Marvel UK 70s & 80s Leftovers Timeline

marvel70stimelinelogo

A few weeks ago we looked at the Mighty World of Marvel and Spider-Man Comics Weekly family trees, so here’s a timeline of the remaining Marvel UK comics of the 70s and 80s.

Why only the 70s & 80s? Why, that’s simple! Beyond the 80s it’s a scary nightmarish quagmire, that’s why. Marvel UK was sold to Panini at the end of 1999 (as noted in the Doctor Who entry below) — the UK publishing operation having been merged with Panini UK back in 1995, after Marvel had bought Panini along with several other companies – and that’s when reprint titles began to shoot out all over the place, with many of them rebooted multiple times. So many first issues… it’s too hard to keep track! (Update: Thanks to Rob Kirby for clarifying the Marvel/Panini connection!)

This chart is to the same scale as the MWOM and SMCW chart, so you could print them out and stick them side-by-side, making sure to line up the year-markings. As you’ll see, I’ve tried to group the titles by theme, but that’s not always been possible (or I gave up too quickly).

Marvel UK timeline 2d s(Click the image to see how it might look if you were Ant-Man!)

starwars1Star Wars Weekly
From: 8 February, 1978
To: 1 July, 1983
Duration: 5 years, 5 months
Issues: 171
Relaunched as: Return of the Jedi

Not the first Marvel UK tie-in comic (that was Planet of the Apes), but this was a huge success. The adaptation of the movie was split over the first twelve issues, and then came the even more exciting stuff: new Star Wars material! It used to bother me that in those further adventures Luke and co mostly stayed in their Star Wars outfits, but then I realised that it was so that the readers could more easily identify them. Anyway, the characters finally got new clothes (as did the Emperor) with issue #118, when the adaptation of The Empire Strikes Back was printed. At the same time, the comic was appropriately renamed Star Wars Weekly: The Empire Strikes Back. It became a monthly publication with #140, and the title was simplified to Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. It was further simplified to just Star Wars from #159. Relaunched as Return of the Jedi.

doctorwho1Doctor Who Weekly
From: 17 October, 1979
To: Ongoing
Duration: 39 years, 5 months
Issues: 535

I’ve already covered Doctor Who Weekly before in great detail, but here’s a quick recap: Initially weekly, then monthly (with the title changed to simply Doctor Who) from #44 (September 1980). The title changed again to Doctor Who Monthly from #61 (February 1982), then Doctor Who Magazine from #85 (February 1984). Published by Panini UK from #286.

funandgames1Superhero Fun and Games
From: 1 March, 1980
To: 1 Dec, 1981
Duration: 1 year, 10 months
Issues: 22

Marvel-based puzzles and the like along the lines of, “Can you help Hulk find his way out of this maze?” Well, yeah, I can, but he’s the Hulk. He could simply smash the puny maze. As far as I remember, this one wasn’t actually a comic, so I removed it from this list. And then put it back in again, because otherwise someone is bound to complain about its absence. Then removed it again, because I refuse to let my actions be shaped by the fear of something that someone might do. Then I put it back in again because I haven’t seen every issue of Superhero Fun and Games so for all I know maybe it did include some comic strips. Update: Rob Kirby assures me that it did indeed contain some comic-strip material, in issues #13 and #17, as part of an ‘add-your-own-captions’ story-writing competition! Rob’s also helpfully supplied correct information about the comic’s start and end dates and number of issues!

chillerpb1Chiller Pocket Book
From: 1 March, 1980
To: 1 July, 1982
Duration: 2 years, 4 months
Issues: 28

One of the first of Marvel UK’s digest-size Pocket Books line… Taking a note from the experimental landscape format of The Titans,  these monthly Pocket Books were A5 sized — as covered elsewhere on this blog — where the usual British Marvels were A4. Nice little books they are, too. Usually around fifty-two pages, enough space to pack in two US Marvel issues.

epicillustratedEpic Illustrated
From: 1 March, 1980
To: 1 February, 1986
Duration: 5 years, 11 months
Issues: 34

Quarterly for first four issues, then bimonthly, Epic was not technically a Marvel UK title: it was imported from the USA and from #9 the UK price was printed on the cover alongside the US price. An absolute gem of a comic for most of its run, it was very much adult-oriented. Glossy throughout, lots of colour, and massively expensive compared to the weeklies… but worth every penny.

