Thursday 28 February 2013


Or - to be more accurate - not.  Having your comic cancelled can be an effective impediment to plans for vengeance. 

I've covered Marvel UK's short-lived, thrill-sucker infected, SF anthology FUTURE TENSE (1980-82.  Barely) in a few previous posts but I've finally got my paws on the hard-to-find final issue, so I thought it would be fun to share this full-page editorial farewell (below).

The panel above is the final frame from the final instalment of THE MICRONAUTS, a reprint of 'Betrayal' the 34th US issue.  Despite the optimistic caption, it marked the last regular appearance of the sometime denizens of the Marvel Microverse in the British line, ending a roller coaster ride encompassing STAR WARS WEEKLY, STAR HEROES WINTER SPECIAL/ POCKET BOOK (issues 1-8 only) and FUTURE TENSE.

The US book eventually clocked-up 59 issues, 2 annuals, the twenty-issue sequel MICRONAUTS: THE NEW VOYAGES and a five-issue run of early reprints in a fancy format (The Micronauts Special Edition).

The Marvel Micronauts, despite a couple of revivals from other publishers, have been stuck in comic book limbo for decades.  The House of Ideas eventually surrendered the license, preventing them from reprinting the back catalogue.  Their decision to firmly route the books in the mainstream Marvel Universe (a sure-fire way of boosting sales with continuous cameos from better-selling characters) makes reprints from another publisher (such as Titan's reruns of Marvel's BATTLESTAR GALACTICA strips or IDW's collection of Marvel's STAR TREK run) unlikely.  It's still possible to find the original US books in the bargain boxes... and they're well-worth grabbing if you can.

The diminutive spacers made one final Marvel UK appearance: a reprint, in the pages of the revived THE MIGHTY WORLD OF MARVEL (13-16, June-September 1984) of THE X-MEN/ MICRONAUTS limited series.  Their SECRET WARS II tie-in (MICRONAUTS: THE NEW VOYAGES 16, January 1986) was omitted (possibly for licensing reasons) from the British reprints.

You have to admire the final editorial below, it seems unusually honest and makes for an interesting recap of the title's (short) history.

FT didn't merge with any other title.  Presumably, the terms of the licensing agreements prevented any other comic rolling into the pages of Marvel's other three SF monthlies of the period (STAR WARS, DOCTOR WHO and BLAKE'S SEVEN) although ROM did, briefly, secure a supporting feature slot in the monthly Star Wars comic.


Was this the greatest gift ever?  At the time it certainly seemed like it!  Yup, in the summer of 1984 IPC and Palitoy paired-off to give away (surely surplus*) ACTION FORCE figures with copies of EAGLE, BATTLE ACTION FORCE (inevitably) and TIGER.

With the figures selling for between £1 and £1.50 each (I think), it certainly seemed a no-brainer to stock-up on multiple copies of the three weeklies, at 22p a time, to get as many different figures as possible.  Indeed, this was the only time I ever bought a copy of TIGER prior to its merger with the EAGLE.  I'm certain I didn't read any of it.

The figures were bagged (not carded) with each issue.  I seem to recall Palitoy's marketing mandarins also chucked in a glossy toy-flogging poster, or something similar, although I don't recall exactly what now.

I distinctly recall thinking it was a shame that Palitoy couldn't do a similar deal with Marvel UK to shift some Star Wars figures but - sadly - it was not to be.

* I recall a depressing abundance of Black Major figures.  Was that a regional thing or did they have an awful lot of 'em to shift?

Wednesday 27 February 2013


Back to the summer of '84! 

The flying R2-D2 wannabe ("Oh my, Oh my!") and a giant one-eyed purple space brain are vivid reminders that this wasn't Dan Dare's finest run, but the on-going KP Skips free comics promotion and best-of-all - a free Palitoy ACTION FORCE figure (wowsa!) still ensured July was a memorable month for IPC's EAGLE.  


Here's another online find (from a certain auction site): the BUCK ROGERS IN THE 25th CENTURY Panini sticker album, free with IPC's BATTLE ACTION cover-dated 16 May 1981.  As the one-size-fits-all bag indicates, it also accompanied that week's 2000AD. 

They were 'generous' enough (like a crack dealer that gives his latest convert a free sample) to give away the album but four solitary starter stickers seems decidedly stingy.  In later years, they'd just chuck in an off-the-shelf pack.

I collected this album when I was little and swaps were valued playtime currency.  The must-have sticker, in those primitive days before fancy foil, holograms and other 'premiums' , was number one: Buck Rogers himself.  Any sticker that featured nob-headed 'bot Twiki also commanded a playground premium.  

I doubt my album came with one of these comics, I think it was probably an over-the-counter buy (by my mum) from the local newsagent.  

About a decade ago, I stumbled across a complete album in a (now defunct) London comic book store... and snapped-it-up.  I think it was a fiver.  I'll post it on here someday.  

The stickers featured stills from the majority of the first-season episodes which - when stuck in the correct place in the album - featured a short summary of events below.  The cover is, of course, the marketing key art for the movie.

I recall that, at the time we were actively collecting the stickers, ITV had moved onto the rebooted second season of the show because I remember noting the absence of any of the second season regulars.  

