Jackie. It was very popular, but was cancelled without explanation. Great News for All Readers has an interesting article about this title and the possible ramifications of its cancellation
Fabulous – renamed Fabulous 208 from June 1966 then Fab 208 from August 1975 (18th January 1964 – 27th September 1980)
Girl (Volume One – 2nd November 1951 – 3rd October 1964) – merged with Princess; Volume Two – 14th January 1981 – 1990)
Girls Crystal (23rd October 1937 – 18th May 1940) – merged with School Friend
The Glamour Library (1960s – ??, C. Arthur Pearson title)
Heartbeat (3rd October 1981 – 10th May 1982) – merged with My Guy
Hospital Nurse Picture Library (1964 – ??, C. Arthur Pearson title)
Jinty (11th May 1974 – 21st November 1981) – merged with Tammy
June (18th March 1961 – 15th June 1974) – merged with Tammy
Lindy (21st June 1975 – 1st November 1975) – merged with Jinty
Love Romance (May 1950 – information on date of last issue welcomed)
Mates (8th February 1975 – 29th August 1981) – merged with Oh Boy
Marilyn (19th March 1955 – 18th September 1965) – merged with Valentine
Marty(1960 – 1963, C. Arthur Pearson title)
Mirabelle (10th September 1956 – 22nd October 1977) – originally a C. Arthur Pearson Ltd. title, merged with Pink
Mirabelle Pop Film and TV Star Library (1959 – ??, C. Arthur Pearson title)
Misty (4th February 1978 – 12th January 1980) – merged with Tammy
My Guy (4th March 1978 – final issue date information welcome)
New Glamour (1956 – ?? C. Arthur Pearson title)
Oh Boy (12th October 1976 – 12th January 1985) – merged with My Guy
Penelope – the later incarnation of Lady Penelope – merged with Princess Tina
Penny (24th May 1979 – 5th May 1980) – merged with Jinty
Petticoat (1966 – 1975) — merged with Hi
Photo Love (31st March 1979 – 29th January 1981) – merged with Oh Boy
Photo Romances (1960, C. Arthur Pearson title)
Photo Secret Love (15th March 1980 – 30th January 1981) – merged with Photo Love
Pink (24th March 1973 – 14th June 1980) – merged with Mates
Picture Romance Library (1956 – ??, C. Arthur Pearson Ltd. title)
Pixie (24th June 1972 – 13th January 1973) – merged with June
Poppet (5th October 1963 – 11th July 1964) – merged with June
Princess (30th January 1960 – 16th September 1967) – merged with Princess Tina
Princess (24th September 1983 – 31st March 1984) – merged with Tammy
Princess Tina (23rd September 1967 – merged with Pink in 1973)
Roxy (15th March 1958 – 14th September 1963) – merged with Valentine
Sally (14th June 1969 – 27th March 1971) – merged with Tammy
Sandie (12th February 1972 – 20th October 1973) – merged with Tammy
School Friend (20th May 1950 – 23rd June 1965) – merged with June
Serenade (22nd September 1962 – 9th February 1963) – merged with Valentine
Tammy (6th February 1971 – 23rd June 1984) – merged with Girl
Tina (25th February 1967 – 16th September 1967) – merged with Princess Tina
TV Fan (12th September 1959 – 30th January 1960) – merged with Valentine
Valentine (19th January 1957 – 9th November 1974) – merged with Mirabelle
Young Lovers Picture Story Library (1958 – ??, C. Arthur Pearson title)
Note that many humour comics also included adventures strips, until the 1980s/90s
Best of Krazy (June 1978)
Big Budget (1897-1907, C. Arthur Pearson title)
Big Comic Fortnightly (June 1988 – 1994)
Big One (17th October 1964 – 10th February 1965)
Buster (28th May 1960 – 4th January 2000)
Buster Puzzle Book (1969)
• Buster fan site at www.bustercomic.com
Charlie Chaplin’s Fun Book (1915)
Cheeky Weekly (22nd October 1977 – 2nd February 1997) – merged with Whoopee
• Cheekly Weekly blog at cheekyweekly.blogspot.com
