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  1. #1
    Ultimate Member Digifiend's Avatar
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    Default 2000AD publisher buys Egmont archive including Roy of the Rovers

    The publisher of cult comic 2000 AD has announced it has bought Roy of the Rovers and dozens of other out-of-print 1970s and 1980s titles.

    Oxford-based Rebellion said it is the biggest deal of its kind in 30 years and could bring "long-vanished" classic comics back into print.

    Characters from Tammy, Battle, Whizzer and Chips will now join the iconic Judge Dredd in the Rebellion line-up.

    The comics are in the Fleetway archive, which was sold by media group Egmont.

    The archive includes banned title Action, humour comics Oink! and Whoopee, comics aimed at girls like Misty and Sally, as well as World War One serial Charley's War.

    Rebellion's owners and founders, Jason and Chris Kingsley, previously bought 2000 AD and its sister publication The Judge Dredd Megazine from Egmont in 2000.

    Rebellion's head of book and comics publishing Ben Smith said: "I am delighted we have the opportunity to return these to print and develop new stories based on iconic characters."

    Publisher IPC launched 2000 AD in 1977 in the hope of using a science fiction comic to take advantage of Star Wars-inspired space mania.

    Since then it has won numerous awards and helped launched the careers of famous writers and artists including Alan Moore, Grant Morrison, and Mark Millar.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england...shire-37177877

  2. #2
    I am the law Judge Dredd's Avatar
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    Charley's War is an amazing book, one of the best comics I have read. I look forward to more reprints of Battle magazine they have some great war stories that have been collected in random best ofs of the years.

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    This is massive news for the UK comics scene, but I suspect from the lack of discussion that American fans and younger Brits don't appreciate just how big this is. Here's an analogy swapping in an equivalent American company.

    Imagine that circa 1990 Marvel (IPC) had largely stopped producing comics - only Spider-Man (2000AD) kept running, nothing else new, and no reprint volumes except for stuff tied to Spider-Man. A few years later Marvel split into two companies, Atlas and Timely (here the analogy falls down a little - IPC had been created by merging various companies bought out over several decades, more akin to how DC absorbed Charlton, Fawcett, etc.), and they split the rights too, with Timely getting everything created prior to 1970 and Atlas getting the post-1970s stuff, plus Spider-Man because his title was still running. But the only title active was still Spider-Man, who gets sold to another company (Rebellion), as Atlas has no interest in using any of the characters they have rights to.

    Now, a couple of decades later, Rebellion buys up all of Atlas' rights from them. Okay, it's not perfect, because popular characters like Iron Man, Hulk, etc. (the Spider, Steel Claw, etc.) remain out of print, as their rights reside with Timely. However, Rebellion now have the rights to Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Nova, etc., and can both reprint their old adventures and publish new ones for them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Loki View Post
    This is massive news for the UK comics scene, but I suspect from the lack of discussion that American fans and younger Brits don't appreciate just how big this is. Here's an analogy swapping in an equivalent American company.

    Imagine that circa 1990 Marvel (IPC) had largely stopped producing comics - only Spider-Man (2000AD) kept running, nothing else new, and no reprint volumes except for stuff tied to Spider-Man. A few years later Marvel split into two companies, Atlas and Timely (here the analogy falls down a little - IPC had been created by merging various companies bought out over several decades, more akin to how DC absorbed Charlton, Fawcett, etc.), and they split the rights too, with Timely getting everything created prior to 1970 and Atlas getting the post-1970s stuff, plus Spider-Man because his title was still running. But the only title active was still Spider-Man, who gets sold to another company (Rebellion), as Atlas has no interest in using any of the characters they have rights to.

    Now, a couple of decades later, Rebellion buys up all of Atlas' rights from them. Okay, it's not perfect, because popular characters like Iron Man, Hulk, etc. (the Spider, Steel Claw, etc.) remain out of print, as their rights reside with Timely. However, Rebellion now have the rights to Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Nova, etc., and can both reprint their old adventures and publish new ones for them.
    Thanks for the breakdown here. I am totally unfamiliar with these titles but will definitely check these out. Hopefully younger readers will take advantage of their availability. There seems to be a collective yawn among younger readers when old catalog material is reissued. Not my era is the response I got from one guy when discussing the various Gold Key relaunched titles. Believe it or not the same thing regarding Rocketeer. Granted these new acquisitions have a British/Euro fan base to start but I'd be curious how well other revivals of Burroughs/Phantom/Shadow and others have done sales wise here and elsewhere. It could indicate how well this buyout will do. To me I would release these as trade only.
    Last edited by alton; 08-28-2016 at 07:35 AM.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by alton View Post
    Thanks for the breakdown here. I am totally unfamiliar with these titles but will definitely check these out. Hopefully younger readers will take advantage of their availability. There seems to be a collective yawn among younger readers when old catalog material is reissued. Not my era is the response I got from one guy when discussing the various Gold Key relaunched titles. Believe or not the same thing regarding Rocketeer. Granted these new acquisitions have a British/Euro fan base to start but I'd be curious how well other revivals of Burroughs/Phantom/Shadow and others have done sales wise here and elsewhere. It could indicate how well this buyout will do. To me I would release these as trade only.
    I suspect they will release some of the more frequently demanded stuff in trade to test the water. There's going to be advantages and disadvantages to putting these together. Like a lot of older material, the original art was not digitally stored (no such option existed) and no longer exists, so they will have to purchase the back issues (costly in and off itself - they can retail anywhere from 2 to 10 even for a less popular title thanks to their scarcity, and most titles were weekly, meaning we have a lot of comics than ran hundreds and even thousands of issues). And because they will be working off scans, they will have to do extra work cleaning the art up to a presentable level for reprinting. Once that's done though, since most material was predominately black and white anyway, it can be reprinted in volumes like the Essentials (hopefully) - a good chunk of story for the buyer at a reasonable cost.

