Tuesday, 25 April 2017

1983: ROY OF THE ROVERS BADGE SET ADVERT

From February 1983: New year... new freebies!

IPC's circulation gurus obviously thought that the first months of the year was a good time to perk up their weeklies with a few freebies.... I've found several adverts for cool covermounted goodies from this part of the year.

Maybe they feared that traditional - but casual - readers would drift away over the disruption of the Christmas holiday season.  Maybe they suspected that parents - in the grip of New Year debt - might have made a resolution to cut comics expenditure.  Or maybe they thought that the new years was a chance to lure in some new punters....

Here's ROY OF THE ROVERS trying to tempt fans with a set of 'stick-on' badges (hmm... sounds a bit like 'a set of stickers' or 'one badge... and some stickers to stick on it').These days they'd have to give away six badges, a sheet of stickers and a pencil box.  All attached to the same issue.

And - oh look - the launch of yet another clip-and-collect keep 'em comic back booklet.

'Race to the top' indeed.


1994: CLASSIC STAR WARS VOLUME 1 - UK EDITION

From 1994: the first of the CLASSIC STAR WARS trade paperbacks, published in the UK by Boxtree (the masters of flooding the market with quick-and-dirty reprints).

IDW is about to publish a classy compilation volume of the STAR WARS NEWSPAPER STRIPS... so Marvel NY beat them to market by issuing their own trade paperback compilation of the old Dark Horse series from the early Nineties... which (heavily) reworked the US newspaper strips (which i don't think ever had an outing on this side of the Atlantic) into comic book format.

The strips - both original and reworked versions - have, until this year, languished untouched for several decades.  But the return of the movie series, and Marvel's energised publishing programme, has obviously renewed interest.

The new Marvel book is a curious mix of some of the pages reworked by DH and some - previously unpublished - strips in their original 'newspaper' format.  I'm assuming the IDW effort will preserve the strips as they were originally intended/ published.  Let the comparisons begin.

Boxtree published three volumes (that I know of) of the DM monthly series way-back-when.  Some of the strips also appeared in the short-lived Dark Horse International published UK monthly.  Which shuttered after less than a year.

The strips also appeared in the earliest issues of the US magazine AMAZING HEROES.



1979: BATTLESTAR GALACTICA'S NOAH HATHAWAY INTERVIEWED BY STARLOG MAGAZINE

From 1979: STARLOG MAGAZINE maganges to stretch out (mostly by interviewing his parents) a very brief interview with BATTLESTAR GALACTICA's Noah Hathaway into a full-page companion to the Lorne Greene piece.

It's a shame they never managed to interview the chimp...


1983: DOOMLORD PHOTO PROFILE IN THE EAGLE

From 1983: DOOMLORD (self-confessed 'Master of life, bringer of death') gets the PERSONALITY PLUS treatment in the EAGLE.

Maybe they were short of celebs... or maybe they just wanted to show off - in colour - the excellent mask (apparently an off-the-shelf shopping trip find) and costume.

This is a really nicely-done pre-Photoshot shoot which manages to look a lot more realistic than many TV and movie monsters of the time.  The pic - or similar ones from the same shoot - were also used on the first of THE BEST OF EAGLE MONTHLY (leading a compilation of comic strip era reprints) and the Hibernia Comics limited print run one-shot


1979: BUCK ROGERS IN THE 25TH CENTURY MOVIE FEATURE FROM STARLOG MAGAZINE

From 1979: Another STARLOG MAGAZINE teaser for BUCK ROGERS IN THE 25TH CENTURY.

At this point, it had ceased to be a TV project (it was initially shot as the first of three teleflicks for NBC) and had morphed into a fully-fledged feature film.  And then, when the box office ticked the boxes, it landed back at NBC as a series.




Monday, 24 April 2017

1979: BATTLESTAR GALACTICA'S LORNE GREENE IN STARLOG MAGAZINE

From May 1979: Lorne Greene discusses BATTLESTAR GALACTICA with STARLOG MAGAZINE.





1983: STAR WARS: RETURN OF THE JEDI AIRFIX MODEL KITS ADVERT

From 1983: a UK advert for the Airfix STAR WARS: RETURN OF THE JEDI model kits.  With free poster offer... and the Marketing department were very smart in their selection of stills to adorn young boy's bedrooms across the land.  Those sticky fingers weren't just because of the glue don't-you-know.


