UK culture: the story of British comics
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All words and phrases highlighted in blue are explained in a vocabulary list at the end of this page.
Three papers that can claim to be the first British comics. First, McLean's Monthly Sheet of Caricatures or The Looking Glass was a folded tabloid all drawn and lettered by hand, the first issue published February 1, 1831 and was the first 'caricature' magazine; Funny Folks is regarded as the first comic, first issued 12 December 1874 as a weekly comic of a half-half mix of text and pictures, but was eventually beaten 20 years later after 1614 issues by its cheaper rivals such as Comic Cuts, which is often cited as the world's first comic (which it wasn't: this was a claim made by its founder, Alfred Harmsworth, who would produce several different comics). The first issue of Comic Cuts was on 17 May 1890 and, along with [Illustrated] Chips, ran for sixty years, each merging into other comics. Comic Cuts ran for a then-record 3006 issues that was eventually beaten by The Dandy on July 10, 1999. (Chips was just behind at 2997 issues).
In the first of a three-part article on British comics – along with an interview with one of the world’s biggest British comic collectors, I am now going to attempt to explain – to our foreign readers – what British comics are, or as they’re known as today, comic papers, and their effects on me, on other individuals, and on the comics of today.
I was perhaps born two or three years too late to fully appreciate British comics, but I was there (just in time) for their peak, and their eventual decline and pretty much their extinction in the form I remember. But when they were great, they were something that a lot of children would eagerly get up for on Saturday morning as their favourite comic was being delivered by the paperboy/girl, along with mum and dad’s daily morning newspaper, through the front door letterbox flap. Or it was a quick trip down to the local shop that sold newspapers, magazines and comics (known as a newsagent), plus a few other things.
But the comics of yesteryear were very different to the children’s comics of today. They were an artform that was seriously underappreciated in their time when compared to their European counterparts, and although there is still a sense of snobbery in the UK towards children’s comics today, the sixties and seventies generations understand them perfectly, particularly of those comics published in those times and are now keen to get hold of the many recently published album forms of their favourite strips from that period, courtesy of Rebellion and my comic collector friend.
So to understand all this, here’s a potted history of British comics mainly from a boy’s comic perspective, with apologies to fans of British girls’ comics, which I really don’t know too much about but I do know have their male fans. Sorry.
‘Comics’ or ‘comic papers’, as they were both known, were magazines that were issued by the publisher every week. These first came out in Britain at the end of the 19th century, but as far as their content goes, they were very different to what we read now (and into the second half of the 20th century). These comics consisted of lots of text stories and texts added under cartoon frames. They were magazine sized and often printed on cheap paper. They cost one old penny (£00.00½p!) and were known as 'Penny Dreadfuls' due to their variable quality. Many of the strips were serialised so you would have to buy next week’s edition to find out what happens next to your favourite stories!
Now it’s worth skipping over the first few decades of comic history until we come to 1937 – just before the start of the Second World War – and begin our period of modern history with a comic issued on the 4th December that set about changing the rules, although this would still take a few more years to become the kind of weekly comic that most of the older generation of Brits are familiar with today.
The very first issues of The Dandy and The Beano. In 1989, The Dandy surpassed Comic Cuts as Britain's longest running comic. But it was cancelled in 2013, leaving The Beano as the world's longest running comic paper, and is still going.
The front and back pages of the very first issue of Eagle, published in 1950.
That early comic was The Dandy, which was followed a few months later by The Beano, issued on the 30th July, and both were published by DC Thomson in Dundee, Scotland. What made these papers different from the others on the market was that while they still included some of the trusted methods of text stories and added texts under frames, they also included many humour strips that relied on just the individual pictures and speech balloons to carry the story. Although these comics are often credited to have started the picture strip genre in the UK, particularly in humour, other DC Thomson boys’ action comics that were already published such as The Hotspur, The Wizard, Rover, Vanguard and The Skipper included a handful of such strips, although their output mainly consisted of text stories. Like the early comics, these stories were often serialised, ensuring the reader would buy the next issue to see what happened next!
The Second World War saw many comics go out of business – not always because of their lack of popularity, but paper and ink shortages forced many to be closed down. The Dandy and The Beano went from 28 pages to as little as 10, and at one point alternated with each other when issued. This effectively meant each paper was now coming out every two weeks. But they survived and slowly evolved into becoming comics that increasingly focused on humour, and soon started phasing out text stories which were becoming increasingly old-fashioned and unpopular.
