Friday, 21 November 2014

1990: ALIEN NATION/ PLANET OF THE APES House Ad (Adventure Comics)

From 1990... an Adventure Comics House Ad for their two properties licensed from 20th Century Fox: the equally defunct screen franchises (although both subsequently saw revivals) ALIEN NATION and PLANET OF THE APES. 


The second, and (sadly) final, SFX Magazine SFX EPISODE GUIDE TO THE GALAXY, given away free with a 1997 issue.

As before, the small paperback provided summaries and analysis of the the show's covered and comes highly recommended.  Because both editions had a relatively high circulation (they were free after all!) they do occasionally resurface in charity and secondhand book stores.  Well worth grabbing!

It's hard to believe now that the erratic LOIS AND CLARK (aka simply THE NEW ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN on the BBC) would deserve such prominent billing as, despite the DVD releases, this SEAQUEST 'killer' (their first seasons were scheduled against each other... and Supes emerged triumphant) has faded from public consciousness and now only seems to be mentioned when discussing Terri Hatcher's 'other' work.  Personally, I liked the first season because it tried hard not to be a superhero show (and recognized the limitations of both the character and the genre on the small screen) in favor of MOONLIGHTING evoking romance.  Plus it had TV legend Tracy Scoggins amongst the supporting cast.  Once they tried to be a proper superpowered show... I lost interest.  

AMERICAN GOTHIC is a show I did (and still do) absolutely love and I highly recommend searching out a copy of the box set.  If you do, double-check the order that the episodes should be viewed in as, I think, the set follows the CBS transmission order which (as the ratings dropped) started to get out-of-sequence with the intended internal chronology of the show.  

ALIEN NATION, the show that would not die, is a nice (albeit, sometimes heavy-handed) police procedural with-a-twist based on the feature film.  It returned as a series of five TV movies and they're worth seeking out (as a DVD box set) as Producer Ken Johnson supplies an audio commentary for each and no-one in TV does commentaries as well as Johnson.  His commentary on the original 'V' mini-series is essential. 

SAPPHIRE AND STEEL, from ATV, is just the most amazing show ever.  It is the quintessential something-out-of-nothing production maxing out the limitations of the studio-bound format and small cast to create something really special...

1978: LOGAN'S RUN Issue 1 (Marvel Comics)

From January 1977 (so it probably went on sale in the States a couple of months earlier): the first issue of Marvel's LOGAN'S RUN movie tie-in book... another venture into licensed properties for the House Of Ideas.

This one, despite being spun-off from the hit film, mustered only seven issues before being cancelled.  The early pink slip was apparently because of some murky rights issues around the TV series (which launched in September of that year as an early attempt to grab some small screen STAR WARS magic).  The early termination is a shame as this might well have outlived the telly version (which was lost in the wilderness after only 14 episodes) and gone on to a reasonable run basking in the STAR AGE glow.  

Gerry Conway was the writer, George Perez supplied cover and interior art (inked by Klaus Janson).  

There was no MARVEL UK edition although LOOK-IN did run a two-page weekly take on the TV show from April-September 1978.  The six-month run was illustrated by Arthur Ranson. 

Thursday, 20 November 2014

1994: HAMMER HORROR House Ad (Marvel UK)

Another MARVEL UK House Ad for the HAMMER HORROR one-shot from the end of 1994.

1986: MIDNIGHT SURFER One-shot (Quality Comics)

Another Quality Comics one-shot: MIDNIGHT SURFER, collecting the early Judge Dredd/ Chopper strips from the pages of 2000AD and published (with what, I believe, is a new cover... correct me if I'm wrong) in 1986.  

The almost complete absence of JUDGE DREDD branding and images on the cover seems a little daft... the badge is lost in the artwork and runs the risk of being entirely obscured depending on how the issue was racked. 

1982: CONAN THE BARBARIAN Movie Adaptation (Marvel)

The covers for the two-part Marvel CONAN THE BARBARIAN movie adaptation from October and November 1982.  By this point, Marvel were publishing most of their movie tie-ins as a one-shot issue of the SUPER SPECIAL magazine (this was issue 21, tucked between DRAGONSLAYER and BLADE RUNNER) and standard format limited series with different cover art.  

MARVEL UK reprinted the Super Special as a hardback annual and, I'm pretty sure, also serialized the adaptation in the pages of THE SAVAGE SWORD OF CONAN. 

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

1994: HAMMER HORROR House Ad (Marvel UK)

From twenty years ago this month: The teaser ad for MARVEL UK's about-to-launch HAMMER HORROR one-shot, the warm-up act for the (unfortunately) short-lived monthly. 

1978: WHO'S WHO IN STAR WARS from STAR WARS WEEKLY Issue 1 (Marvel UK)

Hailing from the very first issue of MARVEL UK's STAR WARS WEEKLY (dated 8 February 1978), the Page Two introduction to the initial key characters from the early part of the film.  The line-up was revised (bye Biggs) when the feature was recycled in subsequent issues.

May The Force Be With You. 

1985: FOOD FOR THOUGHT One-Shot (Band Aid)

With the Adel-lite BAND AID single generating a lot of buzz, a lot of sales and a bit of swearing from Sir Bob (On Monday morning, I inadvertently found myself sitting next to the team charged with hand-delivering copies - yup, apparently they don't just email them - to the various radio stations just ahead of the official release) - in a remarkable bit of good timing - I found a copy of FOOD FOR THOUGHT, the 1985 British charity slam-jam that raised money for the original BAND AID in the 50p boxes at the weekend. 

I've not had a chance to read it yet, but just look at the roll call of contributors.   

MARVEL UK really got behind this at the time with a number of plugs across the line.  This is the first copy I've ever seen... and the first time I've seen the cover in colour.


This is a March 1986 print ad for the CAPTAIN POWER AND THE SOLDIERS OF THE FUTURE toy line which - rather succinctly - nails why campaign groups objected so vigorously way-back-when. 

Not only did the old Kid-Vid bug-bear of violence return but - this time - it looked like young viewers could join in with the on-screen mayhem by using the toys to fire at the TV.  At least Mattel were smart enough to not make the handset in the shape of a gun.

And, they claimed, not only was this an extended 30-minute (minus the other ads) commercial for the toys but the viewer could only really appreciate it if they owned the toys.  Thus sending pester-power off the charts.  

Fortunately, Mattel (by luck or design) had commissioned a show from a creative team that weren't content just to churn the stuff out so the show was perfectly enjoyable without having to buy the (flaky tech) toys anyway.

The whole series (all one season of it) is now on R1 DVD and includes a fascinating new "making of" documentary. 
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