Tuesday, 22 May 2018


After my post on MWOM last year, it was my intention to continue referencing notable Marvel UK dates, as the 45th anniversaries of the early weeklies came up, but things rather slipped after that. In seeking to remedy this, I’ve since plotted all the upcoming anniversaries coming up over the next two years, extending the range to cover all the key birthdays throughout from 1972-1999 before Panini took over.

To begin with, here are the anniversaries that have already passed us by. Please note that the dates mentioned here represent the days that each comic actually went on sale, as opposed to the off-sale dates that appeared on their covers.

UPDATED (25/9/18)... If you’ve been following the on-going conversation below this post, I’ve now amended the entries below to reflect the actual cover dates, with on-sale information where it was included in press adverts and editorial pages at the time. There’s also a brand new entry at the end for this month, too!

In January 2017… it was 35 years ago that saw the release of first merger issue between two monthly titles creating Marvel Superheroes, including Savage Action from #382 (dated: March 1982).

In March 2017… it was 40 years ago since the launch of Fury #1 (dated: 16th March 1977) – the battle was short-lived, and after 25 issues he staggered back into MWOM and enjoyed a much longer run in the comic the second time around – the series had started there originally a few weeks before it had switched over to Fury. In other anniversaries this month, it was 35 years ago since the release of Monster Monthly (April 1982), and later that same month The Incredible Hulk (date: 31st March 1982) went on sale. This month also saw 30th birthdays for Action Force #1 (dated: 7th March 1987) and Thundercats, which according to the adverts debuted on 16th March 1987.

Fury #18 - Carlos Ezquerra
In April 2017… it was 35 years ago since #1 of the unusually lower case-titled cinema (May 1982) went on sale during April 1982. In other anniversaries this month, it was also 25 years ago since the fortnightly Overkill #1 (24th April 1992) went on sale on in early April, anthologising a small fraction of the company’s new and growing US output at the time.

In June 2017… it was 25 years ago since the short-lived W.C.W. #1 (July 1992) went on sale during June 1992.

In September 2017… it was 40 years ago since the arrival of The Complete Fantastic Four #1 (28th September 1977) and it’s free gift of a small, light blue plastic aeroplane kit. In other anniversaries this month, it was 35 years ago since the launch of Fantastic Four #1 (6th October 1982) – slap-bang on the 10th Anniversary of MWOM’s launch – which was advertised as going on sale on the 30th of this month back in 1982. It was also 25 years ago since the debut of the packed, four-weekly 100 page magazine The Exploits of Spider-Man #1 (21st October 1992), which was advertised as going on sale on 24th of this month in 1992.

In October 2017…we previously covered the debut 45 years ago of the original iteration of The Mighty World of Marvel, when it went on sale on the final Saturday of September 1972, but it was also 40 years ago since #1 of Rampage, starring the Dynamic Defenders (19th October 1977) continued the new trend for comics with a complete story in every issue. Rampage was then joined a week later by Marvel UK’s first monthly magazine. Adverts surprised readers with the return of The Savage Sword of Conan #1 (November 1977) on 20th October 1977, just two years after its abject failure as a weekly comic after only 18 issues.

In November 2017… it was 25 years ago since Doctor Who Classic Comics #1 (9th December 1992) first ‘vworped’ in to view according to contemporary adverts on 12th November 1992.

Doctor Who Classic Comics #13

In December 2017… it was 35 years ago since #1 of Marvel UK’s first semi-originated magazine since the weekly Hulk Comic some three years’ earlier, when The Daredevils #1 (dated: January 1993) went on sale during the final month of 1982.

In February 2018… and as mentioned the other week, it was 45 years ago since the launch of the many-titled, and exceedingly long-lived, Spider-Man Comics Weekly #1 (dated: 17th February 1973), said to have gone on sale on the 10th February 1973, but it was also 35 years ago since #1 of the comic that helped save Marvel it Britain (just as its parent comic would across the Atlantic), when Star Wars Weekly #1 (dated: 8th February 1978) arrived in stores at the start of that month.

In April 2018… it was 35 years ago since The Mighty Thor #1 (dated: 20th April 1983) was advertised as going on sale on 14th April 1983, followed the next week by The Original X-Men #1 (dated: 27th April 1983) on the 21st April 1983, while 30 years have elapsed since the monthly (and slightly larger than US-sized) full-colour Alf #1 (dated: May 1988) arrived in newsagents during April 1988.

