Friday 28 September 2012


Here's a US print advert (published in comics cover-dated February 1986) for the syndicated transforming-robots show CHALLENGE OF THE GOBOTS.

This Hanna Barbera produced show, created to sell Tonka's imported toys (known as Machine Robo in their native Japan), really was poor.  The animation was simplistic and crappy, the scripts poor (even by animated show standards) and production standards non-existent.  Despite these obvious shortcomings, Britain's breakfast broadcaster TV-am seemed to favour this show above the rival - and vastly superior - Hasbro/ Marvel THE TRANSFORMERS show, which it also aired in the UK.

TV-am chopped-up GOBOTS episodes into five-minute chunks and stripped them across a week as part of their school holidays-only daily show WACADAY, hosted by Timmy Mallett.  They'd previously done the same with Marvel's show (and later reran them - relatively - intact at weekends) but, much to the annoyance of Transfans, swiftly seemed to favour this (clearly inferior) show.

Perhaps H-B cut TV-am a better deal.  Or - possibly - the breakfast station felt more comfortable airing the Gobots because its toy association was a little less blatant.  The Gobots toys were sold as ROBO MACHINES in the UK and - possibly - TV-am felt it was less of a blatant plug for the toys.  TV-am's roster of kids shows also included JEM, CARE BEARS, THE GET-ALONG GANG and M.A.S.K which - maybe - made them sensitive to acquisitions that they were operating as an extension of toy companies marketing departments.

The TV show ran to 65-episodes, stripped daily by local stations in the States.  It's likely TV-am only bought a fraction of the available shows (one episode did, after all, last a week in the UK!) and most will never have been seen on this side of the Atlantic.  

Challenge of the Gobots even managed to spawn a spin-off: the long-forgotten GOBOTS: BATTLE OF THE ROCKLORDS animated feature film.  Cursed with the same production standards as the small-screen version (indeed, it was originally created for TV and suddenly upgraded as an opportunist big screen release) - and designed to sell a crappy toy idea (robots that transform into - err - rocks!) - the movie made barely a dent on popular culture when it was released in 1986, the same year as TRANSFORMERS: THE MOVIE.

A ROBO MACHINES strip briefly appeared in IPC's EAGLE.  Although it featured the some of the same characters, the premise was completely unrelated to the animated show (contrasted with THE TRANSFORMERS, which - despite some differences - demonstrated strong consistency across its various media and publishing incarnations). 

1977: THE FIRST 2000AD ANNUAL (IPC/ Fleetway)

This - believe it or not - is Dan Dare, as visualised by Gerry Woods.  Confusingly, he looked nothing like either the classic Frank Hampson original or Tharg The Mighty's flawed reinterpretation.  

This is the first 2000AD ANNUAL, published in September 1977 (mere months after Tharg launched his stellar new weekly in February '77) for the Christmas market.  As is the industry convention, the date on the cover is for the following year.

Because of the inevitable publishing lead-times and deadlines, work must have begun on this hefty 128-page spin-off much earlier in the year (or even late 1976), just when the weekly was just hitting newsagents for the first time.  That said, most of the early prog-stars are present: Judge Dredd, Tharg's Future Shocks, Flesh, the Harlem Heroes, Invasion, M.A.C.H 1 and - of course - the pilot of the future himself.  

The 2000AD ANNUAL appeared every year until the 1991 edition, published in 1990.  From the following year (cover-dated 1992) it morphed into the soft-cover 2000AD YEARBOOK.  Four more volumes followed, the last published in September 1994.

The first (of two) 2000AD-era DAN DARE ANNUALS appeared in 1978 (cover-dated 1979) with the second released the following year.

Dare lost his place in Fleetway's publishing schedule to JUDGE DREDD in 1980 (cover-dated 1981).  The Lawman's book appeared alongside the main 2000AD Annual for 11 editions, also bowing-out in 1990 (with a 1991 cover-date).  Four further softcover Yearbooks appeared through the early 1990s.