Cheerio (17th May 1919 – 17th April 1919) – merged with Kinema Comic
Chicks Own (22nd September 1920 – 9th March 1957)
Chuckles (10th January 1914 – 1st December 1923) – merged with Jungle Jinks
The Christmas Comic (1931-33, C. Arthur Pearson title)
The Christmas Holiday Comic (1937, C. Arthur Pearson title)
Comic Cuts (17th May 1890 – 12th September 1953) – merged with Knockout
Comic Life (30th December 1899 – 21st January 1899) – merged with My Favourite Henderson
Comic Relief Comic (1991)
Cor!! (6th June 1970 – 15th June 1974) – merged with Buster
Dan Leno’s Comic Journal (1898 – 1899,, C. Arthur Pearson title)
Film Fun (17th January 1920 – 8th September 1962) – merged with Buster
Film Picture Stories (28th July 1934 – 16th February 1935) – merged with Film Fun
– There’s a guide to this title here on DanDareInfo
Firefly (28th February 1914 – 13th February 1915); Firefly ‘Volume 2’ (20th February 1915 – 31st March 1917) – merged with Butterfly
Fun & Fiction (14th October 1911 – 21st February 1914) – merged with Firefly
Funny Pips (1903, C. Arthur Pearson title)
Funny Wonder (26th December 1914 – 16th May 1942) – merged with Wonder
Giggle (29th April 1967 – 13th January 1968) – merged with Buster
Golden Penny Comic (14th October 1922 – 28th January 1928) – merged with Comic Cuts
Halfpenny Wonder (28th March 1914 – 19th December 1914)
– merged with Funny Wonder
Happy Days (8th October 1938 – 5th August 1939) – merged with Chicks Own
The Holiday Comic (1939, C. Arthur Pearson title)
Illustrated Chips (Volume One – 26th July 1890 – 30th August 1890); ‘Volume Two’ 6th September 1890 – 12th September 1953) – merged with Film Fun
Jackpot (5th May 1979 – 30th January 1982) – merged with Buster
Jester (27th January 1912 – 18th December 1920) – merged with Jolly Jester
Jester & Wonder (24th May 1902 – 20th January 1912) – merged with Jester
Jester (23rd February 1924 – 18th May 1940) – merged with Funny Wonder
Jingles (13th January 1934 – 29th May 1954) – merged with TV Fun
Joker (5th November 1927 – 18th May 1940) – merged with Illustrated Chips
Jolly Comic (19th January 1935 – 28th October 1939) – merged with Comic Cuts
Jolly Jumbo’s Christmas Holiday Comic (1934 – ??, C. Arthur Pearson title)
Jolly Jester (25th December 1920 – 15th January 1924) – merged with Jester
Jungle Jinks (8th December 1923 – 7th February 1925) – merged with Playbox
Junior Puzzles (June 1978- June 1982)
Kinema Comic (24th May 1920 15th October 1932) – merged with Film Fun
Krazy (16th October 1976 – 15th May 1978) – merged with Whizzer & Chips
Knockout (2nd June 1971 – 23rd June 1973) — merged with Whizzer and Chips (note there was also an earlier adventure title with the same title)
Krazy (16th October 1976 — 15th April 1978) — merged with Whizzer and Chips
Larks (29th October 1927 – 18th May 1940) – merged with Comic Cuts
Little Sparks (Volume One – 24th May 1920 – 15th May 1920; Volume Two – 22nd May 1920 – 30th September 1922) – merged with Sunbeam
Lots-O’-Fun (17th March 1906 – 16th February 1929) – merged with Crackers
Monster Comic (1939 – ??, C. Arthur Pearson title)
Monster Fun Comic (14th June 1975 – 30th October 1976) – merged with Buster
Nipper (31st January — 12th September 1987) — merged into Buster
Penny Wonder (10th January 1912 – 28th December 1912) – merged with Wonder
Oink! (3rd May 1986 – 22 October 1988) — merged into Buster
Note – many of the strips featured in Oink! are creator owned
• Phil’s Oink! Blog is at the-oink-blog.blogspot.com
Radio Fun (15th October 1938 – 18th February 1961) – merged with Buster
School Fun (15th October 1983 – 26th May 1984) – merged with Buster