frantic1Frantic
From: 1 March, 1980
To: 1 July, 1981
Duration: 1 year, 4 months
Issues: 18
Absorbed into: Marvel Madhouse

Grown-up humour comics were fairly big for a while — Mad and Cracked being the biggest — and this was Marvel’s attempt to do the same, using strips culled from their US-based Crazy magazine as well as some original material. And reprints of Howard the Duck — always a good thing!

starheroespb1Star Heroes Pocket Book
From: 1 April, 1980
To: 1 July, 1982
Duration: 2 years, 3 months
Issues: 28

Micronauts and Battlestar Galactica! What more could you want? By 1980 I was able to afford more comics — thanks to assorted part-time jobs — so this was a must-have. I was a huge, huge fan of Battlestar Galactica until I actually watched it (it was very late reaching these shores) but the comics were still great. I was very disappointed when the X-Men strip was introduced and then the comic itself was renamed X-Men Pocket Book (from issue 12). Not that I didn’t like the X-Men: I just wanted more science fiction strips.

spider-manpb1Spider-Man Pocket Book
From: 1 April, 1980
To: 1 July, 1982
Duration: 2 years, 3 months
Issues: 28

Reprints of the US Team-Up comics which always featured Spider-Man and another hero. Also reprinted some of the earliest tales from Amazing Spider-Man (which would have mostly been unseen in the UK since the days of MWOM and SMCW).

ffpb1The Fabulous Fantastic Four Pocket Book
From: 1 April, 1980
To: 1 July, 1982
Duration: 2 years, 3 months
Issues: 28

Marvel UK’s second go at giving the Fantastic Four their own title. This one reprinted the origin story in issue #1, but then skipped ahead to the 70s to more or less carry on from where the FF left off in MWOM.

forcesincombat1Forces in Combat
From: 15 May, 1980
To: 21 January, 1981
Duration: 8 months
Issues: 37
Absorbed into: Future Tense

Another attempt, following 1977’s Fury, to break into the war-comics market. This one fared slightly better, but it still didn’t make much headway. Folded into the science-fiction themed Future Tense which was about the closest match Marvel had to it (still not very close, though).

conanpb1Conan the Barbarian Pocket Book
From: 1 November, 1980
To: 1 November, 1981
Duration: 1 year
Issues: 13

With the monthly Savage Sword of Conan going strong, this was effectively a revival of the weekly 1975 version, complete with the same cover from issue #1, which was a bit cheaty.

hulkpb1The Incredible Hulk Pocket Book
From: 1 November, 1980
To: 1 November, 1981
Duration: 1 year
Issues: 13

Marvel’s second stand-alone Hulk title. This one reprinted many of the earliest Hulk adventures.

youngromancepb1Young Romance Pocket Book
From: 1 November, 1980
To: 1 November, 1981
Duration: 1 year
Issues: 13

Includes reprints from the US Marvel romance titles. Very collectible nowadays!

titanspb1The Titans Pocket Book
From: 1 November, 1980
To: 1 November, 1981
Duration: 1 year
Issues: 13

Unlike its progenitor, The Titans Pocket Book was the same format as its colleagues. Shame! It would have been interesting to see a digest comic in landscape mode with two US-comic pages reprinted on each A5 page.

futuretense1Future Tense
From: 5 November, 1980
To: 1 January, 1982
Duration: 1 year, 2 months
Issues: 41
Absorbed: Forces in Combat, Valour

IPC’s science fiction comic 2000AD was massively successful, and Marvel were sitting on a great big teetering pile of science fiction strips, so it made sense that they should dip their toes in that water. What doesn’t make sense is that they waited so long to do so, more than three and a half years after 2000AD‘s launch. Sadly, Future Tense didn’t survive long — cheap newsprint paper, non-glossy cover, plus it went monthly from issue #36 — but it was a pretty good comic while it lasted. Darned good name, too!

valour1Valour
From: 5 November, 1980
To: 11 March, 1981
Duration: 4 months
Issues: 19
Absorbed into: Future Tense

