In the 1960s, 70s and 80s, children’s comics were a massive part of a young person’s life. Comic Book Hero by former comics editor Barrie Tomlinson – out on 1st September 2017 – tells the story behind the production of comics such as Tiger, Scream, Speed and many more of the he worked on, and he’s kindly given us some background on this new project, a follow-up to his warmly-received book Real Roy of the Rovers Stuff.
After successfully editing Tiger comic in the 1960s, Barrie became head of the Boys’ Sport and Adventure Department at IPC Magazines and launched comics such as Roy of the Rovers, the new Eagle and Scream. For 22 years he wrote and produced the Scorer football strip in the Daily Mirror.
Last year, my book Real Roy of the Rovers Stuff was published and people were kind enough to say nice things about it and be interested in the details about how Roy of the Rovers became a household name.
Roy wasnʼt the only title I was involved with so I thought it was time a second book appeared, all about the other titles I edited. Comic Book Hero is due to appear on 1st September and will tell behind-the-scenes stories about titles such as Tiger, Scream, the New Eagle, Battle, Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles, Speed – plus some of the annuals and specials I edited.
In the book, you can read how Gordon Banks, Geoffrey Boycott, Ian Botham, Trevor Francis, Tony Greig and other top sports stars came to write for Tiger. How I took Roy of the Rovers out of Tiger and ensured the title kept going strong.
Youʼll learn about the big press launch I organised for the relaunched Eagle and how we featured photo-stories for the first time, with mixed results! Read how Scream turned into a nightmare for the editorial team, rather than for the readers.
Successful launches and relative failures are all included. A big winner was Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles, while Toxic Crusaders didnʼt quite make the same impact!
How did a trombone turn me into a journalist? Thatʼs in the book as well!
Read how stars of today got involved with the village magazine I edited as it celebrated its 50th birthday. The old boy hasnʼt lost his touch!
Thereʼs a section on the Scorer football story I wrote and edited for the Daily Mirror and how it lasted, six days a week, for 22 years. How the hero, Dave Storry, was challenged by his girlfriend Ulrika to be the most popular character in the strip.
You can also read how I inherited 2000AD and Battle and which title I left alone and which I tried to save with the creation of Storm Force.
The book also contains lots of photographs and souvenirs of those wonderful days. Thereʼs a photo of Peter Sellers reading Tiger; Eric Morecambe with Roy and Ernie Wise reading his copy of Tiger; Stirling Moss speeding on to the scene with the first copies of Speed; boxer Henry Cooper giving me his famous left hook; the Mekon and myself with Michaela Strachan, all ready for Christmas; Pele reading Tiger and Eric Morecambe giving me his famous double handed face slap.
Oh yes, those photos are all in this book along with lots of others!
Watch out for a new cover artwork by David Sque, featuring Hot-Shot Hamish, Billyʼs Boots, Roy Race, Johnny Cougar and Skid Solo.
The final chapter is all about me getting together with Skid, Johnny, Roy, Billy, Hot-Shot and Johnny Dexter, the Hard Man himself.
Itʼs a great reunion!
Comic Book Hero, from Pitch Publishing, is the perfect present for dad, grandad and for all you folk who are interested in the history of childrenʼs comics.
Enjoy! Itʼs a bargain for £14.99! A great Christmas present!
Comic Book Hero: Working with Britain’s Picture-Strip Legends
By: Barrie Tomlinson
Out: 1st September 2017
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.