Publication Dates: 5 February 1966 – 3 April 1971
Number of Issues Published: 257 (#1 – #257)
Color: Colour Cover; Black & White Interior
Dimensions: 9.75″ x 12″ (#1-162); 9.25″ x 12″ (#163-257)
Publishing Format: Was Ongoing Series
Smash! was a weekly British comic, published in London by Odhams Press Ltd from 64 Long Acre and subsequently by IPC Magazines Ltd from (initially) 189 High Holborn and (latterly) Fleetway House in nearby Farringdon Street.
It ran for 257 issues, between 5 February 1966 and 3 April 1971 (although, due to strikes and industrial disputes, publication was not continuous during that period). It then merged into Valiant. The Smash! Annual continued to appear each year until 1975; the final Annual, cover-dated 1976, was published in October 1975.
Up until 1969, Smash! featured a balanced mixture of British humour and adventure strips, American Batman newspaper strips, and American Marvel reprints. Thereafter, it featured only British humour and British adventure strips.
During 1967 and 1968 Smash! was part of Odhams’ Power Comics line, absorbing its sister titles Pow! on 14 September 1968 (issue 137), and Fantastic on 2 November 1968 (issue 144).
As Pow! and Fantastic had themselves already merged with Wham! and Terrific respectively, Smash! became the last survivor of the Power Comics lineup.
As with all the Power Comics, Smash! included black-and-white reprints of superhero strips which had been originally published in America by Marvel Comics and DC Comics. The last of these, the Fantastic Four, ended with issue 162 in March 1969.
Smash! was sized 9.75″ x 12″ (#1-162) and 9.25″ x 12″ (#163-257), and had a four-colour cover and black-and-white interior.
Smash was owned by IPC, the International Publishing Corporation, a company formed in 1963 by Cecil Harmsworth King, chairman of the Daily Mirror and Sunday Pictorial (later the Sunday Mirror), through a series of corporate mergers. All the comics published by IPC were under the control of one or other of the subsidiary companies brought together to form IPC, including Fleetway Publications Ltd and Odhams Press.
The Power Comics line, including Smash, was published by IPC’s Odhams Press division under a three-man editorial team known as Alf, Bart and Cos. Alfred Wallace (“Alf”) was the managing editor at Odhams, and Albert Cosser (“Cos”) was the editor directly responsible for Smash. Major changes of editorial policy occurred in 1969 for financial reasons, and again in 1970 when IPC was taken over by Albert E Reed to form the publishing giant Reed International.
Launched on 5 February 1966, Smash became part of the Power Comics line during 1967. On 14 September 1968, with issue 137, it merged with Pow! (which had previously absorbed Wham). On 2 November 1968, with issue 144, it merged with Fantastic (which had previously absorbed Terrific), to become Smash and Pow incorporating Fantastic.
On 1 January 1969 Smash ceased to be published by Odhams Press Ltd, and was thereafter published by IPC Magazines Ltd (an IPC subsidiary formed during 1968). On 15 March 1969 it was relaunched without its American superhero strips. Further changes followed during the course of 1969 and at the start of 1970. The final issue was published on 3 April 1971. It then merged into Valiant, forming Valiant and Smash.
“At Night Stalks… The Spectre” – adventure strip about a reporter, believed dead, who fights crime posing as his own ghost (sounds rather like Will Eisner’s The Spirit)
“Bad Penny” – naughty girl strip by Leo Baxendale
“The Battle of Britain” – resistance in a British police state, drawn by John Stokes (reprint of “Britain in Chains” from Lion with a few cosmetic alterations)
“Big ‘Ead – a know-it-all character
“Birdman of Baratoga” – a boy who grew up on a Pacific island with only birds for company, who learned to fly using a feather cape
“Brian’s Brain” – a boy with an electronic brain, shaped like a skull, in a box
“Bunsen’s Burner” – a young man with a steam-powered car
“The Cloak” – spy spoof
“Consternation Street” – soap opera spoof
“Cursitor Doom” – magical adventure, drawn by Geoff Campion and Eric Bradbury
“Destination Danger” – motor racing adventure
“Ghost Ship” – supernatural maritime adventure
“Grimly Feendish” – the villain from Leo Baxendale’s “Eagle Eye, Junior Spy” (from Wham!) gets his own strip
“The Handcuff Hotspurs” – football strip about a team of ex-cons
“The Haunts of Headless Harry” – ghost strip
“His Sporting Lordship” – a builder is next in line for an aristicratic title, but can’t inherit until he becomes champion of various sports
“Janus Stark” – escapalogist adventure hero
“The Kid Commandos” – three English children stranded in occupied France during WWII
“King of the Ring” – boxing, later wrestling adventure
“The Man from BUNGLE” – spy spoof by Leo Baxendale
“Master of the Marsh” – a Norfolk sports teacher who’s the only one who can control the kids
“Monty Muddle – the Man from Mars” – alien tries to make contact with earth, but is always undone by his misunderstanding of human customs
“The Nervs” – little people who live inside a fat schoolboy, initially by Leo Baxendale, later by Ken Reid
“Nutt and Bolt, the Men From W.H.E.E.Z.E.” – world war two spoof
“Percy’s Pets” – a boy with an exotic collection of pets, by Stan McMurtry
“The Pillater Peril” – a young man who inherits a house haunted by the ghost of a revenge-seeking ancestor
“Q Squad” – world war II adventure, featuring a squad of men with special talents
“Rebbels on the Run” – two boys surnamed Rebbel run away from an orphanage. Later became “Rebbel Robot”, in which the boys, protected by a robot with their father’s preserved personality, track down their father’s murderer
“Ronnie Rich” – a boy who must spend a fortune to win an even larger one (presumably inspired by the film Brewster’s Millions)
“Sam’s Spook” by Leo Baxendale
“Sammy Shrink” – humour strip about a two-inch tall boy
“Sergeant Rock, Paratrooper” – began as a framing device, the character of Sergeant Rock (no relation to the American one) introducing reprinted war stories, later the star of his own strips
“The Swots and the Blots” – school humour strip by Leo Baxendale
“The Thirteen Tasks of Simon Test” – hero carries out the thirteen tasks of Pharaoh Thot, the only way to save his life
“Threat of the Toymaker” – mad scientist with army of remote controlled toys
“The Touchline Tearaways” – football fans who scheme to help their useless team win
“Wiz War” – humour strip about two rival wizards, Wizard Prang and the Demon Druid, by Mike Brown
“The World-Wide Wanderers” – football strip about a team drawn from eleven different countries
As with all of the other titles in the Power Comics line, Smash! also included reprints from America’s Marvel and DC Comics.
Fun Book 1971