1983: MANIX CUTAWAY FROM THE NEW EAGLE

From 1983: Remember MANIX, the SIX MILLION DOLLER MAN knock-off from EAGLE?  Ever wondered what he looked like in his pants?

Here's a fun piece of pre-Photoshop design work which really shows how innovative the much maligned photo-strip era of the new EAGLE could be when the boffins in King's Reach Tower put their mind to it.


1982: THE DC COMICS SWAMP THING MOVIE ADAPTATION

From 1982: the first US SWAMP THING ANNUAL, actually an adaptation of the slightly-campy cult classic man-in-a-rubber-suit movie.

It's hard to believe this minor entry on Wes Craven's credit list, starring the lovely Adrienne Barbeau (career highpoints: THE CANNONBALL RUN, acting opposite the Hoff in TERROR AT LONDON BRIDGE/ BRIDGE ACROSS TIME and - of course - THE FOG), spawned a whole industry of not-very-faithful-to-the-comics screen tie-ins.

The Swamp Thing industry spawned a Craven-less sequel, a TV show (apparently spawned because the movies had been a bankable hit on cable... and Universal had a new studio attraction in Florida which needed some shows to fill the stages and keep the staff busy) and even an animated series/ excuse for a Kenner toyline which boasted a really annoying theme tune.

This first annual, which uses the movie poster key art as the cover, is often overlooked by collectors of movie adaptations because, unless you know otherwise, you would just assume it was the first in a run of annuals spun-off the comic at the height of its print popularity.  Now you know...



BUCK ROGERS IN THE 25TH CENTURY PULP SCI-FI UK VHS RELEASE

From the dying days of the VHS era: a stand-alone BUCK ROGERS IN THE 25TH CENTURY tape, released as part of a series of similarly-branded tapes as a tie-in between Universal Playback and the Sci-Fi Channel (when they used to show SF).

The three episodes on this better-value-than-usual (CIC and the BBC tended to just bung two episodes of a drama on a tape... this label gave us three!) release were the not-as-good-as-it-sounds PLANET OF THE AMAZON WOMEN (Buck ventures into Carry On territory, giving Gerard a chance to flash his chest hairs for a bevvy on man-hungry space babes); SPACE VAMPIRE (the legendary banned-by-the-BBC horror show... even through it had previously popped-up in a family viewing slot on ITV and was part of the Buck sticker album.  This tape is only a 'PG' as well) and HAPPY BIRTHDAY BUCK (assassination-based silliness).

Predictably, the back cover stills are nothing to do with the selected episodes and actually feature a cut scene/ character from the original pilot episode.  Draco appeared in some of the publicity material, was made into toys and generally looked like he was going to be a player... but was then all-but-cut from both the theatrical and TV prints.

I'm currntly rewatching selected first season episodes in HD thanks to an imported Australian BR set... and really enjoying revisiting some episodes I've not seen in a while.  They look great in High Def even if it does expose some sloppy production standards... and Gerard's almost ever-present stunt double.  Sadly, except for some alternate cuts of a couple of the episodes, there is nothing in the way of new bonus features.  Which is a pity.

There is also a fan-made edit of the pilot (aka THE AWAKENING) which combines the theatrical and TV cuts into one longer piece.  What it doesn't (can't) do is restore the scenes that never made it into either print.



Friday, 21 April 2017

1983: ACTION FORCE TOY ADVERT

From July 1983: a Palitoy advert for the ACTION FORCE toyline, originally published in the EAGLE.


1983: THE ORIGIN OF DAN DARE'S MEKON IN THE EAGLE

From January 1983: the origin of a species.... and a great dictator.

The second part of DAN DARE's look back at the origins of the Treens and their bulbous-headed overlord: the mighty Mekon.

Once again, Ian Kennedy's art really pops off the page thanks to the superior print quality EAGLE enjoyed during 1982-83 before the newsprint reboot.

I would be the first in line to buy a nicely put together compilation of this material.  Although I bet the three-page format, including the centre-spread, would be a pagination nightmare to compile.





