View Full Version : Ye Olde Marvel UK Questions...

Ryan F
2015-05-25, 11:14 AM
Can any of you knowledgeable people help me with the following, please?

1) Was Euan Peters the final TFUK editor, or did someone take over from him? If so, who was it, and whenabouts roughly was the changeover?

2) I am really sucky when it comes to identifying artists (except for Dan Reed, who was really distinctive, even for an idiot like me). Who was the artist on the Megatron 'story so far' border that was introduced in UK#214?

Cheers in advance! All help gratefully received!

inflatable dalek
2015-05-25, 12:48 PM
According to the behind the scenes feature in Titan's Second Generation trade there were two editors after Furman (I name them here, I'm not brave enough to try and spell the second name on my phone):


Sadly I no longer have the book and therefore can't reveal if it goes into any more detail.

EDIT: Though IIRC the change is mentioned in the letters page when Blaster reveals the new editor only likes to be called Matron, finding that would give you a rough idea of when.

Was the recap Megs not Lee Sullivan?

2015-05-25, 01:41 PM
I have Second Generation and it confirms that Euan Peters was the editor from the mid-late 200s, with Harry Papadopolous seeing the title through to its end.

And that is definitely Lee Sullivan's art on the recap border - you can tell by the eyes and teeth :)

inflatable dalek
2015-05-25, 01:45 PM
Harry Papadopolous

Good to know what happened to him after Birds of a Feather.

The main reason I remember Blaster talking about the new editor is that it was in response to a reader asking about it and me being curious as the book had given no hint it was under new stewardship, so I couldn't work out how they knew to ask.

Ryan F
2015-05-25, 02:12 PM
Cheers for the answers, guys!!!

Harry Papadopolous

Having done a bit of a google search, Harry P (as I shall call him) was a Scottish maths teacher who hung up his mortar board to become a rock photographer for Sounds Magazine; his subjects included Bowie, Stephen King and Peter Capaldi (who used to be frontman for a group called the Dreamboys).

Here's his bio from a book compilation of his work: What Presence! The Rock Photography of Harry Papadopoulos

Harry Papadopoulos was born in Garelochhead in 1954. He studied electrical and electronic engineering at Paisley College of Technology and later became a teacher of maths and physics. A self-taught photographer who began his career taking photographs at gigs in the late 1970s and 1980s, following a long stint at music weekly Sounds he became editor of Marvel Comics publications such as Star Trek and The Flintstones. In August 2002 Harry suffered a brain aneurysm and returned home to Glasgow in 2006 where he now lives.

So he went from mingling with the stars to being editor of the UK Flintstones comic? Bit of a come-down, wasn't it? Makes me even more curious to read about it in the Classics UK reprint books...

inflatable dalek
2015-05-25, 02:16 PM
Oddly (at least at the time I did my James Roberts interview) Euan Peters is pretty much an enigma that's been impossible to track down for an interview in the Classics books. Maybe he did a switch with Harry P and is now living the rock and roll life?

Lee Sullivan is a friendly chap with a surprisingly good memory so if you need direct citation for the sidebar asking him on Twitter should give you a definitive answer.

2015-05-25, 02:33 PM
As I wasn't reading Transformers by this point, does that mean that there was no change in letter page character (that usually signposts these things)? Or was Dreadwind Euan and Blaster Harry?

As for Harry's career change ... I can see changing from freelance/ staff photographer to editor of a fleet of titles being a step up and offering more stability (especially as Sounds was axed ...becoming Kerrang! IIRC) career-wise.

Hmm...where does Steve White fit in? Was he an editor for Transformers at Marvel UK, or am I getting confused?

inflatable dalek
2015-05-25, 02:35 PM
Harry would have been late Dreadwind before bringing Blaster in.

Ryan F
2015-05-25, 03:57 PM
As I wasn't reading Transformers by this point, does that mean that there was no change in letter page character (that usually signposts these things)? Or was Dreadwind Euan and Blaster Harry?

As for Harry's career change ... I can see changing from freelance/ staff photographer to editor of a fleet of titles being a step up and offering more stability (especially as Sounds was axed ...becoming Kerrang! IIRC) career-wise.