Launched at the same time as Future Tense, but with fantasy-oriented strips. Doctor Strange, Thor, Conan again, etc. Valour‘s biggest drawback was that we’d seen most of these strips before. For a newcomer, sure, they would have been exciting, but the British comics market was in a slump and a new title would have to be something really special to stand out.

captainamerica1Captain America (1981)
From: 25 February, 1981
To: 7 April, 1982
Duration: 1 year, 1 month
Issues: 59
Absorbed: Marvel Action, Marvel Super Adventure

I’ve covered an issue of Captain America on my quasi-semi-regular Pocket-Money Comics series. This one has a slightly unusual history when it comes to mergers: when it absorbed Marvel Action with #20 the title became Marvel Action starring Captain America, but it reverted to Captain America from #29. Then it absorbed Marvel Super Adventure with #37, though this was not reflected in the title or mentioned on the cover.

marvelaction1Marvel Action
From: 1 April, 1981
To: 8 July, 1981
Duration: 3 months
Issues: 15
Absorbed into: Captain America (1981)

Another go at pushing Thor and Fantastic Four onto the market. And sadly another failure.

marvelsuperadventure1Marvel Super Adventure
From: 6 May, 1981
To: 28 October, 1981
Duration: 6 months
Issues: 26
Absorbed into: Captain America (1981)

The Black Panther and Daredevil were heavily featured on the cover of the first issue here, which is good. Less good is the title, which is really clunky. I mean, “Marvel Action” flows, “Marvel Super Adventure” sounds like a direct translation from a foreign title: “Marvel Fun and Weekly Action Adventure Comic Super” with four exclamation marks and speed-lines all over the place.

madhouse1Marvel Madhouse
From: 1 June, 1981
To: 1 October, 1982
Duration: 1 year, 4 months
Issues: 17
Absorbed: Frantic

Humorous happenings in the Marvel style, reprinting strips from the US title Not Brand Echh!

blake's71Blake’s 7
From: 1 October, 1981
To: 1 August, 1983
Duration: 1 year, 10 months
Issues: 23

Got to be honest, I didn’t even remember that there had been a Blake’s 7 comic until I started compiling my British comics database a few years ago. In fact, I’ve got an unsettling feeling that, more than once, I’ve publicly stated my mild surprise that there was never a Blake’s 7 comic. Oops. Anyway, here it is, real and not in any way made up by me.

marvelclassiccomics1Marvel Classics Comics Pocket Book
From: 1 October, 1981
To: 15 March, 1982
Duration: 6 months
Issues: 12

A ‘pocket-book’-sized title that reprinted issues of the Classic series that were pretty popular in the US. Titles like War of the Worlds, Alice in Wonderland, etc. Unlike Marvel’s other Pocket Books, the publishing frequency was two issues per month.

worzel1Worzel Gummidge (1981)
From: 1 October, 1981
To: 1 July, 1982
Duration: 9 months
Issues: 10

When I was younger it bothered me that Jon Pertwee was better-known for being Worzel Gummidge than he was for being Doctor Who, but now that I’m older and wiser, it really bothers me.

scoobydoo1Scooby-Doo and His TV Friends
From: 24 February, 1982
To: 8 June, 1983
Duration: 1 year, 3 months
Issues: 68

Does exactly what it says on the cover: comic-strip versions of those Hanna-Barbera cartoons that as grown-ups we’re often surprised to discover were either rather subversive for their time, or actually rubbish. Or both.

monstermonthly1Monster Monthly
From: 1 April, 1982
To: 1 November, 1982
Duration: 7 months
Issues: 8

Reprinted strips from the US Marvel horror comics (most notably Frankenstein by Chris Claremont and John Buscema), plus articles on classic monster movies.

kimKim
From: 24 April, 1982
To: 2 June, 1983
Duration: 1 year, 1 month
Issues: 59

A magazine aimed at young teenage girls… Contained photo-stories, but apparently more of a mag than a comic.

rupert1Rupert Weekly
From: 20 October, 1982
To: 12 September, 1984
Duration: 1 year, 11 months
Issues: 100
Absorbed: Worzel Gummidge (1983)
Absorbed into: StoryLand