The next big event in British comics history was the launch of a new boy’s comic in 1950, Eagle. This was a response to an increasing number of imported horror comics to the country, with British boys buying them as a more exciting alternative to the increasingly old-fashioned adventure stories that were being presented as endless lines of text rather than as strip cartoons. (A law was later passed in the
UK parliament to restrict horror comics to children.) Eagle – founded by an unlikely source, an Anglican vicar from Lancashire in England – was very successful at launch, selling 900,000 copies despite the continuing shortages of paper. Although its content was mainly to educate its readers (it included a special news section, sports, schoolstories and machinery illustrations such as a steam locomotive), its high quality strips such as ‘Riders of the Range’ and ‘P.C. 49’ helped ensure a weekly circulation of almost a million copies. Its most famous adventures were of ‘Dan Dare, Pilot of the Future’, probably the UK's first regular science-fiction comic strip, and readers thrilled to the British spaceman's weekly exploits and his battles with his most famous alien enemies, the Mekon. Indeed, Eagle’s influence led to a number of additional boys adventure comics over the years from their publishing rivals, with Lion the most notable, appearing on the market on the 23rd February 1952, and setting a standard that, while exciting for the time, would increasingly become dated as the years went on.
The 1950s was the decade that saw British comics at their peak popularity. The Dandy and The Beano had sales of 2 million copies a week each. Eagle was selling a million. When you think that in those days – very little television, no internet, no videos – comics were almost the only source of entertainment available to children. In addition, Christmas time meant that many of the comics would offer a special treat in the form of a book version of their favourite paper, otherwise known as annuals, which were very popular in their time. The annuals, many containing up to 160 pages, were often seen as one of the main gifts that would be happily received by children from Father Christmas! In the mid-sixties, June, July and August also introduced the summer, or holiday specials. These were usually expanded versions of the weekly comics, with its themes centred around events at the English seaside.
With the exception of DC Thomson’s own tabloid-sized comics, The Topper (1953) and The Beezer (1956), humour comics produced to seriously compete with The Dandy and The Beano didn’t really emerge until the late 60s – when Thomson’s chief rivals, Fleetway Publications, first issued Giggle in 1967. With the exception of one ‘serious’ action strip, the comic was made up of humour stories which – as it turned out for this writer later in life – included strips imported from Europe. However, the comic was short lived – but rather than cancelling the title completely, Giggle would be made to join another comic, in this case, Buster, a humour / adventure comic that came out in 1960 and would then be titled, for a few short weeks, Buster and Giggle before becoming just Buster once more. (Comics joining other comics are known as mergers, and was a common happening in comics when sales of the weaker comic fell to the point that it would be made to join another comic in a similar style produced by the same publisher, rather than simply be cancelled completely.) Perhaps the first true humour title was eventually Whizzer and Chips in 1969, with the novelty of being 'two comics in one - double the fun', and its first three issues coming with free gifts, which was a regular feature of all new comic titles that were coming onto the market for the first time.
Three original copies of Whizzer and Chips from the 1970s, and from the author's own collection!
The first issue of SMASH!, published on 6 February 1966, with a very active cover drawn by Leo Baxendale.
During the sixties there were several comics that mainly focussed on a mix of humour and adventure – mainly for boys – and as well as Buster (which, in the eighties, eventually became a humour-only comic), a series of comics with wonderful titles such as Pow! Wham! Smash! Fantastic and Terrific were added to the market, collectively known as the Power comics. Today, these comics are remembered with affection as they featured artists such as Leo Baxendale and Ken Reid not only at the height of their powers, but also indulging in humour such as comic horror that probably wouldn’t be allowed in modern children’s comics today. Although of high quality – some even included black-and-white reprints of superhero strips originally published in America by Marvel Comics and DC Comics – they were expensive to buy for their time, and over the years as sales declined, they would merge into each other, with Smash! being the only survivor into the seventies, where it would eventually be joined up with the boy’s action comic Valiant in 1971.
