Tuesday 26 November 2013


Salutations Spider-Friends!

Here it is, the second launch from mighty MARVEL UK: SPIDER-MAN COMICS WEEKLY from February 1973.

Spidey had, of course, been part of the inaugural line-up of THE MIGHTY WORLD OF MARVEL, launched a few months earlier but it didn't take long for him to graduate to his own weekly.

The strip picked-up where MWOM (after 19 issues) left off with a reprint from US AMAZING SPIDER-MAN issue 9.

Spidey's slot in the Marvel anthology was taken, sensibly enough, by Daredevil (from issue 20) as the House Ad below shows.

The long-running back-up strip was Thor, beginning with his first solo appearance from US JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY issue 83.  The Thunder God would bounce around the Marvel UK line-up for another decade before, finally, graduating to his own (short-lived) weekly.

Stan also invited Brits to sign-up for Marvel's fan club: F.O.O.M (Friends Of Ol' Marvel) for a mere 50p.  Membership included a subscription to the club's newsletter but British readers soon noticed a lack of coverage from the British Bullpen and a regular column was added to the line-up.

The Web Head already had a track record in the UK predating the opening of the Annex of Ideas: he'd been part of the POW! line-up from 1967 before being squeezed out as the Power Comics line condensed down from a peak of four titles.  Long-time British readers would have found many of the early British Marvel adventures rather familiar as the weeklies covered a lot of familiar ground.

The launch proved a canny one: although it went through a number of name changes (and even more format swicheroos), the weekly clocked-up a highly respectable 666 issues (through to December 1985) before succumbing to patchy distribution, falling sales, a declining market and a disastrous relaunch.  It returned, for another year, as SPIDER-MAN AND ZOIDS, a few months later.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! I think that this must be the first non-Beano or Dandy-style comic I ever read, I would have been almost 4 years old. I have a vivid memory of reading (looking at the pictures of) Thor battling the Stone men from Saturn and in the back seat of the family Ford Cortina and then telling my Dad all about it excitedly when we arrived home. I remember insisting that my friends at play group all channel their inner Stone Men for some time after that. Didn't Spidey get a horizontal (landscape) UK comic after this? Maybe Super Spiderman?


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