Ah, Rupert Bear! You’ll remember him from books and newspaper strips you didn’t enjoy very much as a child. Comics-wise, Rupert had previously appeared in the Polystyle Publications publication Pippin. In 1991, Marvel would try again with a second Rupert comic, but that’s outside the scope of this feature. And remember, folks, it’s always “Rupert Bear” not “Rupert the Bear” (which is what it would have been except that Rupert’s grandfather changed the family name when he came over from the old country in order to make it easier to find work).

worzelweekly1Worzel Gummidge (1983)
From: 9 March, 1983
To: 10 August, 1983
Duration: 5 months
Issues: 23
Absorbed into: Rupert Weekly

Another stab at a Worzel Gummidge title. A weekly one this time, arriving less than a year after the monthly version was cancelled.

rotj1Return of the Jedi
From: 22 June, 1983
To: 7 June, 1986
Duration: 2 years, 11 months
Issues: 155
Relaunch of: Star Wars Weekly

Thanks to the way cover-dates work, there’s potential for a little confusion here: Star Wars Weekly (by now simply titled Star Wars) had become a monthly with its last issue cover-dated July 1983, the month after this first issue of Return of the Jedi. Comics historians will note that I have kindly avoided featuring the cover of ROTJ issue #9, which proudly boasted a Free Bagde!” Said comics historians will also note that I didn’t avoid mentioning it.

topcat1Top Cat’s TV Comic Show
From: 21 September, 1983
To: 20 June, 1984
Duration: 9 months
Issues: 40

Marvel UK comics had some very awkward titles, but most of those came about organically through mergers with other comics — The Mighty World of Marvel Featuring The Incredible Hulk and Planet of the Apes is a good example — but this one really is the sort that makes your brain frown. Maybe it was meant to be “Top Cat’s TV Show Comic” which would have been a bit better, but someone accidentally got it the wrong way around. That sort thing can happen quite easily if you’re not attention paying.

storyland1StoryLand
From: 28 March, 1984
To: 10 August, 1985
Duration: 1 year, 4 months
Issues: 71
Absorbed: Rupert Weekly

Confession time: although above I mention that StoryLand absorbed Rupert Weekly I’ve not yet found incontrovertible proof of that. My evidence that it did: Rupert Weekly‘s final issue was dated 12 September 1984, and issue #27 of StoryLand, dated 29th September 1984, is titled Rupert in StoryLand. It retained that title until #34, when it gained an extra word to become Rupert is in StoryLand. It reverted to StoryLand from issue #46 or #47 (Feb 1985). Update: Thanks to Richard Sheaf of the excellent Boys Adventure Comics blog, we now have proof that StoryLand did indeed absorb Rupert Weekly — see the Updates section at the bottom of this article for details!

transformers1The Transformers
From: 20 September, 1984
To: 18 January, 1992
Duration: 7 years, 4 months
Issues: 332
Absorbed: Action Force, Visionaries

I turned eighteen in 1984 so I was the wrong age for The Transformers when they first showed up. According to my calculations and my prejudices, to properly appreciate these robots that turn into other things, you have to be under nine or over thirty. So for a very long time I had zero exposure to Optimus Prime and his pals, which is a shame because a lot of these stories are absolutely cracking good stuff. Anyway… This very successful publication went through a lot of title changes…
#1: The Transformers
#153: The Transformers and Action Force
#183: The Transformers and Visionaries
#191: The Transformers and Action Force
#200: Transformers
#201: Transformers and Action Force
#213: Transformers and Visionaries
#220: Transformers and Action Force
#232: Transformers
#248: Transformers and Action Force
#249: Transformers and G.I. Joe
#250: Transformers
#251: Transformers and G.I. Joe
#306: The Transformers

captainbritainm1Captain Britain (1985)
From: 1 January, 1985
To: 1 February, 1986
Duration: 1 year, 1 month
Issues: 14

A genuinely classic comic, and one of Marvel UK’s best. It’s effectively a spin-off from The Mighty World of Marvel, where the revived and reinvented Captain Britain was a great success. Sadly, this title didn’t really take off as well as it should, and was cancelled a year later — without being officially absorbed into another title.

carebears9Care Bears
From: 14 January, 1985
To: 13 January, 1990
Duration: 5 years
Issues: 185

