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View Full Version : Gap Between the US Issues and UK Reprintings.


inflatable dalek
2012-07-07, 01:22 PM
One of the things that's been puzzling me this week, is that there's a four month gap between the publishing of The New Order in the states in February '85 (at least according to the wiki) and the UK comic republishing it in July.

Now, long before they got to that point, the UK comic is clearly struggling to fill its pages, with both the final of Enemy Within and all of Raiders... being split into half chunks to space things out. So presumably the original intent was to do a four part Enemy and a two part Raiders and then the next American issue, so what was likely to have gone wrong? Postal delays? Were the plans already in place to go weekly and they wanted to build up a bit of a backlog beforehand?

Random flicking suggests that four months difference seems to have remained pretty much standard through most of the comics life, so I'm guessing there was some good practical reason for it as I'm sure there were times during the "old material" runs they'd have rather run a US strip. So were Marvel US just a bit slow on posting it out? Did transatlantic mail use to take months?

Certainly I can't see them being keen on doing the GI Joe crossover if they could have gotten Kings of the Wild Frontier in despite it being published back in November (after all, with the first Joe crossover instalment the comic starts splitting each US issue into 4, meaning one a month so if they'd have done Kings in the same style they'd have maintained a three month gap consistently till the next format change).

After Kings they settle down into an 8 month gap that seems to stay pretty much the same till the comics end, so in nothing else the Joe reprint gave them a pretty big safety margin.

Yeah, fairly dull stuff that probably boils down to "The world was slower back then" but I do find it fascinating how, having had it repeated though various interviews over the years and the comic itself (the first one to reprint the Joe crossover talks about being "Right on top of" the US stories which puts me in mind of a much smaller gap than four months) that there was very little lead in time from the American series that the gap is larger than I'd have thought.

Whilst flicking through to check some of those dates I was also surprised to see how much more open about the source of the colour strips the book was by this point. I remember an odd mention here and there (usually when explaining reprints) but every Transformation page I looked at seemed to be making a point of mentioning "The new story from our American cousins" or "Back in the UK...".

Thunderwave
2012-07-07, 02:06 PM
From my understanding of it what would happen is that the US comic was published less frequently then the Marvel UK one, The US getting one issue a month while the UK got one every fortnight (then weekly, then fortnightly again...oi!), so the UK would hold off on releasing US stories until they where done or mostly so, so as not to have to stuff every other issue with random filler that had nothing to do with anything.

What this led to was that the UK would have many more crazy storylines while they waited for the US to wrap up what it was working on. Characters like Straxus, Blaster, and some of the characters the US comic barely touched got much more love in the UK. Also it led to some, in retrospect, funny stories with events having to be reconned or changed to fit the US stories in with the UK "filler". The US comic ran for 80 issues, the UK for 332 issues.

I grew up with the Marvel UK series. As a kid I had no idea all of this happened. I thought everyone knew Galvatron skipped through time and who Straxus was. >.<

Cliffjumper
2012-07-08, 05:16 AM
Now, long before they got to that point, the UK comic is clearly struggling to fill its pages, with both the final of Enemy Within and all of Raiders... being split into half chunks to space things out. So presumably the original intent was to do a four part Enemy and a two part Raiders and then the next American issue, so what was likely to have gone wrong? Postal delays? Were the plans already in place to go weekly and they wanted to build up a bit of a backlog beforehand?

I think it was a mix of these factors. Transatlantic shipping was deathly slow and not particularly reliable well into the 1980s, but I think part of the reason is the weekly/Rimmer relaunch (no-one really cared about Enemy and Raiders, they wanted to know what happened with Shockwave). From about #15 onwards the thing's really marking time. I'd wager there was some sort of budget hole too - another UK originated four-parter would have filled the gap nicely.

There's certainly some big signs of disorganisation - the very sudden endings to Chromobots and Planet Terry and the pair of "Oh shit, grab something from the public domain file" strips make it look very much like things were being made up on the hoof.

Cyberstrike nTo
2012-07-08, 02:22 PM
What Cliffy said and I would only add that and the US series was originally only supposed to be a 4 issue mini-series but it sold well enough to be turned into an ongoing series and that meant hiring a full time creative team (with an artist that usually lasted no more than 2-4 issues until Don Perlin came along somewhere in the 20s) probably didn't help matters on both sides of the Atlantic.

That and from what I read about Marvel UK, I've always gotten the impression that most of the Marvel US management and some of it's creators didn't really know about (I would say at best they were were indifferent and at worse they didn't like Marvel UK) much about Marvel UK.

inflatable dalek
2012-07-08, 06:21 PM
(no-one really cared about Enemy and Raiders, they wanted to know what happened with Shockwave).

It's going to be interesting to see what feedback trickles through the letters page. That's a hell of a long wait for the follow up. How dismissive the editorial seemed about the end of Last Stand in favour of pimping Man of Iron took me a bit by surprise as well.

another UK originated four-parter would have filled the gap nicely.

Time might have been a factor as well, if the US matrial shortfall was a last second thing they'd have had little chance to put another strip together.

As (according to the Roberts book) the original plan had been too alternate Parkhouse and Furman on writing duties before the former left Marvel I wonder if Raiders was a very very last minute story Furman wasn't expecting to write? It certainly reads like one.

Tangent: I'm amazed there was a 1990 A-Team Annual.