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Thursday, November 14, 2019

The end of The Mighty World of Marvel

Sad news just in. Panini UK are ending their Mighty World of Marvel comic effective immediately. The final issue is out today. Here's how it was announced on Facebook this morning:

"Hi, Marvelites.
We’re sorry to report that this will be the last issue of Mighty World.
Thanks to everyone who supported the title. We’re sure it’ll be back someday!
In the meantime, why not check out one of the six other awesome Collectors’ Editions, packed full of mighty Marvel action!

The Mighty World of Marvel was Marvel UK's first comic in 1972 and had a long run as a weekly (and short run as a monthly) before being cancelled. It was revived by Panini UK several years ago, initially as a vehicle for Daredevil and Hulk reprints and then as a showcase title featuring various Marvel strips. 

The cancellation of its current run came suddenly, as the latest issue advertises the intended following issue which would have had a revamp featuring The Immortal Hulk and the Champions. 
The advert for the next issue that sadly will not appear now.
Unfortunately these are tough times for periodicals in a very competitive market and with production costs always rising.  Personally I don't think it's helped that various branches of WH Smith hide them behind the counter, claiming they get stolen if they're on display. Such a practice prevents any new readers discovering the comics and intimidates existing ones. 

Here's the PR for the final issue, in the shops now:

MIGHTY WORLD OF MARVEL #22. On sale 14th November. £4.99.
76 pages of Marvel Universe adventure!
The final chapter of the epic ‘Infinity Wars’ saga is here! Heroes and villains unite to face Gamora... ...but she isn't going down without a fight! By Gerry Duggan & Mike Deodato Jr!
First printed in Infinity Wars #5-6

Below: The Mighty World of Marvel No.1 from 1972.



Chris said...

Wow, how sad, I've just got my subscription copy and it said that the next issue was a relaunch with the Hulk and the Champions. Seems this happened after it went to print. Unlike Panini to do things so rapidly. Ah well.

Lew Stringer said...

Yes, I think the decision was made today. It's a shame because Immortal Hulk is so good! If you haven't read it, check out the US graphic novels.

Tony said...

I was really looking forward to the new lineup. Deeply disappointing.

Chris said...

I haven't and I shall. Thanks for the recommendation Lew.

Incidentally I couldn't agree more re: the practices of WHSmith. It's this practice that has lead me to subscribing. I know it's better for the publisher to subscribe anyway, however as a bit of a traditionalist I liked going into Smiths and getting them there, supporting their business as well. They don't half make it hard.

I hope MWOM isn't the "canary in the mineshaft" for this range due to things changes to stores like this. Next year is 25 years of the Collector's Edition Range (Astonishing Spider-man and Essential X-Men being the first), and that's no mean feat in this day and age

Lew Stringer said...

Well it's all titles for older readers that Smiths seem to have a problem with, not just MWOM. Some branches put Commando, 2000AD (and all its specials), and all the Collectors Editions behind the counter. It's a sad state of affairs that does no one any good.

Philip Ayres said...

MWOM hasn't really helped itself over the years with it's constantly changing lineup, frequently at the whim of "which Marvel movie is out this month?"

I very much enjoyed my years reading it - and it was a good few - but had to bail at the start of the year when turning pages started to get an issue for my fingers. (Degenerative Neuro Muscular condition)

Lew Stringer said...

I think headlining the movie characters made sense to bring the comic to the attention of new readers, as most people who watch Marvel movies don't read the comics. Unfortunately the material they had to choose from wasn't always very good.

Tony Isabella said...

Sad news. My Marvel career started with the original THE MIGHTY WORLD OF MARVEL. Even though it was unlike the other British weeklies, it did foster my interest in them. If I ever get another chance to attend a UK comics convention, I may bring an extra suitcase just for the old weeklies I would buy.

ParryS said...

I am a person who has complained NUMEROUS times to WHSmith about them hiding Panini CEs behind the counter. I subscribe to 5 of the titles anyway so that doesn't affect me, but I hate that.

