Friday, 26 August 2016

STRANGE WORLDS: BRITISH TWIN PEAKS FANZINE ISSUE 3

From the early 1990s: the third issue of the British TWIN PEAKS fanzine STRANGE WORLDS.

I'm pretty sureni had more of these (and several other Peaks zines) at the time but only this one resurfaced when I was trawling through boxes recently. Maybe more are out there... or maybe they have been lost to the Black Lodge over time.

The owls are not what they seem.


1989: THE DESTROYER (REMO WILLIAMS) MAGAZINE ISSUE 1 (MARVEL COMICS)

From November 1989: THE DESTROYER MAGAZINE issue 1, part of Marvel's late decade push back into black & white mag publishing.

This was a spin-off from Warren Murphy's 1971 pulp paperback creation Remo Williams. The character had (almost) gone mainstream that decade thanks to the movie (which no one watched) and spin-off TV pilot (which didn't sell) but didn't quite make it. Both, however, are well worth seeing.

Marvel published nine issues of the magazine (no British editions) before pulling the plug. They percevered with a colour special which collected some of the matqerial, first published in black & white, from the first four magazines. Then they changed track and tried a four-issue comic book mini-series and one further one-shot. And then they bailed.

Warren Murphy also created the rather good but little remembered US TV series MURPHY'S LAW, starring George Segal, which attempted to straddle drama and comedy with varying degrees of success over its short run. The episode with Patrick (The Avengers) Macnee is particularly fine. It was carried by the ITV regions during the early days of overnight TV and another of the unusually fine series created by New World Television.


Thursday, 25 August 2016

1981: LEW STRINGER'S METAMORPH ISSUE 2

From Summer/ Autumn 1981... the second issue of Lew (MARVEL UK and a lot else besides) Stringer's fanzine METAMORPH (not to be confused with the later DOCTOR WHO fanzine the same - or similar - name).

This was an early appearance of 'Brick Person', Lew's caped crusader who swiftly became known as BRICKMAN. And eventually graduated to his own Harrier Comics one-stop and - more recently - a really nice digest collection.

The mag itself is a really nice mix of material... the sort of thing that would tickle a Star Age geek's fancy if they found it poking through their letterbox.


1993: BABYLON FIVE VHS RENTAL RELEASE

From 1993: the first UK VHS release for BABYLON FIVE.

This is the sleeve for the original rental release of the feature-length pilot episode (aka The Gathering) which was released before the series arrived.

That's because there was a gap between PTEN (Prime Time Entertainment Network - the fancy name for the package of first-run syndicated teleflicks and series Warner Brothers sold to local stations) making and airing the movie and the series proper being given the green light.

I picked this up from the Oxford Circus branch of HMV (they occasionally carried tapes intended for the rental market) and was initially not that impressed. I could see the potential byt the cast seemed a little - ahem - underwhelming in their abilities and some if the creative decisions seemed a little ill-judged (like the Command Centre that seemed to be lit like a night club). But I could see the potential.

Many of those problems were fixed when the series itself launched. And it continued to improve across seasons 1-4 before loosing it in the fifth and final year.


Tuesday, 23 August 2016

1981: JAMES BOND 007 FOR YOUR EYES ONLY ADAPTATION (MARVEL COMICS)

From October & November 1981: A spot of Marvel BONDage... the Bullpen's two-issue adaptation of the Roger Moore (did he really have art approval on that first cover?) outing FOR YOUR EYES ONLY.

This limited run repurposed the material that also appeared in the MARVEL SUPER SPECIAL magazine issue 19 (which also used that Howard Chaykin cover) and marked the first time that Marvel had chronicled a 007 adventure (they followed up with OCTOPUSSY, from the Marvel UK team). Marvel had apparently been minded to use this as a launching point for an ongoing James Bond series but a deal couldn't be struck with Eon and the proposal faltered.

UK readers belatedly saw this as one of the movie back-up strips during the first year of RETURN OF THE JEDI weekly.




1986: 2000AD'S DICE MAN ISSUE 4 (IPC)

From 1986: the fourth issue of IPC's comics/ Fighting Fantasy hybrid 2000AD'S DICEMAN.

This time the line-up was Slaine and the eponymous Dice Man, both scripted by Pat Mills.

