Friday 16 January 2015


From 1995: The one-and-only (I think) SPACE PRECINCT Graphic Novel from British publisher Manga (an offshoot from the VHS people, notable for scoring a hit in the UK with reprints of the American X-FILES strips).

I was never won over my Gerry Anderson's uncomfortable combination of live-action, models and men in masks at the time.  The tone seemed inconsistent and the production values were all over the place.  It looked (and was) out-of-time compared with the likes of BABYLON FIVE and THE X-FILES.  

That said, I've acquired the DVD set in more recent times (and watched the excellent documentary SPACE PRECINCT LEGACY) and my appreciation has grown (although never particularly soared).  

The whole enterprise wasn't helped by some random scheduling on both sides of the Atlantic.  US syndication was patchy in a market already saturated with similar fare (and evolving so that the number of off-network slots on local stations was diminishing, thanks to the rise of the next generation of networks).  In the UK, the show was sold twice: once to Sky and then to BBC TWO (who insisted on their own edits of some episodes for Compliance reasons)which should have given the show massive exposure... but somehow didn't.

Merchandising was plentiful (I have an action figure of the robot, still on the card, at home somewhere) and included a all-new-material fortnightly from upstart Manga.  The business sense was impeccable: this was a brand spanking new Anderson series at a time when the BBC repeats of his older fare was translating into massive sales for Fleetway's tie-in titles (although, true to form, JOE 90 proved hard to shift).  But, the high cost of the license and commissioning cover-to-cover new material (long-gone were the STAR WARS WEEKLY days when anything with a sniff of science fiction could be used to bulk out the page count), led to (sudden) closure after only six fortnightly issues.  

Preempting the business plan of modern comic books, Manga also planned to package-up the strip content into a succession of collections... but managed only this one. 


  1. how about a follow up blog on the fortnightly...?

  2. God help us, Space Precinct was dreadful - this must be the low point of Gerry Anderson's career. I remember reading somewhere (I think it was a letter in Radio Times) that this type of programme is what gives sci-fi a bad name.

  3. I recently-ish got to rewatch all of Space Precinct, and it was a lot more fun than I remembered, as well as looking like something that would cost a bazillion dollars an episode these days thanks to all those physical FX.
    Didn't 2000ad's Kev Walker do some covers for the comic or something?


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