Egmont Publishing are reviving one of the traditions of British comics with the release of a number of what they're calling 'classic comics'... but the format is that of the old summer special, with each title containing a range of strips from some of the great names in comics: Roy of the Rovers, Buster, Battle and Misty. Each will retail at £3.99 for 52 pages. The first release will be Roy of the Rovers, due out on April 1st. The three other titles will roll out during 2009: Battle on 24 June, Buster on 16 September and Misty on 9 December. The comics will be available exclusively in W. H. Smith.
Egmont's Tim Jones says, "We are delighted to be bringing this fantastic portfolio of comics back to the newsstand for the fans to enjoy and indulge in their nostalgic reading. These new launches are a great example of the huge portfolio of evergreen character comics, books and magazines Egmont publish, and we are thrilled to keep delivering content for their fans."
The contents to some of the titles is still being finalised but will include many of the top characters from the various papers: the Roy of the Rovers Classic Comics will include stories featuring "Billy's Boots", "Goalkeeper" and "The Hardman" and the Battle Picture Weekly Classic Comics will include "Johnny Red" and "D-Day Dawson" behind a cover with a main picture by Don Lawrence, first seen on the Battle Picture Weekly Summer Special for 1976.
Keep your fingers crossed that these prove successful and Egmont publish more from their archives in 2010. It has now been a full year since they signed a deal with Titan and to date only two books, both featuring Roy of the Rovers, have appeared, although the Bumper Book of Battle is due shortly and The Best of Battle is scheduled for June.
Egmont have another classic character lined up to appear in a 16-page special being released with the next issue of Toxic (#137, on sale 1 April). The Crazy Comics special contains 9 new strips: "Count Von Poo" by Jamie Smart, "Zombie Nation" by Luke Paton & Laura Howell, "Clump" by Lew Stringer, "Bovver Baby" by John Freeman & Paul J. Palmer, "Hoaxers" by David Hailwood & Paul Harrison-Davies, "Spooks in Space" by Paul H. Birch & Steve Harrison, "Bad Robots" by John Freeman & Paul Harrison-Davies, "Simon Spectacular" by Luke Paton & Stuart Arrowsmith and "WereWilf" by Paul H. Birch and Shane Oakley & John Erasmus.
The last of these is an old character from the pages of Whoopee! where he debuted in 1976. It would appear to be a favourite of Shane Oakley who had hoped to include the character in the pages of Albion but his scene had to be cut due to copyright.
(* I'm sure a couple of the above specials aren't the final covers; all artwork © Egmont Publishing.)