a.k.a.: The Sport and Adventure Picture Story Weekly; Tiger and Jag, Tiger and Speed
Publisher: IPC; formerly Amalgamated Press
Format: Weekly anthology title
First Issue: 11th September 1954
Last Issue: 30th March 1985 (1555 issues)
Absorbed: Champion, Comet, Hurricane, Jag, Speed, Scorcher and Score
Absorbed into: Eagle
Strips: Olac the Gladiator, Roy of the Rovers, Jet-Ace Logan, Johnny Cougar; Danny Jones, Time Traveller; Typhoon Tracy; Skid Solo; Black Archer; Battler Britton; Saber, King of the Jungle; Football Family Robinson; Hot-Shot Hamish; Nipper; Billy's Boots; Death Wish; Topps on Two Wheels; Sintek; Golden Boy; Star Rider
Comments: Launched by Amalgamated Press in 1954 with the subtitle "The Sport and Adventure Picture Story Weekly", Tiger proved to be one of Amalgamated successor IPC's most enduring titles, surviving for 31 years and 1555 issues, plus 31 Tiger Annuals and numerous Summer Specials, as well as absorbing six other IPC titles during its run, beginning with Champion in 1955, before finally merging with the second volume of Eagle (as of that title's issue 159) in 1985.
Tiger was the original home of Roy of the Rovers, who starred in the very first issue and would headline the comic for more than twenty years before spinning off into his own title in 1976 (though he would continue to appear in Tiger Annuals until 1980). But Tiger was host to a multitude of other memorable characters. Olac the Gladiator enjoyed a twelve year run starting in 1957, and the 1959 merger with Comet brought that title's space hero Jet-Ace Logan to Tiger, where he would enjoy another nine years of appearances before his strip came to an end. "Indian" (Native Canadian) wrestler Johnny Cougar joined the title in 1962 and would continue to appear until the comic's final issue; oceanic adventurer Louis Bernard also debuted the same year to enjoy a creditable seven year run. Danny Jones, Time Traveller started in 1964, ran for about a year, then jumped ship to appear in another IPC title, Hurricane, only to return to Tiger when it absorbed Hurricane late in 1965; though Danny's remaining run was brief and only reprints, he enjoyed a revival for a time in France, where he appeared in Météor between 1970 and 1975 and then Cosmos between 1977 and 1980. The same merger also brought Hurricane's leading character, Typhoon Tracy, to Tiger; the amiable, slightly dim but superstrong troubleshooter lasted four years in his new home. Yet another Hurricane survivor proved even more enduring; Formula One driver Skid Solo continued to have adventures in Tiger right up until the title merged with Eagle. In a surprisingly downbeat end to such a long running series, the final few episodes saw Skid witness the death during a race of another driver he was friends with, then begin to be haunted by visions of his deceased friend at the trackside during racing practice; in the strip's final installment, Skid himself crashed and was permanently crippled. Superhero the Black Archer enjoyed a brief run from 1966 to 1967, as did World War II pilot Battler Britton, reprinting some of his Sun adventures. Saber, King of the Jungle graced Tiger's pages between 1967 and 1969, and was fondly enough remembered to later be included alongside the likes of Robot Archie and Steel Claw when Vulcan was looking for strips to reprint in 1975.
In 1969 Jag merged into Tiger; as well as bringing Joe Colquhoun's Football Family Robinson, which would last in Tiger until 1974, it marked Tiger's shift from newsprint to the higher quality paper that Jag had used, which allowed Tiger for the first time to have some strips in full colour. The next merger, with Scorcher and Score, in 1974, brought a trio of strips that would last to the end of Tiger's run, the superhumanly strong Scottish footballer Hot-Shot Hamish, Blackport orphan turned tiny footballer, Nipper, and Billy's Boots, about schoolboy Billy Dane who inherited the old football boots (and cricket boots, so he had something to do in the summer, during football's off-season) of legendary player Dead-Shot Keen, whose unseen ghost seemingly possessed the footwear, making Billy a star player so long as he wore them. The Scorcher half of the absorbed title remained part of Tiger's masthead far longer than was normal for such mergers, as Tiger shifted ever more into being a sports-themed title, with fewer and fewer straight adventure strips. The final merger was with Speed, in 1980, which brought Death Wish, the story of disfigured stuntman Blake Edmonds, who now undertook ever more dangerous challenges in the hopes of being killed, and Topps on Two Wheels, starring stunt biker Eddie Topps; two of Speed's other stars, Tim Barlow (Speedboy) and Mickey Jordan (The Fastest Footballer on Earth) also crossed over, but became supporting cast in Tiger's existing strips. In 1982 Sintek joined the line-up, the story of motorcycle ace Bruce Tollman, who was turned into a bionic man after an accident; since he was appearing in a sports comic, over the next three years Tollman used his new-found abilities to fight crime only between competing in a variety of sports, where his cybernetic nature gave him a distinctly unfair advantage! Then in 1984 Jamie Speed, a.k.a. Golden Boy, joined the line-up; Jamie was an example of a peculiar meme that showed up from time to time in British comics, that of the lost child who grows up in the wild, only to become a top sports star upon being discovered and returned to civilization, rather than a jungle lord as any normal person would expect. The last notable strip to appear was Star Rider in 1985, a mere month before Tiger cancelled; it told the tale of an alien visitor to Earth who decided to become a BMX biking champion (if it's not bionic people or kids raised in the wild making use of unfair advantages to cheat at sports, it's those darned extraterrestrials).
The last issue of Tiger was cover dated 30th March 1985; a week later, 6th April 1985, it merged with Eagle. Death Wish, Golden Boy, Star Rider and Billy's Boots all survived the merge, while Hot-Shot Hamish avoided relegation to the dead series list by transferring over to Roy of the Rovers. Golden Boy would only survive a few months in his new home, and Star Rider said goodbye to Earth a year later. Billy followed Hot-Shot to the Roy of the Rovers comic in 1986, but Death Wish had a solid run in Eagle, lasting until January 1988. Tiger's name remained on the cover, in a gradually diminishing font, until Eagle #221 on 14th June 1988.
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