Wednesday 3 October 2012



He's an early (the first?) teaser advert for Marvel's 1986 damp squib: THE NEW UNIVERSE.

Editor-in-Chief Jim Shooter conceived this new line of Marvel Comics as the main plank of Marvel's 25th anniversary celebrations (dating Marvel back to the launch of Fantastic Four issue 1 in 1961).  Unfortunately, the eight new comics that appeared over the summer of '86 were (to a greater or lesser extent) all pretty terrible.  And none really captured the imagination of Marvel readers.  Shooter himself took responsibility for STAR BRAND which, although derivative (shades of GREEN LANTERN and THE GREATEST AMERICAN HERO), was at least readable.  

Marvel used the launch of the New Universe as an excuse to axe some of their lower-selling core universe titles (apparently to free-up creative teams although - as cynics pointed out at the time - Marvel didn't fold any of their best-sellers to release A-list creators) including ROM, MICRONAUTS: THE NEW VOYAGES, POWER MAN AND IRON FIST and DAZZLER. 

Four (KICKERS INC, MARK HAZZARD: MERC, NIGHTMASK and SPITFIRE AND THE TROUBLESHOOTERS) of the books were unceremoniously dumped after a year with the rest (and Shooter) gone within three years.  

Marvel persevered with several one-shots but it was obvious no-one within editorial (nor the bulk of readers) really gave a toss about keeping any element of the imprint in business.  Since then, Marvel have revisited the New Universe several times, notably UNTOLD TALES OF THE NEW UNIVERSE and NEWUNIVERSAL.

Most (all?) of the New Universe titles were included in the package of Marvel comics distributed in UK newsagents.  Marvel UK briefly ran Starbrand as the third strip in SPIDER-MAN AND ZOIDS.  Spitfire and the Troubleshooters, because it featured a big red robot, was (for a while) the supporting feature in THE TRANSFORMERS. 

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