On this day, 25 October 1980: Speed
On this day, 25 October 1980 … This was the final edition of Speed, its ‘Big News Issue!’ headline announcing that the following week it would be folded into Tiger, taking with it lead strips Death Wish and Topps on Two Wheels, while Speedboy Tim Barlow would join Billy Dane’s school team in Billy’s Boots. Motor racing tale Winner would be concluded as part of Tiger’s File of Fame series, and Flash Jordan of The Fastest Footballer on Earth would join The Marks Brothers in Roy of the Rovers comic. It was the end of the line for reader-participation strip The £1,000,000 Challenge, and the promising but extremely short-lived Supersmith suburban superhero story.
I had read Speed since its first issue and, despite not being an especially sporty type, had really enjoyed the comic over the spring, summer and early autumn of 1980. It had been my first non-humour comic, so I think I associate it with a time of growing up a little bit and engaging (aged 9 and 10) with more mature storytelling. The takeover by Tiger was my first experience of having been on the ‘losing’ side of a merger and I don’t recall being particularly upset – more intrigued – although looking back at Speed now I do feel a note of sadness that it ran for only 31 issues. In tone it was very much an old-school comic, with relatively clean-cut heroes (bad boy Trevor Watson of Winner! was an exception to the rule) who had clear goals in life: to be the fastest (Speedboy) or to achieve the ultimate thrill (Death Wish), but it was produced to a high standard and was my first introduction to such excellent artists as Mike Western and Eduardo Vanyo, John Gillatt and Mike White. May its memories never decelerate!