Tuesday, 19 November 2013

1987: THUNDERCATS ISSUE 1 (Marvel UK)

THUNDERCATS... HO!

THUNDERCATS is a toys-to-comics/ animation format that probably requires little introduction.  This is the first issue of MARVEL UK's long-running tie-in which ultimately spawned an impressive 129 issues through to 1991.

It followed the established Marvel UK formula of supplementing reprints from the US Marvel title (issued under the Star Comics imprint) with original strips from British creative teams.  The US book clocked-up 24 issues, reprints of which were generally split across two issues of the British edition.

The first British sighting of the strips was in the first annual which reprinted Marvel's adaptation of the opening story of the TV series.  Rather than rerun the same material again, the weekly opened with the three-page summary posted below.

If my memory is correct, that three pager was first distributed as a freebie flyer in British toyshops (the fourth page was - logically - a plug for the toys) with a credit to Marvel but no reference to the upcoming new launch.

With readers brought up-to-speed, the issue then dived into a reprint of (I think) the second issue of the US book.

The cover was by Lee Sullivan.

The tone of the strips, from both sides of the Atlantic, were generally pitched slightly younger than the equivalent strips in THE TRANSFORMERS and ACTION FORCE with little effort to create the sprawling epics which became a trademark of the former.

The back-up strip would have been familiar with long-time readers of RETURN OF THE JEDI: a reprise of the earliest adventures of POWER PACK.  ROTJ had left the strip on a cliffhanger when it bowed out which was never resolved on this side of the Atlantic.

The first issue came with a free cover-mounted sticker (which has long since parted company from my copy).  Issues two and three gave away Panini's tie-in sticker album and stickers which utilised images from the TV show.

The weekly spun-off a succession of Annuals and Specials.  The latter followed the Collected Comics formula of recycling British strips for a second outing.







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