Hatch, Match & Dispatch – Feb 2021

Two of the more well-known British comics are marking an anniversary this month. It’s been twenty years since the demise of Bunty, and twenty-five since the launch of the reprint title Buster Classics. It’s important to keep these two titles separate in one’s head and not mix them up and refer to them as “Bunter” and “Busty.” The first is of course the name of another very famous British character from story-papers and comic-strips, but the second is most likely to be a very different sort of publication and not one that would be featured in this blog.

Standard disclaimer: unless I decide otherwise, these are only the “big” anniversaries (25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, 60, 70, 75, 80, 90 & 100+ years); dates are cover-dates where known; monthly comics with no confirmed day of launch default to the start of the month; and this list is accurate only to the best of my knowledge, so do please let me know of any important errors or omissions!

Previous episodes of Hatch, Match & Dispatch:
2019: Oct, Nov, Dec
2020: Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec
2021: Jan


20 years ago

17 February – Bunty final issue.
Publisher: DC Thomson
From: 18 Jan 1958
To: 17 Feb 2001
Duration: 43 years, 1 month
Issues: 2249
At the time of writing Bunty is in position #7 on the British Comics’ Top-Ten Issue-Count chart — but that’ll change later this year!

25 years ago

February – Buster Classics launched.
Publisher: Fleetway
From: Feb 1996
To: Sep 1996
Duration: 7 months
Issues: 8

21 February – The Amazing X-Men launched.
Publisher: Marvel UK
From: 21 Feb 1996
To: 14 May 1997
Duration: 1 year, 3 months
Issues: 17

30 years ago

February – Shockwave launched.
Publisher: London Editions
From: Feb 1991
To: May 1991
Duration: 3 months
Issues: 4
Reprinted DC’s Animal Man, Hellblazer and Black Orchid — comics that feature chiefly British creators, although I’m not sure whether this was by chance or by choice. Sadly it only lasted for four issues.

35 years ago

February – Epic Illustrated final issue.
Publisher: Marvel
From: Mar 1980
To: Feb 1986
Duration: 5 years, 11 months
Issues: 34
Quarterly for first four issues, then bimonthly. Epic wasn’t technically a Marvel UK title: it was imported from the USA and from issue #9 the UK price was printed on the cover alongside the US price.

February – Captain Britain (1985) final issue.
Publisher: Marvel UK
From: Jan 1985
To: Feb 1986
Duration: 1 year, 1 month
Issues: 14
See also: Enfari’s Syndrome: Captain Britain

40 years ago

01 February – Buddy launched.
Publisher: DC Thomson
From: 01 Feb 1981
To: 06 Aug 1983
Duration: 2 years, 6 months
Issues: 130
“Wingfoot” was a revised version of “Longlegs the Desert Wild Boy” from The Beano and The Wizard (1970). “Tom Smith’s Schooldays” was a comic-strip version of “Smith of the Lower Third,” originally published in The Wizard (1922).

14 February – Girl (1981) launched.
Publisher: IPC
From: 14 Feb 1981
To: 14 Mar 1990
Duration: 9 years, 1 month
Issues: 478
IPC’s revival of the 1950s “companion paper” to Eagle… which actually predates the 80s revival of Eagle itself.

18 February – Tarzan Monthly (1981) launched.
Publisher: Byblos
From: 18 Feb 1981
To: 25 Feb 1982
Duration: 1 year
Issues: 13
Byblos’s second go at a monthly Tarzan comic: the first ran from November 1977 to March 1978, for five issues, and was a relaunched version of Tarzan Weekly (11 Jun 1977 to 22 Oct 1977, 20 issues).

25 February – Captain America (1981) launched.
Publisher: Marvel UK
From: 25 Feb 1981
To: 07 Apr 1982
Duration: 1 year, 2 months
Issues: 59
Retitled Marvel Action starring Captain America from #20 to #29, after which the title reverted to Captain America. Absorbed Marvel Super Adventure with issue #37, though — unusually — this was neither reflected in the title nor mentioned on the cover.
See also: Pocket-Money Comics: Captain America

45 years ago

01 February – Top Secret Picture Library final issue.
Publisher: IPC
From: 01 Jul 1974
To: 01 Feb 1976
Duration: 1 year, 7 months
Issues: 40

07 February – The Hornet final issue.
Publisher: DC Thomson
From: 14 Sep 1963
To: 07 Feb 1976
Duration: 12 years, 5 months
Issues: 648
Absorbed into The New Hotspur.