But it was towards the end of the 1960s that British comics began their long-term decline, thanks to more popular pastimes that were available for children, such as the recent arrival of colour television (1967). To counter this, publishers began to switch their focus towards strips that tied-in with popular TV shows (Look-in was the most notable example), along with issuing themed comics – particularly those dedicated to football – such as Scorcher. Like the Buster and Giggle example, those comics that didn’t succeed
would be merged into those that continued, giving them a sales push to begin with but eventually declining in sales again. Amongst those was Eagle, which was finally merged with Lion in 1969 after its sales had dropped to just a few thousand, a comic that had originally been brought out to compete with it and, after 17 years, had won the battle.
The seventies saw sales drop considerably despite new comics joining the market such as Cor!!, Knockout, Shiver and Shake, Whoopee!, Roy of the Rovers (a character from the sports comic Tiger, who was popular enough to be given his own comic) and Tornado. Children’s interests were certainly changing, but there was a feeling that the blame for the decline in the popularity of comics could be placed with the aging staff at the publishers, particularly with at IPC Magazines (who used to be Fleetway Publications), who still held old-fashioned fifties comic traditions which simply didn’t hold up in the modern world.
It would be their main rivals, DC Thomson, who showed there was a market for more grittier action comics by launching Warlord in 1974, a comic dedicated to war but towards more realism than had been shown before. It was a success, and IPC had to react. The publishing editor at the time decided that to set up such a paper would have to be taken out of the hands of what was now seen as an outdated boys’ comic department, and so, in the hands of young freelancers, produced Battle, another war comic, equally or even grittier than Warlord.
Battle was a success, and on the back of this, IPC then launched the controversial Action (due to its violent content).
The first issues of WARLORD (DC Thomson), published September 28 1974, and just six months later, BATTLE (IPC Magazines), both comics that focused on the subject of war.
The controversy of ACTION is covered in detail in this now out-of-print book by comics historian Martin Barker. Many of the more well-known (or notorious) strips have been reproduced in this collection by Titan Books. From the author's personal collection.
Although very popular – it was one of the very few comics of the time to actually increase its readership after its initial launch – complaints eventually led to its suspension and, a short time later, after being placed back into the boys' comics department, a much-toned down and less popular Action eventually saw it merged with Battle. But the lessons learnt from this led to 2000AD, a comic with a sci-fi theme, and which still continues today. At its launch, it was aimed at the 12-14 boys group, but today much of that audience has stayed with it and the paper has matured accordingly.
Into the 1980s, and as TV and video games became increasingly popular, comics were struggling to survive in the face of an ever-increasing decline in readership as they all began merging with each other. Although a new version of Eagle was launched by IPC in 1982, it eventually became the comic that all the other publisher’s remaining boys’ papers ended up in after mergers (including Battle), to the point that, with no other suitable comic to merge with, was eventually closed in 1994. It’s ironic that the comic with the Eagle name – which began the modern boy’s adventure comic of the fifties – should also be the title of a paper that IPC’s comics would merge into to die and be the last one standing. DC Thomson’s boys comics suffered the same fate, with Buddy, Bullet, Champ, The Crunch, The Wizard and Warlord, after all their mergers, eventually ending up in The Victor, the last comic standing and which also folded in 1994.
Similarly in humour, Buster, launched in 1960, was the comic all the IPC humour titles went in, and eventually, after forty years, died at the very beginning of 2000, with no humour titles left to merge into. For DC Thomson, The Dandy and The Beano continued despite declining sales; eventually, after several relaunches and an attempt to produce an online version, The Dandy finally folded on the 26th June 2013 after 3610 issues. The Beano continues today, and although its sales are nowhere near its fifties peak, it seems to have ‘bottomed out’ and has now regularly increased its weekly sales, ensuring that it not only remains Britain’s longest running comic, but will also reach its 4,000th edition in the Summer of 2019. Indeed, only it and 2000AD are the only weeklies left from the peak of British comics.
Today, British children’s comics are very different beasts to what they were in the past. They are all pretty much tied-in to merchandise, and can regularly come with a free gift (or several free gifts)! Comics for the older generation still exist, but are now seen as specialist and are marketed that way. With the exception of The Beano and The Dandy, the annuals are short: 64 pages, soulless, reliant on TV tie-ins, and in the opinion of this writer, have had little thought placed in their putting together. 2000AD doesn’t issue annuals (it issued its final book in 1993, which was undated [officially 1994] and referred to as a 'yearbook'), but issues a winter special in the place of the regular weekly comic at Christmas and New Year.
