Friday, 30 September 2022

50-YEAR FABULOUS FLASHBACK - THE MIGHTY WORLD OF MARVEL #1... (EXPANDED)


Images copyright MARVEL COMICS.  Cover by JOHN BUSCEMA

My senses reel as I realise that the above comic - The MIGHTY WORLD Of MARVEL #1 - came out a staggering 50 years ago today, though 'today' was a Saturday back then on the 30th September 1972.  What's that?  The date on the comic says 7th October?  Yes, I know - that was the way of things back then - most comics carried the date of the following week so that they'd have a full seven days' shelf-life before any unsold periodicals were returned.

This was a great comic, and a step up from various earlier reprint weeklies that had previously presented such Marvel tales.  For a start, MWOM had a few colour pages, as well as spot-colour, to distinguish it from the black and white ODHAMS PRESS publications from a few years before.  What's more, the number of colour pages actually increased a few issues later, beating its competition hands down for visual impact.  That didn't last too long though, and the internal colour was eventually phased out well before the mag's first year had elapsed.

However, the early issues of MWOM, containing The INCREDIBLE HULKThe Fabulous FANTASTIC FOUR, and The AMAZING SPIDER-MAN were something special to British readers who bought it at the time.  Over the ensuing weeks some readers called for full colour throughout, saying the comic could go monthly to accommodate this, but it was explained that UK comics were geared towards weekly publication, and that full colour on every page would be far too costly.  How times changed, as before the pandemic, UK Marvel mags (published by PANINI) carried around 76 pages, and each one was in full colour and the same size as the US mags.

And what's more, MWOM was still around until November 2019!  Okay, it hadn't been published non-stop since 1972, but it was revived in 2003 and had nearly a 17-year run comprising several volumes.  (A previous revival in 1983 lasted only 17 issues.)  So enjoy looking at how it all started (and dig that crazy free gift transfer), and remember, if you were around at the time, what it was like to wake up on an autumnal Saturday morning 50 years ago, and then rushing to the newsagents to buy this brand-new comic before it flew off the shelf.  Ah, happy days!

Not that I rushed out to buy it, though, as I hadn't seen the STAN LEE-voiced TV ad (though I did later - either that night or the next day), so it came as a surprise when I spotted the comic on an exterior magazine wall-rack at the side of a newsagent's door, just along the road from Glasgow's famous BARROWLAND market (aka The BARRAS) where I and my parents were heading on that particular Saturday morning.

I couldn't talk my folks into buying it for me on the way in, but I'd managed to wear them down into submission by the time we made our way out an hour or so later.  We were soon ensconced 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 reacquainted myself with the paper pals I'd first met in the pulsating pages of WHAM!, SMASH!, and POW! way back in what even then seemed like the dim and distant days of the '60s.  Suddenly, life was exciting again.

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 show 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.
 
If only they still published comics like this today, eh?  Wouldn't that be something?!

******

And just think - around 15 years later I was freelancing for Marvel UK, lettering strips in such titles as Doctor Who Magazine, Galaxy Rangers, Dragon's Claws, Cartoon Time, The Transformers, Death's HeadRugrats, Count Duckula, ThundercatsThe Real Ghostbusters and others that escape my memory for the moment.  (I'll add more as I remember them - if I do.)  [Update: Now done!]  Ah, yes, also lettered 2-page Spider-Man and 2-page Hulk strips for promotional advertising purposes, but can't recall precisely what.
 

Iron-on transfer as it would be seen on T-shirt





The 'centrespread' as one image.  Click to enlarge, then click again for optimum size


22 comments:

Colin Jones said...

As I've mentioned many times my first Marvel comic was POTA No.5 so I missed the first two years of Marvel UK which is one of my great regrets although I was only 6 when MWOM #1 came out so maybe I was slightly too young for it? I don't know. I've also mentioned, Kid, that until I started reading Crivens I assumed MWOM #1 was the first time that Marvel characters had ever appeared in a British comic as I'd never heard of Odhams comics. The first time I read the FF's origin was in The Complete FF #1.

Kid said...

I think I was still only 7, coming up for 8, when I first read the Odhams' Marvel reprints, CJ, and I started reading TV21 when I was not long turned 6, so I don't necessarily think you'd have been too young at that age for MWOM. As well as the Odhams' reprints, they were also the Alan Class ones, and a lot of people forget (or don't know) that Marvel strips appeared in TV21 between the Power comics ending and Marvel UK starting. The Complete FF was another brilliant comic, I thought.

McSCOTTY said...

I know what Colin means about being too young, or perhaps maybe mot was ore his tastes that were not focused on superheroes at that age. I was about the same age as yourself when Odhams were publishing their power comics and I was only interested in the UK humour titles and I avoided reading my brothers Fantastic and Terrific comics ( all superhero). I only scanned Spider-Man in Pow!!. But by 1969 (9 years old)I was starting to get inton superheroes etcs.

It's almost unfathomable to me that its was 50 years ago MWOM appeared it felt like only a few years ago.

Kid said...

Your comment makes me wonder whether I'd have developed a taste for superheroes had I not been captivated by the feminine charms of Sue Storm, McS. I've now owned my replacement issue of MWOM (one of three) for around 42 years. I take it the one you have is your original?

Colin Jones said...