The Seaside Comic (mid-1930s, C. Arthur Pearson title)
Shiver & Shake (10th March 1973 – 5th October 1974) – merged with Whoopee
The Spring Comic (1932-1934, C. Arthur Pearson title)
The Summer Comic (1932-1938, C. Arthur Pearson title)
The Summer Holiday Comic (1935 – ??, C. Arthur Pearson title)
Sunny Sands (1939 – ??, C. Arthur Pearson title)
Sparkle (1953 – ??, C. Arthur Pearson title)
Tiger Tim’s Tales (1st June 1919 – 24th January 1920) – merged with Tiger Tim’s Weekly
Tiger Tim’s Weekly (31st January 1920 – 12th November 1921; relaunch volume 19th November 1921 – 18th May 1940) – merged with Rainbow
Tip Top (21st April 1934 – 29th May 1954) – merged with TV Fun
Top Spot (25th October 1958 – 16th January 1960) – merged with Film Fun
TV Fun (19th September 1953 – 5th September 1959) – merged with TV Fan
Whizzer & Chips (18th October 1969 – 17th October 1990) – merged with Buster
Whoopee (9th March 1974 – April 1985) – merged with Whizzer & Chips
Wonder (30th July 1892 – 27th January 1893) – merged with Funny Wonder
Wonder (1st June 1901 – 9th November 1901; Volume Two, 16th November 1901 – 3rd May 1902) – merged with Wonder & Jester
Wonder (4th January 1913 – 21st March 1914) – merged with Halfpenny Wonder
Wonder (30th May 1942 – 12th September 1953) – merged with Radio Fun
Wonder & Jester (10th May 1902 – 17th May 1902) – merged with Jester & Wonder
Wow (5th June 1982 – 25th June 1983) – merged with Whoopee!
Black Hole (January 1980)
Grange Hill Magazine (1980 – 1981)
M.A.S.K. (25th October 1986 – 22nd October 1988) – merged with Eagle
Red Dwarf Smegazine (March 1992 – January 1994)
Ring-Raiders (18th September 1989 25 November 1989)
Supernaturals (31st October 1987 – 4th March 1988)
Toxic Crusaders (14th August 1992 – Late 1992 – exact dates welcome)
Vampirella (February 1975 – May 1975)
Bo-Peep & Little Boy Blue (19th October 1929 – 14th April 1934) – Merged into Chicks Own
Bobo Bunny (22nd March 1969 – 27th January 1969) – merged into Hey Diddle Diddle
Bubbles & The Children’s Fairy (16th April 1921 – 24th May 1941) – Merged with Chicks Own
Butterfly (19th September 1904 – 31st September 1904) – became Butterfly & Firefly
Butterfly & Firefly (7th April 1917 – 17th October 1925) – became Butterfly
Butterfly (24th October 1925 – 18th May 1940) – became Butterfly & Merry
Children’s Fairy (1st November 1919 – 9th April 1921) – merged with Bubbles
Children’s Sunday Fairy (11th October 1919 – 25th October 1919) – merged with Children’s Fairy
Chips Comic (12th March 1983 – 10th July 1983) – merged with Playhour
Chips Comic Book (October 1984)
Crackers (22nd January 1929 – 31st May 1941) – merged with Jingles
Favourite Comic (21st January 1911 – 31st March 1917) – merged with Merry & Bright
Golden (23rd October 1937 – 18th May 1940) – merged with Jingles
Merry & Bright (22nd October 1910 – 31st March 1917) – merged with Merry & Bright the Favourite Comic
Merry & Bright the Favourite Comic (7th May 1917 – 19th January 1935) – merged with Butterfly
My Favourite Sparkler (28th January 1928 – 13th October 1934)
Playbox (1925 – 1955) — merged with Jack and Jill
Rainbow (14th February 1914 – 28th May 1956) – merged with Tiny Tots
Puck (1904 – 1940) — merged with Sunbeam
Playtime (Volume One – 29th March 1919 – 17th November 1923; Volume Two – 24 November 1923 12 October 1929) – merged with Bo-Peep
Puck (30th July 1904 – 11th May 1940) – merged with Sunbeam
Rainbow (1914 – 1956) — merged with Tiny Tots
See-Saw (9th October 1976 – 16th July 1977) – merged with Toby
Sparks (3rd May 1919 – 17th May 1920) – merged with/changed to Little Sparks
