Lion was a weekly British comics periodical published by Fleetway (a subsidiary of IPC, the International Publishing Corporation) from 23 February 1952 to 18 May 1974. It lasted for 1,156 issues. Editor: Bernard Smith Script Editor: Ken Mennell Assistant Editor: David Gregory Editorial: Peter Smith, Geoff Kemp, Roger Protz, Terence Magee, Pat Brookman, Chris Lowder. Art: Royman Brown, Geoff Berwick, John Michael Burns, Ian Stead.
Lion was first published on 23 February 1952, and was a weekly boys’ adventure comic designed to compete with Eagle, the popular weekly comic that had introduced Dan Dare. Lion?’?s first issue contained a mix of text stories and comic strips; its flagship story was Captain Condor – Space Ship Pilot, a science fiction adventure in the Dan Dare mould. The premiere issue also contained the first adventure of Robot Archie (called The Jungle Robot in early adventures) who would go on to become one of the title’s most popular characters. The most popular story was Paddy Payne written by Val Holding and drawn by Joe Colquhoun. Reg “Skipper” Clarke ran the letters feature.
Bernard Smith was always proud to say that he had the latest issue of ‘Lion’ delivered to Buckingham Palace every Friday, the young Prince Charles being an avid reader. In 1960, Prince Charles was 11 years old.
By the 1960s Lion had settled into being one of the most popular British weekly titles of the time. It began to feature an increasing number of anti-hero characters such as The Spider and The Sludge (who would later battle Robot Archie in his own strip).
Lion merged with several other comics during its life, including Eagle in 1969 and Thunder in 1971. But by the early 1970s sales were slipping, and in 1974 it was merged with Valiant. Several strips continued in Valiant, but that title merged with Battle Picture Weekly in 1976.
In 2005 many of IPC’s characters, including several from Lion, were featured in a mini-series called Albion published by the WildStorm imprint of DC Comics.
Adam Eterno A man who lived forever and could not be killed except by gold. He was transported through time each week.
Battler Britton – World War Air Ace
Captain Condor – Space Ship Pilot
Karl the Viking
Maroc the Mighty, about a returning English crusader whose magic armlet The Hand of Zar gave superhuman strength.
Paddy Payne – Fighter Ace.
Phantom Viking. Donning a magic helmet, a professor transforms into a Viking with great strength and the ability to fly but can lose his powers when the wind blows from the wrong direction.
Robot Archie. A powerful robot under the control of two men.
Spot The Clue
The Spellbinder. An ancient sorcerer in modern times.
The Spider. Part villain, part hero, he would fight master criminals using his skills and weapons.
Zip Nolan – Highway Patrol. A one page comic story where he would spot a clue and so catch a crook.
The Bartoc Brothers. A 2 page text story. Bartoc, a scientist makes four duplicates of himself. One has strength, one speed, one courage and one genius and they fight crime. However two doubles are finally killed because the courageous one wanted more excitement and betrayed them. He and the genius died, and the series ended.
Mowser – occupying the back cover, he was a cat who would always outwit his enemy, James the Butler.