Their logic is also nonsensical, too, some vague allusions to theft. What, and newspapers and chocolates don't get stolen? No, you're happy to rot people's teeth with your ubiquitous chocolate (offered at discount prices), but Heaven forbid you should showcase some comics. The "We're worried about theft" argument is illogical. I wonder why they don't really want them out there. If the theft argument was true, then they'd be keeping chocolate behind the counter along with newspapers.

It's absurd. It's ludicrous. If I had a thesaurus to hand, I'd add some more comments.

I have so much respect for Panini. I do buy US issues, but the biggest appeal of the CEs is the *curated* nature of it all. Scott Gray and Brady Webb have an excellent track record of curating the best (subjective though it all is). I hadn't even heard of some events or titles until Panini reprinted them. It's impossible to be aware of all US releases.

This is sad. It's a bit premature to replace MWOM, I guess, but I hope it will be replaced.

I just wish someone with influence could get WHSmith to account for them hiding the copies. It'd be nice to think that WHSmith's cut of publications is less for those titles hidden behind the counter, but I doubt it.

Stephen Parry

Craig Grannell said...

For me, the changing line-up was part of the joy of this comic, along with (mostly) keeping the thing away from the majors. During a major relaunch a while back (2017, IIRC), I subscribed to most of these books, but they gradually all fell away. I finally lapsed my sub to Marvel Legends a couple of months ago, after realising that I just didn’t care anymore. I’d enjoyed Foster Thor and Riri, but shifts to the status quo and the – in my opinion – abysmal state of the Captain America run just killed it for me.

MWOM was the last comic standing. Frankly, I hated Infinity Wars over recent months. These massive Marvel events do nothing for me. But I was sticking around for whatever came next. After all, this was the comic that reprinted the amazing Silver Surfer run (that I then had to buy in HC), introduced me to Ms. Marvel, ran a divisive Doctor Strange arc I adored, served up some fab Hawkeye… And I enjoyed the movie tie-ins. It made sense to run a Black Panther or Captain Marvel strip when the MCU was in the cinema – and besides, where else in Panini’s line-up would such things ever show up? So I’m going to miss it – but don’t feel the need to dip back into anything else they’re currently running. (Also, do we _really_ need two Deadpool comics?)

As for newsagents, it’s a lottery. In sunny Fleet, things have changed a lot – and mostly for the better. WHSmith and McColl’s both stock a decent number of comics, including 2000 AD, The Meg, and these Marvel reprints. They’re all on the shelves, too, not hidden away.

Lew Stringer said...

Parry, I give up with WH Smiths. Publishers don't seem to do anything about it so I'm not going to stress out over it any more. You're right that Scott, Brady and the gang do a fantastic job with these comics. I actually prefer them to the U.S. editions. They have better paper and less ads!

Tony, thanks for commenting. I appreciate that. I loved those early Marvel UK titles. You did a great job. As for UK conventions, it'd be brilliant to see you at one again but I should point out that you'd be unlikely to find many British weekly back issues, or even American back issues, at most cons now. It tends to be a hall full of Funko Pops and various merchandise at all the shows I've attended over the past few years. Sad times, but there seems to be a market for that stuff more than old comics now.

Lew Stringer said...

Thanks for commenting, Craig. I'm glad to say my WHS displays the comics properly too. Same in central Birmingham (although the branch at New Street Station has decided they're now top shelf material with Viz).

Yes, MWOM was a good showcase title. Its cancellation really limits what readers will see from Marvel now. I'm hoping it'll be replaced by something else next year but realistically I fear this may be the shape of things to come.

Craig Grannell said...

"I fear this may be the shape of things to come.”

I think so. The range of what’s covered has reduced anyway since that 2017 relaunch. Panini is still trying new things – most notably, having what are effectively trade paperbacks of reprint lurking with the comics in WHSmith. But it does feel like something’s shifted. Notably, I was rummaging through some old issues and saw the big jumps in subscription pricing. Quite often, you’ll see newsstand prices go up, but subs prices rising so rapidly is usually a bad sign.

