How so many British Adventure Comics became just one – Eagle – in the 1990s

Over on his brilliant Rusty Staples site, 2000AD writer Michael Carroll has begun a series of articles tracing the history of British comics, creating a series of “family trees” showing various mergers and more down the years.

It’s something Alan Notton has done in the past over on ComicsUK (his work sadly the victim of a massive data loss back in 2011), but Michael’s series looks like it’s going to be a fantastic new guide to how we got to the “last comics” standing of the 1990s.

This was when titles such as humour comic Buster (a title now owned by Rebellion) and Eagle (the latter relaunched in the 1980s, a title now owned by the Dan Dare Corporation) became some of the last the survivors of the “classic comics” older British comic fans remember with hive and deserved fondness.

Michael has very kindly given us permission to run his first article, showing how many mergers down the years led to Eagle becoming the last comic of many, many adventure titles of its kind…

The Eagulation of British Adventure Comics

in 1969 the legendary British comic Eagle ended its nineteen-year run when it was absorbed into Lion, which was then absorbed into Valiant in 1974, which was in turn gobbled up by Battle in 1976, and then in 1988 it all came full-circle when Battle was consumed by the 1980s incarnation of Eagle.

On a chart, it looks like this:

Eagle - The Eagulation of British Adventure Comics - graphic by Michael Carrol

But that’s just the reduced, condensed, shortened and abbreviated version of the story. Oh yes — there is more to it than that! Each of those comics absorbed others along the way (Action was merged into Battle, for example), so here’s a fuller version of the graph:

Eagle - The Eagulation of British Adventure Comics - graphic by Michael Carrol

And yet, this is by no means the fullest version of the graph because many of these comics here also absorbed others. Valiant consumed four titles other than Lion. And Tiger, before it was gobbled up by the 80s Eagle, absorbed six different titles, one of which was The Champion, which was launched in 1922 and itself consumed three titles…

I have plundered the archives, delved into history, and gone to very great lengths and back, many, many, many times (but in fairness one of those times was because I forgot my hat) in order to explore the deepest roots and outermost twigs of the Eagle family tree… Just so you don’t have to.

So here’s the full — as far as I can tell — Eagle comic family tree. Please note that information on some of the earlier titles can be very hard to find, and is occasionally contradictory, but I’m a good 96.3ish per cent sure that this is complete and accurate!*

Eagle - The Eagulation of British Adventure Comics - graphic by Michael Carrol

This is the smallenised version of the chart… visit my Rusty Staples site for appropriate enlargification!

Michael Carroll

* Which, naturally, means that I am probably setting myself up for a deluge of additions and corrections from people who are far more knowledgeable than I. But that’s cool — just as long as no one asks me to produce a new version of this any time soon. It’s really hard work!

For a larger version of the “Eagle Family Tree” check out the original post on Rusty Staples

• If you want to know which comics survived the longest on the British news stand, then check out this article on Rusty Staples, too – the title at Number One is not the Beano, or 2000AD!

Michael Carroll is the author of thirty-something books, including the acclaimed New Heroes series of Young Adult superhero novels and the #1 Amazon best-selling cult graphic novel Judge Dredd: Every Empire Falls. He currently writes “Judge Dredd” for 2000AD and Judge Dredd Megazine. Other works include Jennifer Blood for Dynamite Entertainment, Razorjack for Titan Books (co-written with artist John Higgins) and several e-novellas for Abaddon Books, the most recent of which is Judges: The Avalanche – the first in a series that explores the genesis of the world of Judge Dredd

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