Thursday, 27 September 2012


Art by John Buscema
Forty years ago, on September 30th, 1972, THE MIGHTY WORLD OF
MARVEL #1 (cover dated October 7th) burst onto newsagents' counters
all over Britain. I hadn't seen the STAN LEE-voiced TV ad (although I did
later), so it came as a surprise when I spotted the comic on a wall-rack outside
a newsagent's along from Glasgow's famous BARROWLAND market (aka
THE BARRAS), where I and my parents were heading on that particular
Saturday morning.

Art by Jack Kirby
Art by Jack Kirby
I couldn't talk my folks into
buying it for me on the way in,
but I had managed to wear them
down into submission by the time
we were on our way out an hour
or so later. We were soon en-
sconced in the cosy confines of
a comfy cafe, and it was with
great joy that I pored through
its contents over a glass of cola
and re-acquainted myself with
the friends I had first met in the
pulsating pages of ODHAMS'
range of POWER COMICS,
way back in what even then
seemed like the dim and distant
days of the '60s. Suddenly
life was exciting again.

Art by Jack Kirby

DEZ SKINN once revealed that Stan had told him the comic's original title
was going to be The WONDERFUL World of Marvel (after the Disney
TV programme of almost the same name), but thankfully 'twas not to be.
Besides, MIGHTY and MARVEL go so well together it seems the obvious
choice, so I'm amazed that any other name was even considered.

Art by Jack Kirby

Art by Jack Kirby
Forty pages, some in full-
colour (the rest with green
'spot' colour), for only 5
pence - containing the origins
MAN - plus a Hulk iron-on
transfer (left) - WOW! I wish
they still produced comics
like that today!

Well, in a sense - they do! I'm
still buying MWOM today,
although it's now published
monthly, has seventy-six full-
colour pages and costs £2.95.

The Mighty World of Marvel - I hope it's still around in another
forty years. In fact, I hope I'm still around also.

Art by Steve Ditko

Hopefully, you won't mind me resurrecting a post from two years ago -
but (with a little revision) it was perfect for the purpose of celebrating the
debut of MWOM back in 1972. And, to be honest, I simply couldn't think
of saying it any better than I did a couple of years back. I wish I could relive
those Autumnal days from so long ago when I was a mere thirteen year old
boy, but, in a way, I can. Whenever I look at those pulse-pounding pages
in the very first issue of THE MIGHTY WORLD OF MARVEL, I'm
once more back in the heady days of the sensational '70s.

Art by Steve Ditko

Incidentally, you may be interested to know that, despite a later issue's
claims to the contrary in response to a reader's enquiry, page seven was
edited out of the reprint of SPIDER-MAN's origin. The opening caption
of page eight was amended to take account of this, and so unobtrusively
was it done that the story's flow remained largely unaffected by the cut. 


baab said...

oh my,
I have some serious holes in my memory!

I have no recollection of that cover to number 1.
So I went to the comicvine website to see if maybe I started on a later issue.....the first cover i recognised was no 6,then,20,27,48,49...then all the rest are very familiar to me,including a lot of really bad covers that i intentionally had forgotten about.

So I thought where else could i have accessed the origins of the ff spidey and the hulk all in the one sitting....maybe in an Alan Class book,but i dont think all three had been in one issue...

In 72 I was 8 nearly 9 years old,and I definitely owned almost every issue of mwom(until the later amalgamations and content lost me.)And I definitely was hooked by Marvel after reading number 1.

So I then looked at the Titans covers and I remembered and owned all of them and the further amalgamations.....

I have to return to the comicvine though,those covers i did recognise were pulling at me something rotten.

Kid said...

And wasn't that MWOM cover a belter - by John Buscema no less. Classic!

Steve Does Comics said...

It will always be a matter of regret to me that I never had a, "Green-skinned monster T-shirt transfer."

Kid said...

Steve, I have the answer. Print out a copy of the transfer from my blog and trot along to your nearest tattooist with it. Then you can sport a permanent version of it on your chest forever. Problem solved. Am I brilliant or what?

Steve Does Comics said...

I'm thinking of having it tattooed on my face.

NP said...

Looking at the cover brings back the smell of that transfer! 5p was quite steep but then Fantastic also had 40 pages and only a colour cover, and that was 9d. And it ended four years earlier, in autum 68. Four years? That's nothing, but it seemed like a long, long gap at the time! The success of MWOM in 72-75 showed that British kids had finally caught up with the Marvel heroes, unlike the cool kids who could say "Oh yeah, I read those stories when I was 7!"

Kid said...

You're right, NP - that four year gap between 'Power' and 'Marvel' seemed like an eternity at the time, even 'though TV21 had featured some Marvel strips in the intervening years. Although I had read two-thirds of the contents of MWOM before and remembered them, I was not overly familiar with the stories to the point of not being able to enjoy them again as (almost) new. It was a case of part introduction and part reacquaintance, you might say. That's why, today, I have two sets of memories from two different times for some strips. When I look at 'Kurrgo, Master of Planet X' in Wham!, for example, I have one set of memories - and when I look at the same story in MWOM, I have another, which includes remembering seeing the tale in Wham! That's almost incomprehensible, but it's a difficult idea to convey.

John Pitt said...

Good to see these early MWOM for the first time (for me) as I didn't buy it until planet of the apes merged into it. I now see I could have caught up with all the wham/smash/pow reprints that I missed in 67! On the subject of reprints, for sheer value, I don't think the pocket book digests could be bettered.

Kid said...

The Pocket Books were good, but some of the early stories were 'abridged', which spoiled things for me.