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Odhams Press

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Odhams Press were a publishing company, originally of newspapers, later also of books, magazines and comics, founded in 1890. It entered the comics market in 1936 with Mickey Mouse Weekly, a full-colour photogravure comic which included adventure as well as humour strips and lasted until 1957. Aside from Modern Wonder in 1939, Odhams didn't expand its comics publishing until 1959, when it acquired Hulton Press, publisher of Eagle, Girl, Swift and Robin as well as a number of magazines and newspapers. For a time it was known as Longacre Press. In 1961 it merged with Fleetway Publications, and in 1963 Fleetway merged with a number of other publishers to form IPC, but Odhams remained a distinct sub-company until 1968.

Swift merged into Eagle in 1961. Boys' World was launched in 1963 and merged into Eagle in 1964, the same year Girl was merged into IPC's Princess.

In 1964 Odhams tempted Leo Baxendale and Ken Reid from DC Thomson with the creation of a new weekly, Wham!. It's initial success led to the launch of Smash!, a sister comic in a similar format.

In 1966 Odhams acquired the rights to reprint material from Marvel and DC in the USA, starting with The Incredible Hulk in Smash!. Early in 1967, three new titles, Pow!, Fantastic and Terrific, which were grouped together with Wham! and Smash! under the banner of Power Comics, all of which now included reprinted American material. However, sales declined. In January 1968 Wham! was merged into Pow!, and three weeks later Terrific merged into Fantastic. In September Pow! was merged into Smash!, and in November Fantastic followed suit, leaving Smash! as the last of the line.

In 1969 Odhams was absorbed fully into IPC, Eagle was merged into Lion, Robin was merged into Playhour, the Power Comics label was dropped, and Smash! was revamped. In 1971 Smash! was merged into Valiant.

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