Publication Dates: 9 November 1951 – 29 June 1984
Number of Issues Published: 1697 (#1 – #1697)
TV Comic was a British comic book published weekly from 9 November 1951 until 29 June 1984. Originally started by Beaverbrook, it was published by Polystyle Publications from 1960 and featured stories based on television series running at the time of publication. The first issue ran to eight pages, with Muffin the Mule on the front cover. It also featured many other TV favourites of the day, including Mr. Pastry, Larry the Lamb, Tom Puss, Prince Valiant (Hal Foster reprint) Jack & Jill and Prudence Kitten.
In common with other British children’s comics, TV Comic absorbed other, less successful titles during its run. These included TV Land and TV Express in 1962, TV Action (formerly Countdown) in 1973, Tom and Jerry Weekly in 1974 (Tom and Jerry already featured in TV Comic) and the short-lived Target in 1978.
Editors of TV Comic included Dick Millington (who also edited Pippin and created Mighty Moth), Robin Tucheck and John Lynott. Artists included Bill Titcombe, John Canning, Neville Main, H. Watts, Gerry Haylock, Mike Lacey and Steve Maher.
For the first decade of its existence, the publication was aimed explicitly at younger children. As well as Muffin the Mule (which ran for nearly 10 years—as the cover feature until 1955, then later as a half-page in black and white), other favourites from the 1950s that made appearances were Sooty, Coco the Clown, Noddy and Lenny the Lion. As the decade passed, so the comic began to acquire a slightly more “grown-up” feel, with stories such as Treasure Island, The Lone Ranger and Black Beauty all appearing for a time. Text stories also began to be featured, with religious themes such as “Jesus and the Bible”.
TV Comic is notable for printing Doctor Who stories from 1964 to 1979 (except for the period between 1971 and 1973, when the strip was instead published in another Polystyle title, Countdown/TV Action). It also featured strip cartoons for the early puppet TV series produced by Gerry Anderson and AP Films—Four Feather Falls, Supercar and Fireball XL5—until Anderson’s titles became the focus of a rival publication, TV Century 21.
The 1960s issues are also noted as being the most collectable period in the comic’s history. As well as Doctor Who and Anderson strips, other highly collectable material included Telegoons (which ran from 1963 to 1967), Space Patrol (from 1964 to 1965) and The Avengers (initially from 1965 to 1966 and again from 1968 to 1972). A number of annuals and holiday specials were also issued over the years, including special editions concentrating on characters such as the Pink Panther and Tom and Jerry.
From the start, TV Comic featured a mixture of colour and black-and-white pages, a policy that continued throughout its publication. TV Comic had quite a tempestuous history towards the end of its life. In 1976 (from issue 1,292) it was re-launched as Mighty TV Comic, switching to a large tabloid format. Although the pages were larger, the amount of content did not grow, with the frames of many strips simply increasing in size. The first two of the new issues were accompanied by a smaller “Mighty Midget” supplement.
This evidently failed to attract the sales increases that had been hoped for, as the comic reverted to an A4 format from issue 1,377 two years later, now published on cheap newsprint. Although the paper quality eventually improved, the comic came to rely heavily on re-prints of older material, or using scripts from old strips with new characters. The only notable, collectable and original strip of this period was perhaps “Battle of the Planets” (drawn by former “Dan Dare” artist Keith Watson), which ran from 1981 to 1983.
The publication ultimately closed in 1984, after 33 years, due to declining sales. The last issue contained no warning in its pages of the title’s discontinuation, nor of it being merged with another comic; instead, TV Comic simply failed to appear the following week. However, both “The A-Team” and the “Tales of the Gold Monkey” strips, which had been running until this point, concluded with frames stating “The End”.
– The A-Team”
– The Avengers”
– Barney Bear”
– Basil Brush”
– Battle of the Planets”
– Bisto Kids”
– Bootsie and Smudge”
– Bugs Bunny”
– Charlie’s Angels”
– Dad’s Army”
– Deputy Dawg”
– Doctor Who”
– The Dukes of Hazzard”
– Fireball XL5″
– Four Feather Falls”
– Ze Inspector”
– Jack and Jill”
– Johnny Morris’s Animal Magic”
– Ken Dodd’s Diddymen”
– Laurel and Hardy”
– Lenny the Lion”
– American “Little Iodine” reprints
– Mighty Moth”
– Mr. Pastry”
– Muffin the Mule”
– Pink Panther”
– American “Popeye” reprints”
– Red Ray: Space Raynger”
– Road Runner”
– Roy Rogers: King of the Cowboys”
– The Secret Sign of the Ladybird Adventure Club”
– Skippy the Bush Kangaroo”
– Space Patrol”
– American “Star Trek” reprints
– The Stick Family”
– Tales of the Gold Monkey”
– Tom and Jerry”
– Tusker and Tikki”
Holiday Special 1971,1974
1540-1543,1545-1551,1553,1555,1556,1559,1561-1563,1666, Popeye holiday special 1981
1480,1557,1558, Holiday Special 1980
16 different issues between 7-200
12 different issues between 425-591
14 different issues between 607-733
16 different issues between 735-768
20 different issues between 769-818
18 different issues between 841-916
21 different issues between 928-1622
Holiday Special 1966,1969,1978,1980,1982, Mighty Mot, Popeye