Tuesday 16 December 2014

1986: SPIDER-MAN AND ZOIDS Christmas Issue (Marvel UK)

From December 1986: the one-and-only Christmas edition of the short-lived successor to the original SPIDER-MAN weekly: SPIDER-MAN AND ZOIDS.

This reincarnation, after the disastrous reboots of the previous year, was a much-needed return-to-form and a new attempt to appeal to an older readership.  Presumably, SECRET WARS was deemed well-enough established to be able to cope with the competition... or the Annex of Ideas knew that its finite lifespan was coming to an end and launched SM&Z as a would-be replacement (in the end, it only outlasted SWII by a few months).

It's easy to dismiss the Zoids strip as an unwelcome toy brand, representative of the state of the British comics business in the 1980s.  All that is true.  But it was also a stonking good epic in its own right (insert obligatory Grant Morrison reference here) which borrowed liberally from films that the target audience were (in theory) too young to see.  

Indeed, the weekly collapsed (after only 51 issues... with must have made the birthday celebrations bittersweet) because, briefly, it looked like the Zoids were destined for bigger and better things and the consensus was that readers wouldn't stick around for a solo Spidey title, no matter how good the other back-up strips were.  It had been a long fall from 1980 when M-UK had churned-out TWO Spider-man weeklies (the original and MARVEL TEAM-UP), a monthly (SPIDER-MAN POCKET BOOK) and the usual seasonal annuals and specials. 


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. When Pitch Black came out, I remember thinking "that's the plot of Zoids!"

    I loved Zoids as it was more of a sci-fi serial in the 2000ad mold than it was a toy advertisement - or at least it was in the earliest Ian Rimmer stories before it became the comic equivalent of bashing action figures together "to make them fight", but Morrison produced some good stories towards the end that seemed reminiscent of Marvel's "wreck all the toys" approach over in the UK Transformers comics, which makes me think that Morrison's editor (Richard Starkings?) may have done some rewriting.

    (comment edited for grammar)


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