Friday, 22 May 2015

1988: THE REAL GHOSTBUSTERS Teaser House Ad (Marvel UK)

From February 1988: The MARVEL UK teaser ad for the about-to-launch THE REAL GHOSTBUSTERS.  It's an obvious design... but also incredibly strong.  

TRG turned out to be a real cash-cow for the Annex of Ideas.  Not only was the core book a runaway hit but it also spun off the traditional Collected Comics and annuals.

Marvel also published books, a poster magazine, a best-of monthly and the spin-off BLIMEY IT'S SLIMER monthly and specials.

The Big Green Ectoplasm also popped-up in the short-lived all-original humor weekly IT'S WICKED and the Ghostbusters were also mainstays of THE MARVEL BUMPER COMICS anything-goes anthology. 


From January 1987: Another in the run of TSR ads for the British release of the MARVEL SUPER HEROES Role-Playing Game.

New year: New edition.  Although, apparently, not a second edition.  

This, like the others in the series, was fairly ubiquitous across the core MARVEL UK line (and, no doubt, in Role Playing magazine) at the time. 

1996: DARK STAR Issue 13

From 1996: The thirteenth issue of Rob Dyer's fanzine DARK STAR.  

I found this random issue in a store recently.  I don't remember seeing this particular issue back in '96 but - prior to that - I have a hunch that the Forbidden Planet branch on London's New Oxford Street used to carry copies when they still had a fanzine section in the basement.  Looking back... I wish I'd paid more attention (and had more money) to sample the collective wares. 

I know very little about DARK STAR so there's not a lot of background or context I can add.

I suspect the cover feature comes off the back of the late Michael O'Hare's visit to the UK after he bowed out of BABYLON FIVE after the first season.  I remember him doing the rounds of various stores signing stuff (in these more innocent times he would rock up to one of the organized events and charge a fortune each time he picked up his pen).

He also made a personal appearance at a long-defunct SF cafe just off London's Tottenham Court Road.  They had a lecture theatre/ screening room upstairs and he gave a talk and Q&A.  This was also filmed and later sold on VHS tape.  I think I have a DVD dub of my original VHS somewhere...

O'Hare (who, it seems, had a more troubled private life than anyone was privy to at the time) came across as being more relaxed and likeable than he ever did on screen.  It was always tricky to know whether his performance was because he saw the character as by-the-book and unemotional or whether he just wasn't a terribly good actor.  

I assumed, at the time,  his replacement on the show, Bruce Boxleitner, was drafted in by the studio after season one to raise the show's game. He was a more established acting talent and also able to boost the show's appeal to wavering station managers and groups by parachuting in a known star who had already anchored several network dramas.  

O'Hare suffered from mental illness for some twenty years but died of a heart attack, aged sixty, in 2012.  The B5 cast has been particularly cursed and other talented members who are no longer with us also number Richard Biggs (who was only 44 when he died), Andreas Katsulas and Jeff Conaway. 

Thursday, 21 May 2015


From January 1980: THE OFFICIAL METEOR MOVIE MAGAZINE, published by Warren.  

I must confess that I have never seen this Seventies Disaster Movie/ SF combo... although, from what i have heard, I doubt it is as spectacular as the magazine enthusiastically suggests.  Indeed, I understand it's more akin to a RAISE THE TITANIC stylee clunker.  

But... I have a copy of the movie on order... so I'll know for sure whether it's a Star Age disaster of a Disaster Movie. 


From March 1982: another random-scan from the back-issue box... FANTASY ADVERTISER (Incorporating MASTERS OF INFINITY) Issue 72. 

1980: STAR WARS and MORK & MINDY on LOOK-IN (ITV Publications)

From August 1980: A Star Age line-up that only LOOK-IN could concoct... Mork, Mindy and Darth.

It's a shame LOOK-IN were starting to loose interest in the BATTLESTAR GALACTICA strip (it wrapped its year-long run in October)... shoehorning a Cylon into the picture as well would have been the ultimate icon mash-up. 

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

1990: ROBOCOP 2 Movie Adaptation Magazine (Marvel)

From August 1990: Yet another outing (alongside the bookshelf and limited series versions) for Marvel's adaptation of ROBOCOP 2.

This is a done-in-one black-and-white magazine version.  Marvel certainly knew how to make movie adaptations stretch further in those days...

Unlike its predecessor, there was no Marvel UK edition. 


From August 1996: A preview issue, presented free with the regular Titan STAR TREK MAGAZINE (the eighteenth issue) to tease the impending launch of the standalone STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE - THE OFFICIAL POSTER MAGAZINE.  

Visual Imagination had been publishing a NEXT GEN Poster Mag (a rare dalliance into actually acquiring the license to something) since 1991 so it seems that, by mid-decade, their rivals had started to notice and launch their own "me too" incarnations.  Titan had this and Marvel had their DOCTOR WHO and BLAKE'S SEVEN versions.  

Titan had dabbled with a spin-off STAR TREK GENERATIONS poster magazine in 1995.  It ran for four issues.  

The format was the usual features on one side/ giant poster on the reverse formula.  

Only fourteen regular issues appeared before Titan called time.  Presumably sales didn't amount to much or the costs or terms of the license, going into the second year, changed or were too great.  

It was edited by the ubiquitous John Freeman.   

1987: ACTION FORCE House Ad (Marvel UK)

From July 1987: a MARVEL UK House Ad for the (ultimately short-lived) ACTION FORCE weekly.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015


From November 1986: A MARVEL UK House Ad for the first (of 6, published 1986 to 1991) THUNDERCATS ANNUAL and the second (of seven, published 1985 to 1991) THE TRANSFORMERS (Generation 1) ANNUAL.  

The Transformers edition featured all-new material.  The Thundercats book reprinted the origin story (an adaptation of the "oh-look-they're-naked" pilot episode of the animated show) from the first issues of the US Star Comics run.

The Thundercats book went on sale ahead of the Marvel UK ongoing comic (which launched the following March) and the TV itself.  BBC ONE aired the first episode on 2 January 1987 at 4.55pm. 

The Thundercats material was subsequently reissued in another M-UK hardback: THUNDERCATS: THE ORIGIN. 
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