1983: ADVERT FOR BATTLE'S AIR ACES BOOKLET

From January 1983: an IPC in-house advert (published in the EAGLE) for another one of those clip-and-collect circulation-maintaining booklets so beloved of the Youth Group during this period.  This time: BATTLE'S AIR ACES BOOKLET!


1983: DOCTOR WHO'S JON PERTWEE INTERVIEWED IN EAGLE

From January 1983: Jon Pertwee talks WORZEL GUMMIDGE and DOCTOR WHO with the (new) EAGLE.

He doesn't mention it here, but he'd be back in the Tardis before the end of the year....


1981: WILFRID HYDE-WHITE DISCUSSES BUCK ROGERS IN STARLOG MAGAZINE

From 1981: New boy Wilfrid Hyde-White discusses life aboard the Searcher, during season two of BUCK ROGERS IN THE 25TH CENTURY, with STARLOG MAGAZINE.




Thursday, 20 April 2017

1983: DAN DARE RECOUNTS THE ORIGINS OF THE TREENS IN EAGLE

From January 1983: EAGLE issue 44 takes a brief break from the ongoing RETURN OF THE MEKON storyline (albeit now running under the Fireflight title) to recount the history of the Treens.  Script by Pat Mills, amazing art by Ian Kennedy.

The revived DAN DARE strip (featuring - for TV licensing reasons - the grandson of the original Pilot of the future) often played fast-and-loose with the continuity of the original strip so I have no idea if - and how - it fits together but readers in 1983 wouldn't have been much the wiser escept via the hazy memories of their own parents (the original Eagle, a shadow of its former self, shuttered in 1969) and the - rather nice - compilation books of the original strips published around this time.

I've long maintained that the RETURN OF THE MEKON strip (along with the photostory era of DOOMLORD... which STARLOGGED has covered in the past) really needs to be reissued in a decent format.  And I think these three pages demonstrate that.




1985: SPEAKEASY ISSUE 56

From November 1985: UK fanzine SPEAKEASY reports big changes at DC... and the launch of Marvel's ultimately ill-fated NEW UNIVERSE.


1978: KISS MEETS THE PHANTOM OF THE PARK IN STARLOG MAGAZINE

From 1978: Another slice of bonkers US genre TV which - unless you are a KISS fan - has been largely forgotten today (and it is very possible that they - like the band - would like to forget it as well): KISS MEETS THE PHANTOM OF THE PARK, a US TV movie previewed in the pages of STARLOG MAGAZINE.

I've seen this movie - as a bootleg - several times over the years and I still can't make any sense of it.  The plot - such as it is - is all over the place and involves a theme park (not, for once, the Universal backlot tour), superhuman rockers, a mad scientist and robot doubles.  It's telling that the movie was a rare wander into the realm of live action for the folks at Hanna Barbera.

The TV movie aired on US TV for Halloween 1978 and subsequently popped up in overseas theatres and on home video, sometimes under alternative titles and with alternative edits.

Years ago I spotted in a magazine, which I don't have, that there was some talk (and pre-production) of a KISS animated series.... but the project stalled for whatever reason.


1978: BATTLESTAR GALACTICA'S MAREN JENSEN TALKS TO STARLOG MAGAZINE

From 1978: BATTLESTAR GALACTICA beauty Maren Jensen talks to STARLOG MAGAZINE.

Mareen's character, despite winning the show its second TV GUIDE cover, was slowly phased out over the single season, vanishing completely from the final few episodes... even when it would have made story sense for her to appear.  Some sources have attributed this to her general lack of acting experience (although I've always found her performance on the show fine) whilst others have chalked it up to the overall trend of simplifying the show from mid-season onwards.  Either way, it's a shame that she didn't stick with the show... and that the show didn't run longer in its original form.





Wednesday, 19 April 2017

1981: MARVEL UK'S STAR WARS: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK MONTHLY ISSUE 144

From 1981: STAR WARS: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK MONTHLY issue 144, reprinting Starfire Rising from issue 54 of the US run.

This issue boasts another unique-to-the-UK cover.  Curiously it also omits the issue number and hedges its bets over the month of publication, suggesting that the British Bullpen were having some production and scheduling issues around this time.

