Friday, 7 October 2011

FF Fridays: FF UK

In 1972 Marvel Comics were looking to expand their presence into the British comics market. After licensing some of their characters to the Odhams' Press Power Comics range in the '60s, they now started their own UK publishing operation to handle reprints of American strips. The first title they brought out was the much-loved Mighty World Of Marvel, home to The Hulk, Spider-Man and, of course, the FF.

I always think I was incredibly lucky to be a Marvel fan in the early '70s because I experienced the Silver Age ( through
reprints ) and the Bronze Age ( through contemporary comics ) simultaneously. And MWOM's early covers were often a meeting point between those two Ages, with new artwork by up-and-coming artist, Jim Starlin, depicting scenes from Marvel's past...

The FF featured in MWOM for a few years, but then were bounced around from one comic to another as the comics industry fell into decline, before finally receiving their own title, the short-lived Complete Fantastic Four. This was so called because each issue featured a "new" FF story ( well, a recent reprint ) and yet another printing of a classic Lee/Kirby story. Even though I predictably thought this comic was, er, fantastic, the British comic-buying public ( what was left of it by this point ) didn't, and the mag soon folded. UK Marvel was still struggling on through a seemingly-endless round of cancellations and mergers ( see this link for a fascinating look into Marvel UK's history ) and the FF tended to get lost in the shuffle.

Marvel UK eventually wound down, leaving Panini Comics to pick up the licence for the Marvel range in the 1990s. The FF eventually resurfaced in the new century with two volumes of Fantastic Four Adventures, in a format virtually identical to The Complete FF. So, as well as Lee/Kirby reprints yet again ( but this time in colour! ) I managed to read some modern runs on the title by the likes of Mark Waid / Mike Wieringo and Mark Millar / Bryan Hitch. Good stuff...

And, as far as I know, FF Adventures is still going strong and, hopefully, staying fantastic :-)

Soundtrack: Station To Station by David Bowie


Kid said...

The Mighty World Of Marvel was indeed a great comic, and I still possess every paper-covered issue. (And some glossy covered ones.)

As regards Fantastic Four Adventures, one of the classic stories they reprinted was sourced from a reprint in Smash! from the '60s. I know because I worked as a restoration artist on an FF Masterworks volume, and not only did I restore pages, I also had to recreate sections of them.

It was a strange feeling to see a story with pages reprinted directly from an Odhams Press Power Comic reprinted in an American Marvel book.

In fact, one Thor page I did for another volume was a combination of elements from the original issue of Journey Into Mystery, Fantastic and Spider-Man Comics Weekly. How about that for a 'merger', eh?

If you're interested, full details can be found on my blog at under the title of 'Restoring The King'.

Kid said...

Ps. I'm sure my blog would look great on your blogosphere list.

cerebus660 said...

Sorry, Kid, I was sure it was already on there :-(
I've fixed that now and self-administered a slap on the wrist...

And thanks for the comment - fascinating stuff!

Dino said...

nice feature, enjoyed it. I share the same rosy nostalgia!!

cerebus660 said...

Hi Dino! Thanks for the comment and thanks for Following.


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