Valour

April 1, 2015

Over a period of around 20 years, beginning in 1972, Marvel UK produced umpteen different titles in umpteen different formats. Newsprint covers, glossy covers, landscape-shaped comics, pocket sized comics, weeklies, monthlies and eventually even comics that looked just like the American ones. However initially it was decided that to successfully enter the British market their comics would have to resemble current British comics like “Buster” and “2000AD” so newsprint covers and mostly black-and-white interiors were used. Despite a few glossy-covered weekly comics in the 1970s like “Captain Britain”, “Dracula Lives” and “Planet of the Apes”, by 1980 they were still issuing some all-newsprint comics featuring the Hulk and Spiderman along with anthology titles like this.

Valour

“Valour” wasn’t a particularly valiant effort surviving a mere 19 weeks before merging with the similar-looking science-fiction themed “Future Tense”. The only “interesting” thing about issue one of “Valour” was that for reasons unknown it was one inch taller than all the subsequent issues.

From Cents to Pence - icon, bordered (5-11 redesign)

Perhaps we’re getting nearer to the publication of Rob Kirby’s much-needed book that might or might not be entitled “From cents to pence” but will include an introduction written by that legendry comic creator Mr W. Known. An article Rob wrote in “Back Issue” magazine a while back showed he has done much detailed research concerning the people and processes involved in producing the bewildering amount of issues published by the British arm of Marvel comics.

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.