From January 1987: New Year: New Merger as SECRET WARS II folds into SPIDER-MAN AND ZOIDS as the (fairly) long-running weekly (nee fortnightly) succumbed to MARVEL UK's traditional First Quarter deck clearing, it wouldn't be the last.
Marvel had already spread the Christmas cheer by bumping up the cover price by 5p at the end of the previous year. Bah humbug.
The first issue of the New Year was also the first to boast cover prices for North America, Quite how extensive the distribution was, and whether US readers embraced a weekly where two-thirds of the contents were serialized reprints, albeit better presented, is unclear.
The brief run of STRIKEFORCE: MORITURI reprints bowed out in issue 45 in order to make way for the merger of SECRET WARS II the following week. The second title with the initials SW to be absorbed. The joy of the SWII enterprise was that Marvel could keep the weekly going for as long as sales allowed by simply slipping in more non-core reprints in between the main issues and official crossovers. Once sales began to nudge cancellation point, they could simply ditch the less relevant stuff and rush full tilt to the climax.
Issue 80 of SECRET WARS II reprinted the end of the official limited series, leaving SM&Z to pick up the coda that, although badged as SWII herein, actually appeared in an issues of THE AVENGERS in the States.
Readers didn't realise it at the time but SPIDER-MAN AND ZOIDS was about to follow its companion into cancellation...
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