Friday, 31 October 2014

1998: SEEKER 3000 PREMIERE (Marvel US)




Marvel were reviving anything that looked half-way commercial during the nineties (there's a great delight in trawling through the 50p boxes and nabbing first issues of series that I, and everyone else, had no idea had ever been published) and SEEKER 3000, a one-shot Star Trek-alike from Marvel Preview was no exception.  

Ahead of a new limited series (which, I must confess, I have not read although I'm fairly sure I have copies somewhere), Marvel dusted off the strip's one-and-only previous outing from the 1970s.  

In addition to the spiffing new cover (front and rear), the back pages of the June 1998 edition also ran this three page background piece to the revival.

British readers may recognize the strip (not to be confused with the similarly named CYBERSPACE 3000 from Marvel UK's Genesis line, published in 1993) from two outings in quick succession... STAR WARS WEEKLY and FUTURE TENSE. 

1993: THE CLANDESTINE in COMIC WORLD MAGAZINE



Alan Davis discusses THE CLANDESTINE (and other matters) in a three-page article from COMIC WORLD magazine issue 22 (December 1993).

At this point, the four-issue limited series was still a MARVEL UK project due to launch in January 1994.  It eventually debuted, under the auspices of Marvel New York, later that year. 

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!



Happy Halloween from STARLOGGED!  To mark the occasion, here's a MARVEL UK SPIDER-MAN cover so good... they used it twice!

Its first outing, during the ongoing Hobgoblin storyline, was in (unseasonal) March 1983 (issue 525) but the British Bullpen dusted it down again two years later.  

SPIDEY COMIC, unloved last incarnation of the long-lived weekly, recycled it for their Halloween edition... and it works rather well.  The hook was a text story inside which reused the art again and built a new tale around it.  I must confess... I have never read it.

Spidey survived Halloween but barely made it to Christmas.  The final issue was 666 (appropriate!), published in December. 

I can't see any signature on the art so I'm not sure who to credit.  Good job however.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

1991: NIGHTCAT One-shot (Marvel USA)


Marvel, bless 'em, can (from time-to-time) be relied upon to take the licensing Dollar without too much regard for the end product (hello NFL SUPERPRO... which, presumably because that's what the contract demanded, clocked-up a twelve issue run in 1991-92) and here is one such example: NIGHTCAT.

Sometimes these deals spawn something that's really rather good and runs-and-runs (ROM!) and sometimes they give us long-forgotten 'gems' like this.  

DAZZLER was (of course) the spawn of a (flawed) tie-up with (briefly booming) Casablanca Records with grand plans to launch a fictional character who could conquer comics, music and movies.  They got 1/3rd of it nailed.  Nightcat was a April 1991 attempt to replicate the formula.  Dazzler ran for 43 issues, a graphic novel and sundry subsequent appearances.  Nightcat appeared... errr... once.

This was a bookshelf/ Dark Knight/ Prestige format one-shot (written by none other than Stan Lee which must make it worthy of some modest attention) which can be relied upon to occasionally surface in the 50p boxes.  Go on... grab a copy.  

I've never heard the album (which, presumably, shifted as many copies as this did... or possibly less as I doubt Stan was part of the line-up) but I'm sure it rocks... in an early nineties kinda way...

1993: CLANDESTINE HOUSE AD (Marvel UK)


This is another MARVEL UK 'What If?"... but this one actually happened.  

The British Bullpen, as this Ad shows, were planning to launch CLANDESTINE (which, along with LOOSE CANNONS, would have gone a long way to rebuilding their tarnished reputation after the dash for market share put quantity over quality) in January 1994.

The four-parter was caught-up in the Genesis Massacre that engulfed the line at the end of the year but, unlike its stablemates, it did emerge as part of the US line later in the year (the 'Genesis Aftermath').  And as a regular series.

Davis departed his own creation after the eighth issue, leaving it in the care of Glen Dakin (and ex M-UK artists Rinaldi and Hitch) for the next four issues before it shuttered.  Davis, who returned to the team in 1996, subsequently dismissed the Dakin stories as a dream.

1993: CYBERSPACE 3000 in COMIC WORLD (Marvel UK)





More MARVEL UK goodness from the GENESIS EXPLOSION period: a rare bit of not-DHII action: COMIC WORLD issue 15 (Mat 1993) reporting on the impending launch of the new SF title CYBERSPACE 3000.

This strip (not to be confused with the similarly named, also-in-space, SEEKER 3000 which was resurrected during the nineties) won't be familiar to readers of OVERKILL because, like many of the explosion titles, it never made it into the UK comic.  

Despite being set in the distant future, the British Bullpen still managed to figure out ways to incorporate members of the established roster of cosmic characters.

The writer was Gary Russell, one time editor of DWM and, in a previous life, Dick in the late Seventies FAMOUS FIVE TV show (now on DVD... and worth getting for some undemanding nostalgia). 

The title eventually notched-up eight issues before ending (rather suddenly as I recall) at the end of the year.

Monday, 27 October 2014

1986: JUDGE DREDD Issue 1 (Quality Comics)


Credit to Dez Skinn for selecting a stonking JD trail to kick off the Quality Comics run of JUDGE DREDD reprints.  QC had already spent a couple of months packaging-up the last of the 35-issue EAGLE COMICS incarnation before rebooting with this new first issue (cover-dated October 1986).

It's a shame that Dez dispensed with the iconic services of Brian Bolland (who, presumably, found no shortage of alternative job offers) but, overall, the early Quality issues were - indeed - pretty good quality.  

It didn't last long however... the printing and production standards started to deteriorate and the end results looked murky and slapdash.  At which point, Dez parted company with the business and - sure enough - the quality fell through into the Undercity. 

1993: JAMES BOND JR. Issue 1 (Marvel UK)


All eyes might well have been on MARVEL UK's Transatlantic explorations during 1993 but we shouldn't forget they were still launching new titles aimed at the UK market.  This is one of them, a fortnightly dedicated to the (somewhat ill-advised) JAMES BOND JR. (it was, despite the implications of the title, his nephew) animation/ merchandising cash-generating opportunity.  

The show was nothing to write home about (and seems to have been buried in recent years, presumably deemed an embarrassment to the franchise) but the comic was adequate.  It reprinted material from the twelve-issue US edition which was, actually, virtually a M-UK production and boasted Dan Abnett amongst the talent pool. 

1990: THE SLEEZE BROTHERS TRADE PAPERBACK (Marvel UK)



Another MARVEL UK Trade Paperback from the 1990 Book Explosion: a collection of the six-part M-UK/ Epic limited series THE SLEEZE BROTHERS

The 'distressed' look of the cover is entirely deliberate and not an example of a particularly unloved copy.  

Friday, 24 October 2014

1984: MR. T in BE SOMEBODY...OR BE SOMEBODY'S FOOL (VIDEO)


Here is a Public Service Announcement:

At the height of his eighties powers, THE A-TEAM's MR. T teamed with another part of the mighty Universal empire (MCA Home Video) for this 50-odd minute motivational piece intended to keep the kids of America on the straight-and-narrow.  

BE SOMEBODY... OR BE SOMEBODY'S FOOL. 
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