|Marvel Legends 91 - On sale Nov.14th|
When I was seven I (along with thousands of others) discovered the excitement of Marvel superheroes through the 'Power Comics' of the 1960s published by Odhams, which featured Marvel reprints in their UK weeklies. Those comics such as Fantastic and Terrific are long gone but in 1972 Marvel set up a British branch to bring their characters to our shores. (You'll find plenty of information about Odhams and Marvel UK in this blog's archive.) Sadly Marvel UK is also no more but over the last several years Panini UK have held the license to publish Marvel material in Britain.
This month the Marvel Collector's Editions published by Panini have reluctantly had to raise their cover price from £2.95 to £3.50. The first rise in four years. Now, £3.50 may seem a lot for a comic but they're actually great value for money compared to the US imports.
A typical $3.99 American Marvel comic will set you back around £2.25 to £3.00 (depending on the seller) for a 32 page title featuring 20 pages of story. A reprint title by Panini gives you 76 pages reprinting three comics for £3.50. Granted, the Panini comics are still running a year or two behind the US originals, but they're still a great way to catch up on any storyline you may have missed. Even better, they're introducing a new generation of readers to Marvel Comics who can discover the UK editions by visiting their local newsagent. (American comics haven't been sold in newsagents for years and few towns have a comics speciality shop.)
Personally I feel the UK format is superior to the US originals. Panini's comics have laminated card covers and a nicer paper stock. They also carry letters pages (often absent from American comics now) and the occasional pull-out poster that remind me a bit of the 'Power House Pin-Ups' from the days of Fantastic.
This may be coming across as a promo piece for Panini UK. I guess it is in a way, - unsolicited I hasten to add. I just felt that with the price rise the comics are likely to lose a few readers - so a little push to perhaps bring in one or two new readers wouldn't hurt.
There are seven 'Marvel Collectors Editions' at present: The Mighty World of Marvel (featuring Daredevil, Villains For Hire, and Avengers Academy); The Astonishing Spider-Man (reprints Superior Spider-Man, Avenging Spider-Man and, at present, Spider-Man:Noir); Avengers Assemble (featuring various Avengers titles); Essential X-Men (various X-titles); Wolverine and Deadpool (what is says on the tin); Incredible Hulks (Hulk and Red Hulk) and Marvel Legends (Thor, Iron Man and Captain America). All are available from WH Smith and selected newsagents. Give 'em a try.
There's a Facebook page for these comics here: