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Swift Morgan, 1950, cover art by Denis McLoughlin

Thomas Volney Boardman was born on 2 December 1904, probably somewhere in the United States. he worked as an agent for Editors Press, before starting T. V. Boardman Ltd, also known as Boardman Books, in the 1930s, publishing pulp novels, including the first British editions of Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian novels. He acquired the rights to a variety of American comic strips and published them in Okay Comics Weekly (1937-38) and Wags (1938-). During the Second World War, when the government banned the import of comics and pulps, he made an agreement with the US publisher Quality Comics to reprint their titles Feature Comics and Smash Comics (1940-41), mainly through Woolworths. The TVB series of paperback mystery novels was launched in 1942.

Boardman spent much of the war in Argentina, while Audrey Weir ran the business in Britain. It was Weir who hired Denis McLoughlin to illustrate covers for the TVB series. After the war Boardman returned to Britain and the business expanded, publishing new series of western, crime, romance and other paperbacks. Amalgamated Press editor Leonard Matthews wrote two children's books, one of which he also illustrated, for Boardman. In one, Highway to Yesterday, he introduced the character of Moll Moonlight, who would go on to appear in Dick Turpin strips in comics edited by Matthews.

From 1948 Boardman resumed publishing comics, reprinting Blackhawk, The Spirit and Crack Western from Quality Comics, and originating Swift Morgan, Roy Carson and Buffalo Bill titles illustrated by Denis McLoughlin and written by his brother Colin.

He also published a variety of annuals featuring a mixture of comics and prose stories, including Buffalo Bill Wild West Annual (1949-1961), Supercolour Comic Annual (1949-1951), Adventure Annual (1953), and The New Spaceways Comic Annual (1954), mostly under the "Popular Press" imprint, again sold largely through Woolworths. The Buffalo Bill annuals contained all original material, while the others were a mixture of original and reprinted material.

Other than the Buffalo Bill annuals, which were farmed out to Dean & Son, Boardman stopped publishing comics in the late 1950s, unable to compete with American imports. The company continued to publish pulp paperbacks until it closed in 1967. Boardman died in Westminster, London, in May 1984. His son, Thomas Volney Boardman jnr., born in New York in 1930, is a science fiction author.

Titles published[]

  • Okay Comics Weekly (1937-38)
  • Wags (1938-)
  • Blackhawk (1948-)
  • The Spirit (1948-)
  • Crack Western (1948-)
  • Buffalo Bill (1948-53)
  • Roy Carson (1948-53)
  • Swift Morgan (1948-53)
  • Buffalo Bill Wild West Annual (1949-1961)
  • Supercolour Comic Annual (1949-51)
  • Adventure Annual (1953)
  • The New Spaceways Comic Annual (1954)


Online reference[]