Thursday, 13 February 2014


Images copyright MARVEL COMICS

April 13th, 1983 - that's when The MIGHTY THOR #1
(British edition) hit the shelves of newsagents across the country.
A week later, The ORIGINAL X-MEN #1 sat-side-by side with issue
#2 of the thunder god's comic, giving all us Merry Marvellites two
new mags to add to our collections on a weekly basis.  We'll get to Thor
in a future post, but even 'though it means I'm slightly out of sequence
(and there's a reason for that, which will become apparent at a
later date), let's focus for the moment on the X-Men.

The cover banner was a bit of a cheat as not every page was in
full-colour;  some were, but the rest had only spot-colour, and letters
and competition pages were mostly in black and white with spot-colour
logos and blurbs.  However, what with glossy covers and colour pages,
British Marvel was beginning to recapture a touch of the style possessed
 by their mags in the early 1970s, before they'd gone down the route of
re-sized, black and white comic papers that resembled the output
of their IPC and D.C. THOMSON rivals.

The stories were re-presentations of the reprints from the U.S.
title, AMAZING ADVENTURES (Vol 3), from 1979.  The tales
were abridged by one page then divided in two, with a new splash page
created for the second half of each story.  The U.S. mag lasted 14 issues,
the British one survived for 17, before being merged with its companion
weekly, Thor.  Amazing Adventures featured six new covers by JOHN
ignored them, initially, for ones by Brit artist JOHN RIDGEWAY,
and later by GIL KANE, from when the original U.S. X-Men
mag had reprinted the tales in the early '70s.

I'd bought the first three issues while living in one house, but
#5 came out almost a week after moving to a new one.  However,
the tenancy on our old home had a few weeks still to run, so we'd left
a few items of furniture to collect at our leisure.  On the day I bought
#5, I stopped in at my old abode en route to my new one and sat on a
wicker chair in my old room, drinking in the familiar view beyond
the window, as the sun began its sad slow descent towards the
horizon and one era of my life drew to a close forever.

However, you know what they say about forever, and just over
four years later, we returned to our former abode, where I've lived
ever since.  It's strange to look at these X-Men comics today (and the
Thor ones) and realise I associate the first few with my current bed-
room, and the others with the bedroom of my 'new' house, even
'though they've now spent far more time here than there.

Anyway, that's quite enough of my personal reminiscences -
I'm sure you'll all have your own recollections of when you first
experienced these comics from over 30 years ago, so why not tell
us about them in the comments section?  We'll be waiting.  And
don't forget to be here for Part Two - coming soon.

NEXT:  "A Stranger In Town".


(Sharp-eyed readers will notice that there's a week's gap in
the dates between issue #2 & 3, so the third ish must have
been delayed for some reason.)


Colin Jones said...

I'd never heard of this comic until today but I'm surprised that Marvel UK were creating a new comic out of strips they'd already printed - these were in The Titans weren't they? I thought the original X-Men were deathly dull and the new 1975 version was a vast improvement.It's a pity that Rampage weekly didn't feature the new X-Men instead of the rather dreary Defenders.

Kid said...

Actually, Col, most British comic publishers used to reprint strips around every 5 or 6 years, figuring that they were now aiming at a new readership. True, the tales had been seen only about 2 or 3 years before in one of the digest-sized pocketbook mags, but perhaps Marvel though the colour might have a greater appeal to a larger audience. As for the X-Men - I always preferred the originals.

John Pitt said...

I too preferred the original X- Men , probably because that' s who I grew up with. I had high hopes for this comic, expecting to once again recapture my "Fantastic" days and beyond , but it was all over far too quickly. Great to see the covers again.

Kid said...

I was X-static when the original X-Men returned as X-Factor, JP (long before the awful TV show of the same name). I've lost track of what the current state of play is with Scott and his crew 'though. Is Jean still alive, or did they bump her off again?

John Pitt said...

Same here - they were nearly there with the New Defenders , but they needed Cyke at the helm. As for today, I've no idea about Jean. I think there are umpteen X-Men teams from different earths including the new team, the ultimate team and who knows how many others?

Kid said...

I certainly don't. I wish they'd just pick one and stick to it. It's getting far too confusing these days.

Paul McScotty -Muir said...

I have to question just what I was doing in the early / mid 80s as I don't recall this comic either - must have been spending too much time getting my mullet styled and getting "on down" in Victoria's Disco in Sauchiehall St. Have to say I never liked the original X-Men and much preferred the late 70s /80s Dave Cockrum and John Byrne versions / stories - As for today's X-Men I'm like you and have no idea what's going on, I picked up a few books recently to try get back into the Xmen ( had nice art) and the storyline was that teenage versions of the five original X-Men were taken from the past to the present for some reason, but I just lost the will to read on and gave up on the book so not sure if the original 5 are back in today's comic book world despite still being there already - I think there is even a title The Uncanny Avengers a mix of the 2 teams (!!!??) its all overly complicated and silly - maybe teenage me would have loved this stuff but I reckon he'd be up the at the dancin' as well

Kid said...

I remember when DC Comics rebooted their universe in the mid-'80s, John Byrne (I think) said that Marvel didn't have to do that because they'd got everything right the first time. Just a few short years later, JB was doing 'revisionist' origins of Spider-Man and The Hulk. Now it's gone crazy, and I haven't a clue where I am with once-familiar characters (DC and Marvel) from my youth. I much prefer poring over my back issues and buying Masterworks and Omnibus editions these days. I suspect that you're the same - eh, McScotty?

Paul McScotty -Muir said...

I do still pick up the odd new comic ( Daredevil by Samness, Aragones Funnies etc) and enjoy a trip to Forbidden Planet but more and more its back issues and now looking more at picking up omnibus editions, Essentials etc. If your not aware of this , check out the Works on Sauchiehall street (no doubt through the UK) They have some good books very cheap- Jeff Hawk edition (£16.99 now £2.99) Rat Pack (think that ws in Battle weekly) collection £2.99, a few Xmen trades (from Morrison ,Quietly Jiminnez era) 2 Indiana Jones trades and some Star Wars pocket books- I picked up a nice Beetle Bailey "1965" book for £1.99 by Titan books very nice indeed (not loads available but they were restocking the shelves as I was in so could be more later)McS

Kid said...

Thanks for the tip, McScotty, I'll take a look the next time I'm in town. We used to have our own Works store, but it closed. I like the sound of the Beetle Bailey book.

Paul McScotty -Muir said...

They had a few Beetle Bailey 1965 books in ( up at the back of the shop near the art supplies ) was reading bits of it last night, very good with a few extras (a few pro fan art illos by the likes of Jack Davis etc)Im a big Mort Walker fan would love to get a similar edition of his "Hi and Lois" (its the nice thick hardback editions not the paperback ones so extra good value)

Kid said...

Great stuff, McScotty. Thanks again.

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