Sunday, 21 February 2016

February 21st, 1976 - Marvel UK, 40 years ago this week.

Has there ever been a more epoch-making date than February the 21st, 1976?

Not for British comic lovers, there hasn't.

Why?

Because  it was the date The Super-Heroes disappeared from our newsagents.

It was also the date that Spider-Man Comics Weekly got a brand new name.

It was also the date the wall-crawler got turned on his side and took a very long time to get the right way up again.

Even more sensationally than that, it was the date my local newsagent started stocking The Mighty World of Marvel again, meaning that, after several months of only getting one Marvel UK comic a week, I was suddenly getting two.

How did I cope with such head-splitting excitement?

Frankly, I don't remember but I'm sure I was very pleased.

Marvel UK, Avengers #127

Hooray! If the cover's to be believed, Conan's finally joined the Avengers and is charging into action with them.

Now Red Wolf's in trouble.

And so is any menace from prehistory, as well. Those giant man-apes won't know what's hit them when Yellowjacket shows up.

Marvel UK, Planet of the Apes #70

What a magnificently beautiful cover.

It clearly has nothing at all to do with Conquest of the Planet of the Apes but it's a fine looking thing, nonetheless and would have convinced me to buy the book even if I wasn't already in the habit of reading it.

Not only that but the cover promises us Ka-Zar and the Black Panther too.

What kind of lunatic could even dream of saying no to such a package?

Marvel UK, Dracula Lives #70

Someone's clearly got very cross with Dracula.

Super-Spider-Man with the Super-Heroes #158

This is it! The big one!

It's always claimed the Titans landscape format was unpopular with readers and newsagents and therefore failed. But the fact that Spider-Man Comics Weekly was switched to the same format after eighteen weeks of The Titans' existence would suggest that, at the time, Marvel UK saw the format as having been a major success.

Marvel UK, the Titans #18, Morbius

The original landscape comic, meanwhile, continues on its own merry way.

Mighty World of Marvel #177, the Hulk

And this is the other it! The most exciting thing that happened to me in this week! The return of Mighty World of Marvel!

Its return made such an impact on me that its Hulk tale of giant monsters on a mysterious island is still burned into my memory.

Disappointingly, the Fantastic Four and Daredevil tales are not burned into my memory, as I haven't got a clue what they were.

I'm wondering if the FF tale was the conclusion to the introductory Annihilus tale?

11 comments:

dangermash said...

Spider-Man with the Supeheroes a starts with MTU #4. I remember being disappointed with this as it follows directly from MTU #3 (Spider-Man and Totch vs Morbius) but I'd not seen MTU #3 reprinted. I hasten to add that I had no idea at the time about what was or wasn't in MTU - it was all the flashbacks with the torch in this issue that left me feeling left out of the loop.

Anonymous said...

Steve, that pun about Dracula crossed the line.
I can't figure out who that ugly mug grabbing the Hulk is.
M.P.

Steve W. said...

M.P, as far as I can remember, the character on the cover doesn't appear at any point in the story. The Hulk is, however, assailed by giant monsters, none of whom look like the character in question.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know, or have a link to, the colour poster that came with Super Spider-man and the Superheroes? I remember trudging to several newsagents to buy this, to no avail. I still think it's a clunky title. Surely the first adjective should have been something other than Super.

DW

Steve W. said...

I must confess I've never seen the poster. I wonder what it was? Usually these things were recycled from other sources (for instance, the Titans #1 poster was originally done for some convention or other). So it may well have been an image we're all familiar with.

Anonymous said...

I had a run of bad luck with the posters, missing Planet of the Apes #1, The Titans #1 and this first Super Spider-man withe the Super-heroes. Probably for the best because I doubt I'd have risked removing them, and potentially de-valuing the comic.

DW

Paul R said...

I have to agree that the titles were so long and convoluted especially the Avengers title. Surely after a month they could have shortened the title, I'm sure the Conan fans would have realized in that amount of time that their mag had joined another title?!

Also I agree that the Apes cover is superb.

Paul R

Colin Jones said...

Spider-Man only stayed sideways for 16 months and the whole of Marvel UK's landscape experiment lasted a mere 20 months from October 1975 to June 1977 - it felt so much longer at the time but of course 20 months seemed a long time back then.

Anonymous said...

Sixteen months is a long time for anybody to be sideways, even me.
M.P.

Dougie said...

I think we're seeing the earliest Byrne/Claremont Iron Fist stories now ( although the Warhawk story wasn't reprinted, for some reason).

In case anyone doesn't know, the Conway/Kane X-men/Morbius story in the landscape Spidey is that one-off where the mutants are in plain clothes. They went back to the blue/yellow school uniforms for the Secret Empire storyline in Cap & the Falcon.

No idea if FF meet Annihilus yet. You may well be right.

Doesn't POTA look magnificent?

Steve W. said...

POTA did indeed look irresistible whenever it used the original US covers.

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