Anthropomorphic animals with tattoos on their stomachs. And that’s about all I can tell you about the Care Bears. Except that they might not all be bears because one of those two characters on that cover is either a lion or Barry Gibb from the Bee Gees.

getalonggang1Get Along Gang
From: 20 April, 1985
To: 24 January, 1987
Duration: 1 year, 9 months
Issues: 93

Haven’t a clue, sorry. I never even heard of the Get Along Gang before I encountered this comic. The cover has animals wearing clothes, and they’re apparently driving a train, which is a very bad message to be sending to the kids.

secretwars1Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars
From: 27 April, 1985
To: 10 January, 1987
Duration: 1 year, 8 months
Issues: 80

Yay! Superheroes again, and this time, they’re beating the living tar out of each other! This was great stuff: an early Marvel “event” title that had some actual long-lasting consequences.

zoids1Spider-Man and Zoids
From: 8 March, 1986
To: 21 February, 1987
Duration: 11 months
Issues: 51

Who says this isn’t the Marvel Age of Licensed Properties? At least this one still had some Marvel characters — and to be honest the Zoids material (original to this comic) was generally very good. But still… We’re now deep into that tie-in era, with new titles coming thick and fast.

sindy1Sindy
From: 19 April, 1986
To: 14 February, 1987
Duration: 10 months
Issues: 44

Sindy’s a doll, the British equivalent of Barbie, only younger and nicer. I seem to recall that Sindy is meant to be a young teenager while Barbie is an older teenager. Effectively, that meant that Sindy was more interested in ponies and ballet, while Barbie’s focus was on boys and clothes. I could be wrong, though. I’m not really the intended audience.

acorngreen1Acorn Green
From: 11 October, 1986
To: 13 June, 1987
Duration: 8 months
Issues: 36

Another one of which I have no memories. More cute animals wearing human clothes.

muppetbabies3Muppet Babies
From: 1 November, 1986
To: 19 March, 1988
Duration: 1 year, 4 months
Issues: 56

The Phantom Menace of the muppets, but without Yoda, of course, because Frank Oz was too busy being Fozzie Bear. Another one I’ve never read.

popples1Popples
From: 1 February, 1987
To: 4 October, 1987
Duration: 8 months
Issues: 36

Yet more anthropomorphic animals, but this time, they’re naked! Unless of course that stuff on their heads is not hair, but a hat. Can a bear still be considered naked if it’s only wearing a hat? What about a tie? Are they nude if they’re still wearing a tie? If they’re not nude wearing a tie, would they be nude if they were wearing only a wristwatch? Or a ring? Or nail-varnish? And how did this chain of thought arrive here so quickly?

actionforce1Action Force
From: 7 March, 1987
To: 13 February, 1988
Duration: 11 months
Issues: 50
Absorbed into: The Transformers

As I understand things, Action Force was a line of toys released by Palitoy in the UK. They first showed up in comic form around 1983 in IPC’s title Battle-Action. This strip was successful enough for a series of Action Force mini-comics to be given away with assorted IPC comics, and later Action Force was reintroduced to Battle-Action, which was then retitled Battle Action Force. After the Palitoy company was taken over by Hasbro in 1986, the licence to produced Action Force comics was acquired by Marvel. This version reprinted US G.I. Joe strips, as well as some new UK-originated material.

thundercats1Thundercats
From: 21 March, 1987
To: 12 January, 1991
Duration: 3 years, 10 months
Issues: 129
Absorbed: Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers

As with The Transformers, I was a little too old for Thundercats. My wife, however, is a few years younger than I am and she remembers it well. In fact, I think she still has a crush on Lion-O. Hey… I was twenty-one in 1987, so she would have been seventeen. Huh. Well, there’s one to keep on the back-burner for the next time she brings up something embarrassing about me!

sindymag1Sindy Magazine
From: 1 August, 1987
To: 21 January, 1989
Duration: 1 year, 6 months
Issues: 22

Six months after the weekly Sindy comic was cancelled, Marvel took another shot at it, though monthly this time (until issue #14; fortnightly thereafter). To be honest, info on this one is pretty scarce. I’ve not been able to confirm how long it lasted, but I do know there were at least 22 issues.

inspectorgadget3Inspector Gadget
From: 1 October, 1987
To: 1 February, 1988
Duration: 4 months
Issues: 3

