Twins - A Discussion on the Independent Picture Library Publishers

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Mr Valeera
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Joined: 03 Mar 2006, 18:06
Location: Lost in time, lost in space

Twins - A Discussion on the Independent Picture Library Publishers

Post by colcool007 »

This is a subject that I fiercely resisted getting involved in, but thanks to the persistence of Paw Broon, I got interested despite myself. Stephen has long posited that there is some connection between all the small Picture Libraries. So I have kept digging and digging and this is what I have found.

The first big clue I got was when I bought a big pile of Club War Picture Library from circa 76-77. I was looking at the covers and the titles and I was thinking they looked awfully familiar. I had already been putting away some of my smaller run picture libraries and a faint recollection trickled through my mind, so I checked out the GCD database of gallery covers as that saved me digging out my issues and perhaps causing them a little more distress.

Blow me down if I didn't spot that the Sabre War Picture Libraries were twins of the Club War Picture Library. Exactly the same covers and titles. I still need to check if the internals are the same but I doubt they will vary much.

The other big clue I got was from the Club Secret Service Picture Library as one of them featured agents of S.A.T.A.N. Now that was a run in 1966 published by Famepress. So for the stories to be published 10 years later by Med Publishing was a bit strange unless we had some sort of connection between them all.

Now going on things I have learned from other collectors and checking out indicia of many comics, the link comes down to the children's book publisher Wells Gardner, Darton & Co.

Over the years, this company's name began to appear on the indicia and usually towards the end of the run of each comic. I struggled to reconcile this until I got one salient point. In 1966, Micron went bust and owed a ton of money to their creditors. Rather than go bankrupt, they were offered or they offered a deal of their entire back catalogue and their name in exchange for their debts. This deal was done and as a result of this the Micron brand kept going well into the 1980s.

Now this is my theory and I stress it is a theory. From the evidence I have and sticking with the rule of KISS (Keep it Simple Stupid), I believe that Wells Gardner, Darton & Co bought up each picture library publisher as it was struggling to keep their head above water or were about to go bankrupt.

What evidence do I have? Well the fact that the war picture libraries started with their own publisher and ended up being reprinted by a company that had Wells Gardner, Darton & Co in every indicia.

The final piece of the puzzle fell into place last night as I had updated my Pocket War Library titles file to only need 22 titles to have the full run. After I had done that, I browsed Ebay to see if I could find some more and then I spotted this beauty which was previously published circa 72/73 as Pocket War Library 103.
Micron 1120 Whirlwind Commandos.jpg
Pocket War Library 103 Whirlwind Commandos.jpg
What also helps is that P Mar, the cover artist, is Primo Marcarini who did work for a lot of the independent Picture Library publishers. He also drew the cover for the 1962 GMS Combat Picture Annual but never did any work for Commando, which is a shame.

I hope this has been a pleasant Sunday diversion for all of you.
I started to say something sensible but my parents took over my brain!

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Adam Eterno
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Re: Twins - A Discussion on the Independent Picture Library Publishers

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