Tuesday 2 May 2017


From 1983... and the days when even news about news was enough to generate excitement amongst comics readers.

The tease that something was to be announced in the follow week's issue was a sure-fire way to ensure a fortnight's worth of tension and anticipation.  A week to wait to find out what the news was... and another week to wait for the relevent issue to arrive.

Sometimes the announcement would be disappointing (like a really duff free gift.  Or even worse: a freebie that was actually just part of someone else's marketing campaign for cornflakes or baked beans) but sometimes - if the gift looked promising or a relaunch/ reboot was involved - it would ratchet up the anticipation to at least eleven.

The masterclass in this regard was 'Tharg's Megaplan', an extended piece of multi-week puffing that promised something whopping.  Playground rumours suggested a bold new look.  Or a Judge Dredd spin-off (we didn't know, of course, that IPC had wrestled with that one for years).  Or the impending merger of THE EAGLE (Dan Dare and - especially - Doomlord looked natural transfers... even if older Tharg acolytes might have been horrified by the idea).  In the end it turned out to be a record.  Which seemed like the sort of project that engaged the staff of the weekly far more than it excited the readership.  Despite the cross-promotional opportunities if it became a hit.  Which it didn't.

This was the first official notice that change was coming soon.  Although readers more attentive than I might have already been able to read the runes.  EAGLE had already dropped in its first reprint strip (One-Eyed Jack... now about to be issued in book form) and was generally shifted from photo-strips to more traditional comic strips.  Which didn't demand the same high-quality printing.  Many other IPC weeklies already appeared in the cheaper 'newsprint' format so it would make sense, from a production and economic point-of-view, to align Eagle with the rest of the line.

A fortnight to wait... but only seven days until more stickers for the RETURN OF THE JEDI sticker album (which - curiously - I always found very dull.... possibly because so many stills from the film were available across so many sources).

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