A bimonthly title, reprinted from the US version. It lasted until at least issue #3, but other than that very little is known.

madballs1Madballs
From: 1 October, 1987
To: 1 May, 1988
Duration: 7 months
Issues: 8

Uncle Rusty is deep into terra incognita now, folks. Not a clue what Madballs were. I do know, because of research, that the Madballs comic published by Marvel in America lasted for ten issues which is two more than this one,  but what I don’t know is how that information is of any use to anyone except me for the purposes of padding this paragraph.

thomastankengineThomas the Tank Engine & Friends
From: 31 October, 1987
To: 1 November, 2004
Duration: 17 years
Issues: 445

Thomas the Tank Engine is a train, so I don’t know why he’s not called Thomas the Train. He can talk and he has a face and friends and stuff. I don’t know how the thing is supposed to work. I’ve never seen the show or read the comics. Does he have a driver and an engineer living inside him? What about the passengers: can they communicate with him? Is he a sort of robot, or… is he alive?!

ewoks2Ewoks
From: 1 November, 1987
To: 1 August, 1988
Duration: 9 months
Issues: 10

The Ewoks are the second worst thing about Star Wars: Return of the Jedi (the worst is C-3PO, the most annoying machine in the universe, and clearly the rebels thought the same: “Guys, we’re all going down to the forest planet so make sure you wear your camouflage so that you’ll blend into the background and not get spotted by the stormtroopers. Um… not you, C-3PO. Your shiny gold paint will be fine, I promise.”), and this is a too-cute version of the Ewoks, which were already a too-cute version of Wookiees.

ghostbusters1The Real Ghostbusters
From: 26 March, 1988
To: 1 September, 1992
Duration: 4 years, 5 months
Issues: 193
Absorbed: Slimer!

Another comic version of a cartoon based on a movie. I’ve never seen the cartoon, and I’m not a huge fan of the movies (they’re quite good, but I didn’t love them), so this one wasn’t for me.

visionaries1Visionaries
From: 1 April, 1988
To: 1 October, 1988
Duration: 6 months
Issues: 7
Absorbed into: The Transformers

Visionaries is another one that completely passed me by. Based on toys, apparently.

ladylovelylocksLady Lovely Locks
From: 16 April, 1988
To: 1 October, 1988
Duration: 5 months
Issues: 13

Information on this one is extremely scarce. I know that it was based on a toy, fortnightly and lasted for at least 13 issues, but that’s about it.

alf1.jpgAlf
From: 1 May, 1988
To: 1 April, 1989
Duration: 11 months
Issues: 12

Alf was an alien who lived with an American family and wanted to eat their cat. Never watched the show, but I know it was very popular, a sort of puppet version of Mork and Mindy.

flintstones1The Flintstones and Friends
From: 7 May, 1988
To: 25 March, 1989
Duration: 10 months
Issues: 24

Fortnightly, in the same vein as the Scooby-Doo and His TV Friends and Top Cat’s TV Comic Show comics. Possibly relaunched as Cartoon Time.

galaxyrangers1Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers
From: 21 May, 1988
To: 10 September, 1988
Duration: 4 months
Issues: 9
Absorbed into: Thundercats

Another cartoon tie-in, I think. Again, not one I’m familiar with, but when I first encountered the comic I did wonder whether it might have anything to do with Harry Harrison’s spoof science fiction novel Star-Smashers of the Galaxy Rangers. Sadly, it doesn’t.

actionforcemonthly1Action Force Monthly
From: 1 June, 1988
To: 1 August, 1989
Duration: 1 year, 2 months
Issues: 15

Arriving a few months after the cancellation of the weekly Action Force title, this monthly version was more of the same.

dragon'sclaws1Dragon’s Claws
From: 1 July, 1988
To: 1 April, 1989
Duration: 9 months
Issues: 10

The first Marvel UK title since Spider-Man and Zoids (launched two years previously) to feature original material that wasn’t based on an existing non-Marvel licence! Sure, two years might not seem very long, but eighteen new publications had launched during that time. Dragon’s Claws was the herald of a new era of home-grown creativity for the company, with high-quality comics now in full-colour and the same size as standard US comics, which means that they can be displayed on the same shelves as American comics and not relegated to some other section where the potential buyers can’t find them.