The 2000AD/ Judge Dredd annuals/ yearbooks were cancelled after the 1994 editions, ironically the year before Fleetway believed the Judge Dredd movie would unleash a torrent of merchandising.  The end of an era.

Thursday 27 September 2012


Here's the US print advert, which appeared on the back of multiple American comics during the summer of 1982, hyping the kid-friendly action flick MEGAFORCE.

At the time, I assumed the hardware-heavy movie (yup... it's the one with the bikes that fire missiles) was an opportunist attempt to cash-in on the success of the G.I. JOE: A REAL AMERICAN HERO action figures.  In retrospect, I don't think there's any connection at all.  Hasbro only (re)launched their toys in 1982, the same year that Hal Needham's MegaForce (briefly) hit the big screen.

Amongst the movie's semi-familiar faces were Persis Khambatta (considerably more hairy than her turn in STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE), Edward Mulhare (just prior to KNIGHT RIDER) and Henry Silva (Kane in BUCK ROGERS IN THE 25th CENTURY). 

The movie was a box office flop and seems - apart from the odd cultural reference - to have vanished without trace in the DVD era.  Although bootlegs are in circulation. 

I was "man enough for Megaforce" (it must have been the regulation gold jumpsuits the team were outfitted in) and first saw this on tape when a friend rented the tape for his birthday party.  He also received some ACTION FORCE (Britain's G.I. JOE) toys as gifts which helped cement by (unwarranted) association between the two anti-terrorist squads. 

1980: GALACTICA 1980 INTERVIEW - ROBBIE RIST (Starlog Magazine)

Robbie Rist was a familiar face on late-seventies US TV, making numerous cute-kid guest turns on a bunch of shows.  The miniature John Denver lookalike also has the distinction of playing two of the most loathed characters of the era: Cousin Oliver in the final six episodes of THE BRADY BUNCH (a new character who - probably very unfairly - is blamed by some for the demise of the legendary slice of seventies Americana) and - of course - Doctor Zee in the justifiably reviled GALACTICA 1980

The Battlestar's resident Milky Bar Kid (and proto-Wesley Crusher) suddenly - without explanation - seemed to be calling the shots, leaving Adama to stand around and look confused.  Maybe it was the affect of the fumes from the glue holding his fake beard in place.

This interview (STARLOG 34, May 1980) was conducted before G80 returned as a - short-lived - weekly series.  And before Rist was shown the airlock, replaced by (James) Patrick Stuart (not that one!) for the remaining seven episodes.

I've no idea why they made the change.  It's not as if Stuart was any better or more experienced that Rist.  Nor did he do anything more interesting with the character.  My best guess is the sudden decision to go back into production with more episodes meant Rist was unavailable to reprise the role.  

Amusingly, the change of actors created a problem when Universal's overseas operations had a final stab at milking the franchise with the faux feature film CONQUEST OF THE EARTH (the final part of the unofficial "Galactica Trilogy").  The movie clumsily combines several episodes of Galactica 1980 (Galactica Discovers Earth, Super Scouts and The Night the Cylons Landed), putting both Rist and Stuart on-screen.  The - ahem - creative solution, explained in some clumsy dubbing, is that Doctor Zee and Doctor Zen "occupy the same body". Really. 

Rist and Stuart have both stayed in acting.  The former also seems to have made a career of supplying animation and computer game voices as well as being a musician. 

The GALACTICA 1980 comic-book limited series, published by Dynamite Entertainment in 2009, offered an alternative take on the Galactica's first encounter with Earth.  In this re-imagined interpretation, Zee is portrayed as a ruthless, scheming little frackster. 

Wednesday 26 September 2012


This weekend marks the 40th anniversary of the on-sale date of the first issue of the UK weekly THE MIGHTY WORLD OF MARVEL and the birth of Marvel UK.

