I have been having a look through the Micron Combat Library run recently and one thing that struck me was the distinctive red bar that ran down the left hand side of the cover for the first 50 or so issues. Here is the cover from issue 33 as an example.
I thought this was an eye-catching design and a rock solid template so that a kid of the 1950s and 1960s would know what they were picking up. You can also see the rifle silhouette with a British army helmet on top of the rifle.
As a fan, the publishers crediting the authors was a major selling point. When I was a kid, I would deliberately target books by authors I knew. I would only look for new authors after I had exhausted any stock of the known author. If I had seen this in the 1970s, I would have certainly considered it as a comic to pick up. However, as the run was published from January 1959 to November 1962 on every third Monday of the month, there was no chance I would have seen it anywhere except in jumble sales and second hand shops. (I was born in 1968)
Well, that’s what I thought when I first discovered that this series even existed in 2017. However, in the course of my going down various rabbit holes, I discovered that this distinctive red bar was not the first time anyone had used it. For your delectation, I give you Exhibit A.
Circa 1955/1956, Amalgamated Press or Fleetway if you prefer, changed the format of the cover for the Sexton Blake pocket library to have a distinctive red bar that ran down the left hand side of each cover until November 1962.
Now it may be a coincidence that of the three people that set up G M Smith Publishing or Micron as they became known, two of them were ex-printers who had worked for Amalgamated Press before they left in 1956 after a bitter industrial dispute.
As they had worked for Amalgamated Press before striking out on their own, it would not be surprising if they had copied the templates of their previous employer for the comics they would launch.
This article is pure conjecture, but I would love to know if I am on the money or talking complete gibberish as even negative feedback helps to inform my comics knowledge.