Despite my now lack of interest in the line, I hope it survives. Even if it’s reprint, it’s still comics – and having access to more comics is a good thing. For a while, the racks looked pretty healthy, but everything’s being chipped back again, to 2000 AD, The Beano, and a load of plastic tat. (The Phoenix made a very brief appearance locally, never to be seen again. I’d have to visit Reading WHSmith now to find a copy – despite Fleet having two large newsagents and a Waitrose.) I also fear things will get worse, not least just when looking at where most of Rebellion’s output is printed…

James Spiring said...

This doesn't bode well for the entire line. First Titan lose the DC rights and WHSmith stops selling their other titles as well (Rick and Morty and Adventure Time didn't survive the year and Tales from the TARDIS: Doctor Who Comic is on hiatus, only Simpsons Comics has continued), now one of the Panini CEs is gone? How long before the other six go too?

Though if one needed to go, it should probably have been Wolverine and Deadpool, not MWOM, since Deadpool has another CE already whereas Hulk, Champions and Guardians of the Galaxy have nowhere else to go.

Lew Stringer said...

As always, it's all down to sales, James. They're not going to close Wolverine and Deadpool if it sells better than MWOM.

ParryS said...

I'm hopeful, James.

Titan's DC line went because Titan screwed up to put it politely, from not communicating with customers (just look at their FB page complaints) to rebooting titles on a whim. Imagine subscribing to SUICIDE SQUAD and then seeing it morph into TEEN TITANS GO! Plus, constant reboots, one of which led to their Batman title not being available on WHSmith's computer system. Titan's woes are their own fault.

Panini have a good track record. I might forget a few, but it's only MARVEL HEROES REBORN, THE INCREDIBLE HULKS and now MWOM that have gone. The others have built up a readership over time. Unlike Titan, Panini do communicate with their customers, and do professional reprints (compared to Titan's numerous reprint errors in their DC books). Losing MWOM is horrible, but I am sure the other titles will do fine. I'll keep spreading the word.

Stephen Parry

Lew Stringer said...

No comic is safe these days, Stephen.

Chris said...

Stephen - We also lost Fantastic Four Adventures. This is the first CE we have lost since MHR that hasnt been replaced immediately (Avengers United surfaced but some time later). Deadpool Unleashed replaced Incredible Hulks, which replaced Fantastic Four Adventures.

James - Wolverine and Deadpool is still and amazingly best selling CE according to the letters pages, however I do worry that the Deadpool bubble can only go so long. Unleashed seems to be running out of contemporaneous content fast

Lew Stringer said...

It's a sad situation because one would think the Marvel name would carry enough weight to encourage readers to buy it. Sadly if readers can't find it they'll never know about it. My corner shop now stocks Deadpool Unleashed but none of the others. My local Smiths (a mile and half away) has all the comics and displays them well. I heard shop assistants once saying how well they sold, but that was a few years ago. Now they're £4.99 each, perhaps that's no longer the case, but sadly rising paper costs have made it unavoidable.

garylee said...

I think it suffered from not having a main, regular character as an anchor, and a lot of the material, particularly the event storylines, were uninteresting and poorly written. I had hoped that with Marvel US recently bringing back the Fantastic Four, the line up would soon have been The Hulk, FF and Daredevil again.

ParryS said...

Ah, yes, I'd forgotten about FANTASTIC FOUR ADVENTURES.

I don't know how viable mergers would be long term, e.g. merging W&D with DEADPOOL UNLEASHED. The lack of a letters page in some issues concerns me. I think we have had about 3 consecutive issues of MARVEL LEGENDS without a letters page. Not having a letters page doesn't necessarily mean people aren't buying the comic, it could mean they are buying it but don't wish to write in. But whenever any publication loses its letters page, a paranoid reader like myself starts to wonder if there's been a decline in readership.

