Category Archives: History of Marvel UK

The Complete Fantastic Four

The Complete Fantastic Four, issue #1
The history of Marvel UK in the 1970s

The Complete Fantastic Four

In 1972 American comic giant Marvel launched a UK subsidiary to tap into Britain’s lucrative weekly comic book market. The success of their first title, The Mighty World of Marvel, gave them a foothold in the UK and over the next five years Marvel UK consolidated their position by launching another ten weekly titles, featuring reprinted stories starring some of their most popular characters, including Spider-Man, The Avengers, Dracula and The Hulk. These comics successfully mimicked the tried and tested formula of their British counterparts: cheaply priced (and printed) black and white comics featuring a selection of different stories, or strips, as well as competitions, puzzles and Letters pages. It quickly became apparent that there was a place for Marvel in the British market and between 1972 and 1977 the US giant hit an almost unbroken run of successful titles. Continue reading The Complete Fantastic Four

Savage Sword of Conan weekly

Savage Sword of Conan, issue 1The history of Marvel UK in the 1970s

Savage Sword of Conan weekly

In 1972 American comic giant Marvel launched a UK subsidiary to tap into Britain’s lucrative weekly comic book market. The quick success of their first title, The Mighty World of Marvel, gave them a foothold in the UK and over the next three years Marvel consolidated their position by launching five more weekly anthology titles. These comics mimicked the tried and tested formula of British models: cheaply priced (and printed) black and white weekly comics featuring a selection of different stories as well as competitions, puzzles and letters pages. It quickly became apparent that there was a place in the British market for their unique brand of superhero comics and between 1972 and 1975 Marvel hit a winning streak of best-selling titles. Unfortunately that streak came to an end with the launch, and quick cancellation, of Savage Sword of Conan which provided Marvel UK with their first flop. Continue reading Savage Sword of Conan weekly

Captain Britain Weekly

Captain Britain, issue 1

The history of Marvel UK in the 1970s

Captain Britain Weekly

After a successful launch in 1972 Marvel’s UK subsidiary enjoyed a period of rapid growth that saw it quickly become one of the major players in the British comic book market. Repackaging their monthly American comics to fit the British model – weekly black and white anthology titles – had paid off proving there was an international market for their unique brand of superhero entertainment, and popular titles like The Mighty World of Marvel, Spider-Man Comics Weekly and The Avengers helped to solidify their market share. Continue reading Captain Britain Weekly

The Mighty World of Marvel

the-mighty-world-of-marvel-issue-1
The history of Marvel UK in the 1970s

The Mighty World of Marvel

Probably responsible for introducing more British readers to Marvel Comics than any other publication, The Mighty World of Marvel was launched on Saturday 30th September 1972 with a cover date of 7th October (it was common practice for comics to be dated a week after their release to ensure they stayed on the newsagent shelf longer). It was published in one form or another for the next 10 years and despite starting life as one of the best selling and most influential comics in the country its end was sad and ignoble.

Continue reading The Mighty World of Marvel

Alan Class Comics

Astounding Stories issue 67

The history of Marvel UK in the 1970s

Foreword: Alan Class Comics

In the early ’60s, while American comic book readers enjoyed a revolution in the industry, thanks mainly to Marvel Comics’ new roster of relatable and fallible characters, UK readers had a more difficult time enjoying this renaissance. For a while the only way readers in this country could read a US comic was by hunting for second-hand copies in flea markets. But if you were lucky enough to be on holiday at one of Britain’s many seaside resorts then you had the opportunity of reading Marvel’s stories courtesy of Alan Class ComicsContinue reading Alan Class Comics

Power Comics

Power Comics logo

The history of Marvel UK in the 1970s

Foreword: Power Comics

In 1972 Marvel Comics created a UK division to oversee the publication of reprints of its highly successful American titles. As there was no reliable distribution network in place in the UK copies of original Marvel comics were notoriously difficult to find, so the company believed that setting their own UK based subsidiary to oversee distribution was the best way to go.  Continue reading Power Comics

Rampage

 Rampage Monthly issue 2

The history of Marvel UK in the 1970s

Rampage

In the early ’70s Marvel launched a series of black and white weekly comics that featured reprints of comics previously published in the States. Most of those reprints featured Marvels biggest selling characters – Spider-ManThe Fantastic FourThe AvengersIron ManThor, etc. – and were printed on cheap newspaper stock and sold for pennies. Many of those weekly reprint editions would feature one of the original US comics printed in its entirety with two or more support strips 6-8 pages in length. They were hugely successful and I’ve no doubt they helped create an entire generation of British comic book fans. Continue reading Rampage