I've posted tons of times about Marvel UK in the past (and will continue to do so) but I wanted to do something to mark this important (to me anyway) date.  I've looked back at the early issues of MWOM before so - this time - I decided to look back at the key dates in the title's history.

The first volume enjoyed continuous publication, albeit under three titles, between 1972 and 1983 (and onto 1984 if you count Volume 2).  Panini (who now publish Marvel comics, under license, in the UK) revived it in 2003 and - if you pop down to WH Smith in your lunch hour today - you'll be able to find the latest issue.

I've tried to mark all the key issues including the various launches, relaunches and mergers.  It's a veritable romp through 40 years of Mighty Marvel history from the Annex of Ideas.

Happy Birthday Marvel UK!

Volume 1
Issue 1
7 October 1972

- First Marvel UK comic.
- Free INCREDIBLE HULK iron-on transfer for t-shirts. 

Volume 1
Issue 199
21 July 1976

- THE AVENGERS merge, adding the title strip and CONAN THE BARBARIAN.

Volume 1
Issue 231
2 March 1977

- First PLANET OF THE APES merge issue.

Volume 1
Issue 247
22 June 1977

- First DRACULA LIVES! (on hiatus since the closure of PLANET OF THE APES AND DRACULA LIVES!)

Volume 1
Issue 258
1 September 1977

- First FURY merge issue, adding SGT. FURY AND HIS HOWLING COMMANDOS.

Volume 1
Issue 298
14 June 1978


Volume 1
Issue 329
17 January 1979

- Final MWOM.
- Final glossy cover.

Volume 1
Issue 330
24 January 1979

- First MARVEL COMIC issue.
- The "TV sensation" cover-splash refers to Universal's live-action THE INCREDIBLE HULK series. 
- The format switches to the Skinn-One format: newsprint covers and interiors, new page layouts (cramming more panels-per-page) and more strips-per-issue (six compared with - typically - three before the relaunch). 

Volume 1
Issue 332
7 March 1979

- Last INCREDIBLE HULK strip (the character continues, initially in British created strips, in HULK COMIC).  The Green Goliath had appeared continuously since issue 1.

Volume 1
Issue 352
25 July 1979

- Final issue of the Marvel Comic. Merges with THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN and - simultaneously - continues as MARVEL SUPERHEROES.

Volume 1
Issue 334
1 August 1979

- First MARVEL COMIC merge issue. 
- Although MARVEL COMIC officially merges, it also continues as MARVEL SUPERHEROES

Volume 1
Issue 353
September 1979

- First MARVEL SUPERHEROES (A Marvel Monthly) issue.
- Billed as "1st Giant Issue" on the cover but numbered as Issue 353 inside.

Volume 1
Issue 377
September 1981

- 1st appearance: modern CAPTAIN BRITAIN (originated British strip)

Volume 1
Issue 362
February 1982

- First SAVAGE ACTION merge issue. 

Volume 1
Issue 393
January 1983

- First RAMPAGE merge issue. 

Volume 1
Issue 397
May 1983

- Final Issue. Volume 1 ends after a continuous run from 1972.
- There's no merger with another title. 


- First (and only) MWOM special.
- First MWOM edition since January 1979. 
- Black & white THE MIGHTY THOR and THE INCREDIBLE HULK reprints.

Volume 2 
Issue 1
July 1983

- First monthly issue.
- First regular MWOM since January 1979.
- Early issues suffered from poor printing and colour reproduction.
- THE UNCANNY X-MEN and VISION AND SCARLET WITCH (Limited series) reprints.
- Free loosely-inserted sticker. 

Volume 2
Issue 7
December 1983

- First THE DAREDEVILS (adding Captain Britain, Night Raven text stories, Showcase and features) merge issue.

Volume 2
Issue 17
October 1984

- Last issue.
- Diminished page count and colour pages.

Volume 2
Issue 85
November 1985

- First MWOM merge issue, adding Magik, Showcase and Night Raven.

