Tuesday, 21 February 2012


Beginning an occasional Slow Robot series looking at old fanzines.

This is AMAZING HEROES issue 1, published in June 1981 by Red Beard Inc. (later Fantagraphics).

The cover is a John Byrne riff on the classic Kirby cover to Fantastic Four issue 1.

Amazing Heroes was originally published monthly in a traditional magazine format.  The more familiar fortnightly schedule, and comic book dimensions, came later.

An early attraction were reprints of the STAR WARS newspaper strips by Archie Goodwin and Al Williamson, as well as the Goodwin and Gil Kane newspaper collaboration STAR HAWKS.

Continuing the avian theme, the first issue also featured a review of the Disney movie CONDORMAN.

One lengthy news item covers Marvel's ambitions for film and television.  Amongst the projects mooted:
DAREDEVIL and SPIDER-MAN animated series (one was made, one wasn't), an animated "country-western superhero" DENIM BLUE, an animated version of GET SMART and an animated prime time Marvel Halloween Special for 1982 (all never produced).  

Mooted live-action projects included THE BLACK WIDOW (either a TV series "like CHARLIE'S ANGELS" or a "minor motion picture", THE MARVEL HORROR SHOW (apparently the producer wanted to use the Marvel brand).

Also planned, although it would take many years (and many changes) before they would reach the screen: THE FANTASTIC FOUR, THE X-MEN, GHOST RIDER, THOR, HOWARD THE DUCK, THE SILVER SURFER and S.H.I.E.LD.  

Also mentioned are plans for a SPIDER-MAN motion picture musical and a CAPTAIN AMERICA Broadway musical.  The latter got as far as an open casting call, in the pages of Marvel Comics, before being quietly abandoned.

AMAZING HEROES ran for 203 (the last numbered 203/ 204), ending in August 1992.  Spin-off's included the regular (and hefty) AMAZING HEROES PREVIEW SPECIALS (occasionally contained within the main numerical run of the magazine, other times published as stand-alone specials), the annual SWIMSUIT EDITION, a BEST-OF compilation (published in 1982) and four AMAZING HEROES INTERVIEW SPECIALS, containing all-new material, published post cancellation.

Plans for a revival, announced in the INTERVIEW SPECIALS, never materialised.  

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