Wednesday, April 3, 2013

A Good Lion Front Cover

I was browsing the Internet the other day when I came across a photograph of the above Lion comic on ebay. The cover of this comic might not strike you as important or unique in any particular way, but it is a good cover.

Now I'll show you another Lion cover, from the 1980 annual.

It wasn't just the front cover that was reprinted; a majority of the contents was as well, as the annual featured a whole host of well-known characters such as Robot Archie, Phantom Force Five and Adam Eterno, to name a few. Here you can see the page hasn't been properly resized from the original comic to fit the annuals larger pages. Sorry about the blurry photo, but it should still show the page size.

Looking through, and it seems that most, if not all, of the contents is reprinted, which is not surprising considering Lion folded five years before the annual was printed (six years before the cover date), but even so I always thought Fleetway produced new artwork for their covers. Obviously they just wanted to make as much money as possible from the annual and that was the way to do it. The sales of Lion annuals were slipping by this point and they'd only continue to make them for another three years, the last one (dated 1983), arriving in time for the Christmas of 1982.


Robert said...

I remember buying Lion, Valiant and Scorcher annuals well past the time the comics had been published - in fact, I'm sufficiently young enough not to have been around when those comics were around. But even I could tell they were scraping the barrel and using a lot of reprints - it's a funny thing, looking back - no-one ever told me that a story was a reprint - it was just a gradual realisation. Original annual material tended to contain fewer frames per page and were shorter than reprints that tended to have 'cliffhangers' every two to three pages (that was usually the give away) as well as reformatted opening frames of succeeding episodes (sometimes with text boxes reworded). Actually the reprints were fine if you hadn't read them but I guess it must have grated with long term comic fans back in the day.

Gary James said...

I keep coming across the same images in I.P.C. / Fleetway Annuals, and - completely by chance - I worked out where another cover originated only a few days ago. The cowboy on the cover of the 1979 Valiant annual is taken from Valiant Picture Library #67 (07 Mar 1966), so they were well adept at letting nothing go to waste.