In September 2018… a mere 30 years have now passed (gulp!) since the launch of the fortnightly anthology comic The Marvel Bumper Comic #1 (dated: 1st October 1988) when it went on sale on two weeks earlier in mid-September.

And that brings us bang up-to-date...at least until next month!


  1. I think your 'on sale' dates might need revising, based on two of them being definitely wrong. MWOM #1 went on sale Saturday 30th September 1972, and SMCW #1 went on sale on Saturday 10th February 1973. (I know that for a fact because I can remember buying them.) The dates that you give (1st October & 11th February) were Sundays and, back then, comics certainly didn't go on sale on Sundays - and probably still don't today.

  2. As an aside, do you happen to know with certainty how many issues were published of W.C.W and Alf? I think the Internet's answer is 7 and 14, respectively, but I've never been 100% sure.

    1. Before I finally post up my response to the other two posts on this topic, just a quick reply to answer this much easier query :)

      Alf actually ended with #15 (July 1989), with Alf stories running concurrently in most issues of the fortnightly, and then weekly, Marvel Bumper Comic, which lasted 31 editions.

      As for W.C.W., you've got a few still to track down I'm afraid, as that finished with #10 (April 1993) and which, like Alf, I do own in full.

      Hope that helps, and sorry for the delay in replying - you'll see why once I post my other rely.

    2. Thanks Rob, this does help! I've been making a list of every comic ever published by Marvel UK for years now, and Alf and W.C.W. were two of the very few REGULAR series for which I didn't know how many issues were published. Thanks!

    3. Hi Davide,

      Actually, I'd love to see that list. As I've explained previously, because I had no idea that I was going to eventually create this book, I didn't buy almost any of the younger reader titles or Specials, and so can't feature full details in the book in the way I have for all the main Marvel Universe-related comics. One or two people have shared their specialist knowledge in this area with me, so if you'd like to add your info to this, I'd love to see, and of course would credit you for providing it.

    4. Of course, I'll show you my list! Where should I send it?

    5. Thanks - if you follow the re:VOX link below over on to Facebook, you'll find a general e-mail address there that you can use.

    6. Hi Rob! I finally sent my Marvel UK list to the e-mail address you referred me to... give me a shout when you'll see it!

    7. Thanks, will look out for it when I next go in to that account - thanks!

  3. Left a comment earlier about your 'day of sale' dates, which are wrong, but it hasn't appeared yet. I can 100% guarantee that MWOM went on sale on September 30th 1972 (October 1st was a Sunday), and SMCW went on sale February 10th 1973 (February 11th was a Sunday). Trust me. Thor was April 13th 1983 and The Original X-Men was April 20th 1983. You seem to be a day out on all your dates, so whatever method you're using to work them out needs another look.

    1. Thanks – as always – for writing, and in this instance, for very much saving me from myself!

      Up until a few days before I hurriedly assembled that post, what I actually had in the text of the book was “on the last day of September” with regards to the release of MWOM. Now, bear with me on this for a minute, as I’ll explain both the origin of the error and why I suddenly, and stupidly thought I’d made an error in writing that.

      You see, I suddenly looked at that 30th September date for MWOM #1 and thought, ‘that can’t be right – you idiot, you’ve counted backwards but forgotten to deduct a day, as the 30th would have been the date when any previous edition would have been dated’. Now the 7th, as you correctly say, was a Saturday. Had I checked that out first, I would have realised that something else was going on here; something that rewrote a different error on my part, based on an incorrect assumption that, I can see now, other things I’ve written later on in the text completely contradicted once I looked in to this further after receiving your message. That’s why I haven’t posted a reply until now, so i could properly spent time looking in to it.

      You see – and this where you’ve done me a MASSIVE favour – I’d assumed, and quite wrongly as it turns out, that those ‘week ending’ cover dates on all the Marvel UK comics since 1972 were pure off-sale dates. That’s why, after all these years, I’d thought I’d made a mistake and that MWOM couldn’t have come out on the 30th, and must have come out on October 1st instead. Of course, had I checked any of the early launch adverts – and, indeed, the launch advert for MWOM I found in that football mag mentioned in a previous post – I’d have realised my mistake, but as I’d always thought they were off-sale date on the covers, why would I have checked to see what day of the week they represented.

