Friday 4 August 2017



Buyers of MARVEL UK's 1986 weeklies will be familiar with this one... the (empty) album came bagged with copies of SECRET WARS II issue 66, SPIDER-MAN AND ZOIDS issue 31 and TRANSFORMERS issue 81.  All cover-dated 4 October.  So, if you were a True Believer, there was a good chance you ended up with three of the things!

The following week's issues all included a packet of stickers to help fuel the addiction.

The timing of this one seemed a bit weird back-in-the-day.  MARVEL UK was deep into the sprawling SECRET WARS II saga (the weekly switched storylines, and title, from issue 32) and the original Battle World romp seemed a little like ancient history.

Secret Wars - probably because it lacked the support of an animated series (although this album did briefly spark playground rumours that one was on its way) - never became the same mass marketing event in the UK that it was in the States... but we did get some spin-off merchandising, including the Mattel action figures that sparked it all.

As for the album itself: it basically takes the Jim Shooter-created premise of the original limited series and fleshes it out with more events, as illustrated in the not-seen-in-the-comics page below.  Maybe Shooter should get more credit for creating a scenario where - in theory - the heroes and villains could encounter an unlimited number of new threats and challenges.  Much like the we're-on-a-quest SF shows of the 1970s.  Except they never seemed to last long.

The artwork is uncredited throughout.  The panels are not lifted directly from the comics so I assume they were probably done by one (or maybe a team) of jobbing artists somewhere.  It must have kept them busy for a while... which may explain the relatively late launch.

The events of the sequel are - possibly because it was something of a sprawling mess - ignored.

The giveaway didn't seem to have much of an impact on my peers.  Unlike the TRANSFORMERS album given away earlier in the year, no one I knew (including me) bothered with this one.  Maybe it's because superheroes weren't quite as cool in the mid-eighties or maybe it lacked the all-important shiney cards (a gimmick nicked from football sticker collecting).  The art - whilst cool - couldn't compete with actual animation stills as seen in the TF collection.

Marvel Productions did - btw - punt the idea of a Secret Wars animated series to the US broadcasters but couldn't find any takers.

This isn't one of the three albums I ended up with that week.  All are now long-gone.  I found a completed copy (result!) in a store and couldn't pass up the chance to finally own it.


  1. It's still strange to think that Marvel, whose animation studio's remit was to produce more faithful animated versions of their characters, couldn't successfully sell a Secret Wars animated series to any of the networks.

    Their 1980s Spider-Man and Hulk animated series were really rather well done for the time, but I guess without specific toy tie-ins the figures didn't add up compared to the many Hasbro shows they later did.

  2. I had this album and I'm pretty sure I completed it too. I've just found your blog via an internet search because last week I read the original Secret Wars series for the first time in decades and I noticed that there were scenes missing that I knew I'd read.

    (The most prominent one in my memory is Mr Fantastic stretching up to speak to Galactus face to face. Doesn't happen in the comic.)

    It turns out that the "missing" scenes are unique to the sticker album, so thank you for solving that mystery!


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