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.

9 comments:

Norman Boyd said...

Well, you obviously had better shops near you than I did Lew, as I would have definitely bought this if I had seen it!
PLEASE add a scan of an unusual strip so we can get the gist of it, as the covers look very sensible - except for that numbering, as you say!
Thanks

Ken Davidson said...

Can I second that? If you have time, a couple of interior scans would be appreciated. I've never heard of this comics before.

Anonymous said...

Call me a cynic, but would the date that this item appeared be significant? Also the publisher sounds a bit funny.

Anonymous said...

A Good One - I assume an April fool!!

Steve said...

Lew, you continue to astound me with your discoveries. All I can add is that The Laughing Astronauts was a translation of "Los Astronautas Sonrientes", originally published in Spain in the magazine Tonto de Abril.

Lotus666 said...

Lew, you crafty devil you! Nice one, mate...LOL ;)

Anonymous said...

Lew, I believe there was an Apollo annual published 12 years before the first issue of the comic, strange but undoubtedly true, I read it in Cricket!

John Freeman said...

The BBC got me with their penguins but you didn't catch me with this one, Lew. Fab spoof though - full marks

Dodds said...

Did Mike Noble draw for this?

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