Sunday, 26 February 2012


Images copyright MARVEL COMICS

Back in March of 1975, MARVEL U.K. released two new weekly
comics on an unsuspecting British public - The SUPER- HEROES and
SAVAGE SWORD Of CONAN.  We'll turn our attention to the Conan
mag another time because, for the moment, we're going to look at the
more successful of the two titles.

Initially, The Super-Heroes reprinted The SILVER SURFER from
NORRIN RADD's 18 issue U.S. monthly mag from the '60s.  Taking up
the slack in the back were The X-MEN, their adventures being split in twain
and continued the following week.  (Seeing those early X-Men adventures was
just like having the late, lamented FANTASTIC back again.)  In fact, as the
Surfer's first 7 American mags were double-sized, the same approach was
adopted for his adventures also, until such time as his regular-sized
tales were featured.

The Super-Heroes
lasted just under a year,
bowing out with issue #50
(Conan only lasted 18 issues)
and merging with the weekly
SPIDER-MAN comic.  In its
time it managed to showcase
DOC SAVAGE, and some
tales of The THING and
various guest stars.  It was
never better 'though, than in
its early issues, and it was sad
to see it go when it eventually
faded from the scene.  The
name (sans hyphen) was later
revived for a British monthly
magazine called MARVEL
but it was never quite the
same.  There were even two (at least) hardback annuals by GRANDREAMS
before the title disappeared yet again, this time for the final time.

50 issues?  Is that all?
Funny how, when I look
back, it seems that the
comic lasted far longer than
a mere 49 weeks of my life.
Surely it was around for a
couple of years at least?
(Nope, I guess not.)  I still
have my original issues
and, sometimes, whenever
I want to revisit yesteryear,
I dig them out yet again
and savour the sight, smell
and touch of these classic
comics from nearly 40
years ago.  Then, somehow,
I'm magically back in the
past and 16 years old once
more, reliving the thrill of
settling down with the latest
Mighty Marvel mag from
the House of Ideas!  What more could any true, dyed in the wool Marvelite
want?  (Apart from a coveted 'No-Prize'.)

Anyway, as I'm feeling nostalgic, here's the first three covers
to give you a taste of what I'm talking about.  Enjoy.


B Smith said...

Must have been odd for UK comics fans of a certain vintage....a Marvel title starts up reprinting the Fantastic Four, or X-Men....a few years later, a new Comic starts, reprinting Fantastic Four, or X-Men....and some years later, a new comic comes along reprinting, say, the Fantastic Four and X-Men.

Kid said...

I suppose, in the main, each reprinting every few years had a whole new audience. Readers like myself were probably the exceptions. However, there was always something different with each presentation which differentiated it from the one before. (New cover, black & white, colour, two-tone, different back-up feature, etc.)

Dougie said...

I've never seen two of those covers. By '75 my brother and I had a joint order for Marvel weeklies. This post reminded me that he never got The Super-Heroes issues 2 & 3 and I never got SSOC 3.
Either there was a delivery glitch for a couple of weeks or my mum must have succumbed to "pester power" and added both titles to our order.

Steve W. said...

I remember Stan Lee appearing on the TV show Magpie to promote the launch of those two comics. The interview started off with him pretending to be an angry J Jonah Jameson, while presenter Tommy Boyd played Spider-Man.

It was only when I saw that interview that I discovered that Conan was pronounced Coe-nan and not Connan.

Kid said...

Regarding issue 3, Dougie, for some strange reason it didn't click with me that it was the comic I was looking for when I saw it, at a glance, on my newsagent's counter. It wasn't 'til I hunted it down and bought it from another shop that I realised I could've bought it in the first one.

Steve, I remember the Stan Lee voiced TV ads for MWOM and SMCW, but I never saw the Magpie episode you speak of. Wish I had now. Maybe Americans just pronounce Conan's name differently to us (same as aluminium)? It'll always be 'Con(n)an' to me.

Dougie said...

Oh. I always thought it was Coe-nan rather than Connan...

Kid said...

I've heard Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's name pronounced both ways, but more often as 'Con-an' rather than 'Co-nan', which is why I pronounce the Cimmerian's name the same way. Don't suppose it matters much either way.

Kid said...

I've had a look at the internet and there seems to be debate as to how the name is pronounced. Two sources claim the opposite of each other, one saying that REH pronounced it 'Caw-nan' (or 'nin' - yes, there's even controversy on how the second syllable should be pronounced) and another saying 'Coe-nin' (or 'nan' or 'nun'). My view is this - pronounce it how you like and don't worry about it. Here's a selection of possibilities:

Coe-nin, Coe-nAn, Coe-nun, Caw-nin, Caw-nAn, Caw-nun, etc. Take yer pick.

Nick Caputo said...

Hi kid,

as noted on one of your earlier repliies to me comments, thart first issue was the one I had, bought at a con many years ago. I like the way they used cover images from the FF to produce the first tweo covers (which was easy since the FF wern't ON the covers. Where else did you see that happen?). I look forward to seeing more British reprint covers, and will try to ID new art when possible.

Kid said...

Thanks Nick, your comments are always appreciated.