Saturday, May 20, 2017

TV Comic with Target (1978)

TV Comic underwent quite a few changes over its 33 year run. It started out as a comic for very young readers in 1951, aged itself up a bit in the 1960s to compete with Dandy and Beano, changed to a tabloid sized comic (as Mighty TV Comic) for a while, and by 1978 its emphasis was more on adventure strips due to absorbing the failed Target comic. (Target had lasted just 18 weeks and you can read more about that here:
https://lewstringer.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/this-week-in-1978-target.html )

Here's a few pages from TV Comic with Target No.1397, dated 22nd September 1978. The cover strip rotated its characters and this week it was the turn of Kojak, drawn by David Lloyd early in his career before he went on to find fame with V for Vendetta. (Today, David is the publisher of digital comic Aces Weeklyhttp://www.acesweekly.co.uk )

TV Comic had been printed in the slick photogravure format for years, until changing to web offset in 1971. However, by 1978 it had downgraded to cheap newsprint and, as you'll see, a very limited approach to colouring. Charlie's Angels was illustrated by John Canning...

The Doctor Who strip in TV Comic by this time was a reprint from earlier issues. In the case of this story, it originally appeared in 1974 featuring the third Doctor, with art by Gerry Haylock. For this 1978 reprint, John Canning redrew some of the figurework to replace Jon Pertwee's Doctor with Tom Baker's! 

The Kicktail Kid wasn't related to any TV show but was instead publisher Polystyle's attempt at a superhero strip. (Perhaps trying to compete with the numerous Marvel UK weeklies around at the time.) David Lloyd had been the original artist on the strip but this work is by someone else and I don't recognise the style. 

TV Comic with Target also featured several humour strips of course, as the comic always did, mostly based on cartoon characters. One of the longest running in the weekly was Tom and Jerry, drawn by Bill Titcombe, which was on the back page of the comic that week. 
With only 20 pages, TV Comic was relatively expensive at 10p, but it was still popular enough to survive for a few more years (when its print quality would improve again). 

13 comments:

James Spiring said...

You're not kidding about the poor quality printing. The cyan ink is misaligned, it's obvious looking at the character listing box on the front cover and the Tom and Jerry logo on the back.

Those Doctor Who reprints pretty clearly show that they were no longer interested in the series. They were just letting the rights run down at this point weren't they, which allowed Doctor Who Magazine (or Weekly as it was then) to launch a year later.

Lew Stringer said...

The best days of TV Comic were definitely behind it by this stage but David Lloyd's Kojak strip is pretty good. I always felt though that after its peak period of the 1960s, TV Comic was a comic you'd buy if your first choices had sold out.

Phil Rushton said...

I still have fond nemories of TV Comic which was my first regular comic back when it featured Bill Mevin's Supercar in full colour! Of course it became rather eclipsed by TV Century 21 a bit later, but at the time there was nothing else quite like it.

Lew Stringer said...

Yes, it was a good comic in the 1960s. I didn't discover it until 1966, after reading TV21 for a year, so it didn't have the same impact on me but I still bought it from time to time.

SLOW ROBOT said...

TV COMIC did show some signs of life towards the end of the running, picking up the rights to create original BATTLE OF THE PLANETS strips (I think they also spun-off a special using US reprints) which sadly weren't reprinted during the brief boom in revisiting all-things-animated early this millennium.

They also ran strips based on Universal's adventure shows TALES OF THE GOLD MONKEY (which probably enjoyed more success on BBC ONE than it did in the States) and THE A-TEAM. Yup, TVC was able to swoop and pick up the rights to the show ahead of its more natural home in ITV's LOOK-IN. Once TVC folded, ITV Publications picked-up the rights. Marvel UK also had the rights to publish the three-issue US limited series in the UK, which they did as two one-shot specials and, later, in an A-TEAM ANNUAL. I'm guessing that the terms of the license meant they couldn't run the strips in a weekly as they would have been a natural fit for THE SPIDER-MAN COMIC/ SPIDEY COMIC or - later - THE MARVEL BUMPER COMIC.

Nutty Big D said...

I always considered it rather poor vale in the mid 60s at 16 pages for 6d, ie twice as expensive as Beano and Dandy (albeit better quality than newsprint)- in 1964 when Eagle merged with Boys' World for a few weeks it was 24 larger pages for 6d, which I thought was really good.

Lew Stringer said...

I know what you mean, Nutty. I didn't start having TV Comic regularly until 1969, when I was looking for something to replace the Odhams comics. By then it was 7d, and although it had less pages than Buster or Tiger, it still appealed to me enough to keep reading it for a year or so.

Yes, SR, I started buying it again around the time they ran Battle of the Planets. Some nice Keith Watson art in there for a while, and the print quality had picked up again. I quite liked TV Comic as it did have its own identity, but it was never a top favourite unfortunately.

Jim O'Brien said...

Enjoyed this post Lew: I have never quite got TV Comic's various incarnations (tabloid-size, cheap paper, better paper, etc) clear in my head so your info was a great help. Incidentally, do you know if TV Comic ever ran a Hong Kong Phooey strip? Or if ANY comic did? I seem to remember reading such a thing and I would imagine that H-B were keen to syndicate it over here/ British readers were keen to read a HKP strip...but I can't find anything useful on line. Figured you might be the best person to ask!

Lew Stringer said...

I don't recall seeing a Hong Kong Phooey strip in a British comic, but by 1975 I wasn't buying UK humour comics so my recollections aren't reliable for that era. Looking on Google I see there was a "Great Grape Ape and Hong Kong Phooey Annual" for 1977 and a "Boss Cat and Hong Kong Phooey Annual" for 1979, both presumably reprinting American strips.

Jim O'Brien said...

Do you know, I hadn't thought of googling for annuals - d'oh! Thanks for the sensible thought, Lew!

Lew Stringer said...

No problem, Jim.

Matthew Kilburn said...

I think Polystyle acquired a Hanna-Barbera license in 1979 and gave TV Comic a minor relaunch to introduce Scooby-Doo, Captain Caveman and one other character, I think, all drawn by stalwarts of TVC, but the arrangement didn't last long.

Lew Stringer said...

That;s right, Matthew. That was around the same time Battle of the Planets was in the comic too. I'll have to dig out one of those issues soon.

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