Monday 3 June 2013


This is a House Ad for Marvel UK's SPRING SPECIALS 1986, timed to coincide with the Easter break.

Summer and Winter specials had been a company fixture since 1979 but this was the first time that the publishing programme was expanded further to roll-out another wave of specials.

These were the first specials to abandon the high price-point album format specials of the previous few years in favour of cheaper formats and lower cover prices.  That said, the paper stock was still better than that found on the usual 24-page colour weeklies.  The variable pricing reflected different page counts.  As far as I know, this was the first time M-UK had deviated from a one-size-fits-all format for a batch of specials.

There's several 'firsts' contained herein:

THE TRANSFORMERS COLLECTED COMICS 3 reprinted The Man of Iron, the first UK-originated strip from the fortnightly.  This set the agenda for all subsequent Collected Comics releases which all reran UK strips and never again used US material.

SECRET WARS II abandoned the Collected Comics format (used for the previous summer's SECRET WARS special) in favour of 'new' reprints.  A second, and final, special followed later in the year.  It's significant that Spider-man appears here rather than in his own special which had been a given since '79.

THE A-TEAM SPECIAL wrapped up reprints of the three-issue US limited series, begun the previous summer, by rerunning the third issue.  See here for more on the UK editions (and here for the US Limited Series)

GET ALONG GANG COLLECTED COMICS 2 also favoured UK material above further reprints of the US Star Comics material also serialised in the weekly.

ZOIDS COLLECTED COMICS 1 reprinted the first toy promotional insert and the short run of original strips from SECRET WARS weekly.  This would have been a useful refresher for readers of the just-launched SPIDER-MAN AND ZOIDS weekly who might have missed the earliest chapters.

The FRAGGLE ROCK SPECIAL reprinted US material previously serialised in the (disastrous) THE SPIDER-MAN COMIC.  The Fraggles, despite the relatively high profile of the TV show in the UK (TVS produced Brit-specific 'human' elements, featuring the light house, just for the UK), never graduated to a solo title although they did return as a back-up in MUPPET BABIES.

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