Nuff Said 67

Jun 1, 2017

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645

Yesterday (well it seems like it….February 2013 actually….) I lamented the end of the Fantastic Four (at issue 611) and yet another re-boot to issue number one which lasted a mere 16 issues. So in April 2014 we were presented with a fresh start and ANOTHER Fantastic Four number one. It didn’t take them long to change their minds though and after 14 issues Marvel added 16+14 to 611 and suddenly the once-World’s greatest comic magazine continued, only now sporting the original numbering with issue 642 appearing dated March 2015. After a handful of issues they’ve reached number 645 and it’s the end once more again again. Jeez!

The kookiest hat

Dec 1, 2014

kookiest hat

Switch off your smartphone, print this image and colour it in for the full retro lifestyle experience.

258

The unusual thing about Fantastic Four 258 cover dated September 1983 is that the whole story unfolds without ANY members of the FF making even the briefest of appearances. The hero (villain actually) of this particular comic is Victor von Doom, ruler of Latveria (where?).  More useless information that is unlikely to crop up as a question on “University Challenge” or “The Chase”.

Well, apart from me obviously. Books are supposed to be dead or dying with more and more people moving to eReaders. That may be ok for stuff like 50 shades of Grey but for these massive “coffee table” “art” books you just wouldn’t get the same impact on a 7 inch screen. All the same, I do wonder just how many of these minority-subject books are actually sold. A thousand? A hundred? Ten???

Someday Funnies

This book deserves to succeed but I suspect sales will be sluggish. The reviews are very mixed. After many months of hard graft by the editor and contributors this massive book was about to be published 40 years ago when the company went bust. The project was shelved until quite recently.

4

A few months ago I asked the question who needs another copy of FF1. Evidentally I do. Just bought this for the novelty value of seeing FF1 enlarged to one frame per massive page. Actually this book is a perfect example of how NOT to do things. I’d be ok with one frame per page if they were all the same size. Some frames are huge. Some are sideways. Some are small with loads of white space around them. Some cross two pages. Some even fall off the edge of a page. Rubbish really. At least it comes with a giant poster of that first November 1961 issue. Not that I’ve anywhere to put a giant poster……

The art of Betty and Veronica

If Betty wore a dark wig and Veronica went blonde could you tell which was which?

Hugo Tate

The collected works are finally available after a 20 year wait.

The Origin of Marvelman

Slim yet full of interesting information. But enough about me. What’s the book like?

DS

This book collects just about everything from Dave Stevens (1955 – 2008) that hasn’t been printed already from rough sketches to complete strips. He drew the most beautiful girls and some of the best comic covers of the 1980s.

Planet01

TV viewers in 1960 must have thought they were hallucinating if they watched “The strange world of Gurney Slade” on ITV in October of that year. I’ve managed to sit through the whole DVD and I’m still none-the-wiser. Supposedly written by Sid and Dick but I think Anthony Newley was just given free reign to be as bonkers as he liked. The series started off promisingly enough. Newley as a character in a sitcom who decides he doesn’t want to be in a sitcom any more and just wanders off set into the “real” world much to the bemusement of the rest of the actors and crew. The other 5 episodes are even more peculiar than the first one.

strange world

611

1

Any takers?

Dec 1, 2012

I wonder if he ever found someone clueless enough to pay $50,000 for a ratty old british comic worth 50p?? I’m sure you can get a genuine USA FF1 for far less than that. And it’s not like that was the only time FF1 was re-printed in black and white. You can find it (in 4 installments) inside 1966 issues of “Wham”. It was also in the UK’s “Mighty World of Marvel” in 1972 and no doubt in a varied assortment of other UK Fantastic Four Annuals, comics and pocketbooks.

Hey look! I’ve got an Alan Class comic that contains the first Spiderman story from Amazing Adult Fantasy 15. If any rich but bonkers viewer wants to send me $50,000/£32,000 for it I’ll even throw in another 10,000 comics for free!!!

More small print

Nov 25, 2010

Looking through the December 2010 issue (Number 584) of Fantastic Four it was nice to see the return of Galactus. It was nice to see Steve Epting’s more realistic artwork (although he draws the FF to resemble the characters who appeared in the films). It was nice to see Ben and Johnny have a meal with Stan and Jack !

