Hatch, Match & Dispatch – June 2021

Ah, June! Here at last, almost, bringing the summer with it… and about time too! The weather here has been absolutely miserable: we’ve had the rainiest May on record since 2020. And rainy weather, of course, leads us naturally to the subject of comics…* Among those commemorating an important anniversary this month are a few nursery comics, a nice collection of digests and a bunch of Marvel UK titles, two of which are tie-ins — or three if you consider Dracula Lives to be a tie-in. (It’s weird to think that Dracula is real in the Marvel universe… but then they had actual Leprechauns in the X-Men and one time the Punisher crossed over with Archie so in context it’s not that strange.)

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, Feb, Mar, Apr, May


25 years ago:

19 June – Casper (1995) final issue.
Publisher: Marvel UK
From: 13 Sep 1995
To: 19 Jun 1996
Duration: 9 months
Issues: 11

Published every four weeks. Follows a Casper movie special published in Aug 1995.

30 years ago:

June – Blast! launched.
Publisher: John Brown Publishing
From: Jun 1991
To: Nov 1991
Duration: 5 months
Issues: 7
An adult-targetted monthly comic that should have lasted a lot longer than it did. A mixture of reprints and original material, it featured some cracking strips like Mr Monster, Concrete and Lazarus Churchyard.

June – Battle Picture Monthly launched.
Publisher: Ron Phillips
From: Jun 1991
To: [1991]
Duration: unknown
Issues: 15
Titled Battle Picture Library for the first two issues. Reprinted material from defunct IPC digest comics.

June – War Picture Monthly launched.
Publisher: Ron Phillips
From: Jun 1991
To: [1991]
Duration: unknown
Issues: 13
Titled War Picture Library for the first two issues. As with Battle Picture Monthly, above, this was a reprint title.

35 years ago:

June – Football Picture Story Monthly launched.
Publisher: DC Thomson
From: Jun 1986
To: Oct 2003
Duration: 17 years, 4 months
Issues: 418

07 June – Return of the Jedi final issue.
Publisher: Marvel UK
From: 22 Jun 1983
To: 07 Jun 1986
Duration: 3 years
Issues: 155
Absorbed into Spider-Man and Zoids.
See also: Pocket-Money Comics: Star Wars Weekly. Thanks to the cover-dates, there’s potential for a little confusion here, as Star Wars Weekly (by now simply titled Star Wars) had become a monthly: its last issue was cover-dated Jul 1983, which postdates the first issue of Return of the Jedi. — and of course that means it’ll be appearing in next month’s HM&D list (if I can be bothered to do it).

40 years ago:

June – Blockbuster launched.
Publisher: Marvel UK
From: Jun 1981
To: Feb 1982
Duration: 8 months
Issues: 9
A monthly companion title to Rampage Monthly that sadly didn’t catch on, although the contents were strong: Iron Fist, The Inhumans and Omega the Unknown.

June – Marvel Madhouse launched.
Publisher: Marvel UK
From: Jun 1981
To: Oct 1982
Duration: 1 year, 4 months
Issues: 17
This monthly humour title mostly reprinted material from Marvel’s Not Brand Ecch and Howard the Duck, but also occasionally included Tim Quinn & Dicky Howett’s Earth 33 1/3.

20 June – Teddy Bear’s Playtime launched.
Publisher: IPC
From: 20 Jun 1981
To: 24 Oct 1981
Duration: 4 months
Issues: 19
Teddy Bear (clever name, that) had previously appeared in his own self-titled title that ran for 520 issues from 21 September 1963 to 15 September 1974 before it was absorbed by Jack and Jill… which, eight years later, was also the fate of this comic.

45 years ago:

19 June – Dracula Lives final issue.
Publisher: Marvel UK
From: 26 Oct 1974
To: 19 Jun 1976
Duration: 1 year, 8 months
Issues: 87
Absorbed into Planet of the Apes.
Retitled Dracula Lives featuring Legion of Monsters from #60.

50 years ago:

05 June – Seven final issue.
Publisher: Gresham
From: 20 Feb 1971
To: 05 Jun 1971
Duration: 4 months
Issues: 16
Relaunched as Esmeralda.

12 June – Esmeralda launched.
Publisher: IPC
From: 12 Jun 1971
To: 30 Jan 1972
Duration: 7 months
Issues: 33
Relaunch of Seven

12 June – Knockout launched.
Publisher: IPC
From: 12 Jun 1971
To: 23 Jun 1973
Duration: 2 years
Issues: 106

19 June – Sunny Stories final issue.
Publisher: Newnes/IPC
From: 12 Jul 1958
To: 19 Jun 1971
Duration: 12 years, 11 months
Issues: 747
Absorbed into Disneyland.

26 June – Score ‘n’ Roar final issue.
Publisher: IPC
From: 19 Sep 1970
To: 26 Jun 1971
Duration: 9 months
Issues: 41
Absorbed into Scorcher.
Title simplified to Score from issue #34 (8 May 1971).

55 years ago:

01 June – Princess Picture Library final issue.
Publisher: Fleetway
From: 01 Jul 1961
To: 01 Jun 1966
Duration: 4 years, 11 months
Issues: 181
Absorbed into June and School Friend Picture Library.

04 June – Champion final issue.
Publisher: Fleetway
From: 26 Feb 1966
To: 04 Jun 1966
Duration: 4 months
Issues: 15
Absorbed into Lion.

18 June – Ranger final issue.
Publisher: Fleetway
From: 18 Sep 1965
To: 18 Jun 1966
Duration: 9 months
Issues: 40
Absorbed into Look and Learn.
See also: Enfari’s Syndrome: Ranger
“Britons Never, Never, Never Shall Be Slaves!” was the second British appearance of Asterix the Gaul – his first was in Valiant as “Little Fred” but here was renamed “Beric the Bold.”

28 June – TV Toyland launched.
Publisher: Fleetway
From: 28 Jun 1966
To: 04 Feb 1967
Duration: 8 months
Issues: 34
A nursery-age comic that featured strips based on kids’ TV shows, including Pinky and Perky who, I think, were the first TV characters that I knew I was supposed to like but I actually really, really hated.

60 years ago:

June – Captain Miracle final issue.
Publisher: Anglo Features
From: Oct 1960
To: Jun 1961
Duration: 8 months
Issues: 9
Monthly. Retitled Invincible from #6.

June – Planet Stories launched.
Publisher: Atlas Publishing
From: Jun 1961
To: [1961]
Duration: Unknown
Issues: 13
Not very much is known about this one other than that it included reprints from the American Planet Comics title that ran for seventy-three issues from 1940 to 1953.

June – Valentine Picture Story Library final issue.
Publisher: IPC
From: Jun 1960
To: Jun 1961
Duration: 1 year
Issues: 26
Dates are estimated.

75 years ago:

June – Cute Fun launched.
Publisher: Swan
From: Jun 1946
To: Sep 1951
Duration: 5 years, 3 months
Issues: 43

120 years ago:

01 June – The Wonder (1901) launched.
Publisher: Amalgamated Press
From: 01 Jun 1901
To: 18 Feb 1940
Duration: 38 years, 8 months
Issues: 2010 (estimated)
Relaunch of The Funny Wonder (1893)
As mentioned many times on this blog, The Wonder has probably the most confusing history of all British comics. Check out the feature where I (mostly) managed to make sense of it all: The Mysteries of Wonder.

* Because you shouldn’t leave your comics out in the rain, that’s why. Comics tend not to react well to water, which of course is why the Atlanteans never had a strong comics industry.

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