But there is one other comic that began in 1979 - only 150 copies of issue one were printed in that December - which still continues today. Viz. What makes it different was that it was a parody of strips from those sixties and seventies humour titles, basing itself on bad taste, crude language, and sexual innuendo. In 1989 it was the biggest selling comic in the country. Similarly themed titles later came onto the market, but all have failed to achieve Viz's longevity and originality. It, too, issues annuals, but these are usually collected reprints from issues published some five years before rather than any new strips drawn and written especially for the books.
To many of us oldies who still reminisce about the golden age of British comics – that is, the sixties and early seventies – there is hope for us. Rebellion, a British video game developer based in Oxford, England, initially bought the 2000AD comic series in 2000, and started publishing graphic novel collections of its most popular strips. It has since bought the rights to the IPC Youth and Fleetway comics libraries from Egmont and is reprinting many of these strips, including some from popular girls’ comic titles (whose strips have since proved to be as popular with the boys!) although at the time these only covered titles printed from around 1970 onwards. They are also publishing special one-off versions of some of these comics from the past such as Cor!! and Buster, featuring new strips under an umbrella title known as the Treasury of British Comics.
VIZ - the very first 'annual', issued in 1985, and is in fact a compilation of the comic's first twelve issues. Taken from the author's personal collection.
The COR!! BUSTER humour special, issued 2019 by Rebellion publishing, with all-new humour strips based on these comics' classic characters from the 1970s/80s.
But for many of us, it’s many of the 1960s strips we want to see, and in mid-2018, artist Ken Reid’s sixties artwork from that period was made available thanks to the efforts of Irmantas Povilaika, a keen collector and admirer of British comics, who was able to obtain the rights from TI Media to reproduce his strips from the Wham! Smash! and Pow! comics of the time, and which have been collected in the form of two collected volumes called The Power Pack of Ken Reid (for a review of these books, click here). Later that same year, Rebellion finally acquired TI Media's library of pre-1970 IPC/Fleetway Comics titles (TI Media used to be IPC), a collection of comics which, technically, should be dating right back to issue 1 of Comic Cuts! This leads hope to there being more classic strips from the past being made available into album form.
I, for one, have suggested that they should select a title (my choice would be Thunder, from 1970) and reproduce the first ten or twelve issues into one collected volume!
(Editor's note: I'm afraid reprinting a complete set of the first ten issues in the form of a book such as Thunder is now unlikely as Rebellion have reprinted, or will be reprinting collections of two of the strips from this short-lived comic: 'Black Max' and 'Steel Commando' . Yes, I know, sorry English students, I realise you don't know what we're talking about!)
Part 1: An interview with Irmantas Povilaika on British comics
Irmantas Povilalika, a keen collector of British comics who actually comes from Lithuania, gives his thoughts on the subject of British comics. And it's fair to say he's more knowledgeable on the topic than the vast majority of us Brits!
What was the first British comic you read?
My exposure to British comics was extremely limited in my school days - we simply didn't have them here because Lithuania was part of the mighty old Soviet Union at the time. A pen pal from Leeds once sent me an issue of Whoopee! (a humour comic from the mid-seventies,) and an issue of Tammy (a girl's adventure comic) when I was about ten years old. The two magazines, particularly Whoopee!, made quite an impression on me and inspired me to draw my own comics. Later on, when I was in my twenties, I freelanced for the national humour magazine for three years and was even nominated artist of the year once!
For those who don't know, what was the humour magazine?
The magazine was called Sluota (Broomstick). It was a fortnightly satirical and humour magazine that started in between the two World Wars and was later revived by the Soviets; it folded in 2004. It had satirical stories, jokes and caricatures, including some reprints from New Yorker and Punch, some comics as well, particularly after 1990 when Lithuania restored its independence and the genre suddenly became more in demand – that’s when I stepped in, alongside with a few “staff” artists of the magazine.
What’s your favourite British comic from the sixties and seventies?
That would be Whoopee!, the seventies period. It had a stellar team of artists and strips. I can’t stop admiring the quality of the art that that went into Whoopee! on a weekly basis. I also like Buster of the 60s and the 70s. In general, I prefer Fleetway/IPC titles to those published by DC Thomson although The Beano was excellent in the 50s and the 60s when it had Leo Baxendale, Ken Reid, Dudley Watkins and David Law drawing for it.
Were there any strips in those issues that you particularly remember?
