Thursday, 18 December 2014


From late 1975: another, more traditionally dimensioned, MARVEL UK House Ad for the 1975 edition of the GIANT SUPERHERO HOLIDAY GRAB-BAG Treasury Edition. 

1987: SLAINE THE BERSERKER Issue 1 (Quality Comics)

From July 1987: the first issue of QUALITY COMICS' ongoing SLAINE THE BERSERKER book, reprinting strips from 2000AD.

This ultimately ran for 28 issues.  The first twenty appeared under the original title, the final eight rebadged as SLAINE THE KING.  The run ended in the summer of 1989.  

1987: STAR WARS 3-D COMIC Launch Ad (Blackthorne)

From 1987: an advert for the about-to-launch STAR WARS 3-D ongoing series (it managed three issues) from (masters of the third dimension... and How-to-draw books) Blackthorne.

Although it was celebrating its tenth anniversary (and an anniversary is always a good hook to drum up some business), the saga was all-but-moribund in 1987 (although I think the special celebratory issue of STARLOG might have reminded a lot of people how much they liked it) and Lucasfilm were finding it hard to get anyone terribly excited.  

Marvel had bowed-out of the comics franchise the previous year (although the two animated spin-offs continued) so it fell to an indie to keep the flame burning.

I had the first two of these (all three are now collected, along with a complete run of the Marvel UK SW strips, in a Dark Horse trade paperback... buy it now as it may go out-of-print now the license has returned to Marvel) at the time and I thought they were OK... although (despite the old-fangled visual technology) not really in the same league as the old Marvel stuff. 


From late 1974: a MARVEL UK House Ad for that year's festive-themed GIANT SUPERHERO HOLIDAY GRAB-BAG, the latest imported installment in the ongoing run of Marvel Treasury Editions.  100 pages of tabloid goodness. 

Wednesday, 17 December 2014


From 1979: Another reel of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA bloopers.

This is a poor multi-generation VHS copy of what appears to be the film (as per the tradition) shown at the end-of-season (it seems no-one, at least amongst the cast, had much of an inkling that they were also marking the end of the series itself) wrap party.  

This has been doing the rounds for a while, and duplicates some of the material from the other blooper reel (posted previously) but it's still worth a look.


From December 1974: The cult of Stan grows again with this seasonal greeting from the MARVEL UK weeklies...


From December 1975: a landscape-format Marvel UK House Ad for imported cents-to-pence copies of the GIANT SUPERHERO HOLIDAY GRAB-BAG Treasury Edition.  

The ultimate stocking stuffer....

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

1987: PINOCCHIO AND THE EMPEROR OF THE NIGHT Movie Adaptation (Marvel)

From Christmas 1987 (cover-dated March 1988), Marvel's adaptation of Filmation's PINOCCHIO AND THE EMPEROR OF THE NIGHT animated movie.

Remakes (and sequels) of successful Disney movies based on public-domain fairy tales and stories are nothing new (and intentionally designed to trick dozy buyers and undemanding kids) but you'd expect better of the Filmation crew.  I've not seen the movie but, knowing their usual production standards, it probably isn't a stunner. 

The Marvel tie-up was because the film was released by NEW WORLD PICTURES, Marvel's owners. 

1975: SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN US Toy Advert (Kenner)

From late 1975 (and just in time for the Giftmas giving season): a US comic book advert for the range of SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN toys from Kenner.

It seemed to be obligitory to either have one of these red-suited cyborgs yourself... or have a friend that did.  They were ubiquitous during the early years of the Star Age.  

1986: SPIDER-MAN AND ZOIDS Christmas Issue (Marvel UK)

From December 1986: the one-and-only Christmas edition of the short-lived successor to the original SPIDER-MAN weekly: SPIDER-MAN AND ZOIDS.

This reincarnation, after the disastrous reboots of the previous year, was a much-needed return-to-form and a new attempt to appeal to an older readership.  Presumably, SECRET WARS was deemed well-enough established to be able to cope with the competition... or the Annex of Ideas knew that its finite lifespan was coming to an end and launched SM&Z as a would-be replacement (in the end, it only outlasted SWII by a few months).

It's easy to dismiss the Zoids strip as an unwelcome toy brand, representative of the state of the British comics business in the 1980s.  All that is true.  But it was also a stonking good epic in its own right (insert obligatory Grant Morrison reference here) which borrowed liberally from films that the target audience were (in theory) too young to see.  

Indeed, the weekly collapsed (after only 51 issues... with must have made the birthday celebrations bittersweet) because, briefly, it looked like the Zoids were destined for bigger and better things and the consensus was that readers wouldn't stick around for a solo Spidey title, no matter how good the other back-up strips were.  It had been a long fall from 1980 when M-UK had churned-out TWO Spider-man weeklies (the original and MARVEL TEAM-UP), a monthly (SPIDER-MAN POCKET BOOK) and the usual seasonal annuals and specials. 
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