The main story is, as with the last issue, an old John Carter inventory story left on the shelf when Marvel lost the license and closed the title.  Marvel tried to stockpile stand-by strips that could be slotted in at any time if a title looked like it would drop behind schedule... but these were often left unpublished when a title closed.  This wasn't a problem when Marvel owned the character as the one-shot story would eventually see print in one of the 'spotlight' anthologies or - in the 1980s - in the pages of MARVEL FANFARE.  But licensed books were more of a challenge.  And Marvel's accountants demanded that everything paid for had to appear somewhere.

So the unpublished strip was rather crudely reworked into a STAR WARS two-parter.  And it stood out a mile.  I suspect sales, on both sides of the Atlantic, took a hit when casual browsers spotted that the main strip barely looked like a dispatch from the galaxy far, far away.

Marvel, of course, had previous form in this area: famously, an issue of the BATTLESTAR GALACTICA run reworked an unpublished TARZAN story... recasting Apollo in the role of the Lord of the Apes.  And then there was Apeslayer....


1976: STARLOG ISSUE 1 LOOKS AHEAD TO SPACE:1999 YEAR TWO

From 1976: the very first issue of STARLOG MAGAZINE looks at the changes afoot on the set, and behind-the-scenes, on the second year of BRITISH-based SPACE:1999.  

Well, that went well...




1983: ADVERT FOR 2000AD PROG 300

From January 1983: 2000AD celebrates surviving 300 issues in print (and several behind-the-scenes close calls during the first few years) with a special issue... and a free metal (of some sort) JUDGE DREDD badge.

Unfortunately, the Mighty One couldn't stretch the budget as far as putting a pin on the back so the badge had to be affixed with some double-sided spongy tape stuff stuck to the back. 

The other attraction was one of those multi-week, build-it-yourself, cut-out-and-keep booklets beloved of the IPC Youth Group of the time: an eye-straining reproduction of the very first prog.  Which was at least pretty cool.  

This advert appeared in the pages of the EAGLE.  



1989: MATT FREWER TALKS MAX HEADROOM IN STARLOG MAGAZINE

From 1989: Matt Frewer looks back at his time playing MAX HEADROOM (on both sides of the Atlantic) in STARLOG MAGAZINE.




Tuesday, 18 April 2017

1983: IPC ADVERT FOR THE FIRST EAGLE HOLIDAY SPECIAL.

From April 1983: a House Ad for the very first EAGLE HOLIDAY SPECIAL of the new era.


IPC's specials always went on sale much earlier than summer 'proper' so they were always a marker that the long summer break was approaching.  I'm not sure whether they were simply trying to maximise their shelf life, coincide with a late Easter or just hit the two May Bank Holidays.  Marvel's summer specials always seemed to hit much later... more closely timed to the start of the school holidays themselves.

The special itself was very much modeled on the format and formula of the weekly during its first eighteen months... a mixture of original photo strips, traditional comic strips and features.

1981: GERRY ANDERSON'S SUPERMARIONATION IS GO! ISSUE 2

From the summer of 1981: the second edition of GERRY ANDERSON fan magazine SUPERMARIONATION IS GO!

This issue includes the announcement of the formation of Fanderson, an amalgermation of Anderson fan efforts (including the magazine itself) into one organisation recognised by both the man himself and copyright holders ITC.

1981: MARVEL UK'S STAR WARS: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK MONTHLY ISSUE 143

From February 1981: another excellent cover from the British STAR WARS: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK MONTHLY, published by Marvel UK.

This issue reprints Number 53 in the US run, with a new cover which isn't a million miles from the US design but manages to be more dramatic and makes Leia less of the passive victim.

The appearance of the double-bodied T.I.E Bomber created something of a playground thrill back in the day.


1988: JANE BADLER TALKS 'V' AND THE HIGHWAYMAN IN STARLOG MAGAZINE

From 1988: the lovely Jane Badler discusses 'V', Larson's THE HIGHWAYMAN (behind-the-scenes punch-up alert!) and her other 1980s projects with STARLOG MAGAZINE.




Thursday, 13 April 2017

DEATH'S HEAD RETURNS... IN THE GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL.2 MOVIE SPECIAL

From today... Look who's back... In the exclusive (it says here) new comic strip in Panini's GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2 OFFICIAL MOVIE MAGAZINE. Bit of a surprise, yes?


Does this mean that the Marvel movies and the TRANSFORMERS movies are now one-step-removed?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...