(With thanks to various British comic fans): The launch of the new Thor movie today in the UK prompted memories form British comic fans of Marvel UK’s short-lived Thor-inspired reprint, The Mighty Thor.
Published in 1983 (Issue 1 cover dated 20th April), the title’s launch followed the demise of a second Fantastic Four weekly. Thor had been a back up strip in many a UK Marvel title over the years – and, indeed, was one of the first Marvel superheroes to be published in Odhams Fantastic comic in 1967 – but had not had his own UK title.
|A page from the original Thor #171|
Proclaiming that “Every Page” was in “Great Marvel Colour!”, the reprint of Thor #171, drawn by Jack Kirby,was actually only published in full colour for part of the title – and the printing itself left a lot to be desired, with some printed issues suffering a lot of “off registration”.
Even those pages that did print well were different to the colour of the original Marvel US editon, as the sample below indicates.
|How Thor 171 was reprinted
in The Mighty Thor
As with all UK comics, the first issue included a free gift – in this instance, a ‘free spinner’, a gun-shaped plastic item with an elastic band in it which ‘fired’ a cut out circle of blue plastic.
Although starting solely with Thor, it wasn’t long before the 28-page comic included a back up strip – usually Captain America, although Tales of Asgard also featured. Tim Quinn and Dicky Howett also contributed a half page ‘Fantastic 400’ cartoon alongside the usual mix of centre page mini posters, competitions and other features such as ‘Bullpen Bulletins’ promoting MUK’s comics range.
The Mighty Thor itself proved short-lived, lasting just 19 issues before merging with the Original X-Men weekly to become Thor & X-Men. Marvel UK fans recall the problems with the printing lasted several weeks, which can’t have helped sales, but perhaps this was a title that was always destined for merger, as part of a wider effort to boost the sales of titles.
• Thor Movie UK Site: http://thor.marvel.com/intl/uk