Volume 3
Issue 1
February 2003

- Part of the Panini Comics Collectors' Edition range.
- First MWOM since October 1984
- Incorrectly identified as Volume 2 in copyright information.  It was fixed for subsequent issues. 
- The line-up of DAREDEVIL and THE INCREDIBLE HULK, both enjoying a bolstered profile thanks to Hollywood feature films, was reminiscent of the original line-up after DD replaced SPIDER-MAN following his departure to his own weekly. 

Volume 4
Issue 1
28 October 2009

- Numbering restarted to coincide with the beginning of WORLD WAR HULK saga.
- Continuous publication from Volume 3. 

Tuesday 25 September 2012


This is a UK toy advert for Bandai's Robots-in-Disguise-alike ROBO MACHINES (aka GOBOTS) from April 1985.  It appeared in EAGLE.

Robo Machines, despite having some nice looking toys, never came close to matching the success (or playground credibility) of THE TRANSFORMERS despite (or perhaps - because of) a toy tie-in strip in EAGLE and the (shoddily) animated GOBOTS series which aired on TV-am's Wacaday.

1980: GALACTICA 1980 - ROBYN DOUGLASS INTERVIEW (Starlog Magazine)

It's the show that everyone loves to hate.  As one critic sneered "the show that gave the 1980s a bad name." Battlestar Galactica's bastard child: GALACTICA 1980.  Only eight months (give-or-take) since ABC unexpectedly ended Adama's quest for Earth after a single season... they revived the show.  With a few - ahem - refinements.

It would be lovely to say that ABC listened to Battlestar's loyal fans but the (harsh) reality was that the network's 1979-80 season was tanking fast and they needed some proven (and promotable) hits to bolster the ratings.  Glen Larson's pitch of a final TV movie to end the search for Earth fitted the bill and ABC signed-up.

Unfortunately Larson's script for Galactica Discovers Earth just isn't very good and plays like a sub-par Disney tele-flick.  Earth's found before the show even starts and its downhill from there.  Something might have been salvaged from the mess if he'd have been able to coax back more of his original cast but Hatch and Benedict took one look at the script and declared themselves "busy". 

Some hasty rewriting by Larson moved events forward a generation, allowing him to introduce a new cast (although Lorne Greene, apparently at his own insistence, returned.  Albeit with a ridiculous beard).  The new guys, presumably cast in a hurry (and I can't help wondering if they got the gig simply because they were roughly the same build as their predecessors... allowing cash-conscious Larson to use hand-me-down costumes mothballed from the original series), felt like second-rate substitutes.  An impression not helped by Larson's threadbare script which gives them few - if any - discernible characteristics. 

The other thing that's painfully obvious about G80 is that it was designed to be as cheap as possible.  Plonking the Colonial survivors in contemporary California betrays the complex (albeit occasionally confused) mythology the original story was trying to create.  Now we know that the Galactica and her fleet had no influence on Earth's ancient history.  The excursion to occupied Europe (a time travel plot device quietly abandoned in the short-lived weekly series) feels like blatant padding and an excuse for Universal to raid the costume and props warehouse.

The set-piece effects sequence, the not-what-it-seems Cylon attack on Los Angeles, looks pretty good (except for the all-too-obvious mounting points on the Raider models and a building that's destroyed - and then miraculous undamaged - a few shots later, two pieces of SFX sloppiness fixed for the movie version, CONQUEST OF THE EARTH) but would have been familiar to many viewers: it's lifted from the 1975 Universal disaster flick EARTHQUAKE (yup, the one with Lorne Greene).

As bad as the three-part pilot is... the subsequent weekly series (commissioned in haste by ABC after the pilot bagged better audiences than anticipated) is considerably worse.  With one episodic exception.

