Sunday, 8 November 2015

November 8th, 1975 - Marvel UK, 40 years ago this week.

A wasteland! A wasteland! That is what my life has become!


Because this was the week in 1975 when Mighty World of Marvel and Spider-Man Comics Weekly disappeared from the shelves of my local newsagents, joining The Avengers which had already vanished several weeks earlier.

It means that, for several months on end, Planet of the Apes was the only Marvel UK comic I was reading. Now, at last, is my chance to find out what I was missing.

Marvel UK, Titans #3

It turns out I wasn't missing The Titans because I actually had this issue, even though, the following week, this title too disappeared from the local shops.

Marvel UK, Avengers #112, the Black Panther

The Panther is clearly still battling the Sons of the Serpent.

Marvel UK, Dracula Lives #55

I genuinely don't have anything to say about this cover, other than that it seems that vampirism isn't a cure for male-pattern baldness.

That's another of my plans dashed. It looks like I'll have to resort to lycanthropy instead.

Marvel UK, Planet of the Apes #55

As fellow blogger Dougie predicted several weeks ago, Planet of the Apes is now giving us Man-Gods From Beyond the Stars, which I remember being beautifully illustrated by Alex Niño. It was so good a strip that Marvel UK reprinted it again a few years later, this time in their Star Wars comic.

That's not Planet of the Apes' only link with Star Wars. The cops on this cover have clearly taken aiming lessons from that film's Imperial Troopers.

Where on Earth is that one on the left aiming? There aren't even any apes over there.

And as for the one who's shooting directly between his colleague's legs...
Mighty World of Marvel #162, Hulk vs Gremlin

I assume this issue sees the return of Psycho-Man, as the FF go in search of the Silver Surfer in that wrong-doer's sub-atomic realm.

Spider-Man Comics Weekly #143, Morbius and the Lizard

It's all getting very dramatic.

But what on Earth was The Parker Principle?

Marvel UK, the Super-Heroes #36, the Cat

The Cat would appear to be following in the grand Marvel tradition of heroes fighting aliens early on in their careers. Presumably, this means that next she'll be up against a menace from beneath the Earth, a bunch of communists and a super-strong foe who turns out to be a robot.


Dougie said...

Thanks for the link! Whatever was affecting distribution, it was happening up here too. Mostly with the Titans but with other titles: I've never seen that SMCW issue before.

Paul R. said...

It was a shame to see these weeklies vanish and if I remember rightly we lost the glossy covers for a cheaper news print on Captain Britain and Fury. Is this the most comics that Marvel UK published on a weekly basis in their history?

Steve W. said...

Dougie, you're welcome.

Paul, there's a question. I shall have to do some research to find out how many they ever published at any one time.

Colin Jones said...

I think seven weeklies was the most Marvel UK were publishing at any one time - it was seven up till The Avengers and Conan merged which reduced the number to six then The Titans came out so it was back up to seven. By mid-1978 the number of weeklies had fallen to a paltry three - MWOM, Super Spider-Man and Star Wars Weekly (which had only 28 pages rather than the normal 36 but still cost the same as the other two, bah !!). That POTA cover looks like a scene from "Conquest" even though it was "Escape" that was being serialized in the comic.

John said...

The cover date was the date the newsagents took them off the shelves to replace them with the next issue. Those Nov 8 comics went on sale Nov 1.

cerebus660 said...

Steve, this distribution problem may have been a north /south divide kind of thing - I managed to get five of those seven comics down here in Gloucestershire. And I may even have seen the other two ( POTA and The Superheroes ) but not bothered with them because the covers were so terrible...

Anonymous said...

In Leigh-on-sea we seemed to get a mostly consistent run of Marvels each week. Specific newsagents may have missed certain issues (usually the lower selling titles, which I assume were quicker to reach "orders only" status) but a quick bike ride to a neighbouring newsagent usually fixed that. I'm pretty sure a couple of places had already, by then, started selling discount back issues, which were, presumably, supposed to have been remaindered. Initially the title section would be ripped from the cover, but they were subsequently left intact. The previous three or four issues of MWOM were normally available for 3p each. I recall the landscape titles often being available.

Hopefully this shameless profiteering didn't impact national distribution.


Paul R. said...

On the subject of Marvel UK cutting back on their titles, I found that I had already got the bug and managed like our Leigh-on-Sea friend to get on my pushbike and find newsagents that stocked the American colour comics. Imagine my shock having read Drake/Roth/Heck's version of the X-Men to now have Claremont/Cockrum's new vision. Only problem was getting a decent run on these US versions, every so often an issue would not appear for one or two months. But by then I was already hooked.

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