Tuesday 26 February 2013


PLANET OF THE APES has been making periodic returns to comics ever since Adventure Comics (an imprint of pre-Marvel Malibu Comics) acquired the license in 1990.  But - surprisingly - no-one has made up of an effort to exploit the Marvel back-catalogue of strips, produced in the mid-seventies for the US magazine (and - briefly - a colour comic book) and the legendary UK weekly.

Adventure did dabble way-back-when.  In addition to reprinting some (but not all) of the Marvel movie adaptations, they also released this four-issue black & white mini-series which reprinted the Moench/ Ploog TERROR ON THE PLANET OF THE APES strips from the Marvel era.

The strips originally appeared intermittently throughout the run of the US magazine, beginning in issue one and wrapping-up in the 28th issue.  In the UK, the strip first appeared in issue 12 and continued, past cancellation, into the pages of THE MIGHTY WORLD OF MARVEL.  

As you'll see, the covers are typically (for Adventure) slap-dash which is surprising considering the amount of great cover art that Marvel produced for the three incarnations of the seventies series.  Maybe this helped contribute to lacklustre sales and deterred Adventure from dipping into the archives again.  

Boom Studios, the current POTA rights holders, had announced plans to reprint this material again but - apparently - they've cancelled the project due to low pre-orders.  That's a shame but they probably should look at reissuing the marvel material in book form rather than trying to go the old-fashioned 'pamphlet' route first.  A deluxe book edition, or an Essentials-style budget reprint, would surely shift more copies.  


Most of the things posted on STARLOGGED come from my own personal collection, accumulated over decades of buying things I don't really need... but would be cool to have.

These aren't one of them.  I've shamelessly purloined them from the excellent site (go check it out!).  I saw these original BATTLESTAR GALACTICA budget sheets (from special effects supremo John Dykstra no less) online a while ago and - as a TV guy myself - found them fascinating.  Then.. I forgot where I found them.  They're pretty much buried on that site... which is why I've posted them here as well.

This budget, for Saga of a Star World (aka Battlestar Galactica: The Movie) was drawn-up in late March 1978, with shooting already underway.  The shoot was not a particularly happy one and director Richard Colla was shown the door, after disagreements with Larson, mid-shoot.  Production was shut-down (presumably extending the estimated 27 days shooting on the Universal lot) whilst his uncredited (a source of friction later) replacement, Alan J. Levi (already booked to shoot the upcoming Gun On Ice Planet Zero two-parter) acclimatised to the project.  Budgets always tend to escalate as shooting gets underway and new (and unforeseen) costs begin to present themselves.  This would be especially true for an ambitious project like this.  Dykstra himself has complained in interviews that script revisions were being made AFTER his team had already completed shots, forcing them to go back and rework them, something that was bound to eat into the cash.

Some highlights include:
- Universal budgeted the shoot at just over $7 million.
- Shooting began on 8 March and was due to wrap on 17 April 1978.  As an aside, the finished theatrical edit was released in Canadian movie theatres on 7 July 1978.
- The budget is dated March 24 and Richard Colla is still listed as Director.  This means he was dismissed after the 24th.
- Several days location work were planned (2 days local and 2 days distance).  Presumably these refer to the Caprica City exteriors (at, if memory serves, Long Beach) and the surface of Carillon (the California Desert) which didn't involve any of the principal cast.
- Richard Colla was due $49,500 to direct.
- Glen Larson received $33,500 for writing.
- Lorne Greene received $65,000 for playing Adama, more than double what Richard Hatch received ($30,000) to play Apollo (still Skyler on this paperwork).  Dirk Benedict, despite emerging as the show's star, received a relatively paltry $22,000.  Jane Seymour, still listed as Lyra, received $40,000 for was supposed to be a one-shot appearance.
- Day 19 of shooting was scheduled to need over 100 extras, budgeted at over $9,000 for the day.

Friday 22 February 2013


I first posted the cover for the second issue of the new EAGLE (3 April 1982) last year as part of my multi-part overview of the photo-story era.  Since then, however, I acquired (as part of the collection I'm posting now) another copy with the free gold (actually plastic) badge still attached.  So here it is!

In my opinion, this was a better freebie than the spinner mounted on the cover of the first issue.  I guess IPC considered that gift a safe bet, having already used a similar gift to launch 2000AD a few years earlier.  Or, maybe, they thought that the hype around the relaunch would ensure plenty of sales but they needed a decent gift to lure punters back for a second week.  

Wear it with pride.  As the cover says.


This is the third (and final part) of the fan-produced THE VISITORS: A TECHNICAL INFORMATION MANUAL, based on the TV show, published sometime after 1985.

Please see my previous posts for more background information.

Thursday 21 February 2013


Years before SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER made them an essential seventies accessory,  British readers could step-out with these bronze MARVEL COLLECTORS MEDALLION-COINS, as plugged in this August 1974 copy of a Marvel UK weekly.


Here's the second (of three) part of THE VISITOR TECHNICAL INFORMATION MANUAL, a fan-produced "technical manual", of unknown origin, which appeared after the TV show left the air in the latter part of the eighties.

The thing I love about these pages is the illustration of the Visitor Shock Trooper.  For some unknown reason, the artist decided to illustrate the alien's rank-and-file soldier having a casual chat on his mobile phone!

The profiles of the supreme space bitches, Lydia and Diana, also appeared in the unofficial V FILES SERIES (which I covered last year).  Whether this suggests any relationship between the two publications, or whether the technical manual just ripped-off those pages, is unknown.


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