Monday 3 June 2013


I've always found these three Marvel UK WESTERN GUNFIGHTERS SPECIALS, published in 1980-81 pretty perplexing.  This was the height of the SF boom years (THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK and MISSION GALACTICA were in cinemas, BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, BUCK ROGERS IN THE 25th CENTURY, DOCTOR WHO and BLAKE'S SEVEN were on British TV) yet - somewhat counter-intuitively - Marvel seemed to think the kids would lap-up these creaky reprints (in fairness, the Caleb Hammer strip from the '81 special was a recent import from MARVEL PREMIERE) from a bygone age.

Maybe I'm being a little unfair, the fact that three specials appeared suggests that someone, somewhere, was buying these.  Or, at the very least, distributors and newsagents remained enthusiastic.

Part of Dez Skinn's brief was to expand the British Marvel offering outside of the traditional superhero fare and make better use of the Marvel back catalogue.  And cowboys were certainly hitherto untapped.  Probably with good reason.

The original piece of Frank Bellamy art adorning the Summer 1980 edition was a piece actually owned by Skinn.

Skinn had departed the company by the summer of 1980 which shows that the enthusiasm for the title went further than Skinn himself.  Most of his one-shots were intended as pilots for possible ongoing titles, although there's no sign that a cowboy title was in the offing.




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