Once upon a time, games publisher Rebellion bought 2000AD and the Judge Dredd Megazine. Because the owners really wanted to own their favourite comic book. It was expected that they would create a number of games based on the comics, but that didn't really happen a lot. We got a Dredd movie, but that's been it so far (though a number are being prepared). But when it came to it, they wanted the comic.
Well, more recently, Rebellion have been continuing their acquisitions, including former Dredd publisher Fleetway/IPC's titles and artwork archives, and now a major acquisition from TI Media (formerly IPC), giving what they describe as the largest English language comic book properties amassed under one roof.
The deal encompasses more than 130 years of comic book publishing, with over 400 separate weekly and monthly titles and thousands of characters.
The archive also includes Comic Cuts, the 19th-century title that gave the comic book medium its very name.
This adds Billy Bunter, June, Tiger Sexton Blake, Valiant, Look-In, and more to 2000 AD and Roy of the Rovers. It includes Don Lawrence's groundbreaking Trigan Empire, work by Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel, war comics of Hugo Pratt and Alex Toth, and work by Michael Moorcock and Harry Harrison.
Jason Kingsley CEO of Rebellion says, "Rebellion's reputation is not just as an innovative and forward-thinking comic book publisher, but as the first company to respect and do justice to the extraordinary legacy of multiple generations of artists and writers who developed the comic book medium in this country. It gives me great pleasure to secure the future for this extraordinary archive and I am incredibly excited to able to bring back into print so many lost treasures."
The archive encompasses virtually the entire comics publishing history of IPC, which – alongside DC Thompson – was one of the behemoths of 20th Century British periodical publishing, having grown out of the Victorian-era Amalgamated Press.
Publishing hundreds of different titles, IPC dominated the newsstands for decades but sold off its juvenile magazines division to tycoon Robert Maxwell in 1987. The new company, Fleetway, was sold to Danish children's magazine and book publisher Egmont in 1992 but a marked decline in the industry led to virtually all the titles folding, apart from the weekly comic 2000 AD and the monthly Judge Dredd Megazine. These were acquired by Rebellion in the year 2000, which then acquired the rest of the Fleetway archive in 2016, and have now been reunited with the huge number titles IPC Magazines retained in 1987 (with the exception of the 1980s Eagle).
Rebellion continues its Treasury of British Comics line, launched in 2017, begins to preserve and restore these lost treasures, and relaunches Roy of the Rovers but now has an awful lot more on its plate…