Tuesday, 4 June 2013


The MARVEL UK DUNGEONS & DRAGONS SUMMER SPECIAL (1987) is one of those Holy Grail items that I never quite believed existed.  Until now.

I wasn't paying quite as much attention to the Annex of Ideas output in 1987 but I was still keeping one eye on the comics shelf at the newsagents and I don't recall ever seeing a copy of this.  And, in all my subsequent years of collecting, I've never seen a copy... at any price.

I was first tipped-off to its (purported) existence several years ago on a website dedicated to the D&D animated show... but I wasn't convinced.  Not only had I never heard of it, but Marvel US had never published a TV show tie-in, despite the fact that that the series was produced by their own west coast animation outfit AND had a several season run on CBS' Saturday morning schedules.

Marvel UK also didn't (to my knowledge) do anything else with the property.  This wasn't a spin-off from a regular comic and a strip didn't appear as a supporting feature in any other title.

I FINALLY spotted a copy on online recently and - without hesitation - snapped it up!  It's real.  It exists.

It's 36 colour pages with 34 pages of strip plus cover and a back-page House Ad for Marvel's 1987 Summer Specials (MUPPET BABIES and INSPECTOR GADGET, for the record).

The strip, an adaptation of the TV episode A Prison Without Walls (I think I've seen said episode but I don't recall the details so I can't say whether this is a faithful retelling), doesn't have any credits (including for the original TV screenplay which - fact fans - was penned by comics legend Steve Gerber) but I strongly suspect it wasn't originally published in English.  The word balloons throughout are (overly) generously sized suggesting (to me) they were either originally prepared for a language more verbose than English - or - were prepared so that any language could easily be accommodated just by switching-out the black plate when printed.

The first two pages (below) summarise (as per the show's title sequence) how the kids ended-up transported to the D&D realm.  No, my scanner hasn't gone on the fritz: that's how they're published in the comic.  I assume its deliberate.

I've also posted the first - and - last pages from the main story.  Just so that you get a flavour....

The show was cancelled stateside by the time this was published although it did hang around on BBC ONE longer (they always seemed to get their monies worth out of any animated series they acquired with multiple runs over several years) including part of GOING LIVE on Saturday mornings.  Its entirely possible this was timed to coincide with another outing of the show.

Does anyone have any more information on this?  I'd love to know... and share!


  1. As you suspected, the comic was indeed a translation of another country's product.

    A load more details here:

    1. Brilliant!

      Thanks Jon. So the strips were originally prepared for the Spanish market and licensed by Marvel UK.

      I must admit to not knowing about the M-UK published D&D Annual either, which according to that link reprinted a different translated strip.

      It's a pity British Marvel didn't persevere with more reprints.



    2. Hi, I have a near mint condition copy of this comic... I was thinking of selling and was wondering what a good asking price would be

    3. I'd give you $40 USD for it, even though Comicbookrealm.com lists it for 1/10th that. I'm a D&D collector, and creating a campaign setting based on the show.


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