Tuesday 28 March 2017


From January 1983 (although it would have been on sale during the tricky post-Christmas wrap-up of the previous year): IPC's BATTLE celebrates its 400th issue.

The cover neatly shows how far the weekly had shifted from its original war/ combat formula into a broader 'action' line-up in an attempt to stem sagging sales.

I suspect that there were some doubts in Kings Reach Tower as to whether Battle would see out the year as a standalone title.  Rumours were swirling that it was being prepared for the chop and a merger with the EAGLE.

Management, however, came up with a winning formula which propelled it past the 500 issue mark and kept it out of the Eagle's claws for several more years: A deal with toymakers Palitoy to devote half the pages to extended plugs for the ACTION FORCE toys.  Not only did it make the sums add up but it also attracted a new generation of readers.  And - despite the reputation of toy tie-ins (some of the ones that subsequently popped up in Eagle were pretty dire) the AF strips were generally of a pretty high standard... and some are actually quite memorable.  And the editorial team must have had great fun with Codename: Beaver.

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