14 February – Bullet launched.
Publisher: DC Thomson
From: 14 Feb 1976
To: 02 Dec 1978
Duration: 2 years, 10 months
Issues: 147

14 February – Action launched.
Publisher: IPC
From: 14 Feb 1976
To: 12 Nov 1977
Duration: 1 year, 9 months
Issues: 86
Rather infamously, issue #37 (23 Oct 1976) was withdrawn from sale and the comic put on hiatus. It resurfaced — heavily edited and with its violence greatly toned down — at the end of Nov 1976 (cover dated 4 Dec 1976).

14 February – The Wonderful World of Disney final issue.
Publisher: IPC
From: 11 Oct 1975
To: 14 Feb 1976
Duration: 4 months
Issues: 19
Absorbed into Disneyland.

14 February – The Super-Heroes final issue.
Publisher: Marvel UK
From: 08 Mar 1975
To: 14 Feb 1976
Duration: 11 months
Issues: 50
Absorbed into Spider-Man Comics Weekly.

50 years ago

06 February – Tammy launched.
Publisher: IPC
From: 06 Feb 1971
To: 23 Jun 1984
Duration: 13 years, 4 months
Issues: 699

20 February – Seven launched.
Publisher: Gresham
From: 20 Feb 1971
To: 05 Jun 1971
Duration: 4 months
Issues: 16
Later relaunched as Esmeralda

20 February – Countdown launched.
Publisher: Polystyle Publications
From: 20 Feb 1971
To: 25 Aug 1973
Duration: 2 years, 6 months
Issues: 132
Renamed Countdown for TV Action from #46 (1 Jan 1971), TV Action in Countdown from #57 (18 Mar 1972), TV Action + Countdown from #59 (1 Apr 1972), then TV Action from #101 (20 Jan 1973).
See also: Pocket-Money Comics: Countdown

27 February – Disneyland launched.
Publisher: IPC
From: 27 Feb 1971
To: 13 Nov 1976
Duration: 5 years, 9 months
Issues: 298

01 February – Air War Picture Stories launched.
Publisher: Pearson
From: 01 Feb 1961
To: 1962
Duration: 1 year, 4 months
Issues: 46
Exact end date unknown.

18 February – Radio Fun final issue.
Publisher: Amalgamated Press
From: 15 Oct 1938
To: 18 Feb 1961
Duration: 22 years, 4 months
Issues: 1167
Absorbed into Buster.
Renamed Radio Fun and Adventures in 1959.

60 years ago

25 February – The Victor launched.
Publisher: DC Thomson
From: 25 Feb 1961
To: 21 Nov 1992
Duration: 31 years, 9 months
Issues: 1657
Title becomes Victor with issue 651 (11 Aug 1973). “The Ruffies and the Tuffies” was a reprint of “The Hillys and the Billys” from The Beezer.

80 years ago

01 February – The Skipper final issue.
Publisher: DC Thomson
From: 06 Sep 1930
To: 01 Feb 1941
Duration: 10 years, 5 months
Issues: 544
The last of DC Thomson’s “Big Five” story-papers — the others were The Rover, Adventure, The Wizard and The Hotspur — and the only one not to have been absorbed by another publication.
See also: DC Thomson Comics Timeline

90 years ago

14 February – The Ranger (1931) launched.
Publisher: Amalgamated Press
From: 14 Feb 1931
To: 05 Aug 1933
Duration: 2 years, 6 months
Issues: 130

100 years ago

05 February – The Schoolgirl’s Own launched.
Publisher: Amalgamated Press
From: 05 Feb 1921
To: 23 May 1936
Duration: 15 years, 3 months
Issues: 798

One thought on “Hatch, Match & Dispatch – Feb 2021

  1. Shockwave. What, proto-Vertigo titles but in British comic size? How did that one miss me by? Though seeing as it only lasted three issues pretty lucky it did…

    Like

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