Hmm...where does Steve White fit in? Was he an editor for Transformers at Marvel UK, or am I getting confused?

Steve White was the editor of Action Force, IIRC.

There seems to be a sort of 'lag' period when a new editor takes over and gets their feet under the table before rocking the boat too much. For example, Euan Peters was first credited on UK#209, but the resulting revamp didn't occur until UK#213. Ian Rimmer took over in UK#22 but it wasn't until issue 27 that the comic got its fully-fledged signature Rimmer look.

inflatable dalek
2015-05-25, 07:23 PM
White did help out by writing the story so far/character guide stuff for Action Force in the merger issue.

In Peters' case of course he's a bit of an odd one out as the changes he introduced weren't carefully planned but a case of "Oh shit, we've got to do something now or we're cancelled".

If the dropping of the UK original material happened under Harry P's watch, that might have been a similar thing though.

Ryan F
2015-05-25, 07:35 PM
Transformers had been partially b&w before, before it went weekly. Peters could easily have kept the old two-story format, and just presented each story as a mix of colour and b&w. Instead he decided on the three-story thing, and keep the U.S. stories all in colour.

If they wanted to save money, the easiest thing to do would've been to start using the American covers again, and replace the 'Mighty Marvel Checklist' / order coupon page with another page of ads.

Quite a few of the ads in TFUK were placed by Hasbro themselves (Transformers, Action Force, Visionaries, Battle Beasts etc.) I always wonder whether Hasbro got reduced 'mates rates', and if Marvel actually got more income from independent companies' ads. It might explain why TFUK were so keen on bigging-up Ricicles and Cadbury's Wildlife Bars!

inflatable dalek
2015-05-25, 07:38 PM
I think they'd have quite happily done a couple of Nel's pages in black and white if they could, I think it's more a case that they saved more money by not having to pay for some of the UK stuff to be coloured than they would have by not running some of the already done and dusted American pages in colour.

I think Furman had shares in Ricicles.

2015-05-26, 08:24 AM
...I like Ricicles. Although I don't like that they've turned Captain Rik into some airbrushed CGI Astro Boy monstrosity. I liked the old-school cheerful cartoon version. I was also similarly saddened when Derek was retired from Weetos in favour of that 'Professor' character. Boo.

Never had a Wildlife Bar though.

Just on the reprints me-do, if budget and what not was a concern, how comes they found the money to recolour the US strip, which started happening somewhere around the start of Wildman's run on the US title..? Be interesting to know what the thinking was behind that (other than the obvious reason that Nel's colouring is poo). I'm guessing it might be because auxiliary staff are cheaper than artists or somesuch.

Ryan F
2015-05-26, 08:30 AM
Weetabix was the other one, wasn't it?

Back in the day you had all the cartoon people made of Weetabix (Dunk, Bixie etc.)... nowadays Weetabix ads just show women eating it with strawberries or bananas or whatever, like it's been remarketed as a health food.

inflatable dalek
2015-05-26, 06:34 PM
I still can't get over Sugar Puffs now being Honey Monster Puffs. As if someone said "All this sugar in a kids food is making us look bad, should we discontinue this tooth rot and come up with a new, healthier cereal, or just rename it? We'll rename it".

On the recolouring of the later stuff: If it started with Wildman's US run (and I must admit I was completely unaware of it having been redone until recently, it'll be interesting to see how noticeable it is when I get there) that would have been after they'd dropped original content from the comic. Chances are, with everything now reprints, there was enough of a profit margin left to allow that tiny bit of work to be thrown at a local guy. It was probably, as with the not reusing American covers for a couple of years, down to wanting to throw the freelancers a bone. Especially at a time when Marvel UK didn't have much else for them to work on.

As for extra advertising, I've a friend who sells advertising for magazines and trying to get enough to fill a failing book is surprisingly hard and difficult, creating an extra page might have been beyond their abilities at the time, or at least with no chance of getting enough money to make it worth the extra time the ad team would have to put into it.

Irrelevant to the main topic, but an interesting thing I learnt recently: Real Ghostbusters went monthly at basically exactly the same time Transformers would have if it had continued. The fact it lasted 8 issues in that format (ending in September of 1992) suggests it wouldn't have been much of a winning format for TF either.

