Tuesday, 8 July 2014

When one Bullpen simply wasn't enough...

As you've seen below, Taschen are set to launch a celebration in print of 75 years of the America-born Marvel Comics company this October.


However, over on this side of the 'big pond', October also holds great significance for fans of their UK comics. It was on the very last day of September 1972 that the first (October 7th dated) edition of The Mighty World of Marvel came into being, and it's still with us today, albeit in its umpteenth volume through current keepers of the flame Panini, having just been re-launched again last week to tie-in with the up-coming Guardians of the Galaxy movie in August.

In launching a UK division, Marvel effectively ended up with three Bullpens out of their original US one. When Sol Brodsky was enticed back to Marvel by Stan after he'd left to form Skywald to manage a new Special projects division incorporating the UK comics line, that necessitated the creation of a new Bullpen-within-a-Bullpen to manage the new comics and produce new cover and poster artwork, but their London office then also developed a small Bullpen over time to handle final production work, such as editorial pages, adverts, competitions and promotions.

Whereas we previously knew very little about the interaction between New York and London - and there was a lot - I'm pleased to say that various leads have blown the whole story wide open, and its wilder than you've probably ever imagined. If thought the early years of British Marvel were all about reprints and more reprints until the release of Captain Britain in 1977, well, you might need to sit down! There's more than a few shocks in store...

So yes, work on From Cents... to Pence! (one mock-up front cover shown herein) is nearing resolution at last, and I hope to be in a position to release the first tranche of completed chapters to the editor within the next month or so. At 33 chapters and counting, and clocking in over 250,000 words, because the writing and research of this isn't my day job, this has not been a quick task, but ensuring accuracy (as far as possible) and consistency (easy to lose when working on something piecemeal) will make it all worth it in the end... or so I keep telling myself.

More news soon, I hope.


  1. I've only just learnt of the Dracula Lives special . I always thought that the specials didn't start till Dez Skinn's reign.

  2. Well, strictly speaking that was more of a summer Annual - a B&W version of a series of colour albums that World had produced around 1970. But you're right, the Specials did start before Dez came on board in late 1978 - the first one, funnily enough, at Dez's suggestion (well, he had been Marvel Mastermind question-setter at one point): The Amazing Spider-Man Poster Magazine.