Of the strips in Whoopee!, 'Frankie Stein' by Robert Nixon, 'Scream Inn' by Brian Walker, 'Spy School' by Graham Allen and 'Scared-Stiff Sam' by Mike Lacey are the ones I remember best. That issue of Whoopee! also had a 'World-Wide Weirdie' by Ken Reid ('Mucky-Hand Palace') – my first encounter with Ken’s work.
SLOUTA (Broomstick), Lithuania's humour magazine which was launched between the two world wars and continued under communism.
Who are your favourite artists from the sixties and seventies?
It probably won’t come as a surprise if I say that Ken Reid is hands-down my favourite artist. Other favourites include Leo Baxendale, Brian Walker, Graham Allen, Frank McDiarmid and Mike Lacey. Although Joe Colquhoun is best remembered for his war, football and adventure strips, he was also an excellent humour cartoonist – I love his 'The Goodies' in COR!! and 'Cap’n Codsmouth' in Jag.
What was the catalyst that got you to start collecting all these old comics?
I’ve always had a soft spot for the genre, and when the tender age of 40 kicked in, for some reason I remembered that issue of Whoopee! that my pen pal had sent me when I was 10. I looked the title up on eBay and was hooked ever since. One thing led to another – I started reading about British comics online, following a few blogs and forums and discovered a whole range of fascinating titles and artists. Being a completist, I’ve always wanted nothing less than full runs of various strips, artists’ work and eventually, comic titles…
Did you have many problems when trying to put together your collection? I mean, it can’t have been cheap to do so…
I didn’t see them as problems – more as challenges. Complete runs of the various titles were often quite long and it was difficult to fill all the gaps – it took me a few years to get everything I wanted. Another issue that I faced was the lack of information about the start and end dates of the various strips by my favourite artists. For example, when I was trying to put together complete runs of strips by Ken Reid in Wham!, Smash! and Pow! comics, it was sometimes disappointing to receive a long-sought-after issue only to discover that Ken’s strips were absent that week or were drawn by someone else. This was another incentive to go for complete sets of titles to make sure I didn’t miss anything. I bought my comics on eBay, from various dealers (sometimes as far as in Australia) and postal auction sites. I found it particularly frustrating when eBay sellers in the UK said they were unwilling to post abroad. I used to ask them to please accept my bids and post my comics to my address in Lithuania, but eventually decided not to bother – if they don’t want my business, I will find those comics elsewhere another time. And you are right – putting together my vast collection hasn’t been cheap.
What is your most prized and/or valuable comic in your collection?
My most prized item is the copy of Whoopee! cover-dated 22nd February 1975 – the issue that exposed me to British children’s humour comics when I was 10, and which I blame for my collecting hobby and my freelance comics artist career in the 90s. My most valuable comic is probably the first issue of The Beezer with free gift, both in fine condition.
What particular comic is high on your wish list to add to your collection?
I stopped buying comics a couple of years ago because I think my collection is as complete as I will ever want it to be, but I am still after three issues of Buster, three issues of Giggle and two issues of Sparky to complete my sets.
If you could go back in time and work on these comics, what strips that you would like to have worked on?
I would like to have worked on 'Scream Inn' in Whoopee!, although I don’t think anyone else would have drawn it better than Brian Walker - he was perfect for the strip!
COMIC SCENE UK magazine, a new specialist magazine that focuses on British comics (more details at ), including plenty of articles on comics from the past. The cover features 'Frankie Stein' as drawn by Robert Nixon; the original was drawn by Ken Reid, more on which we'll learn later!
How did you get involved with the UK comic scene magazine?
I got in contact with Tony Foster (the man behind Comic Scene UK magazine) in summer last year (2018). By a happy coincidence, the time when Tony was launching the magazine coincided with the end of my crowdfunding campaign for the Power Pack of Ken Reid, and Tony offered me to do a feature on the collection I was about to release. The article on Ken Reid, his work in WHAM!, SMASH! and POW! as well as my fascination with that particular period of Ken’s career was my first contribution to the magazine. It was printed in the Humour Issue of Comic Scene UK, published in November 2018. It’s great that the magazine appears to be doing well – it's now available not only online and at specialized comic shops, but also at WH Smiths and a range of independent newsagents across the UK, which makes it easily accessible to the general public. The fact that the Twitter and Facebook accounts of Comic Scene Magazine have a few thousand followers each is also a good indicator that the publication is appreciated and supported by fans. A few months ago I offered to write a few articles for Tony on popular old characters from British children’s humour comics, published by IPC in the 70s and beyond. The articles focus on the characters featured in the recent COR!! BUSTER HUMOUR SPECIAL published by Rebellion, and are based on my posts that I published on Kazoop blog since 2012. I’d like to use this opportunity to thank you, Roger, for your kind help in proofreading the adapted versions that go into the magazine :) I also wrote a two-page article about the Power Pack of Ken Reid that can be found in the opening pages of the Collected Crikey! Vol. No. 1 – the first in the series of 4, reprinted by the original publisher Glenn Fleming in association with Comic Scene UK.
