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Battle picture weekly - Terror Behind the Bamboo curtain 
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Joined: 18 Apr 2014, 00:48
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Following on from the previous two posts... Dave Hunt's "damned football" that was "Top Soccer" endured for a pitiful 17 issue-run and was summarily axed with its 05/01/80 cover-dated issue. In essence, "Top Soccer" was pro-offered as a sacrificial lamb from its launch; to protect and preserve IPC's jewel football magazine - "Shoot". IPC was alert to the "Independent" bid to tap into the market with "Football Weekly News" and "Match", and seized upon Barry Tomlinson's initial conception of a new football weekly title. Timed almost perfectly to clash with the Independent surge, "Top Soccer" was thrust on to the newsstand, aimed specifically at negating any potential impact against "Shoot". Undoubtedly, there would have been a little hope that "Top Soccer" might just escape with a decent and profitable run to more than justify its questionable existence.

"Football Weekly News" ran until 03/06/81 - an impressive 94 issues for a small independent that later relied more on subscriptions than the newsstand. IPC's "Soccer Monthly" survived a total of 26 months, ending in November 1980. In contrast, "Top Soccer" bombed. Yet, had IPC achieved its ultimate objective where Hunt's "damned football" was concerned? Yes... arguably. "Shoot" went on to rule supreme throughout the Eighties. Still, "Match" continued to niggle away and would, eventually, overhaul the IPC juggernaut in terms of not only popularity but also sales.

As for Dave Hunt, back in early 1980, he must have felt that he had been sold down the river where his "damned football" bobbed against the soiled, muddy banking. Only a year ago, he had just launched a couple of new series: "Charley's War" & "H.M.S. Nightshade" for "Battle" that was still bristling during its golden era. And now... the whole mess of "Top Soccer" had also directly tilted Battle's fortunes. A newly-formed comic group was formed within IPC in the late summer of 1979 over which Barry Tomlinson would rule and, as a sweetener for having usurped his football baby that was "Top Soccer", IPC granted Tomlinson the master keys to Battle's bullet-riddled doors and headquarters when "Battle" was included in the aforementioned department. Ironically, Tomlinson's next project "Speed" that was launched in February of 1980 ensured Hunt's ongoing unemployment within IPC. While reclaiming the editor's chair of a boy's comic, Hunt must have harboured a little touch of grievance and secretly lamented the previous six months, especially his losses over "Battle".

22 May 2019, 13:10
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