Ryan F
2015-05-26, 08:09 PM
Even as a failing book though, it was still getting 20K-ish readers a week, which while not amazing numbers is still on a par with modern-day stuff like Doctor Who Adventures and the Titan Transformers from a few years back. Different times, I guess.

I seem to recall Blaster being more light-hearted and 'kid-friendly'. Unlike his predecessors he would often print readers' drawings... my feeling is that previous editors had tried to steer Transformers into a 'young adult' direction, probably spurred on by the content of the strips themselves.

This was great for existing readers who'd grown up with the comic, but not exactly conducive to getting the next wave of eight-year-olds reading the comic. I think that the lighter Blaster stuff, plus the tail end of the UK strips (would the Irwin Spoon stories have been around that time?) were maybe Harry's attempt at getting younger readers on board.

PS Hello people who came here via Stuart's Twitter post!!!

Death's Head
2015-05-26, 08:21 PM
Even as a failing book though, it was still getting 20K-ish readers a week, which while not amazing numbers is still on a par with modern-day stuff like Doctor Who Adventures and the Titan Transformers from a few years back. Different times, I guess.

They* say that the US G2 book was cancelled for sales figures that would make any current editor more than happy. Different times indeed.

*I've never bothered to check. I assume its true, because I'm gullible and lazy.

Ryan F
2015-05-26, 08:26 PM
They* say that the US G2 book was cancelled for sales figures that would make any current editor more than happy. Different times indeed.

*I've never bothered to check. I assume its true, because I'm gullible and lazy.

US sales figures were actually printed sporadically within the comic itself (on the 'Transmissions' letters page). There's a ye olde post here (https://groups.google.com/d/msg/alt.toys.transformers/1yi-ArhSo9k/JVsOOFIOHAkJ) on alt.toys.transformers that sums it all up.

EDIT: Those are the numbers for the G1 comic, I just realised you were talking about G2 - oops! Good link though, anyway.

inflatable dalek
2015-05-27, 07:47 PM
Even as a failing book though, it was still getting 20K-ish readers a week, which while not amazing numbers is still on a par with modern-day stuff like Doctor Who Adventures and the Titan Transformers from a few years back. Different times, I guess.

A minor bugbear of mine is when creative types go "If this comic/TV show was getting sales/viewing figures like that today we'd have never been cancelled!", because it completely ignores the fact that, in this case, comics like Transformers don't get sales figures like that anymore. It clearly wasn't enough to cover costs anyway.

This was great for existing readers who'd grown up with the comic, but not exactly conducive to getting the next wave of eight-year-olds reading the comic. I think that the lighter Blaster stuff, plus the tail end of the UK strips (would the Irwin Spoon stories have been around that time?) were maybe Harry's attempt at getting younger readers on board.

Spoon was about ten issues before Blaster, assuming the rough issue numbers given in the Titan book are right, it looks as Harry came aboard and pretty much instantly decided to end the homegrown strips (or at least had the decision forced on him), if the last few B&W stories run into his watch they were probably still commissioned by Peters.

Blaster definately had a "Friendlier" voice than Dreadwind, especially the second Peters (? or the editorial assistant) written Dreadwind.

PS Hello people who came here via Stuart's Twitter post!!!

Hello everyone!

Ryan F
2015-05-27, 10:13 PM
A minor bugbear of mine is when creative types go "If this comic/TV show was getting sales/viewing figures like that today we'd have never been cancelled!", because it completely ignores the fact that, in this case, comics like Transformers don't get sales figures like that anymore. It clearly wasn't enough to cover costs anyway.

With TV shows there's a lot more competition now, we have more channels than ever before, more ways of watching, with catch-up services, streaming etc. - as you say, it's hard to compare viewing figures across different eras, when things were so much different.

It's not just Transformers that suffered an alarming loss in sales in the early 90s, pretty much everything did, even 2000 AD. This would have been roughly aound the time that gaming hit big in the UK - the Sega Master System and NES had as much to do with the death of the UK TF comic as any other factor, I'd suggest.

Interesting that comics these days can get by on such low sales - presumably it's almost entirely down to modernisation: computerisation, cheaper inks, printing methods, design software etc.

