Thursday 8 January 2015

1988: BATMAN UK Launch Ad (London Editions)

From July 1988: a launch ad for London Edition's UK reprints of BATMAN.

LE were already running a SUPERMAN comic (which is where this ad appeared) and smartly added Batman in anticipation of the 1989 Tim Burton movie.

The ad is deliberately evocative of the Sixties live-action series and sundry spin-offs.  It was still (thanks to near-constant reruns) the incarnation of Bats most familiar to the British public.  LE shifted the tone, and the selection of strips reprinted, over time to better reflect the tone of the movies and (presumably) the rising age demographic of the readership.  UK comics were also entering the "Dark Age" of the early 1990s. 

LE had past form with DC reprints: They published a series of Superman and Batman Pocket Books (unlike Marvel UK... there's were colour) in the late Seventies.  They then launched the black-and-white monthly SUPERHEROES in the early eighties and annuals based on various top level DC characters through sister company World Distributors.  Superheroes and the annuals both often featured new art commissions from British artists.  

SUPERMAN and BATMAN plugged the gap for superpowered fare left by Marvel UK's temporary retreat from the genre following the closure of SPIDER-MAN AND ZOIDS.  The line expanded (and frequently contracted again soon after) with the launches of DC ACTION (plush reprints of the Teen Titans, Animal Man and the Creeper: see here for more), ZONES (classy reprints of Swamp Thing and others), SHOCKWAVE (Animal Man, Black Orchid and Hellblazer: see here for more) and HEROES (weekly reprints of The Legion and Brave and the Bold: see here for more).

London Editions, part of a larger European group, became Egmont and entered into a joint-venture with Robert Maxwell's Fleetway.  After his death, and the collapse of his smoke-and-mirrors empire, Egmont took full control of the Fleetway side of the business.  Superman (always the weaker of the two titles) faltered and eventually the two titles combined... and then shuttered altogether. 


  1. Thanks a lot for this,SR. The London DC comics are hard to find on the internet!

  2. To add to the 1960s-style flavour, I recall that Adam West himself was brought into the UK by LE to publicise the new title, and provide an interview for its first issue.

    Hard to think that as late as 1988, West's Batman was still how the character was thought of in the UK - even the infamous Austin Metro advert, shot in the U.S., the previous year was firmly in the style of the then-twenty year old series.

  3. Has anyone come across Batman Presents (1990) also by London Editions? I'm trying to find out how many issues were in the series. I believed I had the entire series (1-9)
    Issue 1 featuring Batgirl and Issue 9 featuring Ras Al Ghul.

    Other online sources say that there were 12 issues in this series before it was replaced by Batman : Special Edition 1-7.

    Were there 9 issues or 12?

    I think there had been earlier Batman Monthly Presents Comics in 1989 (Prior to the Batgirl Issue) as I vaguely remember a Joker and a Penguin Special.


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