      Instead, what I can see now, having checked up on all the adverts that did appear for the 1970s new title releases, is that the dates on the covers up to January 1979 actually all represent the date when the next issue went on sale, rather than showing the last day that any particular issue would be on sale until.

    2. I then looked at what other publishers were doing at the time, and frankly Marvel’s system was far less confusing! Many of their rivals would stick the legends ‘Every Monday’, or ‘Every Wednesday’ etc. on their covers, while unfailingly placing a Saturday date on the cover (at least on all the various titles – Victor, The Beano, Tiger and Scorcher, Look-In, Valiant, TV 21 amongst others – that I sampled over a 30 year span). Whether this was felt as a way to encourage kids, or parents, to pick up the comics by the weekend; inculcating a mentally of ‘gosh, better buy one before they all run out’, when they’d still be on sale for another two or three days if they had Wednesday or Thursday cover legends, I don’t know… although I suspect my editor may be able to shed light on this.

      Speaking of whom, and strangely enough, it was Dez who brought this all to an end with his first editions of the revamped Spider-Man Comic and Marvel Comic. The four page Marvel Revolution advert that preceded their launch by a week clearly trails an on-sale January 17th 1979 date for the relaunch, which was a Wednesday. Now this was also the date carried by that week’s weeklies which contained the advert, so you can see that the old “week ending date” had been subtly shifted into an off-sale one, and all without needing to change the seven day gap between cover dates, as the new cover legend ‘Every Thursday’ on the subsequent comics bears out. Thereafter, most of the Marvel UK cover dates were true off-sale ones, although some titles did revert to carrying on sale dates at various times up to the late 1980s, which is as far as I’ve looked so far...

      So, thanks again. Fascinating stuff. Hopefully, you can now see why I hadn’t twigged any of this before now. It’s only taken me almost thirty years to get there, mind!

      Oh, one thing though, where I’ll have to disagree having trawled through loads of adverts now. The Mighty Thor launch advert clearly states that it went on sale on 14th April, a Thursday, with a Wednesday off-sale cover date of the 20th, while The Original X-Men advert states that it was going on sale on the 21st, with a cover that sports a Wednesday off-sale date of the 27th April.

      I’ll revise the post above accordingly, of course, in light of this as soon as I can.

      Thanks again!

    3. Like you say, Rob, it's confusing, what with different publishers having different systems of dating, and even newsagents don't help matters much. As you know, the advance dates on a comic was to give it a longer shelf life, because if some newsagents saw that a comic was still on the shelf after the date on the cover, they'd return it (comics were sale or return back then) as they thought it was out of date. By having the date that the next issue went on sale, it was meant to ensure that the seller wouldn't send the previous week's comic back 'til the next issue had taken its place on the shelf (or counter).

      However, there's still a problem with what you call the 'off-sale' date. For example, the latest issue of MWOM has an off-sale date of 27th June and a next issue on-sale date of 28th June, but most if not all newsagents who stock the comic won't take the current issue off the shelves on the 27th - they'll leave it to the 28th when they replace it with the next issue. My point being that you can't always take advertised on-sale and off-sale dates as gospel.

      As far as the Thor and X-Men weeklies go, I do seem to remember buying the first issues on a weekday instead of a Saturday (can't recall if it was on a Wednesday or Thursday though), but I'm under the distinct impression that later issues hit the shops on a Saturday. The thing is, whether the on-sale day matched the date on the cover or not, or whether they came out on Wednesday or Saturday, I'm pretty sure that there was a full week between issues. So, like I say, whatever day it was, the next issue came out on the same day the following week (and the previous issue was still on sale until the next issue replaced it). That's because that was the way the distribution system was set up - weekly distribution (in the case of weekly comics obviously).

      So, despite the advertised on-sale and off-sale dates of some comics, I'm not convinced that they always reflected the actual reality.

      Yeah, it's confusing all right.

    4. I'm inclined to agree with you, so glad I never really went into in much detail in the book anyway. I think I'll leave it much that way...

  4. Thanks to those who've posted on this topic - I've seen all your comments and I'm looking in to what you've discussed, so bear with me a little longer before I put your thoughts up here along with an explanation - I want to be sure I've checked everything out. What I can say, is that you've highlighted something very interesting that I wasn't aware of, and it's not nearly as simple as I thought it was a few days ago, either!