And about time too

February 1, 2014

The Bojeffries Saga

Next month they finally get around to re-printing the fab “Bojeffries Saga”. And later in the year, after being serialised in monthly floppies the Miracleman book “A Dream of Flying (Book 1)” will finally be available once again (and this time it’s been coloured properly). Two of the finest Graphic Novels ever.

PS: I’m still awaiting the publication of this book. It seems to have been in preparation for years but it IS a complex subject. Rob Kirby compiled a massive article on British Marvel comics in the April 2013 issue of “Back Issue” which I found absolutely fascinating but must have confused the hell out of the majority of it’s American readers!!!!

From Cents to Pence dummy cover

Actually, the sub-title is slightly confusing. British Marvel….ie the offshoot of American Marvel..only began in 1972. Marvel’s big mistake was to listen to some marketing genius who evidentally said they should try and maintain the look and feel of British comics when they introduced “Mighty World of Marvel” in the same size and same un-glossy covers as the current Victor/Buster etc etc. They would soon move to glossy covers but kept to the Black-and-white interiors and continued to annoy comic collectors who found imported Spiderman/FF etc comics had been stopped so as not to (in theory) dilute the sales of the British versions. Only towards the end, sometime in the 1990s did British Marvel finally adopt the traditional American size for their books.

It is true that British reprints of American Marvel Comics (usually random assorted strips rather than complete comics) were around from 1951ish though but they were just licenced reprints from the likes of Len Miller and Alan Class rather than anything organised by Marvel/Atlas/Cadance or whatever they were calling themselves at the time. From the mid 1990s Panini took on the role of supplying British kids with their X-Men excetera fix.

3 Responses to “And about time too”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Hi Magic!

    Thanks for the kind words re: the book! I very much enjoyed writing something that I hoped wouldn’t overly confuse US readers, seeing as that’s who that article was aimed at. I’m waaaaay behind on Back issue so I’m not aware of what, if any, the reaction has been to it. Shhhh – spoilers! I will catch up soon.

    About the sub-title – I take your point, but it was trying to come up with something less clumsy than ‘the Definitive guide to British comics that featured Marvel comic strips’… and having the words marvel and comic side-by-side :) You’ll have noted the careful wording and lack of any trademarked term or expression for the main title, for similar reasons to avoid complications. I’ll give it another mull, as that is a draft cover after all :)

    Actually, the inclusion of the chapter on the pre-Marvel UK years was a much later extension to what people were originally pressing me to write, but it turns out to have been a very good one, I think, as it opens it up the whole of Marvel to a casual, older reader and also some of what happened during the 60s is the reason why there WAS a Marvel UK at all, as skimmed upon in the Back Issue article!

    All of the points you touch upon in the paragraph below the draft book cover are touched upon in great detail, as you’ll have guessed with this part of the book taking a decade or so to complete… and almost completed it is – I’m on the final re-reads through now! Although, “marketing genius” – hah! There was no time for that. Stan liked the size of the British comics, but not the short stories and Marvel strips mixed up with traditional UK humour or adventure serials; that they did glossy covers in the end was more of a fix for a major problem rather than by deliberate design ;)

    Thanks for the plug – I think you’ll enjoy it!

    Rob

  2. Anonymous Says:

    P.S. “Complex subject”?!! Many people had always thought not (‘they’re only reprints’, went their cry… although, often, not really at all it turns out), but you’re very astute, although its far more complex – at least the full story of how the UK division came to be – than anyone could have realised.

    P.P.S. If anyone wants to keep up to date on the project’s development then do check out my blog at: a-distant-beacon@blogspot.com


  3. Hi Rob

    Thanks for the comments. I’ll keep checking

    http://a-distant-beacon.blogspot.co.uk/

    to see when the publication date is. I admit to “borrowing” your draft cover. When you’ve re-designed it, let me know. Actually, the sub-title is probably the right one to use. No point in over-complicating matters. That is for the inside!

    I’m sure the “Back Issue” article must have intrigued comic collectors in the States. Many have little awareness of comics in other countries. When I was younger I often wondered how exactly Marvel material came to be printed in the UK when it had been re-coloured in that weird red/black or panels and pages re-arranged to fit different sized formats.

    Licencing strips to be re-published all around the world must have been quite lucrative?

    These days I would far rather read a book ABOUT comics than the comics themselves. There must be another book to be done about DC strips reprinted in UK publications too!!

    PS: Thinking about “cents to pence” I’ve often wondered who was/were the person/persons who stamped those many many thousand Thorpe and Porter 9d/10d etc ink stamps on comics in the 1960s/early 1970s. The fact that they were randomly placed on a clear part of the cover (usually the hero’s face) means the task must have been carried out manually!!!


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