Vulcan

a.k.a.: Kobra

Publisher: IPC / Gevacur

Format: Weekly anthology

First Issue: (Scottish edition) 1st March 1975; (UK edition) 27th September 1975

Last Issue: April 3rd 1976 (58 issues/28 national issues)

Absorbed: None

Absorbed into: Valiant

Strips: House of Dolmann, Kelly's Eye, Mytek the Mighty, Robot Archie, Saber, The Spider, Steel Claw, Trigan Empire

Comments: It had been common practice for decades for British companies to sell rights to reprint series from their titles in European comics (and vice versa, UK comics often reprinted European stories). Likewise, British comics had long reprinted older stories, sometimes under new names, on the assumption that there was a constant turnover of readers, with the newer ones unaware they were encountering recycled strips. In 1975 IPC and Swiss publisher Gevacur combined both concepts, and in February of that year launched two comics simultaneously in Germany and Britain respectively, both reprinting past IPC strips reformatted to resemble the US comic style. What was most notable about these two comics, Gevacur's Kobra and IPC's Vulcan, was that they were, bar language used and title, identical to one another.

Vulcan was an experiment for IPC, a completely reprint title printed smaller than regular UK comics to match the size of imported US comics, and with three colour strips in each issue (in some cases coloured from the original black and white printing). At least partially an attempt to take on the U.S. imports, the majority of Vulcan's strips were of "super heroic" bent. Because this was breaking new ground, IPC chose to do a limited test release of the title, and on 22nd February 1975 (cover dated March 1st) the first, unnumbered issue was published, but only available in Scotland. After thirty issues, Vulcan's distribution was widened to the whole of the U.K. as of 27th September 1975; though the 31st issue, it was numbered as issue one, with the storylines running in the last Scottish issue abruptly curtailed, in many cases requiring new endings to be produced. The numbered, national edition of Valiant ran to #29 before cancelling and merging with Valiant, ironically the original source of many of the strips in Vulcan. There was also a Vulcan Holiday Special and a Vulcan Annual 1977. Kobra would prove much longer lived than its twin, lasting over three years compared to Vulcan's year.

Vulcan's strips included Valiant strips Mytek the Mighty, The Steel Claw and House of Dolmann; Lion strip The Spider; Tiger's Saber, King of the Jungle; Ranger / Look and Learn's The Rise and Fall of the Trigan Empire; and Knockout / Valiant's Kelly's Eye. Robot Archie was also included, but notably the reprints were not of his Lion comic strip, but from Sjors, a Dutch title that had published several new Robot Archie stories after running out of U.K. material to reprint; the translated reprints in Vulcan are the only place these Sjors strips are available in English.

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