bumper1The Marvel Bumper Comic
From: 1 October, 1988
To: 22 July, 1989
Duration: 9 months
Issues: 31

A kids’ weekly humour comic. We’ve got Alf, Scooby-Doo, Popeye and Slimer from Ghostbusters there on the cover, as well as a Tardis tucked away down in the corner. Clearly, this was the greatest crossover of all time.

sylvanianSylvanian Families
From: 22 October, 1988
To: 10 February, 1990
Duration: 1 year, 4 months
Issues: 27

Based on the mega-popular figurines (animals in clothes again), this was a fortnightly comic that lasted for at least 27 issues — though maybe more. Info is scarce on this one!

death'shead1Death’s Head
From: 1 December, 1988
To: 1 September, 1989
Duration: 9 months
Issues: 10

Ah, now we’re talkin’ — Death’s Head is a great character! He was created by Simon Furman and Geoff Senior to be a one-off character in the Transformers title but they liked him so much they didn’t want to give him away to the Transformers universe, so they snuck him into other Marvel titles first. The character was a fan-favourite, successful enough to become part of the standard Marvel universe.

popeye1Popeye the Sailor
From: 1 February, 1989
To: 1 September, 1989
Duration: 7 months
Issues: 8

When I was a little kid Popeye was tremendously exciting because he was very strong. Subsequently, though, I grew to dislike the cartoons, but that was mostly because my parents used Popeye as an excuse to feed us spinach, which is absolutely disgusting (you might disagree about spinach, but that’s because you’re wrong).

beepbeepBeep! Beep!
From: 25 March, 1989
To: 13 January, 1990
Duration: 9 months
Issues: 22

A fortnightly that ran for at least 22 issues. Apparently nothing to do with the Road Runner cartoon. According to the over, the strips include Snorks, Wimpole Village, Stoppit & Tidyup, and Teddy Ruxpin. I have no clue what any of those are.

cartoontimeCartoon Time
From: 15 April, 1989
To: 10 November, 1990
Duration: 1 year, 7 months
Issues: 52

More Hanna-Barbera comics. This one was initially fortnightly, and lasted for at least 52 issues. I know it changed frequency to monthly at some stage. It’s possible that this was a relaunch of The Flintstones and Friends, which ended only a couple of weeks before this was launched.

wicked1It’s Wicked!
From: 20 May, 1989
To: 9 September, 1989
Duration: 4 months
Issues: 17

A rare attempt by Marvel to produce a kids’ humour comic closer to the Beano format. Unfortunately I’ve never seen a copy so I know little about it, other than it has Slimer from Ghostbusters on the cover. It’s Wicked! ended just before Slimer got his own comic, so it’s possible that was a relaunch of this one.

sleezebrothers1The Sleeze Brothers
From: 1 August, 1989
To: 1 January, 1990
Duration: 5 months
Issues: 6

Created by John Carnell and Andy Lanning, the Sleeze Brothers are a sort of science fiction version of the Blues Brothers, except that they’re private detectives in an insane galaxy populated by bizarre aliens. The comics were great fun with huge potential, and it’s a real shame that the creators didn’t produce more: the last Sleeze Brothers adventure was published in 1991.

punisher1The Punisher
From: 5 August, 1989
To: 3 March, 1990
Duration: 7 months
Issues: 30

By 1989 Punisher mania was starting to take over comics. The character actually guest-starred in every single Marvel title ever (except Get Along Gang, and lots of others), plus the Dolph Lundgren Punisher movie was on the way, and the anticipation was high: Tim Burton’s Batman had proved that there was money to be made from superhero movies. There wasn’t. At least, not for the Punisher.

slimer1Slimer!
From: 21 September, 1989
To: 1 October, 1990
Duration: 1 year
Issues: 13
Absorbed into: The Real Ghostbusters

The Slimer character from The Real Ghostbusters was apparently popular enough to get his own title, making this one a spin-off comic of another comic based on a cartoon version of a movie, which is complex enough to make it endearing to me even though I’ve never seen the show.

bea#1Bea
From: October 1989
To: Unknown
Duration: Unknown
Issues: Unknown

A girl’s comic that reprinted a number of strips from Dutch comics. I’ve covered Bea before, and still don’t know much about it, sorry. I’m about 97% convinced now that there was never a second issue of the comic, but do please let me know if I’m wrong.

