Sunday, June 2, 2013


The first non-U.S. comics I saw were copies of the British weeklies
Fantastic and Terrific which I bought from Jerry Bails at the first
Detroit Triple Fan Fare I attended in the late 1960s.  Reprints of
Marvel super-hero stories were among the features in the weeklies,
albeit cut-and-pasted into a more traditional British format.  Who
could have known that, just a few years later, I would be editing
Marvel’s own British weeklies.  Those convention purchases sparked
by interest in foreign comics, especially English-language comics.
At the time, I was convinced this weekly format could be the model
for a new kind of American comic book.

Digression.  At the same show, I also bought an issue of Fawcett’s
Gift Comics from the esteemed Bails.  It contained over 300 pages
of unsold Captain Marvel and other Fawcett comics, cobbled together
and wrapped in a new holiday-themed cover.  I also this was a new
direction for American comic books.  With accurate predictions like
these, it’s a wonder I didn’t become a political pundit instead of
a comic-book writer.  End digression.

This new bonus feature will appear from time to time in addition to
the regular bloggy thing.  I’ll be showcasing non-U.S. comics from
England, Australia and other countries, comic books excavated from
the legendary Vast Accumulation of Stuff.

The Mighty World of Marvel #1 [October 7, 1972] was just slightly
before my time at Marvel.  For five pence, readers got reprints of
the first Spider-Man, Hulk and Fantastic Four stories and, as was
usual for new British comics, some sort of free promotional item.
My copy of MWOM #1 doesn’t have the Hulk monster t-shirt transfer
touted on the John Buscema/John Verpooten cover, but instructions
on how to iron the transfer on to a shirt appear on an interior ad
page alongside ads for a Charles Atlas muscle-building program and
stamps from around the world. 

“The Coming of the Hulk” from Incredible Hulk #1 [May 1962} starts
off the issue.  Written by Stan Lee with art by Jack Kirby and Paul
Reinman, MWOM #1 reprints the first two chapters of the original,
but omits one of the eleven pages.  I don’t recall ever having to
cut pages from the stories reprinted in the British weeklies on my
watch, but I did have to do it on some U.S. reprints.  That left a
bad taste on my soul.

The stories reprinted in MWOM #1 were in black and white and green.
That took a while for me to get used to and I think we dropped it
in favor of black and white and zip-a-tone during most of my time
editing these weeklies.

The cover of Fantastic Four #1 [November 1961] was used as a full-
color pin-up page in the middle of the Hulk story.  Following the
Hulk story, the issue features all 13 pages of the FF’s origin tale
from the team’s first issue.  Stan Lee and Jack Kirby signed this
story and it’s now accepted that George Klein was the inker.

The full-color centerspread of the issue was a message to readers
from Stan Lee and a coupon/stamp of the Hulk.  It’s a combination
puzzle and mystery gift offer.  The copy reads:

Every week (for the next ten weeks) you will find a numbered coupon
on this page: and here’s your first one!

How good are you at figuring out clues? We won’t tell you what your
mystery gift is yet ‘cause trying to guess it will be half the fun!
But besides your special coupon, we’ll give you a new clue every
week! Ready? Here’s your first clue...

It’s bigger than a breadbox!

When readers collected any eight different coupons, they could mail
them to the comic’s London office to get their mystery gift.  I’ve
no idea what the gift was because this promotion was already done
by the time I was hired to edit the weekly.  Hopefully, one of my
British readers will be able to tell me what the gift was and if it
was worth cutting up eight issues of the magazine.

The final story in the issue was Spider-Man’s origin from Amazing
#15 [August 1962] by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko.  A page was
cut from the 11-page original version, but the final page of this
story ran in full-color on the issue’s back cover.

Keep watching the bloggy thing for more world-wide comics from my
Vast Accumulation of Stuff.

© 2013 Tony Isabella


  1. In the early 1970's, I saw Filipino reprints of DC Comics, but, curiously, I don't remember seeing any reprints of Marvel's line.

  2. The free gift in return for the coupons was a large poster, drawn by John Buscema. There's a picture of it on my own blog - I'll send a link (if you allow such things) so that you and your readers can see it.

  3. For some reason I'll always remember that it was "bigger than a breadbin" such was the impact of getting my first taste of Marvel (somehow I missed all the other reprints), but I think it turned out to be a poster of some sort.

  4. Here's the link to the free poster:

    If that doesn't work (but it should), substitute 'com' for - that should do it.