In your opinion, are we seeing significant interest not only in the UK comics scene, but of all the classic comics, thanks to Rebellion's Treasury of British comics imprint?
I think the launch of the Comic Scene UK magazine, and the acquisition of the Fleetway/IPC archive by Rebellion are the two best things to have happened to UK comics industry since I don’t know for how long. Rebellion have a clear vision of what they want to do with the heritage, and their line of Treasury of British Comics books is something many fans have been looking forward to for a very long time. I'm sure many thought they were never going see those beautiful old humour and adventure strips collected together and published in the form of handsome editions. I will most certainly buy the 'Sweeny Toddler' and the 'World-Wide Weirdies' books when they are released later this year.
Part 2 of my interview with Irmantas Povilaika when I discuss his role in getting together the complete works of cartoonist Ken Reid from his Wham!, Smash! and Pow! days - probably at his wackiest, craziest and, very easily - his best!
Part 3 of my interview with Irmantas Povilaika continues here, when I discuss the fact that his English appears to be excellent - where did he learn, did comics play a part in picking up the language, and any other problems with English.
Irmantas Povilaika is a keen collector of British humour comics of the 60s and 70s, and has a blog that shares, as he says, his 'humble knowledge about different titles, favourite characters and creators'. Check out his blog, which he updates regularly, at http://kazoop.blogspot.com. He is a regular contributor to the Comics Scene UK magazine and has also assisted in the production of Rebellion's humour editions from their Treasury of British Comics collections.
tabloid - here, a comic paper the size of a small newspaper
merger/merging with - here, when a children’s comic is joined up with another comic to form a new comic; usually the weaker comic is the one that has to join a bigger-selling comic, and in time its name will disappear. For example, the comic Giggle merged with Buster to form Buster & Giggle, and a few weeks later the comic was simply called Buster. Also known as a merger
extinction - to no longer exist
European counterparts - here, writers and artists that has a similar function or position in Europe to those in the UK
to be keen - to be enthusiastic, to really want to do something
a potted history - a very short, cut-down history
to set about doing something - to begin to do something different, or do things using a different method
speech balloon - the word bubble in a cartoon strip with a tail pointing towards the speaker's mouth, indicating what the person is saying in the strip
picture strip genre - a type of story presentation, in this case, a story told as a series of pictures and words
to phase out/phasing out - to slowly and gradually remove, end or stop
old-fashioned - to have old ideas that are no longer suitable or acceptable to modern living
to turn out - here, to discover, to find out by accident or by research
novelty - the quality of being different, new, and unusual
affection - to like something and be very fond of it
at the height of their powers - to be at the very best in what they do
aging staff - a group of workers for a company that are not only getting old, but still working in ways that a not the best for modern times
to not hold up in the modern world - to produce or do something that was or may have been acceptable in the past, but not now
to tone down/toned down - to make something less unpleasant or tough
ironic - something that is odd or amusing because it involves a contrast or something that is the opposite of what was expected
to fold/folded - to end, to go out of business
British children's comics are very different beasts - magazines that are written and presented in a very different way to others
little thought placed in their putting together - to have little or no imagination, to have no original ideas in the production of something
crude language - language that is not considered acceptable in social situations, such as swearing
to reminisce - to write or talk about something from your past, often with pleasure
a stellar team - a group of the best people available to do a task
long-sought-after issue - here, a particular comic that is difficult to find and that many people want to get
crowdfunding campaign - when a project needs to get an amount of money, and to do this it tries to get a large number of people to give amounts of money to pay for the organised project, especially by using a website to collect the money
imprint - here, the publisher's printed magazine/book, produced under their name