Auntie Slag
2015-05-28, 05:56 PM
I donít think the Master System had anywhere near enough traction to pull sales away from the Transformers comic, and certainly not the NES. I donít think that was popular in the UK because it was released way too late and the cartridges were unbelievably expensive.

On top of this you had the ZX Spectrum with (at cheapest) £1.99 games on cassette. The three main computer platforms of the time were all out at the time of Transformers and I donít think even ate away sales of a 32p comic.

Iíd say Transformers killed themselves. Their post-movie dayglo boxy appearance coupled with the fact that they didnít really change into anything that was a disguise (transforms from futuristic spaceship to robot and back!).

They looked like arse, how was that going to attract a new bunch of eight year olds? And all the current fans were three years older and turning to glue and bikes and football.

Compare a cool as hell Sideswipe toy to a pink Misfire. Yes, you could say the minibots were as crappy as the blocky Headmasters/Pretenders/Powermasters etc. but they filled a different niche, intended more as Ďpocket moneyí toys (I have a vague memory of buying Bumblebee for £1.50 or £2 from Woolies), not necessarily headliners (although the minibots were brilliant).

Video games only reeeally took a hold of the mainstream when that colossal fuss was made about Sonic and Street Fighter II.

Ryan F
2015-05-28, 06:16 PM
Huh, I got my NES in the early 90s, and a lot of my friends were getting consoles at the time also.

Just to clarify, I wasn't talking solely about Transformers - if you look at comic sales in general, across multiple titles, sales started to nosedive across the board around the turn of the 1990s. These days, comic sales figures are lot lower than what they were in, say, 1985.

It's obviously speculation, but I still think the emergence of video games was one of the major causes of kids dropping comic books in general around that time (and the numbers have never recovered), not solely Transformers.

Auntie Slag
2015-05-28, 06:32 PM
Oh yeah, I agree with you there. It feels to me that Transformers took a major nosedive around í88-í89. The NES came out in 1983 in Japan but didnít come to the UK until late í88, which is an age in videogame tech and it was so far behind the more forward looking Amiga and ST. I remember my mate getting NES, and being the only person to have one. It wasnít long before it was superseded by the SNES and Megadrive.

The early 90ís coincided with Sonic, Street Fighter II, Mortal Kombat etc. I remember the nutty reports on the Six Oí Clock News about parents and children somehow forking out £90-£100 for a copy of Super Street Fighter II: Championship Edition on the Megadrive. Then there was the TV shows, the glossy games mags. The change was palpable, the comics were pulpable.

inflatable dalek
2015-05-28, 07:08 PM
Of course, amongst all the other factors (you could probably write a book on it) Marvel UK also helped to destroy themselves. Overreaching and overestimating how many comics the market could stand and how much interest there actually was.

When Doctor Who Magazine run a series of features on their history, oh, must be about ten years ago now, a former big wig actually went all the way and blamed the entire collapse of the company on Death's Head. Which is probably unfair (Death's Head didn't put a gun against Marvel's head and force them to publish everything from the Sleaze Brothers to all those unexciting characters who remained unexciting when Revolution War featured them) it does perhaps show that Furman may not have been anyone at Pannini's new purchase's favourite writer by the end.

Auntie Slag
2015-05-28, 07:28 PM
Christ, The Sleaze Brothers. They got some major plugging at the time, I bought the first issue, it was pretty awful. I hate it when British people mimic American culture badly, (the Cat on Red Dwarf; good for about three episodes. After that he was godawful).

And have you seen Dominic West trying to do a Baltimore accent in The Wire? The viewers there must've cringed!

I love overblown American names though; John Matrix, Stacker Pentecost... superb. In a similar vein some Transformers seemed innately big & american; Fortress Maximus, Jetfire, Hot Rod etc.

British Transformers would have wonderfully button-down, unimposing John Cleese Clockwise-style names like Talbot, Overcast, Erstwhile, Seaside, Workbench, Ploughman, Bunting or Scone.

2015-05-28, 09:42 PM

Its not surprising to see the Transformers comic eventually be axed. The brand was six years old by 1990, and as you guys have pointed out, a new generation of children have their own interests and things that they were into.

