Whatever Happened to “The Sun”, hero of Britain’s best-selling tabloid newspaper?

"The Sun", the British newspaper's very own superhero

“The Sun” the British newspaper’s very own superhero. Art by Bryan Hitch

Former Marvel UK staffer and British comics legend Tim Quinn has unearthed an absolute gem from his archives this week – a superhero competition developed in the early 1990s in association with The Sun newspaper, long before many felt it went off the boil and now call it something derogatory instead.

Aside from some pictures from the Parade itself, the rough art featured here is all that remains from the project, the work of a young Bryan Hitch, whose projects for Marvel UK included the very pre-Ultimates mini series Mys-TECH Wars, a four part limited series written by Dan Abnett, which will be featured in an upcoming Marvel Fact Files from Eaglemoss.

“Trying to get promotion for Marvel Comics in the UK, I set up a meeting with then editor Kelvin Mackenzie,” Tim tells us. “I remember that he had an impressive office where the walls were creaking under the weight of framed photos of him and the VIPs of the day, politicians, Prime Ministers and even Presidents. But pride of place behind his desk was a huge portrait of Kelv and a topless Linda Lusardi. Kind of set the tone for the place.

“Anyhow, we had talks revolving round the newspaper producing a weekly Marvel Comics supplement. In the end it didn’t happen because he got it into his head that such a thing would only appeal to a male audience. However, we did turn out this thing. It was a competition where The Sun‘s female readership could put forward their husband or boyfriend to be turned into a new Marvel character called … The Sun!

“The winner would even have a costume made up so that he could join the Marvel Super-Heroes on that year’s Lord Mayor’s Parade on the Marvel float.

“I remember that I chose a suitably weedy specimen as the winner.”

"The Sun" makes his first (and possibly only) appearance alongsides Marvel UK's greatest heroes. That's Liam Sharp in that Death's Head costume.

“The Sun” makes his first (and possibly only) appearance alongsides Marvel UK’s greatest heroes. That’s Liam Sharp in that Death’s Head costume.

Marvel UK supports the troops at the London Lord Mayor's Parade

Marvel UK supports the troops at the London Lord Mayor’s Parade. That’s Tim Quinn as Doctor Strange on the right.

The comics supplement is a great idea and several publishers have had success with the idea, such ac The Phoenix, although not on an ongoing basis. It’s something we know one other national tabloid has recently shown interest in of late, tying in with the relaunch of one of their best-loved adventure heroes, but, as yet, nothing has been announced and we rather suspect the project has died a death.

• Were you “The Sun”? Why not drop us a line? Do you still have your costume? Do you still read The Sun?

• Find out more about Tim’s work and projects at www.mightyquinnmanagement.com. He’ll be appearing alongside Lew Stringer and Joe Matthews, among others, talking about humour comics, at Lancaster Comics Day on Sunday 5th June 2016 and both he and cartoonist Dicky Howett will see their autobiographies published next year

All photos courtesy Tim Quinn

The founder of downthetubes, John works as a comics editor, writer, as Creative Consultant on the Dan Dare audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing for over 30 years, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. He’s the writer of “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood for digital comic 100% Biodegradable.



Categories: British Comics, downthetubes Comics News, downthetubes News, Other Worlds

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