    I also suspect they might try a few carefully chosen revivals, possibly initially at least as new strips within the pre-existing titles like 2000A.D.

    Is there a market for these? I strongly hope so, and I think there's a good chance. Most American comic fans won't know much about the British characters, because very little British stuff has been reprinted over there, but a lot of these characters were massively popular in Europe and Asia as well as the U.K., and enjoyed long running reprint volumes there (even some new stories when the British material ran out). So in that respect, the British characters might well be like the Phantom, who enjoys apparently greater popularity in places like Sweden than he does in his native USA. And the European and Asian comic markets dwarf both the British and American ones.

    My personal hope - Rebellion does a line of reprint collected volumes for various characters (there's a whole bunch I would want). They sell well enough that the other companies who hold similar rights take notice and stop sitting on the characters they own and start doing the same.

  6. #6
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    This does sound like good news. I wonder if it'll include characters like Adam Eterno, The Spider and the Steel Claw?

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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidRA View Post
    This does sound like good news. I wonder if it'll include characters like Adam Eterno, The Spider and the Steel Claw?
    The 2000AD forums have a discussion on it, and a link was posted to a John Freeman list of the brands/associated characters Egmont owned : http://downthetubes.net/?p=33494. He does say though that Egmont may not have owned every character listed, so it's still a bit uncertain.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Loki View Post
    they will have to purchase the back issues
    Egmont should have copies of everything which they can pass on to Rebellion. The original art may sometimes no longer exist, but they won't have trouble obtaining copies of the old comics. They don't need to buy everything piecemeal like the general public.

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    Probably a stupid question but will the reprints of these older Egmont series be distributed in the U.S. as well or only in the U.K.? I know 2000AD is released stateside so I was just wondering if these will be as well?
    Last edited by GreenLanternRanger; 08-28-2016 at 07:54 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Digifiend View Post
    Egmont should have copies of everything which they can pass on to Rebellion. The original art may sometimes no longer exist, but they won't have trouble obtaining copies of the old comics. They don't need to buy everything piecemeal like the general public.
    I'm afraid I suspect that's wishful thinking, based on how comic companies have treated their back catalogues over the years, up to and including having the cleaners come in without warning on a weekend when the production staff were out, and have them bag up all the back issue files (pre-digital days) and throw them into skips. Much like TV companies treated their shows in the days prior to videos, comic companies often considered most of their old material of little future use, and so treated it as disposable. You couldn't file the stuff digitally, so it was just taking up costly storage space, a liability rather than an asset.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by GreenLanternRanger View Post
    Probably a stupid question but will the reprints of these older Egmont series be distributed in the U.S. as well or only in the U.K.? I know 2000AD is released stateside so I was just wondering if these will be as well?
    Nothing said officially yet, as it is very early days, but I'd imagine that if the current 2000A.D. stuff is available stateside, this will be too. Why cut off a potential market? Rebellion has already started to make small moves to publish material which didn't originate in 2000A.D. or the comics it absorbed (Starlord and Tornado), specifically Monster and Misty (two titles, not a weird team up name), and both of those seem to be getting released in the U.S.A. if Amazon.com is to be believed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Loki View Post
    Nothing said officially yet, as it is very early days, but I'd imagine that if the current 2000A.D. stuff is available stateside, this will be too. Why cut off a potential market? Rebellion has already started to make small moves to publish material which didn't originate in 2000A.D. or the comics it absorbed (Starlord and Tornado), specifically Monster and Misty (two titles, not a weird team up name), and both of those seem to be getting released in the U.S.A. if Amazon.com is to be believed.
    OK thanks for the info, i'll have to add these to my list of books to lookout for.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loki View Post
    Nothing said officially yet, as it is very early days, but I'd imagine that if the current 2000A.D. stuff is available stateside, this will be too. Why cut off a potential market? Rebellion has already started to make small moves to publish material which didn't originate in 2000A.D. or the comics it absorbed (Starlord and Tornado), specifically Monster and Misty (two titles, not a weird team up name), and both of those seem to be getting released in the U.S.A. if Amazon.com is to be believed.
    Amazon does not always get the 2000 AD stuff on time, or at all in some cases, Book Depository is the way to go for 2000 AD trades in America.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loki View Post
    This is massive news for the UK comics scene, but I suspect from the lack of discussion that American fans and younger Brits don't appreciate just how big this is. Here's an analogy swapping in an equivalent American company.