So much of what grabs children's attention is down to the right thing in the right place at the right time. Even juggernaughts like Star Wars and He-Man were distant memories by 1990.

I'd agree that the late '80s / early '90s were when you started to see a generation of children whom were more interested in video games rather than toys. And it wouldn't be until the arrival of Power Rangers in 1993 that kids got seriously interested in toys again.

Whilst Transformers managed to sustain interest as a toyline in the UK (it has continued uninterupted as a toyline since it came here in 1984 after all), the numbers just weren't there to support the comic. Which isn't a great surprise. The comic was six years old by 1990, and had a lengthy ongoing story that's off-putting to new readers. In comparison to the pickled in aspic likes of The Beano, there isn't the feeling that you could just dip in and out as the fancy took you, and unlike more 'mature' titles like 2000AD, there's no convenient jumping on point (one of the smart things 2000AD has always done is having periodic 'relaunches' where there's an issue where there's five new stories kicking off). If you look at other UK adventure titles in the 7 - 12 age range, they tend to have a fairly short run of 2-3 years. We've never managed anything like the US market where things like Spider-Man and what have you have been running for the best part of a century. Mostly that's down to cultural differences - comics have always been seen as something juvenile over here, partly in some way because comics over here developed from satirical works and have become synonymous with humour, rather than adventure.

Indeed, the above is arguably why 2000AD has endured - it has a similar anthology structure to a humour title, and so much of its content has some satirical intent, so it appeals to that jaded cynic in us all.

Whilst the boys action comic market was dying out in the late '80s, comics aimed at teenagers were booming : Deadline, Crisis, Revolver and Toxic! were all moderate successes (although short lived - although I'd be betting Deadline might well have survived beyond 1995 it hadn't had so much riding on the success of the Tank Girl film).

At the same time as Transformers was winding down over here (along with a lot of other boys action comics), comics were entering their biggest period of commercial success across the pond with the titles like Todd McFarlane's Spider-Man and Jim Lee's X-Men selling in their millions. As a lot of these sales were generated through the direct market (i.e. comic shops) and with the big publishing houses cottoning on to the direct market and its 'no returns' model (in contrast to newsstands whereby as discussed above, drug stores and what not would order loads and send any unsolds back), there was a real shift in how comics were sold and, crucially, who would be reading them. Comic shops, by and large, don't tend to be visited by children and their parents. Newsstands are. So slowly over time, you can see that by cutting out the newsstand, the comic industry has ended up shooting itself in the foot a little, as there's no traditional access to the medium and if you're going to get into comics these days, its going to be when you're teenage or older - something thats reflected in the kinds of stories comics tell these days. Thats not to say that attrition wouldn't have happened anyway, with competition from other media and whatnot, but it is interesting to think how different things might be now if their were more opportunities for young children to get into comics.

Over here, well, the market has always been slightly different, with anthology titles being the preferred (and percieved) way of presenting comics. Even reprints of stuff like Batman and Avengers over here have a 'back up' or 'double feature' nature to them. Again, with comics being seen as quite juvenile, there's unspoken cultural rite where by children are encouraged to put down the 'picture books' as soon as possible. This means comics over here tend to aim squarely at the nursery market and this is where most companies now put their money.

Interestingly, there's been a huge growth in magazine style licensed titles for children. Monster High, Lego Chimia, quite possibly due to the incredible success of boys title Toxic (not the Toxic! I mentioned earlier, which was sweary, sexy and incredibly violent for 31 issues during 1991) , which everyone has then immitated.

In terms of Marvel UK, its worth noting that Dragons Claws and Death's Head were launched, it was under a different editorial team whom tried to mainstream the titles within the domestic market. There was no serious attempt to get the US parent company to take an interest. When Paul Neary instigated the big push into US format comics for Marvel UK in 1992, the UK got Overkill - an anthology title (having tested the waters with Havoc and Meltdown the year before) - which was interesting beast as it effectively reprinted stories crafted for the UK market but were aimed at cracking the potentially lucrative US comics market (extra material was created for the US books is the lie we are often told, but when you read back stuff like Hell's Angel and Pendragon II in Overkill, there are some obvious gaps in the stories where stuff included in the US format book has been 'cut' for Overkill) . Unlike with the US format launches that occured under Starkings and Furman, Neary smartly partnered up with Marvel US to have them print and distribute the books, ensuring they had a greater chance of success - which they did (they were also promoted alongside Marvel US own titles in Bullpen Bulletins - somewhat sneeringly at times, it has to be said - mainly I suspect because of what Auntie Slag said above).

