Greetings, once more, for another plod down memory lane in the world of Marvel UK.
Bear with me today. My PC's monitor has reached the ripe old age of 18 months. It's a Samsung flatscreen, which came bundled with my current machine when we purchased it. For over a year it functioned perfectly well, and we enjoyed many an evening viewing forums, resizing scans for this blog, and the occasional bout of trying to to make Nottingham Forest a world power on Football Manager (Heck, I can dream)...
But no longer. This happy affair has come to an end. I've been trying to post a blog on The Braddock family for over a week. But it seems that after every 45 minutes that the screen is on the bloody thing decides to switch itself into some kind of standby mode, and bounce a box around the screen telling me that the signal is not in "Optimum Mode" along with suggesting what resolution the screen should be in.
Coincidentally, that's the very resolution that Windows is already set to...
And it would seem I'm not alone: http://www.fixya.com/support/p455061-samsung_syncmaster_713bm_17_lcd_monitor
Most annoying. But it seems to work again if I switch it off for another forty minutes.
I think some lengthy Customer Services calls are in order.
But less of my moaning. Hopefully we'll get through this one in one go...
I'm sure that all readers of Marvel Comics out there will be familiar of the concept of the Marvel Bullpen, and the regular segment "Bullpen Bulletins" which appeared somewhere within each of Marvel's monthly titles. It was a 1 page segment of each issue which dedicated itself to telling the reader just what else was going on in Marvel's other titles that month, what else was on the horizon, maybe a profile of an artist or writer, and of course the legendary "Stan's Soapbox," in which Stan Lee would vent his spleen or simply talk shop on whatever he fancied that month.
(You don't get that, anymore. It's kind of been replaced, post 2000, by Joe Quesada's "Cup of Joe". No bad thing, just sayin'.)
Anyway, those used to turn up in Marvel UK imprint titles too. At least to begin with. But at some point in late 1993 these began to be replaced by the Bullpen's ingenious British Cousin - Bulldog Bulletins!
The format was effectively the same, but Bulldog Bulletins concentrated on the comings and goings at Marvel UK. And this was kind of cool, because it allowed Marvel UK to tailor the bulletin to focus on their titles and creators - which realistically was not likely to happen in the main US bulletin.
Over next few months I'm going to be tracking some of these down from my longbox and posting them up for folks to see. The first of these I've found today came from the October 1993 batch of Marvel UK titles (If we really want to nitpick, this one was in the back of Dark Angel #14) and is celebrating Marvel UK's 21st birthday (Click for a larger view).
As you can see this was very much from the 90s heyday of the imprint, with things going very well indeed. The photo at top right is of Marvel UK's former Offices in Arundel House. I can recall seeing a couple of the documentaries that were done on Marvel UK. There was a genuine buzz around it all - a real sense that British comics could compete in the American market - and as a plucky teenager I found myself thinking that this was genuinely the kind of place I wanted to work when I grew up. Sure, I couldn't draw to the kind of standard that these guys did (Much as though I wanted to, I couldn't master comic book art of this kind) but I had ideas - and thought I could write. Sadly, by the time I was leaving school Marvel UK had been gone almost a full year. I was gutted. ;D
I do believe that I saw the Opening Shot documentary. But sadly I've been unable to find any reference to it online, to date. That's really the kind of thing that somebody aught to stick up on YouTube if they had it on VHS somewhere.
I'm sure that none of you will have missed the staff profile at the bottom left - with a picture of a very young looking Mr Liam Sharp, hard at work. Now is it just me, or is anybody else picking up a very distinctive Conan vibe, there...? ;D
As you can see Marvel UK really were putting out a lot of titles there. Just count the numbers across the bottom - The established ongoings like Motormouth and Death's Head through to the start the Marvel Frontier Books (note to self: Must do a piece on Children of the Voyager). These were good times - Sharp, Abnett, Lanning, Larroca, Pacheco, all in one place. The very positive (At least from a fan's POV)expansion of the line, and it was looking good!
Such an incredible shame it had to come to an end :(
What are your memories of Marvel UK? Feel free to post them up or drop us a line. Monitor permitting I should have that other piece up by midweek.