    Imagine that circa 1990 Marvel (IPC) had largely stopped producing comics - only Spider-Man (2000AD) kept running, nothing else new, and no reprint volumes except for stuff tied to Spider-Man. A few years later Marvel split into two companies, Atlas and Timely (here the analogy falls down a little - IPC had been created by merging various companies bought out over several decades, more akin to how DC absorbed Charlton, Fawcett, etc.), and they split the rights too, with Timely getting everything created prior to 1970 and Atlas getting the post-1970s stuff, plus Spider-Man because his title was still running. But the only title active was still Spider-Man, who gets sold to another company (Rebellion), as Atlas has no interest in using any of the characters they have rights to.

    Now, a couple of decades later, Rebellion buys up all of Atlas' rights from them. Okay, it's not perfect, because popular characters like Iron Man, Hulk, etc. (the Spider, Steel Claw, etc.) remain out of print, as their rights reside with Timely. However, Rebellion now have the rights to Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Nova, etc., and can both reprint their old adventures and publish new ones for them.
    Thanks for the info!

    I'm not familiar with any of these characters but I'd be interested in picking these up in hardcover.

    Are there any notable artists or writers I should look out for?

    I know 2000AD's done stand alone volumes for Brian Bolland's Judge Dredd work.
    Last edited by Vic Vega; 08-29-2016 at 09:05 AM.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vic Vega View Post
    Thanks for the info!

    I'm not familiar with any of these characters but I'd be interested in picking these up in hardcover.

    Are there any notable artists or writers I should look out for?

    I know 2000AD's done stand alone volumes for Brian Bolland's Judge Dredd work.
    A lot depends on the kind of stories you are looking for. British titles being weekly anthologies for the most part means that writers really did try all sorts of concepts, some of which worked better than others. Some titles were complete mixes of story types, others focused more on humour strips, others more on adventure tales. There were also themed titles (2000AD is an example of this - one of the SF themed titles), with the basic theme being things like war stories (Battle), sporting (Score, Scorcher, Roy of the Rovers), girls comics (Jinty, Sally, Misty), etc. However, within those themes, you'd find quite a mix of stuff, as they didn't want the stories to be too similar.

    There's a decent list of what has ended up with Rebellion here:
    http://downthetubes.net/?p=33494

    For my personal money, and starting with a few stories either already available in reprint or due soon:

    Charley's War - from Battle, written by Pat Mills (Slaine, ABC Warriors, Nemesis, etc.) and drawn by the incomparable Joe Colquhoun (not so well known in the US, so I'll let some of his art speak for itself) colquhoun.jpg The story of a World War I soldier in the trenches of Europe, a tale that ran for seven years in the comic and covered the conflict from pretty much the start right to the finish. At times incredibly bleak 914EdCharleysWarMate.jpg, it's widely considered one of the greatest stories ever produced in British comics, and thus it has been one of the few stories outside of the 2000AD canon to remain available in reprints.

    Monster - from Scream, a horror-themed title of the 1980s. Recently reprinted by Rebellion, written by Alan Moore and John (Judge Dredd) Wagner. This article covers it better than I could https://www.theguardian.com/books/20...riginal-panels

    Anything from Action - this was a title that came out a couple of years prior to 2000AD, and without which 2000AD might not have existed. http://downthetubes.net/?page_id=33280 It was considered so violent and visceral that questions got asked about it in the British parliament, and famously one issue got banned http://downthetubes.net/?p=22473.

    Black Max - from Thunder. Black Max is the villainous star, a World War I German scientist and flying ace, who has created a special weapon to dominate the air with - giant bats powerful enough to down planes. blackmax.jpg If they do release this one, they could do worse than get Christ Weston to do a cover, given this commission he did for a fan site a few years ago. http://i2.wp.com/downthetubes.net/wp...size=618%2C927

    I could literally spend all day suggesting strips - there are loads of them worth checking out. But the above are decent places to start, and I'll leave it for the moment for others to make their own suggestions.

    One last bit, following up on
    Quote Originally Posted by Digifiend
    Egmont should have copies of everything which they can pass on to Rebellion. The original art may sometimes no longer exist, but they won't have trouble obtaining copies of the old comics. They don't need to buy everything piecemeal like the general public.
    While I was hunting out the above links, I spotted the following quotes:
    In the article about Monster: “Finding good quality copies of Scream! has been difficult as the original film of the story has long since disappeared, but we have substantial experience with 2000 AD collections of restoring neglected comics back to how they looked in the 1970s and 80s,” said Molcher.

    In the article about Action's banned issue: "IPC later destroyed all the file copies of every issue, leaving only a scant few in the hands of the comps list."

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