Tuesday, 26 November 2013

1973: SPIDER-MAN COMICS WEEKLY ISSUE 1 (Marvel UK)

Salutations Spider-Friends!

Here it is, the second launch from mighty MARVEL UK: SPIDER-MAN COMICS WEEKLY from February 1973.

Spidey had, of course, been part of the inaugural line-up of THE MIGHTY WORLD OF MARVEL, launched a few months earlier but it didn't take long for him to graduate to his own weekly.

The strip picked-up where MWOM (after 19 issues) left off with a reprint from US AMAZING SPIDER-MAN issue 9.

Spidey's slot in the Marvel anthology was taken, sensibly enough, by Daredevil (from issue 20) as the House Ad below shows.

The long-running back-up strip was Thor, beginning with his first solo appearance from US JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY issue 83.  The Thunder God would bounce around the Marvel UK line-up for another decade before, finally, graduating to his own (short-lived) weekly.

Stan also invited Brits to sign-up for Marvel's fan club: F.O.O.M (Friends Of Ol' Marvel) for a mere 50p.  Membership included a subscription to the club's newsletter but British readers soon noticed a lack of coverage from the British Bullpen and a regular column was added to the line-up.

The Web Head already had a track record in the UK predating the opening of the Annex of Ideas: he'd been part of the POW! line-up from 1967 before being squeezed out as the Power Comics line condensed down from a peak of four titles.  Long-time British readers would have found many of the early British Marvel adventures rather familiar as the weeklies covered a lot of familiar ground.

The launch proved a canny one: although it went through a number of name changes (and even more format swicheroos), the weekly clocked-up a highly respectable 666 issues (through to December 1985) before succumbing to patchy distribution, falling sales, a declining market and a disastrous relaunch.  It returned, for another year, as SPIDER-MAN AND ZOIDS, a few months later.








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