View Full Version : Why was Headmasters a back-up in the UK anyway?

2015-11-28, 07:41 PM
This might have been answered in one of them new trades, dunno. But considering the US material was so crucial to the UK Marvel comic and considering it didn't create any of the continuity problems that the GI Joe crossover and even the Movie comic (which IIRC doesn't cause any huge problems, but was probably moved aside to avoid the eventual non-problem of the readership complaining about reading something they'd just seen in cinemas... IIRC there were a couple of complaints about Decepticon Dam-Busters) why was this one doubled up?

The UK book, IIRC, did longer stints of US material than 8 straight issues around that time and the UK editorial team weren't shy about breaking up US plot threads to spread stuff out a bit more. Quality wise in terms of both art and storyline it was superior to Bob's main title work at the time and it'd have been great promo for the new toys even with Max not really coming out over here; seeing as Marvel UK led off with "Worlds Apart" to get to the chorus sraight away anyway it just seems a bit baffling when nine months or whatever later they had no choice but to run "Big Broadcast".

Brendocon 2.0
2015-11-28, 07:49 PM
And it was about 15 months before the book started routinely including two Transformers stories.

I'd say that maybe it was so that they could keep pace to whatever publication schedule, but that's got no water as it was another decade plus before we got easy(ish) access to what was going on the other side of the pond.

Er, I don't know. Basically.

inflatable dalek
2015-11-28, 07:57 PM
On the surface it would seem the perfect solution to the posed by the Man of Iron reprint, not only would there be no need to find the extra money for those four weeks, it would also have given another month of budget saving reprints on top.

The simple answer is a combination of Furman not liking Headmasters very much and the writer's ego of not wanting to lose that much of his own material in the year. The comic was still selling well enough to take the extra costs aboard and Hasbro UK were happy in exchange for getting Worlds Apart and the Annual focus. Something probably helped by Fort Max not getting a UK release, at only two weeks the UK story probably did more to promote what was actually on British shelves than the American would have in 8.

It's more interesting that sales tailed off quickly enough for Big Broadcast to become undskippable just a year later (and we know the comic was on the verge of cancellation by the new year, hence the mess that is Time Wars and the following format change). Looka like the Masters and/or King Grimlock put a lot of kids off.

2015-11-28, 08:17 PM
I'm guessing it came down to original material being a bit of a regular earner for those involved, and the comic doing well enough at the time to accommodate it.

2015-11-28, 08:23 PM
Actually, that's a thought. I suppose that's eight weeks of lost work for regular artists, inkers, colourists and so on (plus scripting for Furman) at a time when Marvel UK were haemoraging talent as it was. EDIT: CURSE YOU, DENYER!!!

Plus there's the problem of being too far ahead of the US material from Hasbro's point of view, I suspect... The knock-on of two months' further delay for Bob's various New Toy storylines might have messed things up when IIRC releases were not too far off the same.

Not sure Max was a massive factor considering Sky Lynx and the Predacons were leading and we were used to this shit with Swoop, Shockwave and so on, but yeh, he probably didn't exactly help matters.

Regarding the three-way, I'm not so much convinced it was Transformers that was in trouble as Marvel UK as a whole. I'm never very good at lining dates up in my head, but it wasn't too far off the big over-reach of Dragon's Claws, Death's Head, Sleeze Brothers and the latest attempt to get people to buy Action Force all blowing up, was it? Marvel UK's history was basically defined by getting very excited and saturating the market at the drop of a hat.

EDIT 2: I suspect they were kicking themselves about the HM thing later, mind, especially as it went down well enough with the readership.

IIRC in Transmissions in the US book or something there was off-handed talk about a second Headmasters series - likely Marvel puff as I'm not sure how it'd work beyond contriving to put the '88 guys in a similar situation somehow, but TBH at the time of Headmasters Marvel had put out something like four Transformers limited series in a couple of years, even if three were effectively unusable for the British comic; it's possible the UK team thought they'd actually have a surfeit of material for years to come and that just throwing this one out however would do.

Ryan F
2015-11-29, 07:36 PM
A second Headmasters series was never planned. However, had sales been stronger, there were plans afoot to make the first Headmasters series into an ongoing (which was borne out by the letters pages at the time).

That's another possible reason why Headmasters was used as a back-up in the UK: if there was a chance that Headmasters might be around for longer than four months, publishing it all as a main strip in the UK (on top of the regular meterial) would have been a major headache!

2015-11-29, 07:54 PM
A second Headmasters series was never planned. However, had sales been stronger, there were plans afoot to make the first Headmasters series into an ongoing (which was borne out by the letters pages at the time).

That was it! Which is mad when you think X-Men was one series at the time...

Brendocon 2.0
2015-11-29, 08:04 PM
That was it! Which is mad when you think X-Men was one series at the time...

Well we'd got New Mutants and X-Factor on the go and Dazzler's ongoing wasn't long finished, but... wait, hold on.

Sorry guys. I've just spotted the Pedantic Bastard Signal in the sky, my services are needed elsewhere.

inflatable dalek
2015-11-29, 08:55 PM
Presumably it was just standard policy to allow for the possibility a four issue series might become an ongoing? That is after all, how the main book started and I can't see Bob volunteering (and the idea alongside an alternate ending is part of the pitch reprinted in the relevant Titan trade) to start a second book at a point of time when he was having trouble getting off the first unless that was the case.

Still, it's likely that would have formed part of Furman's "We can't do this as the lead strip" argument, even if he knew it was unlikely.