Well Dez was obviously wrong as the comic was soon cancelled, he had to do what he thought was right for the success of Marvel UK but trying to force reprints of U.S. Marvel comics to look "British" was very unappealing- for me the magic of Marvel UK in the 1970's was that they were totally different from everything else.
Hi ColinI think you are right. You can see the logic: if the Hulk was moving out (to his own weekly) then GODZILLA, another big green monster with a media profile that wrecked stuff, was probably the most viable replacement. I can't recall whether the Godzilla animated series had arrived by 1979 (it started on NBC the previous year) but - although unrelated - it would have made a bankable TV tie-in. I guess MWOM was on the brink of cancellation anyway and moving the Hulk out would have been the final nail in the coffin. From that perspective, Marvel Comic did at least last a few more months. It might have even survived if the earliest issues hadn't been hit by industrial action followed by the crappy "emergency issues". The rest of Skinn's changes are very marmite. Some of them just look like blatant cost-cutting (which they almost certainly were) and it's interesting that he pretty-much left STAR WARS WEEKLY well alone. Presumably the perennial problem of a dearth of material precluded him from pulling his more-panels-per-page trick. The glossy covers allowed him to run photo-covers and - possibly - the terms of the license prevented wholesale change (it's notable that - throughout the whole history of STAR WARS at M-UK, it never absorbed another comic. Possibly another licensing condition). The page rejigs (which must have been a lot of work across the weeklies) were abandoned when he departed (and were never applied to the Pocket Books, arguably the format that most needed to be rejigged to make the panels BIGGER) but the cheaper formats survived longer and were only phased out in 1981.Thanks for stopping by!
I always wondered why Star Wars Weekly was left untouched. By the way when it began in March 1978 I noticed it only had 28 pages compared to the others' 36 pages. The same price but 20% less pages! I was never a great fan of it- I only bought it after The Complete Fantastic Four and Rampage were cancelled.
I think Marvel answered that particular conundrum in one of the SWW letters pages. The explanation they gave is that they didn't have enough material to fill 36 pages. That's probably true because, with no other SW strips available, they would have had to use other SF material from the vaults which would have pushed-down the percentage of SW in SWW even further.Of course, the more cynical answer is that it would be more lucrative to print less. Whether that cost saving was eaten-up by the terms of the license isn't known as although Marvel (famously) got the rights for a song, they apparently had to renegotiate them for the ongoing series (by which point, Lucas would have known he didn't need Marvel's tie-in as much as he thought he did). The deal for SWW may have been negotiated at the same time.
If that was their argument it was rather a weak one, the first Marvel comic I bought was Planet Of The Apes in November '74 and that had 36 pages but only one Apes strip. Anyway who said the rest of Star Wars Weekly had to contain purely sci-fi content? Marvel UK in the '70s was famous for jamming together different kinds of strips in the same comic- The Avengers and Conan or Apes and Dracula for example.Thanks very much for replying to my comments.
Good point. M-UK seemed to have made a concerted effort to keep the STAR WARS line-up SF and only broke the 'rule' from issue 167 (March 1983) when they added the distinctly non-SF THE FURTHER ADVENTURES OF INDIANA JONES (two guesses why that one was a good fit) that continued into the early weeks of RETURN OF THE JEDI. The succession of movie adaptations were a little less "on-message" with the Bond adaptation FOR YOUR EYES ONLY looking particularly out-of-place. By the time the long-running POWER PACK reprints began, maybe no-one was too bothered anymore.I'd actually say that Marvel UK tried to keep their comics genre-specific... but were forced to compromise because they kept failing. I always think of THE MIGHTY WORLD OF MARVEL (seventies incarnation) as being a superhero comic despite accommodating runs of POTA, Dracula and Fury. Similarly, SPIDER-MAN remained a superhero book right through until they started adding movie adaptations (TEMPLE OF DOOM and THE LAST STARFIGHTER in the first part of the eighties (and don't mention THE SPIDER-MAN COMIC/ SPIDEY COMIC era. Hehe).THE AVENGERS weekly was probably the exception... not so much because it was forced to absorb the first volume of THE SAVAGE SWORD OF CONAN but because it enjoyed early success with the martial arts boom of the period. Off the top of my head, they only tried a broad mix of adventure strips on a couple of occasions: MARVEL COMIC and (despite the FURY-esque title) FORCES IN COMBAT.
I could never really see the logic of those '70s mergers anyway- they took a failed comic and plastered it all over the cover of a more successful one( "The Mighty World Of Marvel starring The Incredible Hulk and A Comic You Didn't Like But We'll Force On You Anyway"). It was especially baffling with Fury- Sgt Fury was about as appealing as a month-old yogurt but he was foisted onto readers of MWOM . I was reading recently that Marvel knew he didn't appeal to British kids who preferred British heroes in their war comics( Victor, Valiant etc) so why didn't they just dump the character altogether. Foisting him onto MWOM was bizarre.Surely Marvel UK were their own worst enemy, the constant cancellations/mergers must have been alienating for the casual reader- hardcore Marvel fans like me put up with it but more casual readers just went off and bought Roy Of The Rovers or 2000AD instead.