This is a STARLOG (Issue 34, May 1980) interview with Robyn Douglass who played Jamie Hamilton, the TV journalist who (rather improbably) befriends the Colonial advanced guard and agrees to help them in their covert operations on Earth (and becomes a glorified babysitter for their space brats in subsequent episodes).  Clearly conducted before the pilot aired, it gives some idea of the time pressures the show was under, as well as the potential for a weekly series version.

- Next on Galactica 1980: Doctor Zee - 

Monday 24 September 2012


This is an essential piece of outdoor (and indoor!) leisurewear circa 1980, presumably another piece of STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE memorabilia that didn't sell as well as the merchandisers expected.

These tasteful pieces of STAR TREK apparel were advertised in STARLOG MAGAZINE.


Mystery solved!  Last week, I pondered the year of publication of Marvel UK's first one-shot STAR TREK SPECIAL.  The problem was: the copyright date was 1979 which clearly couldn't be right (the strips reprinted hadn't appeared in the States at that point but - more importantly - I knew Trek wasn't part of the roster of Summer '79 specials.  Online resources weren't much good either, giving other dates that didn't seem to make sense.

After a process of elimination, after considering the format, contents and cover price, I settled on 1981.

Over the weekend, I found this advert (from one of the Marvel weeklies) for the 1981 Summer Specials, which does - indeed - confirm that it did appear in 1981.  Hurrah!

A quick romp through the other offerings - 

CAPTAIN AMERICA - was a companion to the 1981-82 weekly, launched in February that year.

SPIDER-MAN - a web-slinging spin-off from the long-established weekly.

CAPTAIN BRITAIN - Spider-man's two-part MARVEL TEAM-UP with Britain's champion had already been serialised in the pages of Spidey's weekly (as the last hurrah before CB was dumped from the the cover-billing, and the contents, of the title) but it served as a useful warm-up act to CB's upcoming relaunch in the pages of MARVEL SUPERHEROES.

WESTERN GUNFIGHTERS - For some reason, M-UK seemed convinced that British kids were still interested in cowboys.  They churned-out three of these specials but never pushed their luck and tried a regular title.  


Here's a relative rarity from the Skinn era of Marvel UK: the TV HEROES SUMMER SPECIAL, released as one of the eight initial offerings in the summer of 1979.

The TVH one-shot was, like several of the specials published that year, intended as a pilot to test the feasibility of an ongoing incarnation.  The MAD-inspired FRANTIC made the cut, as did (later in the year) the STAR HEROES and MARVEL SUPERHEROES winter specials.

TVH was unusual as it was an attempt to launch a TV-based companion to Dez Skinn's own STARBURST (which Marvel, of course, acquired when they acquired Skinn's services).  Unlike Starburst, TVH was not a rousing success and the idea was never heard from again.

The one-shot was a text-based affair with articles on a number of TV shows.  The colour was cover although the interior was black & white on cheap paper, a format that did little to enhance the reproduction of stills.

Skinn has later said that he was looking at establishing a raft of new launches with "heroes" in the title. 

Friday 21 September 2012


This is another of several STAR TREK factual books published during the 1970s, years after the show had crashed off NBC but during the first blooming of the post-cancellation fandom that - by the end of the decade - propelled the (soon-to-be) franchise onto the big screen.

Gerrold's THE TROUBLE WITH TRIBBLES is the episode everyone remembers.  And with good reason.  It adeptly demonstrates how the show (and its cast) could with gears from SF adventure to comedy... and still be gripping entertainment.

This is the behind-the-scenes story of that story, penned by Gerrold himself.  As far as I know, it's been out-of-print for decades which is a bit surprising considering, at its peak, how many Trek-related publications were vying for retailer space.  These days... you're lucky to see one non-fiction book a year.

1984: SECRET WARS US TOYS print advert

MARVEL SUPER HEROES SECRET WARS: an epic conflagration that pitched Marvel's greatest heroes and villains in an epic slam-jam.  Or tawdry toy-shifting tie-in.  Discuss.

