When news that the last ever ABC cinema has closed reached the ears of downthetubes writer Richard Sheaf, he began a series of features on its inhouse magazine, ABC Film Review, over on the Boys Adventure Blog, spotlighting some of the comic strips that ran in the monthly magazine.
BBC News reported earlier this month how the Odeon-owned ABC cinema on Westover Road, Bournemouth – the last to bear the ABC brand – has been sold and is due to be redeveloped into flats. ABC – Associated British Cinemas – began in 1928, with the brand name gradually disappearing following its takeover by Odeon in 2000.
First published in 1950, ABC Film Review was launched in 1950, originally a 20-page a publicity medium for the films that the chain was showing. Copies were only sold in ABC cinemas and between 1952 and 1953 the magazine featured numerous one-page stories featuring characters from the weekly comics Eagle, Girl and Swift.
The strips were created by the same teams who worked on the series in the comics, including Frank Hampson, Charles Chilton, John Ryan and others.
The magazine continued to be published into the 1990s, going through many changes (and publishers), the title finally available on the news stand in the 1990s (albeit without the “ABC” part of the name since 1972). It survived until 2008; the last edition, published by Visual Imagination Ltd. (who had also published Starburst), was Issue 701, published in November and cover dated December 2008.
By then the title had grown from its humble beginnings to a 148-page title, priced at £3.99 – a far cry from its original 3d cover price and extent!
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.