Tuesday, April 01, 2008
Comic Oddities: Apollo (1972)
One of the rarest comics published in Britain in the 1970s was a mysterious short lived weekly entitled Apollo. Carrying no publisher details apart from "Printed by J.Ester, Worcester" this strange magazine/comic obviously attempted to imitate Polystyle's Countdown, even to the extent of using the same typeface for the masthead.
A curious novelty was that each week the logo would feature the number as part of the masthead. (Pictured here are Apollo 3 and Apollo 6.) This possibly confused readers as the comic didn't sell particularly well and was canceled after issue six! Apollo was probably expensive to produce too, being printed photogravure, so the anonymous publishers seem to have over-reached themselves.
Content of the title was mainly feature based; items on space exploration and UFO's, but not very well researched. An item on the moon landing puts the date as being January 5th 1968! The comic strips fared little better. Poor art and script on The Laughing Astronauts (two hippy spacemen!) and General Gemini (a sort of inter-planetary Captain Hurricane) could do nothing to salvage the comic. The third strip, The Pioneers, featured on the centre spread (and cover of No.6) and was much better illustrated, but the script was very slow and contrived. None of the artists seem familiar so it's possible that Apollo was running European reprint with poor translations.
Running at just 16 pages an issue, Apollo must have seemed poor value at 5p an issue and it's not surprising it folded so quickly. The cancellation was unexpected, as a new humour strip, Rif Apollo - Swede in Space was promised for issue 7 but by then the comic had vanished from our shelves as if it had never existed.