Marvel UK only really became undone by pumping out books like there was no tommorrow and ultimately succumbing to the speculator crash in the US of 1994, and then being ignomiously sold off by Marvel US in 1996 when they went into bankruptcy proceedings.

inflatable dalek
2015-05-29, 03:26 PM
What's interesting is that the recent Titan comic basically lasted the same length as time as the original despite the name changes and renumberings (I think the total number of issues was only just short of what the American Marvel comic managed as well). You get the feeling it only really fell at the end because they managed to completely mishandle having the licence to the most successful film of the year. Considering how hard it was to find on shelves I'd not be surprised if it was only old farts like me buying in the end, but it at least suggests a sustainable market for a TF title in the UK. As said, most licensed properties don't manage anything like that sort of lifespan, even in the peak of the Marvel days.

Ryan F
2015-05-31, 11:47 AM
I think the most notable thing with the UK comics industry compared to the US is that there are no 'new' titles any more - every comic in my local newsagent is either a long-standing behemoth like the Beano or 2000AD, or a licensed title like Peppa Pig or Doctor Who Adventures. There seems to be no mass-market desire for anything 'new' this side of the pond.

This was partially why Marvel UK floundered in the 1990s, because they put all their effort into new IPs like the Sleaze Brothers that nobody really cared about. It's telling that the one survivor through all this was Doctor Who Magazine, when all else fell by the wayside.

It's no wonder all the good UK comic talent works for US publishers these days - other than 2000AD, there's just no mechanism for any new ideas to reach the newsstands - there's just no demand for it.

Another thing that didn't help Marvel UK was that it suddenly became easier to get American comics in the UK. The early successes of the Marvel Transformers and Spider-Man titles depended on the fact that there was no easy access to their US equivalents. Although there were comic ships in the major cities (Forbidden Planet, Nostalgia & Comics), there were very few elsewhere.

Suddenly, there seemed to be a lot more of these shops popping up all over the place (when Ace Comics opened in Colchester I was awestruck by the stuff they had available), which meant that UK comics were not only competing with each other, but imports from America. Why read Sleaze Brothers when you now had literally hundreds of American titles to choose from?

2015-05-31, 06:31 PM
Marvel UKs collapse was indeed due to pumping out too many books that no one cared about. A surprising amount of stuff got canned late on 1993 - The Red Mist 20/20 crossover, The fully painted Warheads/ Death's Head II book, all those second year titles; Wild Thing, Black Axe and Cyberspace 3000 - despite having being already solicited and in some cases even being at the printers. This is no worse than the same sort of expansion that had happened across the whole comics industry - huge expansion between 1990 - 1993, followed by a lot of titles falling by the wayside in 1993 - 1994 as the market collapsed (most notably all the Marvel US books that Simon Furman was writing..!) and anything unlikely to sell, never mind turn a profit, got junked.

As for the whole thing about the reprint titles, I'm not sure how true the expansion of comic shops over here was - during this period of growth, Marvel UK only had Exploits Of Spider-Man on the go. When Panini took over, they relaunched this as Astonishing Spider-Man and added Essential X-Men. Those two books have continued uninterupted since they launched (save for periodic restarts as #1, keeping a 'volume' system going and keeping the titles welcoming to new readers) and they've added a further five titles in this format over the last fifteen years, so they must be popular enough, despite the presence of comic book shops.

Panini did instigate some original material - albeit for US characters they held the license for - and its a shame this has stopped now, as enforced by Marvel US. Its is a pity that unlike Marvel UK, they didn't use generating their own material to produce their own characters - as with Captain Britain, Night Raven, Death's Head and the Sleeze Brothers.