Actually, the twelve-part epic (spread across 31 issues of the UK edition) was both.  Mattel wanted something to help cross-promote their new toys and merchandise and Marvel, under Editor-in-Chief Jim Shooter (who also scripted the book... funny that), played a blinder by elevating what could have been an inconsequential bit of merchandising fluff into a publishing event which delivered some of the company's best sales figures in ages.  

Critics, of which there were many (both inside and outside Marvel's hallowed halls), claimed it was STILL an inconsequential bit of fluff.  But Star Warriors like me lapped-up the ultimate Marvel team-up.

Marvel didn't seem to do much to hype the toys themselves, perhaps they thought the mere existence of the limited series was good enough.  Maybe they were slightly embarrassed by the whole deal.  Or maybe they still lacked marketing savvy.  

Here's a relatively rare advert for Mattel's wares, published in US Marvel comics dated December 1984.  Note how it bigs-up the (frankly lacklustre) action feature of the "secret decoder shields", a plot device which - thankfully - never reached Shooter's scripts.

Thursday 20 September 2012


This is the other one (of two) STAR TREK one-shot specials published by Marvel UK in the early 1980s.

It reprints two supernatually-themed US tales (originally published in issues 11 and 12) along with several pages of Star Fleet uniform designs (originally from US issue 10). The cover originally adorned US issue 12.

I've struggled a bit to date this one.  The copyright inside is 1979 but that's clearly not correct (M-UK published their first ever Summer Specials that year and Trek definitely wasn't one of them.  Indeed, these reprints didn't even hit US shelves until late 1980/ early 1981).  Presumably 1979 refers to the year that Marvel acquired the license.  THE (online) COMIC BOOK PRICE GUIDE FOR GREAT BRITAIN says 1979, presumably based on this date.

There's no other date reference inside.  Nor is there any house ad for Marvel's other specials that season to give any clues.

Other online resources say this appeared in Summer 1982.  I don't think that's right either.  It doesn't appear in M-UK's House Ad for that summer's extra offerings.  And, they all sold for 55p whilst this has a cover price of 45p.

So I think this appeared in the Summer of 1981!  Does anyone know better?

I LOVE a mystery!

If that date is right, M-UK were also running Trek weekly (monthly from the August dated issue) in the pages of FUTURE TENSE but there's no attempt to link the two titles... or even cross-promote the chance to follow further adventures of Kirk and co.  This shows a remarkable lack of commercial savvy on Marvel's part.  No wonder FT was gone by the beginning of 1982.


Here's an example of what used to be an annual tradition: the appearance of adverts hawking the US Fall Saturday Morning schedules on the three US networks, published in US comic books.

For British readers, these were early indicators of what we *might* see on UK screens over the following few years. The BBC and ITV had strict limits on the amount of imported cartoons they could show so - if the shows crossed the Atlantic at all - it might be more than a year before they hit British screens.

At this time, the networks and Saturday mornings were still the main place to find kid-vid.  Cable was starting to make inroads but their children's offering was often limited or restarted to off-network reruns.    Weekday afternoons were generally given over to shows aimed at adults (soaps, audience shows and gameshows) although syndicators were starting to make inroads with off-network (and often toy-related) fare like HE-MAN AND THE MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE, THE TRANSFORMERS, G.I. JOE and numerous wannabes.  

Someone slap me if I'm wrong but I don't think any of the traditional broadcast networks offer a kids schedule on Saturdays anymore. 24-7 (or thereabouts) cable has made it a redundant (and far less commercially viable) proposition. 

This particular ad is from Marvel comics dated December 1984.  Thanks to the three-months-ahead cover dates used on comics at the time, this would have gone on sale September/ October time... just in time for the start of the new season.  By the time sea freight copies reached British newsagents it probably WAS December!

NBC was the top-rated network in both primetime and Saturday morning at this point (thanks to the runaway success of - of all things - THE SMURFS) so the big spending network splashed out for the centre pages of Marvel's December editions.  This originally appeared as a double-page spread but my scanner isn't large enough so I've chopped it into two single pages.

