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.


  1. Thank you for adding to my collection of ROM mentions, and nice they used one of my favorite pictures of him.

  2. Everything about this post makes my day! I followed "The Micronauts" through all their appearances in UK media, from my brother's Star Wars weekly, through to my own happily purchased issues of Future Tense. Later, I managed to acquire a complete collection of the US volumes, mostly for 20p. Alas, on one of my transatlantic moves the shipping company lost the box containing these and my complete collection of Gaiman's "The Sandman" - much more upset about losing my copies of "The Micronauts", though, as its easy to get bound volumes of Sandman.

    If you ever fancy a side project, do you think you could add these UK publications into the Wikipedia? It has a horribly US-biased catalogue of content, with no record of these short lived but much loved titles. Even if this isn't your cup of tea, I salute you for your efforts here - it warms the cockles of my heart to see this era of British reprints remembered.

    Bless you and everyone else who remembers "Future Tense"!


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