Friday 5 October 2012


Here's a key moment in the Starlogged timeline: the merger of IPC weeklies EAGLE (launched in 1982) and the veteran TIGER (launched in 1954). 

What made this unusual was the fairly democratic (not to mention seismic) nature of the merger.  After a few years of collecting, I was getting used to mergers and already knew the formula pretty well.  The host title would offer sanctuary to - at best - a couple of refugees from its cancelled companion as well as sharing the masthead for a few months.  Then the deceased would be allowed to quietly slip away.  Heck, when Marvel UK had rolled FORCES IN COMBAT into FUTURE TENSE, the joint-billing had lasted all of one issue!

This was different: the two comics enjoyed joint-billing on the masthead, the TIGER logo continued to appear on the surviving strips and a whopping four strips transferred across.

I must admit that I wasn't a TIGER reader at all.  I think the ONLY time I ever bought it was the week that IPC gave away a free ACTION FORCE figure in Eagle, Battle and Tiger.  That was an offer too good to pass up.  But - I have no recollection of ever looking at the copy of Tiger I bought that week.  I wasn't interested in sports strips so Tiger, and its spin-off ROY OF THE ROVERS, were always ignored on the newsagents shelves.

Judging by the transferred line-up, there was a good reason why Tiger succumbed to falling sales.  They were a motley bunch: Billy's Boots I rather enjoyed despite being a football strip (at least it was better than Thunderbolt and Smokey, the Eagle's own football photo-strip back in '82).  Death Wish (transferred to Tiger from the short-lived SPEED) was a destruction-packed adventure strip (if only TV's THE FALL GUY was this good) of some distinction.  Star Rider, on the other hand, was a wretched piece of post-E.T dreck about an alien BMX rider.  Golden Boy stirs no memories whatsoever. 

The Eagle leftovers were a stronger line-up although, in retrospect, they were all already past-their-prime: Dan Dare (of course), Doomlord, Robo Machines (the toy-funded advertising strip) and The Thirteenth Floor (which had begun its life in the short-lived SCREAM!, which had expired the previous year).

The Thirteenth Floor also provided the 'new' comic with its first fictional editor: Max, the computer previously housed in the strip's Maxwell Tower.

Although momentous at the time, Tiger didn't remain an equal partner for too long.  It had to make way for BATTLE, M.A.S.K and WILDCAT.  The Eagle itself, last-man-standing (with the honourable exception of Tharg's organ), succumbed to a collapsing market in 1992. 

1 comment:

  1. Your timeline’s slightly off: Eagle ended as a weekly on 6/4/91, and the abysmal Eagle Monthly took its place till December 1993 (last issue cover dated January 1994. It should have ended in 1991, rather than turning into the THING that was Eagle Monthly. However I do agree that the Eagle and Tiger merger acquired, for a short time, that rather commodity in comic mergers: equality. Yes the Tiger logo got smaller in early 1986 and was gone altogether before half the year was out, but this (along with Hotshot Hamish turning up in Roy of the Rovers also on 6/4/85) was unusual treatment indeed for a fallen title. Perhaps someone thought that as a comic that had survived thirty years, Tiger deserved some respect – and they were right.


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