Wednesday 19 September 2012


I picked this up at the weekend: a copy of UK MAD MAGAZINE from 1987.  It's a great MAX HEADROOM cover, although its a bit of a con: except for the editorial above, there's no Max-inspired spoofery inside the magazine. 


It's always struck me as pretty ironic that BATTLESTAR GALACTICA got such a slatting (from critics and lawyers but not - eventually - the judge!) for being a STAR WARS rip-off (you have to admit that there are - errm - certain similarities) yet SW's own TV effort, THE STAR WARS HOLIDAY SPECIAL, which premiered that same 1978 Fall season (the 'Holiday' being Thanksgiving) is MUCH worse!

I imagine kids across America (the one-shot aired in very few overseas markets... which is pretty surprising considering SW was red-hot at that moment) tuned-in to CBS expecting to see a small-screen version of the summer-of-77 blockbuster.  And got a shoddily-assembled, shot-on-video variety show.  Larson was giving the kids what they REALLY wanted over at ABC: Star Wars weekly!

The Holiday Special has a reputation for being awful.  And, for the most part, it is.  But it's not without redemption: the much-talked-about animated segment (from those folks north of the border: Nelvana), introducing Boba Fett, is nice.  It's great (not to mention unusual) to see (almost) the entire movie cast reunited on a small-screen project (even if they are humiliated once they arrive).  The introduction of Chewbacca's family is interesting (albeit fumbled) and sows seeds eventually picked-up by the Marvel comic book and the prequel movies. 20th Century Fox's corner-cutting dusts off some interesting offcuts from the movie to bolster the flimsy production standards.

But the variety show elements are painfully out-of-place, as is the saccharine sentimentality of the Life Day celebrations.  Overall, the production values are shoddy with little of the spectacular which converted a generation into Star Warriors.  

George Lucas has always distanced himself from the debacle but it must have convinced him that he needed to exercise as much creative control over his creations as contractually possible and prevent their random exploitation by the Hollywood cash machine.  It's notable that the special was never repeated, generally didn't travel far and has been buried by Lucasfilm ever since.  That should make it amongst the rarest of SW spin-offs... but low-quality multi-generation copies of the original CBS airing have been circulating amongst fans for decades.  

Kenner briefly considered a range of Wookie action figures based on the special but (although they went as far as producing prototypes) abandoned the plan in favour of sure-to-sell-better toys based on the movie series.

This article appeared in STARLOG MAGAZINE, February 1979.  

Tuesday 18 September 2012


There's been several pretty decent BATTLESTAR GALACTICA reference works over the last couple of decades* (I wish someone would do something similar for shows like "V" and BUCK ROGERS IN THE 25th CENTURY) but this 1995 tome was the first... and still amongst the best (which is why my copy looks so battered!).

GALACTIC SCI-FI TELEVISION SERIES REVISITED (yuck: clunky title!) is actually a fan-produced (Alpha Control Press) compilation of articles and features that had first appeared across various issues of EPI-LOG and EPI-LOG JOURNAL during the early nineties. 

As the basic cover design suggests, this is a pretty lo-fi effort.  The interior pages are printed on newsprint grade paper (ironically, EPI-LOG itself had progressed to a rather nice square-bound magazine, with better paper stock, by this point) which does the photos no favours.  But it's the text that makes this worth tracking down even today.

It covers the original series and GALACTICA 1980 (including a pulls-no-punches interview with the latter's former Story Editors) in considerable detail.  There's still room for the definitive behind-the-scenes book on the show(s), but this comes as close as any.

BG and G80 dominate but there's also substantial coverage of THE INVADERS, THE FANTASTIC JOURNEY and WAR OF THE WORLDS.  It's a slightly eccentric mix but I reckon, thanks to the dearth of detailed analysis of any of those shows, this should be a must-have for fans of any one of them.

* I've got them all!
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