Get Well Soon, Barrie Tomlinson!


Veteran British comic artist Joh Gillatt with writer and editor Barrie Tomlinson, January 2014. Photo courtesy Barrie Tomlinson

Veteran British comic artist Joh Gillatt with writer and editor Barrie Tomlinson, January 2014. Photo courtesy Barrie Tomlinson

David McDonald from Hibernia Comics has Informed us that one time IPC Group Editor, Barrie Tomlinson has had a few health scares in the past few weeks.

Barrie’s name will be very familiar to some but to others it maybe not so. As well as helping David with his Comic Archives at Hibernia, he’s been a terrific supporter of both DownTheTubes and the former British comics fanzine Eagle Flies Again, edited by DTT contributor Ian Wheeler.

While Barrie worked at IPC he was probably one of the most successful editors of his time. He started in IPC at 1961 as a script editor assistant and worked his way up to being the editor of Tiger by end of the 1960s. He put in place all-sports content on Tiger which then helped the title to long outlive its contemporaries like Lion and Valiant.

Roy of the Rovers ComicHe then took the hugely popular Roy of the Rovers character from Tiger and launched the Roy of the Rovers comic in 1976. Barrie’s ability to secure celebrity endorsements for his comics and getting sports people to write for the titles made Roy a huge success, launching at over 300000 for the first issue, and making Roy of the Rovers a national institution.

Eagle Comic - March 1991It had long been Barrie’s ambition to bring back the Eagle, but for him it needed to be different and innovative, like the original was in the 1950s. In 1982, along with Editor David Hunt, he realised that ambition, and the result was a comics on good quality paper, a mix of drawn and photo stories, which were hugely poplar in girl’s comics at the time.

There was never a boy’s comic like the New Eagle before, and the format did split opinion with the inclusion of the photo strips. After the initial success of the title, slowly declining sales meant  the more expensive photo stories had to be dropped, and it reverted to a traditional format, lasting until 1993.

Two more comics that Barrie launched were Scream and Wildcat. Despite its short life, Scream remains a fan favourite, and very much ‘one that got away’ the title had a lot of potential and was reportedly cancelled due to a strike. Several of its stories have recently been reprinted by Hibernia in their excellent collection, Library of Death.

Wildcat Winter SpecialWildcat was really the last attempt at a non licensed comic. Featuring great art, with great production values, unfortunately it didn’t last.

Barrie also created or edited countless other comics such as Speed, Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles, Mask, Ring Raiders and more.

After he left IPC Barrie produced the Scorer strip in the Daily Mirror, writing the strip with son James and utilising the talents of artists like David Pugh, Barrie Mitchell, John Gillat and David Sque, for 22 years.

In retirement he has still worked in editing, producing his local village magazine.

Barrie also created and wrote a large amount of characters, mostly uncredited characters like Splash Gorton and Johnny Cougar and many others. He also wrote under the name “D.Horton”, writing strips such as “Death Wish” and “Survivor”, and more, mainly for the Eagle.

“Barrie’s has been a huge help to me over the years with the Comic Archive books,” says David, “always helpful and patient with my pedantic questions. I have a large interview done with Barrie for a Comic Archive that should see print this year and a section called ‘Tomlinson’s Titles’ covering all the titles he edited or created.”

Like David, we all want to wish Barrie a big “Get Well Soon”!

Categories: British Comics, Classic British Comics, Creating Comics, downthetubes Comics News

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5 replies

  1. Get well soon Barrie! Although I was never a sports fan as a kid I followed Tiger and Jag avidly every week from 1969 to 1974. A great boys weekly, superbly presented with stories well told. The mark of a good editor.

  2. I was interested in two things when I was a child – Doctor Who and comics. And most of the comics I liked were overseen by Barrie. A great creator and a great man.

  3. Get well soon, Barrie, there’s not many of us old Fleetway crowd left! One of the stars of the .Golden Years of comics. Some of my best desktop table tennis was played in your’s and Gil’s office. Best wishes for a speedy recovery!

  4. Get well soon, Barrie.

    Many, many of your comics went towards brightening the childhoods of many kids throughout the years – and indeed keep on entertaining us big kids, too!

    All the very best to you.


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