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31 May 2018

Correcting comic myths (1) - How many issues of Eagle were there?

Part 1 of an occasional series dedicated to pedantry, I mean correcting common comic mis-conceptions,...

How many issues of the original Eagle comic/magazine were there?
Easy you say, just look it up some likely places and surely they'll all agree? Ok, let's have a look at some of those likely places then...
1). Denis Gifford's 'Complete catalogue of British comics' (1984) says 991.

 2). The international book of comics (Denis Gifford, 1984) says 991

3). The British comic catalogue 1874-1974 (Denis Gifford, 1974) says 991

4). British comics and story paper guide 1982 (Denis Gifford) says 991
(so the four Denis Gifford publications, unsurprisingly, agree on 991 issues)

5). Penny Dreadfuls and Comics (Bethnal Green Museum of Childhood, 1983) also has 991

6). Wikipedia says 991 issues

7). Comic Vine says 991 issues

8). The comic guide (1983) says 991 issues

9). The Comic Book price guide for 1997-8 says 987 issues 

10). The online version of the Comic Book price guide (here) says 987 and 997 issues depending on which bit of the entry you read.

So, that's not exactly clear - it's either 991 issues or 987. I think safe to say that all the places quoting 991 issues draw on the work of Denis Gifford as their source material.

So the final choice then is between 991 or 987 (the figure, remember, quoted only by the Comic Price guide), which is it?

The correct answer is 987 issues - so well done Steve Holland, commiserations Denis Gifford.

This is broken down as follows:
volume issues notes
1 52
2 52
3 52
4 38 short year as the end of the volume moved from the anniversary of the launch of Eagle to the end of the calendar year
5 53
6 52
7 52
8 52
9 52
10 45 printers striker so fewer issues
11 53
12 52
13 52
14 52
15 52
16 52
17 53
18 52
19 52
20 17 Eagle merged with Lion

Note that for volumes 1-3 the start/end date of the volume were in April (to co-incide with the April launch date of Eagle; volume 4 was shortened to get to the end of the calendar year; volume 5 (and all subsequent volumes) ran from the start of January.


  1. Volume 4 goes up to 38 - cover date 24/12/53

    1. Amended! It was a typo on my part, turns out you can never double check stuff too much

  2. And the pedant might ask about Summer Specials, Annuals, Special titles...but they're not the Eagle comic....or ARE THEY? I'll trust your figures before I trust some of Gifford's as he makes quite a few basic errors even in the World Encylopedia of Comics!

    1. I have a separate very detailed list for that. The total is close to 300 books and annuals. An astonishing figure for one comic. If you ever find yourself in my part of the world I'll happily talk you through it