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In a significant move sure to delight comic book historians, U.K. comic book publisher Rebellion has acquired the comic book library of TI Media, including some of the most significant titles and characters in British comic book publishing.
The deal means that Rebellion — publishers of iconic comic anthology 2000 AD, home of Judge Dredd — now controls an archive that stretches back more than 130 years of comic book publishing, including Comic Cuts, the 19th century title that some believe is responsible for the name of the medium as a whole. Notably, Comic Cuts, which lasted for 63 years and more than 3,000 issues, predates Famous Funnies: A Carnival of Comics — the comic often cited as the first American comic book — by more than 40 years.
The TI Media library includes more than 400 separate titles, including Lion, Tiger and Look-In, and thousands of characters that appeared therein. Curiously enough, the library includes two anthology titles better known to American audiences as company names: The Marvel, originally The Halfpenny Marvel, ran from 1893-1922, and Valiant ran from 1962-1976. Both titles significantly predate their American namesakes. (Marvel Comics No. 1 was released in 1939, and the first comic using the Valiant banner came out in 1991.)
Perhaps of more interest to some is the fact that the archive includes never-before-reprinted work from comic book greats including Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel, Italian creator Hugo Pratt and U.S. artist Alex Toth, as well as work by novelists Michael Moorcock and Harry Harrison.
Rebellion’s acquisition of the TI Media library follows its 2016 purchase of the Fleetway/IPC Youth Group archive from Egmont Publishing, finally reuniting the comic book output of IPC, one of the two largest publishers of comics in the U.K. (Both the Fleetway and the TI Media libraries originated as part of IPC, before being separated in the late 1980s). The company has already released editions of the Fleetway archive under its Treasury of British Comics imprint, including collected editions of Faceache, Marney the Fox and stories from the girls’ horror anthology Misty.
In a statement, Rebellion CEO Jason Kingsley said: “Rebellion’s reputation is not just as an innovative and forward thinking comic book publisher, but as the first company to respect and do justice to the extraordinary legacy of multiple generations of artists and writers who developed the comic book medium in [the U.K]. It gives me great pleasure to secure the future for this extraordinary archive and I am incredibly excited to able to bring back into print so many lost treasures.”
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