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.
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.
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.
“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.
What People are Asking…
Which 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
Air Ace Picture Library
Boy’s Realm Boys’ World
Fleetway Super Library
Lion – which published space hero Captain Condor and Robot Archie
Pocket War Library
Secret Agent Super Library
Sexton Blake Detective Library
Space Picture Library
Stupendous Picture Library
Super Detective Library
Thriller Picture Library
Top Secret Picture Library
True To Life War Picture Stories
War Picture Library
Schoolgirls’ Picture Library
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.
Do 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.
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.
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.
The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. He is currently editor of Star Trek Explorer, published by Titan – his third tour of duty on the title originally titled Star Trek Magazine.
Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Babylon 5 Magazine, and more. 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 “Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies” for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.