Wednesday, 27 February 2019

MARVEL UK - Anniversary Roll Call: March 2019

This March sees two Marvel UK anniversary's arrive for the price of one.

It was forty years' ago that the next phase of Dez Skinn's multi-pronged Marvel Revolution kicked in with the launch of Hulk Comic (#1, cover dated: 7th March 1979). With the launch unaffected by any industrial action this time - which in certain regions had blighted the relaunch of Marvel Comic and Spider-Man Comic thanks to the haulier's dispute at the tail-end of the 'Winter of Discontent' - a huge financial investment had been placed in the title, which finally delivered on the oft-promised goal of producing a comic with material originated in the UK. The success of the initial issues in support of the popular Hulk TV show - with the lead comic strip closer to that world, to a degree, and superb back-ups in the form of Night Raven, The Black Knight and Nick Fury - was hugely helpful when it came to their next all-originated comic, Doctor Who Weekly, later in November.

Moving on just five years, and by 1984 glossy covers had returned to the Marvel weeklies. yet, 35 years' ago, that year's The Thing is Big Ben (#1, cover dated: 28th March 1984) was an odd exception with it's thick, paper-covered covers. It was also the first, and the only, time that any member of the Fantastic Four would receive their own UK comic, with The Thing's comic running with the final few issues from Marvel Two-in-One Team-Up, supported by other first run reprints from The Invincible Iron Man, as well as from the Kerry Gammill-era of Power Man and Iron Fist (taking over after four weeks of Captain America). 

The only real surprise inside the short-lived comic's 18 issues came from the regular presence of Hunt Emerson's bizarre one page Donald Dogfly strip featuring the lurking menace of Piggy Gruntbeast. As to how that came to appear in the weekly in the first place, and indeed where Piggy was slated to appear next... well, that's yet another story to be told in From Cents to Pence! in the very near future, so keep watching this blog!