Marvel UK Memories: Top Shelf Marvel!

This is the only scene broadcastable from the SEXBOMB strip on this blog, Image via Tim Quinn.
Top Shelf Marvel – well, sort of. I was phoned at Marvel UK by adult publisher Paul Raymond, madman of the parish, to create a Marvel style sexy strip for one of his ‘girly’ top shelf mags, Club International. The Marvel UK Bullpen were more than happy to help out.

And so was born SEXBOMB. The boys who worked in the basement at Arundel House would take turns in working on the strip each month.

While it wasn’t our usual fare by any means, it did lead to a fun moment, a few months into publication. We were preparing for the 1993 Lord Mayor’s Parade through London. We’d built the float and ordered the costumes from the US. The Death’s Head II costume was made and the guy who made this costume said he would happily throw in his scantily clad companion Tuck’s costume for a little extra cash.

It seemed like a good idea but who would wear it? Certainly none of the womenfolk who worked at Marvel. (They seemed less inclined to dress up as Spider-Woman after each appearance so I couldn’t see Tuck’s near non-existent costume appealing much).

However, while delivering the latest Sexbomb to the Club office one day (this was back in the days when physical art was still a regular output method), I mentioned my predicament to the mag’s editor, a charming woman. She put a call in to one of Club’s favourite models (Lisa from Suffolk) who said she would be happy to join us on the float.

I arranged to meet her outside Tower Records in Piccadilly Circus. She arrived fresh from a photoshoot and, over a coffee, she showed me her latest work. The strangest thing to meet someone for the very first time in a crowded coffee bar in central London and have her showing me naked pictures of herself.

Let me say here and now that they were remarkably artistic and very tastefully done.

Anyhow, I filled her in on all she would have to do on the Mayor’s big day (get in costume, stand on top of float with the rest of us and wave). I went back to Marvel and delivered my good news. The artists seemed happy enough and even offered to help in the dressing of our Tuck come the big day.

All was agreed but then, mere week’s before the Parade, cost cutting hit the building and it was decided that the £50 costume fee was way too much to pay out for something that would probably only be used once.

There was talk of the rest of us having a whip round but it came to nothing. And so poor Death’s Head II had to go it alone on the float with the US heroes but no Tuck.

Probably as well as it turned out to be a freezing cold wet day that shivered my own timbers, even through Doctor Strange’s ample cloak. Tuck wouldn’t have had a chance!

Tim Quinn was born in Liverpool in 1953, the very same year Beryl the Peril first appeared in The Topper. Coincidence? We think not! His mother named him after her favourite childhood comic book character, Tiger Tim. Educated by Irish Christian Brothers whose prospectus boasted, "We will instill a fear of God into your child", it was little wonder Tim chose a life in comedy. And there's nothing more comical than working in or for the comics industry at times, for companies that include Marvel UK, where he was Head of Special Projects...



Categories: British Comics

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