I’m not too sure about the new potion that allows Ben to become human for one week per year…..although it does improve his love life with Alicia ! Nor why the Yancy Street Gang have now become failed ex-Wall Street Traders/muggers. I’m not sure why they need HERBIE the robot from the 1970s animated cartoon to now be in the comics. But it was nice to see the small print saying they currently sell 48000 copies per month. This time last year they were claiming only 15000 issues per month. Although the circulation figures for comics are nothing like they were perhaps the “floppies” will still be around for a few more years.

Although the UK version of Fantastic Four still states that it is “The World’s Greatest Comic Magazine”, it is over 3 years since the original comic used that sub-title. Stan Lee introduced the claim way back in issue No 4 in 1962 (and perhaps whilst Jack Kirby provided the art, the fans agreed) and amazingly it was still there above the title as recently as 2006 (although personally I think it should have been removed in the early 1980s).

So the question now is this: what should be the current holder of the title “World’s Greatest Comic Magazine” ?? It certainly isn’t “Invicible” which far from being the best comic in the universe is possibly the worst comic I’ve read all year.

Whilst reading Fantastic Four 572 another surprise was seeing that they still print that “Statement of Ownership Management and Circulation” small print. These evidently legal requirements (something to do with second class postage??) have appeared periodically (annually??) for as long as I have been reading comics. The only change I have noticed is the drastic decline of the numbers of comics printed and sold. I used to be amazed that often Charlton comics would give a figure for the print run of an issue and a figure for unsold issues/returns which was at least 50% of the original figure. Surely it wasn’t cost effective to print so many and yet have so many unsold. I assumed that those “unsold” comics would end up in the UK a few months later.

So, according to the small print in Fantastic Four 572, currently only around 15000 issues per month of what was “The World’s Greatest Comic Magazine” are now sold !!!!

Co-incidentally I’ve just been flicking through some old comics. Iron Man 170 coverdated May 1983 also contains one of those “Statement of Ownership” thingys. That title was then averaging 360,000 issues per month and it wasn’t even Marvel’s best selling title. Hmmm, if the downward trend continues perhaps new comics will soon only be available on your iPad (whatever one of those is). It’s a good job that my “to-read” pile of proper paper back issues is taller than I am !!

Perhaps “Spiderman” still sells more but it begs the question of how well some of the lesser titles are doing. Perhaps it’s true that all new comics are produced these days with the creator’s eyes firmly fixed not on magazine sales but on the potential of far more lucrative spin-offs into TV, Film or even cartoons.

I’ve mentioned in an earlier post how DC Comics had a UK price ink stamp on each and every cover in the 1960s and 1970s. (No one seemed to have thought of using sticky labels! Pricing “guns” were still to be invented!!)  However, right from the beginning of the Marvel Age, Marvel Comics had a UK price printed on the covers of the comics destined for us. Originally 9d (nine pence) by the time I bought this issue of X-Men a comic cost 10d (ten pence).

Now I’m not particularly interested in the values of comics. (I only buy the Overstreet Guide every year for the articles! ) But it does strike me as odd that these issues of Marvel comics with a UK price on them are considered inferior by collectors in the USA. Lets put things into perspective. These comics were printed on the same presses at the same time as the USA comics. They are NOT reprints. Perhaps 5% or less of the total print run of each issue would have the UK price. This makes these comics extremely rare. Collectors in the USA who have completed the runs of their favourite characters should perhaps consider adding a few UK issues to their collections.

In 1971 comics were one Shilling. Inflation in the 1970s saw the price increase rapidly. Between 1974 and 1977 whilst Marvel Comics in the USA increased from 20 cents to 30 cents here the price doubled from 6p to 12p. UK only prices on Marvel Comics covers continued until the early 1980s. The next time there would be variant covers would be the completely different artwork produced for variant covers from the mid 1980s through to today.

Actually its only now when I’m talking about these covers that I notice the heading  “MARVEL ALL-COLOUR COMICS”  across the top of the UK variants. That makes them even more obviously different to the USA editions. Nice to see “colour” spelled the proper English way too !! 

Perhaps Marvel made a point of announcing “ALL COLOUR COMICS” so they weren’t confused with the Marvel UK range of black and white reprint comics, magazines and digests which had begun in 1972 but were losing popularity by the 1980s.