The Fleetway Files
Published by Hibernia
Review by Luke Williams
With the “Treasury of British Comics” an obvious success, Hibernia, who led the way in celebrating out of print IPC properties, are still cranking out retrospectives and strips. Having already published quite a few collections of articles on Fleetway work, Luke peruses their latest (and when he means “latest” – he means it was released ages ago and he’s taken ages to read it, so this is old news.)
Nostalgia is big business. Who would have thought that the seemingly disposable comic strips that we all read as kids would generate so much interest? But do they warrant this attention? Is all this retrospective assessment necessary? Perhaps not, but it can be fascinating and it helps when you have packages as lovingly curated as this.
“The Fleetway Files” is another of those books that Hibernia do so well. Filled with interviews, articles, lost strips and histories of some very popular and not so popular strips, covering both girls and boys comics. It is very “2000AD” light, and rightly so, as the Prog’ has always garnered sufficient attention. What it does do, is give an overview of strips that were found in many of it’s stablemates and highlights that IPC comics didn’t begin and end with the “Galaxy’s Greatest”.
Articles cover such topics as the early “photo strip” incarnation of the “new” Eagle, the development, evolution and politics behind the development of the “new Dan Dare” and a synopsis of the differing artistic interpretations of Space Fleet’s hero,
Also included is a timeline of IPC humour titles publication, articles on girls comics, “Janus Stark’s” publication in Europe, “lost” Massimo Belardinelli & Ian Kennedy artwork and some fascinating background information and specifications on the last big launches of the Fleetway era;”Wildcat” (soon to be collected by Rebellion) and “Storm force” which was the last throw of the dice for the flailing “Battle”.
Interviews with editors such as Group Editor Barry Tomlinson, Dave Hunt (Eagle and Battle), Ian Vosper (Roy Of The Rovers) Bob Paynter (humour titles), Gil Page, and James Tomlinson aka James Nicholas (writer of many Action Force stories) offer insight into the creative and editorial process in bring the titles to the stands and the final days of publication.
As a bonus there are 16 pages of strip, including Leo Baxendale’s, “Soccernauts”, “Glory Knight : Time Travel Courier” with art by John Burns, “The Amazing Three”, “Hot Shot Hamish” and “Sergeant Strong”
It’s a varied and comprehensive package, fascinating and worthy(in a good way). Now if only they would collect those New Eagle “Dan Dare” strips. Get it here