On this day, 30 January 1988: Eagle and Battle
On this day, 30 January 1988 … Eagle’s takeover of Battle marked the coming together of two of the longest branches in the IPC family tree. This was the final big merger of the adventure comics lines (and the penultimate big merger of the whole IPC comics range, preceding only Whizzer and Chips joining Buster in 1990). Traced back through Eagle's and Battle's respective timelines and all they had subsumed, this merger brought together the histories of the following IPC titles: Hurricane, Jag, Scorcher, Score ‘n’ Roar, Scream!, Speed and Tiger (on Eagle’s side), and Action, Boy’s World, Champion, Fantastic, Lion, Pow!, Smash!, Terrific, Thunder, TV21, Valiant, Vulcan and Wham! (on Battle’s side). More comics are involved – the likes of Knockout, The Comet, Swift and Zip are all distantly related, even though they were produced by publishers pre-dating IPC’s involvement in comics – and the original Eagle was itself taken over by Lion, which would be merged into Valiant, which was then the first comic to be taken over by Battle, so this 1988 merger acts as the strange closing of a not very circular circle.
Oddly, Battle strip Storm Force was already a part of the Eagle line-up, having started to run concurrently in the two publications three weeks previous to this merger issue. Two other Battle serials made the move and continued from where they had finished the previous week (see last week’s On This Day): Johnny Red resumed his mission to Stalingrad, and the reprinted Charley’s War was still following events in the ‘Angel Trench’ awaiting the final german assault. Eagle regulars Doomlord and Dan Dare (now drawn by John Gillat) also started new serials, and there was a brand new strip in Ghost Squad, a spin-off from the long-running Death Wish saga.