Issue 2—dated 25 February 1967 and already ready for the printers long before the first issue was ever published—also announced that Fantastic had already been awarded a prize, the 1967 Educational Publishing Prize, by The Guardian newspaper. "You've probably never heard of The Guardian but we're sure you'll be as impressed as we are about this award when we tell you that The Guardian is regarded by some people as one of Britain's leading daily newspapers!"
The sarcasm of this line would have been lost on the readers but was a response from the editors to a piece that had been published in The Guardian a few weeks earlier. The Guardian's "Miscellany" column for 4 January 1967 had included the following:
THIS BEING the high season for journalistic awards, "Miscellany" has a couple of nominations. First, the 1967 educational publishing prize to Cecil King (via Odhams Press) for "Fantastic." A bit premature this, perhaps. "Fantastic" won't arrive on bookstands till mid-February; but advance reports—featuring the Invisible Fantastic Iron Man, the Mighty Fantastic Thor, the Incredible Fantastic X-Men—are (not mincing words) fantastic. "The best American comic material carefully re-edited for the British youngster," Odhams says. And what fantastic bait is being used to sell this fantastic mish-mash? A free pennant wallet with one edition; free bubble gum with another; and free plastic scars. "Get the secret brotherhood of power scar," "Fantastic" proclaims. You also get three other scars for sticking on wrists and a "mighty Cyclops" plastic eye. "Don't be a chump—be a scarface." As the headmistress said to the bishop, this is just unbelievable.When Fantastic chose to announce this as a genuine award, Miscellany took umbrage and offered them a second "prize" on 21 February under the heading "Nerve awards 1967":
... the nonexistent award for nonexistent educative worth wasn't meant totally seriously. Nevertheless, "Fantastic" this week touts the "prize" in its editorial columns as proof that "we've started something special." "You've probably never heard of the 'Guardian' but we're sure you'll be as impressed as we are about this award when we tell you the 'Guardian' is regarded by some people as one of Britain's leading daily newspapers! So how about that! Thanks for the honour you 'Guardian' Guys..." The layers of irony grow too dense: all the harassed "Guardian" perverts of "Fantastic" children who 'phoned bemusedly yesterday are hereby notified that the award-giving business is simply ridiculous.The following week's free gift of a packet of bubble gum didn't earn Fantastic a single mention in the newspapers.
(* Fantastic © IPC Media)