Eaglution of British Comics, part 1


Update 20200414:

Click here for the massively updated and improved

Eagle Timeline!




As I mentioned before (in Deciphering the Logo), 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 ’80s incarnation of Eagle.

On a chart, it looks like this:

Tiny Eagle Family Tree

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:

Mini Eagle Family Tree

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% sure that this is complete and accurate!*

Full Eagle Family Tree
This is the smallenised version of the chart… click upon it for appropriate enlargification!

Update 31 May 2018: Richard Sheaf of the excellent Boys’ Adventure Comics blog has done some sterling investigative work and come up with what we believe to be the definitive and correct number of issues of the original Eagle comic: 987, as opposed to 991 which appears in most sources. However, all of those sources very likely got the figure of 991 from one of Denis Gifford’s many books on British comics, which is also where I got it from.  I’ve now updated the chart appropriately!

Update 31 May 2019: I’ve just discovered that the issue-count for Battle Picture Weekly was incorrect: it was 673 issues, but all evidence suggests that it should be 664. I’ve updated the image appropriately!

*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!

26 thoughts on “Eaglution of British Comics, part 1

  1. Great work, even though I mainly follow girl’s comics it’s still interesting to see just how many boy’s titles there were, it’s quite an impressive family tree!


      1. Hi Richard,

        Well, now I don’t know what to believe! Can you tell me why you believe 984 to be the correct figure?

        The International Book of Comics (Denis Gifford, 1984), The Complete Catalogue of British Comics (Gifford again, 1985), Penny Dreadfuls and Comics (Bethnel Green Museum of Childhood) all list Eagle’s issue-count as 991 (as do Wikipedia and Comic Vine).

        ComicsUK.co.uk lists it as 987.

        http://www.comicpriceguide.co.uk also has 987 at the top of the entry, but 997 further down.

        The Grand Comics Database at comics.org give us 455 Hulton issues, followed by 532 Longacre issues, for a total of 987.

        Now I know why a lot of sites don’t mention the issue-count at all!


      2. good question…the answer’ll be on my blog tomorrow – (I’ll send a link) but, yeah, you can see why people don’t want to get into issue counts – too complex! cheers


  2. i was a devoted reader of the 1982 Eagle from issue 7 but moved over to 2000ad about 1989, I felt it started to loose the focus when Battle was merged.

    I wonder was their ever a suggestion in editorial, that it might itself merge with 2000ad before it finally closed?


    1. I can imagine that by the time it was cancelled in 1993 (With the last issue having the cruel cover date of January 1, 1994) Eagle had very little left to offer 2000 AD. After it was relaunched as Eagle Monthly in mid-1991, the book had been almost entirely reprints of older material for two and a half years. Only two of its strips, Dan Dare and Computer Warrior were actually new material, and both of them were at a stage where they skewed towards younger audiences then where 2000 AD was then at. Adding either of them to 2000 AD would have likely been detrimental to the title as a whole.

      The end result of this is that Doomlord can’t be used in Vigilant.


  3. Not sure what it was called at the time it merged, but I used to get Battle Action Force rather than Battle Action (don’t know at what point the ‘Force’ was added – possibly in the first issue I bought, because I bought Action Force as well as Star Wars figures at the time). The last issue I remember buying was the one where an aged Adolf Hitler, hiding out in South America, makes an appearance in one of the Action Force stories.


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