Cover by Brendan McCarthy.


1992: THE UK STAR WARS FAN CLUB MAGAZINE ISSUE 5

From the summer of 1992, a new (more professional) look for the 5th issue of THE (UNOFFICIAL) UK STAR WARS FAN CLUB MAGAZINE.

The cover art (the origin of which I don't recall although I'm sure I have seen it elsewhere) is a wraparound.


Monday, 22 August 2016

1995: THE MIGHTY I MAGAZINE ISSUE 1 (IMAGE COMICS)

From May/ June 1995: the first issue of THE MIGHTY I MAGAZINE.

Before Online became ubiquitous, publishers needed a way to reach out to their would-be audience. Fanzines had traditionally provided thet route but their low quality production values - and the whims of their Fan Boy editors - made them unreliable for reaching the mass market. Marvel hit on the solution in the early 1980s: MARVEL AGE MAGAZINE. That was Marvel's own in-house fanzine, stuffed to the staples with suspiciously good news stories about upcoming projects and creative teams. All geared to getting the buyer to buy more. And - best of all - the readership were willing to pay.

DC resisted going down the same route and concentrated their in-store marketing into a one-sheet freebie that compensated for s lack of colour printing by using colour paper. This was definitely low-fi Marketing. Someone obviously noticed and it was upgraded to a monthly glossy colour freebie which showcased upcoming projects in far more luxurious surroundings. Plus, of course, it was free which made it more likely that punters would grab a copy at the counter no matter where their buying loyalties lay.

By the mid 1990s, the unprecedented competition in the market place meant that everyone who could pumped a lot of cash into Marketing. WIZARD and other sympathetic wannabes were the obvious go-to destinations to spread the word (especially if the deal could be sweetened with a trading card or ashcan edition as an insert) but the MARVEL AGE model still ruled supreme.

This was the Image Comics version: THE MIGHTY I.

This was presented in the flip-book format, hence the two covers below.

I love diving into 50p boxes wherever I can in the hopes of uncovering some of these long lost - and long forgotten - mags because no one cares about them (or even remember them) any more. Which makes them prime fodder for STARLOGGED.

For the record: I was never much of an Image Comics fan (although I did like A TOUCH OF SILVER) so I never succumbed to the hype.



1998: THE UNOFFICIAL SFX EPISODE GUIDE TO (STAR TREK) DEEP SPACE NINE (FUTURE)

From 1998, another of the occasional paperbacks that issues to be presented free with SFX MAGAZINE: THE UNOFFICIAL SFX EPISODE GUIDE TO (STAR TREK) DEEP SPACE NINE.

As with the previous books, this one contained all-new material but, unlike the others, this was dedicated to one long-running show rather than several more - ahem - short-lived ones.

This easily gives the paid-for episode guides a run for their money in terms of coverage and is well worth grabbing should a copy ever pop up in a charity shop or other likely location.

It does unfortunately only cover the first six seasons (with a tickle of the seventh) which means it can't provide a comprehensive overview of the most interconnected of the Treks.



1994: DOCTOR WHO POSTER MAGAZINE ISSUE 1 (MARVEL UK)

From December 1994: the first issue of MARVEL UK's (note the short-lived logo) DOCTOR WHO POSTER MAGAZINE, another DWM spin-off.

As I've said before, Poster Magazines have always held a finite appeal for me so this (and the BLAKE'S SEVEN companion which Starlogged has covered in the past) wasn't on my mental pull list when it first came out. Buying budgets were tight and I preferred magazines with a little bit more substance. However, in my quest to accumulate as many Marvel UK titles as I could find, I did luck onto a near complete run a couple of years ago and snapped them up. Copies come to market surprisingly infrequently which suggests a combination of low circulation figures and few surviving copies in circulation.

The early issues were themed around a particular WHO monster, beginning (of course) with the Daleks. A late-in-the-run reboot shifted the coverage onto a particular story... although that plan didn't progress very far as the plug was promptly pulled as the British Bullpen was being streamlined for the Panini takeover. Suddenly DWM was once again Number One in a field of one.

The format was the usual whopping poster on one side/ articles on the reverse as seen so many times before. That made the price-per-word pretty high compared with the main magazine.


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