Perhaps that’s because MUK – in all its many forms – has rarely been written about whenever the rich history of the comics medium, and Marvel’s part in it, has been discussed over the years.
Well, that’s all about to change in a big way, with the release – at long last – of what is hoped will become a one-stop work of reference with regards to any and everything Marvel UK related.
Although still not yet scheduled, author Rob Kirby reports via the Marvel UK Facebook Group (Facebook membership required) that work has now been completed on all the text and index elements, along with scrupulous picture research and clean-ups, for the forthcoming Quality Communications book: Marvel: From Cents to Pence – The Definitive Guide to Marvel’s British Comics 1951-2007 (to give it its full title).
Set to clock in around 400 pages, this mammoth undertaking has taken its author Rob Kirby almost two decades to assemble, and as an ongoing work of reference will continue to grow even after the book’s publication.
Released by former Marvel UK Editorial Director Dez Skinn as A Quality Guide – the first outing for his long-running company’s new book imprint – the first half of Marvel: From Cents to Pence will contain a copiously illustrated 26 chapter history of Marvel’s activities in the UK, and is chock full of surprising revelations, candid admissions, rib-tickling anecdotes, and unexpected connections to the American side of Marvel’s many publishing activities (thanks, in no small part, to much exclusive commentary by many of the editors, writers and artists to have worked on the UK comics on both sides of the big pond over the years).
That leaves the latter half of the book to dedicated to indices that, character by character, dissect in painstaking detail almost every story ever printed by Marvel in Britain since 1972.
But apart from the main indices that you would expect – multiple listings for every American reprint, with separate multiple listings for all the exclusive UK-created material (and those series created for dual UK and USA consumption) – the remaining guides contain chronological breakdowns detailing the formats and contents to all the comics, Annuals and Specials, and all their free gifts, as well as a full creator ‘Printography’ for all the work that first saw print over here. Extra features are presently to set to include at least one colour section of photos, free gifts, and covers, poster and dummy artwork, along with a specially designed fold-out Family Tree, showing the year-by-year relationship between all the newsstand comics released since 1972, with issue runs and mergers also indicated to add historical perspective.
Currently planned to be, initially, available as a deluxe hardback edition, this is one huge blast from the past that Marvel UK fans won’t want to miss out on!
“So, when can we buy this monster tome”, you cry? Good question. The fact is, that until design work begins in the next few months, you’ll just have to remain patient for a little while longer until we can better update you on when Marvel: From Cents to Pence will finally explode on to the bookshelves. But Dez and the gang say all the stops are being pulled right out to make this one reference book that won’t disappoint!
• If you were ever a freelancer or staff member at Marvel UK, it’s still not too late to add your own insights to Marvel: From Cents to Pence, either! If you’d like to help out in anyway, please feel free to contact Rob, either through Facebook, or direct on rob_ak_38 AT yahoo.co.uk.