Monday 9 May 2016


From September 1986: the next four issues of MARVEL UK weekly SPIDER-MAN AND ZOIDS.

The first three issues of the month continued to publish just the two titular strips with the extra pages freed up by dropping the third feature allocated to the Spidey reprints. The Zoids strip, with its weekly deadlines and higher origination costs, was restricted to its traditional page count. 

Issue 30 boasted both a revised cover design (possibly intended to make the masthead less unwieldy, although the size and prominence of the toy logo looks locked and possibly contractual, leaving Spider-man to suffer the shrinkage) and the return of the third strip. 

The cynic in me suspects that STAR BRAND was selected because it just happened to be written by Jim Shooter, the US Editor In Chief who was a recurring visitor to the British Bullpen during his period at the top. What better way to keep the New York office happy than to reprint Shooter's strips? The concurrent SECRET WARS II was also one of his. 

It also demonstrated, along with the SPITFIRE AND THE TROUBLESHOOTERS strip in THE TRANSFORMERS, that the British Bullpen were backing the NEW UNIVERSE. The new publishing line contracted and then collapsed soon after Shooter was shown the door by Marvel's new corporate owners (New World) and Marvel UK dropped both strips as soon as it looked dignified to do so. 


  1. Interesting that from issue 30 onwards, Spider-Man's logo is changed to a smaller, less prominent, one, while the Zoids logo is increased in size, as if that is the main draw from then on. I suppose it made sense to emphasise Zoids, since at the time the Transformers weekly would be approaching something of a creative zenith as it tied-in with the then forthcoming (to the UK) release of Transformers: The Movie.

    Spider-Man, despite his popularity and longevity, no longer had a regular presence on UK television by this stage, as the regular broadcasts (repeats only, as the BBC had already shown all the episodes bar one by the end of 1985) of Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends would have been on their way out by this time, if not finished altogether.

    Surely not coincidentally, the next time an actual Marvel character headlines a regular Marvel UK comic is the Hulk in The Incredible Hulk Presents nearly three years later, to tie-in with repeats of the 1982 Hulk animated series on Channel 4.

  2. The cover for issue 30 is also notable for the re-designed inbox.

    Spidey's face had now been replaced with text describing either the contents or a free gift. This became something of a ' house style ' across the m-uk line in titles such as TRANSFORMERS. And its a style I'm quite fond of.

    The cover blurb was of course another red herring. The story which revealed ned leeds to be the hobgoblin was never actually published during spidey's run from the 80's.

    However it WAS reprinted in the more recent collectors edition of SPIDER-MAN.

  3. I should add that the new style inbox only lasted for about 5 issues then reverted to either a pic of spidey or a zoid.


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