I'm told magazines pay for shelf space in WHSmith. I would hope that the CEs get free shelf space in branches that hide it behind the counter. I will continually fight against the absurd 'logic' that it's to prevent theft. All magazines and comics can be stolen. I have lost count of the number of times I have gone to pick up METAL HAMMER or MOJO, only to find the cover disc absent. My local WHSmith have mentioned how newspapers have been stolen. And I find it hard to believe chocolate isn't stolen. So it's an incredibly lame excuse to claim the CEs are hidden away to prevent theft.

Stephen Parry

McSCOTTY said...

Considering (what I assume is) Rebellions success in repainting classic strips I would have though a wee CE edition showcasing some of the genuine classics from Marvel. But sad to see MWOM go .

Lew Stringer said...

The difference there Paul is that most of Marvel's older classics are already in print, or have been in recent years, whereas the Rebellion material hasn't been seen for 40 plus years. Also, remember that MWOM etc dropped the 1960s/70s reprints because readers preferred the newer material.

SLOW ROBOT said...

I've looked around a few London WHS branches over the last few days and it is noticeable that not every branch is carrying the new (last) issue of MWOM... even when they stock the rest of the CE line. It has either sold out within days of release (unlikely) or WHS has delisted it from certain stores. Maybe that sudden cut in orders was what prompted Panini to pull the plug with no advance warning.

The cull may be down to a desire by WHS to reduce the number of CEs they carry by one title... and MWOM was the one to go.

The original had a distinguished run as MWOM weekly before - briefly - morphing into MARVEL COMIC in 1979. When that experiment failed (partly because of the disruption caused by industrial action in early '79) it rebooted again (retaining the same numbering) as MARVEL SUPERHEROES: A MARVEL MONTHLY. That in turn gave way to the MWOM monthly. Which was then replaced by the CAPTAIN BRITAIN monthly.

Lew Stringer said...

Thanks for the info. I've noticed that with MWOM changing the headline strip it confused Smiths. They kept old issues on the shelves because they thought that the ones headlined Silver Surfer, Black Panther, Guardians etc were all different comics. I don't know if that affected sales. It shouldn't have, as they'd all register as MWOM at the checkout.

James Spiring said...

Yeah, when I bought the latest Doctor Who Magazine (which is from the same publisher, so it can't have been a lack of a delivery) from WHSmith on Monday, I noticed that they still had last month's MWOM and not the new one.

And I've also noticed that they've had multiple issues of MWOM out at a time - which you'd think would help sales, as if you miss an issue it'll be on the shelves for longer, you could still pick it up after the next issue's already out.

Of course, delisting can happen by mistake, as Titan found with their Batman title.

SID said...

Sad news and a shame since I would have been interested getting it for the Immortal Hulk storyline. Anyway I will do my bit by continuing to subscribe to three of their titles.

On aside; I get Doctor Who Tales from the TARDIS Comic on subscription and didn't know it was on hiatus.

SID said...

ah. Just found a website explaining that Tales from the TARDIS is on a break until January.

Khayem said...

I think the constant cycle of relaunches/new volumes suggests that Panini UK is finding it an increasingly tough market. I'm in a similar position to Craig: whilst I've enjoyed the rotating headliners in MWOM, I didn't care much for the latest series of Guardians of the Galaxy and thought The Infinity War was dire. The Champions also seemed to be a series of diminishing returns so it was the Immortal Hulk that would have been the draw for the proposed volume 8. MWOM in its Panini UK incarnation notched up a total of 219 consecutive issues, not at all bad in this day and age. A sad start to Panini UK's 25th year of publishing Collectors' Editions in 2020, though. Khayem

Lew Stringer said...

Agreed. I'm finding Infinity War a chore to read and still haven't read the last two issues of MWOM. I gave up reading Champions but then I'm not exactly the teen audience it's aimed at so no hard feelings towards it.

Sadly nothing lasts forever and all publishers are finding it a struggle to sell periodicals these days. Sales of comics have been falling since the 1950s though so they've done well to last this long so far and we should cherish the survivors.

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