Sparkler (20th October 1934 – 5th August 1939) – merged with Crackers
Sunbeam (7th October 1922 – 23rd January 1926; Volume Two 30th January 1926 – 25th May 1940) – merged with Tiny Tots
Sunday Fairy – merged with Children’s Sunday Fairy
(10th May 1919 – 4th October 1919)
Sunny Stories 12th July 1958 – 19th June 1971) – merged with Disneyland
Tiny Tots (1927-1959) — merged with Playhour
Wonderland Tales (1st June 1919 – 30th May 1920) – merged with Wonderland Tales Weekly
Wonderland Tales Weekly (5th June 1920 – 26th June 1920) – merged with Wonderland Weekly
Wonderland Weekly (5th July 1920 – 23rd July 1921) – merged with Young Folks Tales
Air Ace Picture Library (January 1960 – November 1970)
– merged with War Picture Library
Action Picture Library (August 1969 – October 1970)
Battle Picture Library (January 1961 – December 1984)
Cowboy Comics / Picture Library (May 1950 – September 1962)
Eagle Picture Library (May 1985 – November 1985) NB title might be owned by the Dan Dare Corporation
Fleetway Super Library: Fantastic Series (January 1967 – January 1967) – merged with Fleetway Super Library: Stupendous Series
Fleetway Super Library: Front Line Series (January 1967 – January 1968)
Fleetway Super Library: Secret Agent Series (January 1967 – January 1968)
Fleetway Super Library: Stupendous Series (February 1967 – January 1968)
Giant War Picture Library (June 1964 – December 1965)
Lion Picture Library (October 1963 – May 1969)
Lone Rider Picture Library (July 1961 – February 1962)
Super Detective Picture Library (March 1953 – December 1960)
Thriller Comics (November 1951 – May 1963)
Tiger Sports Picture Library (July 1961 – December 1961)
Top Secret Picture Library (July 1974 – February 1976)
Valiant Picture Library (June 1963 – May 1969)
Valiant Story of the West (1966)
War Picture Library (September 1958 – December 1984)
War at Sea Picture Library (February 1962 – July 1963)
Wild West Picture Library (May 1966 – January 1971)
Buster Adventure Picture Library (July 1966 – December 1967)
Confessions Library (February 1959 – December 1960)
Famous Romance Library (Launched January 1958, final publication date welcome)
Girl Picture Library (August 1984, final publication date welcome)
June & School Friend and Princess Picture Library (June 1966, final publication date welcome)
June & School Friend Picture Library (October 1965 – June 1966)
Love Story Picture Library (August 1952, final publication date welcome)
My Guy Monthly (August 1984, final publication date welcome)
Princess Picture Library (July 1961, final publication date in 1966 welcome)
Romantic Confessions Picture Library (1961, final publication date welcome)
School Friend Picture Library (February 1962 – September 1965) – merged with June & School Friend Picture Library
School Girls Picture Library (July 1957 – September 1965) – merged with June & School Friend Picture Library
True Life Library (1955, final publication date welcome)
• Bear Alley – Steve Hollands’s Site – see also Steve’s British Juvenile Story Papers and Pocket Libraries Index
• Blimey! – Lew Stringer’s Site
• British Comic Libraries – compiled by Vic Whittle
• Comics UK Forum
• Dan Dare Info: Complete AP/ Fleetway Index – this brilliant list include number of issues for each title
• Great News For All Readers
• Phil’s Oink! Blog also features articles on other British comics
• Rusty Staples – Michael Carroll’s site
The Great News for All Readers Guide to British Comics Mergers
With thanks to Michael Carroll, Phil Creighton, Steve Holland, Dr. Matthew Kilburn, David Moloney, Philip Rushton, Lew Stringer and many others