On this day, 18 May 1974: Lion and Thunder
With over eleven hundred issues, running from February 1952 to this final edition in May 1974, Lion was one of the big cats of British comics, so reading through these pages is a sad experience – even though the content is, on the whole, a bit tired for its time. Lion was about to be merged into Valiant – another major title from the 1960s, whch would in turn be swallowed up by Battle a couple of years later.
Only a few Lion strips made the cut. Adam Eterno, Zip Nolan and Reg Parlett’s excellent humour strip Mowser all appeared in next week’s Valiant and Lion, while the tin-pot trooper Steel Commando was teamed up with Captain Hurricane. So this is an issue full of endings, bringing to a close no fewer than eight serials: dimension-bending sorcerer Spellbinder, super-criminal drama Masters of Menace, bequiffed TV star Marty Wayne, droid pal Robot Archie (who had appeared in Lion’s first issue, twenty-two years previously), sci-f adventure Sark the Sleeper, bonkers football story The Team Terry Kept in a Box, even more bonkers ghostly athletes story The Last of the Harkers and future thriller The 10,000 Disasters of Dort.
An interesting sidenote to this issue is that the writer and artist on Spellbinder (Frank S. Pepper and Geoff Campion) received credits beneath the title of this final episode – possibly sneaked in by Campion himself.