Friday 22 July 2016


From February 1988: Marvel UK's much heralded ACTION FORCE weekly runs out of road after a mere fifty issues, one less than SPIDER-MAN AND ZOIDS mustered... and considerably less than the three year run in IPC's BATTLE ACTION FORCE.

The cancellation came as so drying of a shock at the time. It felt like the British Bullpen had a surefire winner. THE TRANSFORMERS had been selling well for several years and it seemed a sure bet that this fellow Hasbro property would fair equally well. Hasbro had taken over the toy franchise, from Palitoy, a year or so earlier and reinvigorated it with more ambitious packaging designs, punchy TV advertising (using Marvel animation) and a multimedia merchandising roll out (modeled on G.I. JOE) which included, for the first time, episodes of the Joe animated series (redubbed, but not reanimated, and with a new title sequence to remove the most obvious Joe references) albeit only on VHS because they couldn't score a broadcast deal.

Marvel's package was also pretty attractive: a full colour 24 page weekly on decent paper (none of the surplus newsprint dumped on the IPC weeklies from Reed International's paper mills) which combined new UK material (focused to plug whichever toy Hasbro were desperate to shift at retail) and reworked GIJ strips, seen in the UK for the first time.

Despite the setback, AF continued to be part of the British Marvel arsenal. The US reprints transferred to THE TRANSFORMERS and the UK strips moved into a monthly, also sold in the States as G.I. JOE EUROPEAN MISSIONS, which clocked up 15 issues.

US reprints also appeared in THE INCREDIBLE HULK PRESENTS in late 1989. Marvel also published several annuals and specials.

1989 also saw the toys rebadged as G.I. JOE: THE ACTION FORCE to bring them in line with international marketing efforts.


  1. Action Force felt like the last great Marvel UK weekly to me, I was sorry to see it close. It ran some fabulous original material.

    Transformers Weekly continued, of course, but that always felt more toy-ific, where AF had more of a superhero-military vibe.

  2. You cant argue with success though as TF lasted for more than 300 issues.

    Ah yes, those infamous words ' great news inside ' which always meant the title had been cancelled or was about to fold into another title.

    ' great ' news indeed !


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...