November 5, 2008
Here is the worst superhero ever devised. This story seemed ludicrous to me even when I first read it on Xmas day 1968. “Smash Annual 1969” was one of the many Annuals I had cajoled family and relatives to buy for me that Xmas…but of course you couldn’t unwrap them until the 25th.
I was unaware of the developments taking place behind the scenes of my favourite UK comics at the time. IPC had purchased Odhams and “Smash” comic was about to change from its combination of the anarchic humour strips of The Swots and the Blots and Grimly Fiendish along with reprinted American Marvel Comic heroes into just another UK comic like “Valiant” and “Lion” with far more emphasis on War and Football. Pow, Fantastic and Terrific would soon just disappear.
Lieutenant Lightning only ever appeared in this one story to the best of my knowledge. It seems to have a dated feel and yet some of the “quips” shows that the writer had at least seen “Batman” on TV. As usual in UK comics of the time neither artist or writer are credited. The origin of this character was explained away in two whole panels!! The basic red and black colour scheme was common in many UK Annuals. Less than half of the book was in full colour.