After the failure to get the ‘Core Relaunch’ titles off the ground, Marvel US brought the Marvel UK imprint to an end, at least as a branding for further US series (the various UK comics and magazines continued as before). Paul Neary then planned a series of titles to be issued instead by Marvel US, with the UK offices acting purely as a production studio once more.
Artists such as Joe Fronteriz, Pino Rinaldi and Salvador Larroca were all mentioned by Neary as potential artists for several other undisclosed projects, while three others were developed a little further. Nothing would come from any of these pitches either.
Writer: David Leach
This series “only got as far as being green lit as a character, before it was canned,” David Leach recalls.
The comic’s hero was a 17 year-old lad who found himself dumped with his aunt child-averse after his parent’s had split up. The twist here is that his aunt works for NASA and is having problems with a protective suit originally designed for an aborted Mars mission that her young charge manages to get working, at least to some degree. After saving her life wearing the nano-tech driven Specialist Terrain Operated Mobile Power suit, very much against her wishes, they form an uneasy alliance.
Neary had expressed an interest in either Carlos Pacheco or newcomer Jimmy Cheung (who would eventually produce some new work for the British wing some years’ hence) as potential artists on S.T.O.M.P.
• More info here on It Came from Darkmoor
Developed by Paul Neary and Tom de Falco
Writer: Dan Abnett
Art: Pino Rinaldi
Described by Neary as a “reinvent of Plastic Man”, this new hero could not only make himself wafer thin, but turn into gas or liquid form, albeit with potentially dangerous consequences. No definitive title for the series was ever settled on, with the project adopting ‘Mutator’ during the autumn of 1994, which was then one of ten potential names on the list.
Although a brief outline offering initial ideas of the series exists, crediting Paul Neary and Tom de Falco as creators, Tom told me in 2018 that he doesn’t remember anything about this project.
“Part of it reads like something I would have written. Part of it sounds more like Paul. I wish I had something for you to add. I don’t.
“I do remember that I often tossed ideas Paul’s way, he adds from the United States, “as well as to my editors on this side of the pond.
“The done-in-one complete story without a cliffhanger is something that I believed in then and still do. You need a clear and clean origin story so that you have the ability to reprint it in the future or take to pitch meetings.”
• Read more about Mutator here
Writer: Bernie Jaye
Artist: Never Assigned
Bernie Jaye was, of course, a regular collaborator with Neary, and was working on an un-named series concerning a man who stumbles across a stash of android robots, which he then uses to implant his consciousness after a terrible accident connects him to the androids. With title character’s real body now critically injured, he uses the androids to locate his missing body, thus creating some varied story potential from “a hero going into various bodies and not really caring if the bodies get hurt”.
In 1995, Marvel US bought Figurine Panini, along with a number of other businesses, merging Panini’s UK offices with that of Marvel UK, and bringing in the Panini UK management to take over from Neary.
Contrary to what has often been previously written elsewhere, although Marvel US took more of a backseat thereafter, they still owned Marvel UK and would continue to do so until the business difficulties that saw Marvel US enter the Chapter 11 process in America were resolved. As part of the eventual settlement, they were forced to divest themselves of various acquisitions, including Panini.
Thus, it was only at the end of 1999 that Marvel UK became part of Panini UK and were no longer part of the Marvel group. This change was immediately reflected within the copyright indicia inside all of the first UK titles to bear a January 2000 date, and can most clearly been seen on the cover of Doctor Who Magazine, where the classic Marvel Comics logo from that period suddenly disappeared after the publication of #285 (15th December).
Owing to increasing amount of information discovered about the later years of Marvel UK, our “Genesis 1992” section has now been broken up into more pages
Part 1 – Published Comics 1992 | Part 2 – Published Comics 1993 -1994 | Part 3 – Published Comics 1994 – 1995 | Part 4 – Frontier Comics | Part 5 – Unpublished Projects Developed during 1990 – 1991 | Part 6 – Unpublished Projects Developed during 1992 – 1993 | Part 7 – Other Unpublished Projects Developed during 1993 | Part 8 – Unpublished Projects Developed during 1994 | Part 9 – 1994 (Marvel UK branded) Core Relaunch | Part 10 – Final Unrealised Projects 1994 – and a Postscript
Marvel UK: Useful Links
• It Came From Darkmoor: itcamefromdarkmoor.blogspot.co.uk
Terrific blog about Marvel UK and British Marvel heroes
• Starlogged: starlogged.blogspot.co.uk
Charting the history of many British comics, including their promotion. The site has a fantastic list of every Marvel UK title published, in chronological order, here
The web presence of author Rob Kirby, who’s working on a book on the history of Marvel UK, From Cents to Pence
• Comics Pending – January 1993
This document compiled by John Freeman outlines some of the unpublished comic strips planned for Overkill, and his thoughts on the future of some of the company’s title such as Motormouth and Warheads, in January 1993, when he was in the process of leaving the company to take up life as a freelancer.
The hand-written notes refer to “Paul” – Paul Neary, Marvel UK’s Editorial Director; and editors Tim Quinn, Jacqui Papp and Bambos Georgiou.
This section is compiled with thanks to: Adrian Clarke, Alan Cowsill, Andrew Currie, David Elliott, Carl Flint, Glenn Dakin, Alan Green, Richard Green, Rob Kirby, David Leach, Carlos Pacheco, Tim Quinn, Simon Jowett, Mark Roberts, John Ross, Cam Smith, and others