hulkpresents1The Incredible Hulk Presents
From: 7 October, 1989
To: 23 December, 1989
Duration: 3 months
Issues: 12

The Hulk gets a fourth go at heading up a comic, but despite the “presents” part of the title, this was a standard mix of different strips. Mostly reprints, but there was also some new Doctor Who material.

bogpaper1The Bog Paper
From: 4 November, 1989
To: 13 January, 1990
Duration: 2 months
Issues: 11

You will not be surprised to learn that The Bog Paper is a kids’ comic packed with toilet humour. Still, at least it contained original material.

firemansamFireman Sam
From: 11 November, 1989
To: 1 May, 1999
Duration: 9 years, 6 months
Issues: 227

A weekly title, apparently co-published with Redan. I know little about Fireman Sam — other than what I’ve managed to glean from the title, which is his name and occupation, pretty standard for kids’ cartoons (see also his contemporaries Postman Pat, Bob the Builder and Nancy the Nazi-Hunter).

dennis1Dennis
From: 30 November, 1989
To: 12 July, 1990
Duration: 7 months
Issues: 17

Based on the well-known American single-panel newspaper cartoon Dennis the Menace. Because of the much-better-known-in-the-UK character of the same name from The Beano, this comic had to have its title shortened, as did the UK release of movie version in 1993… Aside from that, very little is known about this fortnightly title… if you can confirm how long it lasted, please do let me know!


And that’s it for the 1970s and 1980s. Marvel UK carried on into the 90s, and continued to put out some great titles, but that’s for another day… And probably another writer!

Please let me know if I’ve missed anything or made any errors. As always, the purpose of these features is to collate and present the information available: I’m definitely not trying to say that these lists are the definitive, unassailable truth — so corrections and updates are very welcome!


Updates:

20190225: Thanks to the encyclopaedic Rob Kirby for clarifying the Marvel/Panini connection in the opening paragraphs, and for supplying correct details about Superhero Fun and Games, and the Pocket Books series!

20190225: The ever-knowledgeable Richard Sheaf of the Boys Adventure Comics blog has supplied confirmation of my hunch about Rupert Weekly merging with StoryLand: his proof comes in the form of a Comic Calendar entry from the October 1984 issue of the Association of Comic Enthusiasts newsletter, run by Denis Gifford:comic calendar oct 1984 clip

18 thoughts on “Marvel UK 70s & 80s Leftovers Timeline

  1. A Titans Pocket book in the format of the landscape Titans weekly! Now there’s a readership demographic that would be easily spotted in the playground; find the kid with black ink on their nose, who constantly walks into walls!

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  2. Thanks for this. I missed most Marvel UK stuff in the eighties because the US titles were readily available in most newsagents I went to. One question though I have Thor and X-Men number one’s from this period and I’m told there was a third Hulk comic in the early eighties (I have The Incredible Hulk Presents #1 and was pulled up about the missing comic when I reviewed it).

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  3. Sleeze Brothers was a creator owned strip from John Carnell and Andy Lanning, not a Who spin off. Like Death’s Head in DWM #135 they just guest starred in a bonkers jam of a strip which includes art by Doug Braithwaite, among others.

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    1. Yeah, I’m still wrestling with how to treat the specials and one-offs! They don’t really fit into either the Timeline or the Family Tree approaches. Half tempted to just list them all as a special feature, along with annuals, of course!

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    1. Ah, Around the World with Willy Fog! I have it in my database as a fortnightly comic from Marvel UK, first issue cover-dated 4 July 1990 (so it’ll appear in the 1990s list, if ever get around to doing it!). I also have it down as lasting only six issues, but that’s not verified!

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  4. The only one on this list that I’ve read and still read is the Doctor Who Weekly (now Magazine). I have them all from #1, bar a dozen or so. I had a handful of Star Wars weekly, but lost interest after the adaption of the first film ended. By 1978, I’d lost interest in ALL British Marvel reprints, so nothing else on this list even registers a memory for me. My main days collecting Marvel UK were 1972-1976, with a few sporadic purchases up into 1977. After that, nothing.

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