Just on the Sleeze Brothers, I wonder what the thinking was behind giving them a limited series? Had they really proved so popular with the readers of Doctor Who Magazine that someone thought they deserved their own book?

inflatable dalek
2015-05-31, 07:21 PM
From what I can gather the Sleaze Brothers were put in DWM to promote their forthcoming book rather than being given a spin-off because of the success of their appearance. All due to Richard Starking's "Shared Marvel UK" Universe idea. Transformers actually got off lightly, Death's Head being the only attempt to tie in with everything else and that wasn't initially intended.

Death's Head
2015-05-31, 08:18 PM
I quite enjoy the Sleeze Brothers...

inflatable dalek
2015-05-31, 08:33 PM
Perhaps the series is better, but their DWM appearance is just awful and only mildly more funny than colon cancer.

2015-06-01, 09:26 AM
I do have The Sleeze Brothers, its kind of alright. Andy Lanning's cartoony art is great. Its mild Satire using the Blues Brothers as a heavy frame of reference (although the titel characters are supposedly based on writer John Carnell's brothers...)

Ryan F
2015-06-01, 08:58 PM
Prompted by this thread, I've recently been looking back at some of the Peters-edited issues, and he does come across as a bit - how shall I put it? - testy, both in Dread Tidings and on the Transformation page.

Rather than apologise for the black and white stories (and the glut of reprints around this time, 'Wanted: Galvatron', 'Headhunt', 'Resurrection' etc.) he actively criticises kids who write in to question the new format. How much of this is Peters' actual opinion and how much is him trying to be 'in character' as Dreadwind is open to debate, but it's almost startling how sore he sounds.

He dismisses any criticism as 'moanin and groanin' (#225), and sounds surprised that people are disappointed ('I don't know what you're complaining about' - #226). He even tries to justify the change as an actual improvement ('I thought it looked quite good' - #224), in #223 he even suggests readers should be happy for the opportunity to colour in the stories themselves.

In #226 he's really condescending to a reader (who obviously wrote in before the 'soaring costs' explanation was published in #225: 'I’ve already explained about the black and white strip – where were you?! As to repeating stories, it may surprise you to know that there may be a lot of people out there who haven’t seen them yet… you’re still getting new stories, even if they are in black and white. Surely that’s better than no new stories at all, yes?'

On the one hand it's quite refreshing that he printed this criticism in the letters page at all, but on the other hand, Peters' poor handling of the situation is hardly endearing - and possibly even helped exacerbate the mass exodus of readers.

2015-06-01, 09:08 PM
It is a bit unfortunate that editorial didn't really sell the positives of the three strip format (If I'm honest, I actually quite liked the mix of strips from around this time), I think if the 'rising costs' thing had been sold as a positive from the get-go, there might have been an opportunity to stave off criticism.

Brow beating your readers isn't the best way to encourage loyalty at the very time your comic really needs it.

That said, I do wonder if some editors just weren't as good at the jokey rudeness as others and just come across as right sh*tbags. Titan's letters pages were similarly rude to readers under the guise of this being a response from a character (for 'character' read 'tw*t').

inflatable dalek
2015-06-02, 05:54 PM
Yeah, the "Phase 2" Dreadwind after Furman leaves is just a bit of a dick and his responses to those criticisms must have alienated readers. Though I think that's when we got the shagpile carpet joke, which was awesome so points there.

It might not have actually been Peters writing it though- Rimmer wasn't Soundwave, preferring to let Furman (and presumably his successor as editorial assistant in that period when he wasn't working "On staff" for the book due to cutting his editor teeth on Thundercats) take the reigns. I've got the impression that directly writing the letter's page wasn't automatically a job of the editor, but one Furman took upon himself during his tenure because he really enjoyed it (though the EA may have been the one sorting the letters).

Mind, Peters would have had ultimate responsibility for what the book was putting out, so even if he wasn't directly writing the responses he should have been keeping a more careful eye on them.

Early Soundwaves are mildly interesting as they try to find a style, in particular I think the second or third one is really odd with Soundwave replying to letters' in a way that refers to himself in the third person.

2015-06-02, 08:47 PM
...through repeated mentions of the Sleeze Brothers in this thread, I've only gone and bought The Sleeze Brothers File TPB, which collects all six issues. It was a penny off of Amazon. That's cheaper than buying the individual comics!

