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The new Marvel book is a curious mix of some of the pages reworked by DH and some - previously unpublished - strips in their original 'newspaper' format.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.



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