Sunday, 1 November 2015

November 1st, 1975 - Marvel UK, 40 years ago this week.

On this day, forty years ago, BBC 2 was showing Circus of Horrors, the nightmare tale of a mad cosmetic surgeon causing chaos amidst the carnival folk of Europe.

But there was a greater horror awaiting me. For, little did I realise as I sat down to read that week's comics, that minds immeasurably superior to mine were failing to re-order most of my favourite Marvel UK mags and that I was soon to be robbed of those titles for months on end as they suddenly vanished from the local newsagents.

But what tales of derring-doing hit my eyeballs in that fateful week?

Marvel UK, Titans #2

Hooray! I can win £150 for drawing cartoons! With that, I'll be able to buy 1,666 copies of The Titans #3!

Marvel UK, Avengers #111

Dr Strange is up against the tentacular terror of Shuma-Gorath, in a saga whose early chapters I'm highly familiar with but whose conclusion I still, to this day, have never read.

Marvel UK, Dracula Lives #54

I do believe that that cover is by Pablo Marcos, the artist I associate most strongly with Marvel UK covers, especially those involving Dracula, the Hulk, Planet of the Apes and Captain Britain.

Marvel UK, Planet of the Apes #54

"Bonus! The people who are The Planet of the Apes!"

What on Earth could such a strange statement mean?

Spider-Man Comics Weekly #142

This is it, the last issue of Spider-Man Comics Weekly I read before the title disappeared from the newsagents.

Iron Man seems to be fighting the Destroyer. If he is, it's a tale I have no memory of at all - which is odd, as you'd think such a clash would lodge itself permanently in the mind of even the most inattentive reader.

Mighty World of Marvel #161, Hulk vs Wendigo

Here it is, the last issue of Mighty World of Marvel I read before the title also disappeared from the newsagents.

It did, at least, go out on a high, with one of my favourite Hulk foes.

Marvel UK, The Super-Heroes #35, X-Men

The Super-Heroes, just sort of trundling along in its own unassuming way...

10 comments:

pete doree said...

British Marvel disappeared for a few months? I must've completely missed that, on account we were then actually getting the American originals and didn't need to buy stinky old b/w reprints anymore.

The People who are Planet Of The Apes? That'll be an interview with some minor special effects guy then. P'haps the fella who supplied the ape actors with straws so they could have lunch with their masks on.

Man, that's an awful Spidey Weekly cover. Who is it, Gary Brodsky? Couldn't he get any work over at Skywald with his brother Sol?

All this and Pablo Marcos too. Cuh. Glad they disappeared.

Steve W. said...

I don't think they disappeared for everyone but I know, from comments that other people have made on here, that distribution seemed to get somewhat unpredictable around this time. What the reason was for that, I don't know.

Anonymous said...

Steve, since this Marvel UK disappearing distribution thing came up before, I thought I'd try and find out more and goggled it. The only relevant thing which came up in the first few pages was your earlier post. Which must make you the leading authority on the subject, right?
Ah, the information super highway...

US comics were/are too small. I often preferred seeing the artwork in black and white at a larger size. But the covers were indeed terrible.

-sean

Anonymous said...

Distribution was kinda funky in Iowa in the "70's as well.
Fantastic Four and Avengers comics were HARD to come by, for some reason, and I didn't see any ape comics at all!
But apes I can do without, talking or otherwise.
m.p.

Colin Jones said...

I had no problems getting Marvel UK comics at this time - for example I had every issue of Planet Of The Apes from #5 to #116 except #8 and 62. By the way, I can't think of any Pablo Marcos POTA covers offhand - I mainly remember his MWOM covers. Back in those days I didn't like ol' Pablo's art much but now I'm quite fond of it, nostalgia I suppose but he's a lot better than some of the truly horrible artwork that appeared on Marvel UK covers. And Pete Doree said what I was going to say - "The People Who Are The Planet of The Apes" surely means those who were involved in the making of the films/TV show - the POTA weekly often included articles like that. I read the whole Shuma-Gorath storyline in a Dr. Strange Essentials volume back in about 2007 - it seemed to go forever as I recall.

Steve W. said...

Colin, the Pablo Marcos POTA covers I recall are the ones he did for MWOM, when it had those split covers that the apes used to share with the Hulk.

Dougie said...

I diefinitely missed Titans 2; as I said on my own blog, the distribution was very spotty in my village shop for the first few months.

Iron man did fight Starlin's Destroyer- not the Asgardian one- but not at that stage. I suspect it's the Demolisher from Iron Man 2, a robot that looked somewhat like Thor's armoured antagonist. Possibly bulit by Janice Cord's father?

Colin Jones said...

Steve, I checked on the Hunter's POTA website and you were right first time - Pablo Marcos drew quite a few POTA covers, mostly after the merger with Dracula Lives - and the cover of #115 mentions Conan, I don't remember him in POTA & Dracula Lives but that must have been his new home after The Avengers & SSOC was cancelled.

Paul R. said...

I remember getting 5 out of the seven comics, it was as far as my pocket money would stretch in those days.
In my town you could get all the issues but I had to be quick because they wouldn't be on the shelves for long.
I also like the black and white on certain strips like MOKF and Conan but would have preferred colour on the super-hero stuff.
Thanks Steve for a great blog for wandering down memory lane.

Steve W. said...

Thanks, Paul. And thanks to everyone for all your comments.

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