Thursday 15 January 2015


On sale this week in 1981: MARVEL TEAM-UP (UK) issue 19, cover-dated 21 January.

The British edition of MT-U is a bit of an oddity for me: it is, effectively, a second SPIDER-MAN weekly thanks to the Web-slinger's predictable habit of running into other Marvel characters on a regular basis. 

Launched the previous September, it was part of a glut of Spider-man product being churned-out by the British Bullpen.  The 1973-launched weekly was still going strong (and bolstered by the merger of the HULK's weekly in May) and had already been joined by the monthly SPIDER-MAN POCKET BOOK as well as the seasonal specials and the 1980 (for 1981) edition of the annual.  Just how much Spider-man was the great British public demanding?  

The aforementioned POCKET BOOK had launched as a vehicle for TEAM-UP reprints but, when the weekly launched, switched to reprints of the vintage AMAZING SPIDER-MAN strips from the sixties (already familiar to several previous generations of British readers).

The Annex of Ideas must have known the long-delayed (because the studio was cashing-in by releasing selected two-part adventures as movies... as covered in previous posts) UK premiere of the live-action TV show must happen at some point so, possibly, they were anticipating that would-be windfall by filling the shops with product early.  They were a year eschew with their planning, ITV didn't debut it until the autumn of the following year.  

The British MARVEL TEAM-UP had been developed with the working title SPIDER-MAN AND THE SUPER HEROES but this was presumably abandoned,  possibly on the advice of the news trade, on the basis that it sounded too much like the existing weekly and retailers (and punters) might not be able to tell the difference.  The existing weekly had also appeared under a very similar masthead in 1976. 

Team-Up was (like 1979's post-Marvel Revolution incarnation of the existing weekly) a cornucopia of costumed characters with reprints of the Fantastic Four, Daredevil, Ms. Marvel, Morbius the Living Vampire and Jack of Hearts also appearing.  What If, Ant Man and Captain Universe also snuck into the mix later thanks to reprints from MARVEL PREMIERE and MARVEL SPOTLIGHT.

The first Team-up reprinted hailed from US MT-U 25 (1974) and then, thanks to the self-contained nature of most Team-Up stories (which were also appearing way out-of-sync with the Spidey adventures in the main weekly), cherry-picked subsequent strips (omitting plenty along the way).  

The main strip in this issue hailed from MT-U 82 from 1979.  

It ultimately ran for 25 issues before (predictably) folding into the existing weekly.

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