Kid, fancying Sue Storm drawing you to superheroes is like the POTA TV series drawing me to superheroes. I was a massive fan of the POTA TV show so when I saw POTA #5 on sale I just assumed they were connected and I was very confused on reading the contents of the comic but it was still talking apes and I wanted to keep on reading the POTA weekly which led me to Marvel's other comics - SMCW #103 dated February 1st 1975 was my first "proper" Marvel comic with superheroes.

Kid said...

I think that's very likely, CJ, as there were ads for Marvel superhero comics in POTA, which probably had a subliminal (at the very least) influence on you in regard to what you decided to read. Funny how things work out, eh? No POTA, no superheroes for you, in all likelihood. Gotta go, Sue's dropping in for a coffee shortly. (Nurse!)

McSCOTTY said...

Yes, my MWOM first issue is the original copy that I picked up in R S McColls newsagents 50 years ago Kid (actually in my case it will be 50 years ago on Tuesday). The first 30 issues of MWOM and SMCW and Avengers issue 1's are also my originals. The Hulk transfer I have ( shown on my blpg) is from another issue of MWOM issue 1 that what my dad bought for me ( my MWOM had no transfer in it). I have gave that first issue of MWOM away to a friend years ago.

Kid said...

Most of my early MWOM, SMCW, and Avengers issues I have are replacements, but I've owned them for far longer than my originals, McS. My The Super-Heroes, Savage Sword Of Conan and Complete FF issues are all originals though.

McSCOTTY said...

I got rid of all my UK Marvel comics back in the late 1970s with the exception of those noted in my last reply and about 20 other issues from various titles. I had too many of them taking up space.

Kid said...

I replaced my Captain Britain issues in the early '80s, having given my originals (except for #1) to a pal in the late '70s. And I replaced all my issues of The Titans a few years back, though, again, I still had my original 1st issue. I also still have a number of my original glossy covered MWOMs and SMCWs.

Phil S said...

Ah yes I remember it well. It was a real treat because even though I knew the characters, at this point there were no reprints . So it was like hey, new to me! And of course it was all the good stuff , Kirby and Ditko. Now I’m sad I got rid of them all. The good news is I sold them so hopefully they live on in a collection.

Kid said...

There had been reprints of earlier stories in Marvel Collectors' Item Classics and Marvel Tales, PS, but that was in the '60s. The good thing about MWOM was that it was weekly and reprinted the stories in sequence and from the very beginning. I'm glad I reacquired those early MWOM and SMCW issues many moons ago now. Did you sell yours in the UK or US?

RickH said...

This is kinda off topic, but were the "eye dots" on Spider-Man's mask on the last page of the origin story the only time they were used? I remember them from the reprints back in the late '60's. I used to think it was a reprint error.

Kid said...

I don't remember ever seeing them anywhere else apart from the origin story, RH, but it's always possible they appeared again - though I don't think they did. Interestingly, they were removed from some reprints in the '80s, then clumsily restored until better proofs which had never been altered turned up.

baggsey said...

The appearance of MWOM was certainly a milestone in my comic collecting - a case of the right comic at the right time. As you mentioned, I'd been aware of Fantastic and Terrific - in fact had collected them and treasured the Fantastic Summer Special - but those Odhams books seemed to be years and years in the past (only a couple of years in relaity, but time moves differently when you're an impatient lad), and I was really ready to read all those Marvel stories from the start. Loved the original paper stock and infrequent full-colour pages. The UK weeklies started to lose their appeal for me once they started tinkering with the paper stock and format (landscape??).
Still can't get over it being 50 years ago.

Colin Jones said...

I stopped reading Marvel comics around late 1983 but when I started again in 2007 I deliberately chose the Panini MWOM CE as my first purchase because the name MWOM was so comforting and familiar.

Kid said...

I think once they passed the early stories and got rid of the colour, B, the comic was no longer as good. And when they gave them glossy covers and added the muddy tones, well, that didn't help things, did it. Yeah, 50 years ago - doesn't seem like it, eh?

******

It's for those very reasons I started and continued to buy the Panini version, CJ, even when not all the strips appealed to me.

Phil s said...

In the Uk and probably to Forbidden Planet. There were only two shops in London ( that I recall) in

Kid said...

Hopefully they went to a good home, PS. Have you ever thought about trying to replace the first few?

Anonymous said...

When Spidey got his own title I’d have put Ant Man in the comic rather than Daredevil. It would have been a good lead up to The Avengers. Let’s not forget Avengers 1 - 3 masqueraded as Hulk stories in that first year.

Christopher Nevell said...

That was my comment about Ant Man just now Kid. Also I haven’t overlooked my promised article on returning to my old home. I’m still pinching myself - it’s good to be back.

Kid said...

I think I'd have preferred Iron Man, CN, and that would've been a good lead up to The Avengers as well. The Hulk seems to have been favoured in MWOM, so I suspect that perhaps TV producers were showing an interest in developing a series a few years before it happened. I thought 2 Hulk strips in the comic (I think it happened around #33) wasn't a step in the right direction.

******

I know how it feels, as I moved back to this house, in which I'd previously lived since the age of 13, after over four years away. Thing is, I think I'd have felt the same sense of joy if I'd moved back to just about any of my earlier houses. Looking forward to that article.



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