Here's a thing - why did Marvel UK not pump out more TPBs of their stuff?

We got The Life & Times Of Death's Head, Night Raven: The Collected Stories, Ghengis Grimtoad, Death's Head : The Body In Question, Abslom Daak from off Doctor Who, Doctor Who : Voyager , The aforementioned Sleeze Brothers collection and Night Raven : House Of Cards (twice).

That's a really odd selection when you would have thought more obviously popular stuff like Knights Of Pendragon would have been a shoe-in for the TPB treatment. Even really obvious stuff like the runaway success of Death's Head II (in particular the initial limited series) didn't get a TPB... :(

2015-06-23, 09:05 PM
...I totally forgot Marvel UK did a Captain Britain trade in 1988. There's ads for it all over Death's Head and Dragon's Claws.

So, of course, I've gone and found a copy! And its really good! It collects the tale end of the good Captain's weekly outings from the mid 1980s, and collects the run of Cap stories by Jamie Delano and Alan Davis. I'm guessing these stories were collected to coincide with the launch of Excalibur by Marvel US (which also featured Davis on art duties), featuring as they do the introduction of Meggan the um, flame haired space elf or whatever she is. Also Psylocke, before the Americans did all that silly stuff sticking her in an asian girl's body for whatever.

...I also bought the Chronicles of Ghengis Grimtoad, which must be one of the last things John Wagner and Alan Grant wrote together. Its not very good, although Ian Gibson's painted art is nice here (and better than his work on Robo Hunter).

Auntie Slag
2015-06-23, 09:13 PM
Oooh, maybe you can help me out. When I was young reading the TF comics there was an ad for Captain Britain, it featured all the characters running/walking from left to right (like Mario), with Captain Britain at the front.

One of the characters in the row was this weird hairy creature, consisting of short stumpy legs and hair. It also had an oversized, seemingly hollow set of eyes set into the torso. It used to freak me out as a kid and I always wondered what the hell it was. Can you tell me?

2015-06-23, 11:09 PM
Pic? Any idea what era / issue?

So, of course, I've gone and found a copy! And its really good!
Mmm, it is. Shouldn't have moved it on. Disturbed the hell out of me in parts as a kid, and I think last time I looked copies were scarce... lots seem to have come up on Amazon now, maybe because of other reprints.

Auntie Slag
2015-06-24, 08:13 AM
@Denyer. Yes, it was an ad that featured in the early Marvel issues... say around the teens/early twenties. The panel would have been black & white, took up less than half a page. I think the furry creature had weird arms as well, slightly gangly with two or three fingers (and thumb) on the end.

2015-06-24, 06:57 PM
Hmm...couldn't find anything on Google Images, closest I could find was a Meep from Doctor Who Magazine


or Meggan, before she transformed


2015-06-24, 08:20 PM

Gatecrasher's Technet / later (? - they're time travellers) the Special Executive. Some of them, at least.


Maybe it's Thug, from the description?

Ryan F
2015-06-24, 08:46 PM
FYI ads for Captain Britain ran in UK#6-7, 18-19 and 29-30. Ads for the later trade were in UK#190, 194 and 197.

Completely irrelevant to the discussion, just throwing it out there.

Auntie Slag
2015-06-24, 09:49 PM
That's the ad Denyer! Thank you! And its that weird, white shrivelled egg-thing with the oversized, hollow eyes & the spindly legs. Freaky thing!

On top of that, why is Captain Britain wearing lipstick in the little circular panel directly above?

2015-06-24, 10:06 PM
I'm fairly sure that's Captain UK.


edit: So the tentacled thing is Elmo or Waxworks. Energy leech.

Auntie Slag
2015-06-24, 10:16 PM
That strange egg-thing is Captain UK/Linda McQuillan?

2015-06-24, 10:19 PM
Nah, see edit above. And by age of the comic, it's probably the earlier of the two members --


Rack 'n Ruin
2015-06-25, 06:32 AM
Would Captains Britain and UK have lost some of their superpowers if Scotland had voted for independence?

Auntie Slag
2015-06-25, 05:32 PM
Blimey, sounds like a character who didn't even get to speak before he was killed (off panel). Love the name Elmo for a weird alien though!