This is something of a MARVEL UK oddity that I stumbled across whilsts trawling the shelves of a secondhand book store: the ultra-rare (this is the only copy I have ever seen) alternative edition of the MARVEL SUPER-HEROES OMNIBUS.
At first glance, it looks like the widely distributed hardback MARVEL SUPER-HEROES OMNIBUS which kept the super-powered flames burning in the dark days after the cancellation of SPIDER-MAN AND ZOIDS, the British Bullpen's last regular in-continuity super hero weekly.
But look again: The cover features a different line-up of characters. Ironically, only one of whom actually appears inside. Open up this distinctly thinner-than-the-omnibus oddity and inside are the contents of the 1986 SPIDER-MAN ANNUAL (the Fire Lord one) sans the front pieces.
I assume that Marvel stripped unsold copies of the Spidey annual and glued the contents into this generic cover. Which opens up the possibility that alternative copies are also knocking around with completely different contents. There's no retail price or hint of where this was being sold. I assume it was a single-retailer 'exclusive' and offered at a discount price. Was there a garden centre chain in the UK stacked to the rafters with rebadged unsold Marvel UK annuals in the late Eighties?
Anyone got any ideas?
Below is the more familiar 1987 edition, an undisputed high point in the long line of British Marvel stocking stuffers. Especially at a time when it really felt like the British operation had abandoned its roots in favour of being a plug house for assorted toy lines and animated shows.
The cover design started life as an edition of the US AVENGERS mag, infinitely adaptable for whoever the British Bullpen wanted to include.