Cheers, Stu, quality article, cheque's in the post.
The Zoids strip was an early piece by Grant Morrison that did some wonders with the toys and held up quite well. Maybe if Furman had had some further breaks during 1986-88 then Morrison might have been a good candidate for the odd fill in on Transformers before Animal Man came along.
Interesting to see that the Return of the Jedi comic presumably folded due to sales rather than the UK licence immediately expiring at that stage - the last years of Star Wars at Marvel UK aren't covered well online at all. The licences were often negotiated separately in separate markets rather than Marvel having a blanket licence for all markets it printed in (and at least later on it wasn't unknown for Marvel US material to be reprinted over here in non-Marvel UK titles). This could sometimes lead to Marvel UK winding up stuck with a licence for rather longer than they could sustain a series either due to sales or the supply of US material drying up. In turn this could result in the properties being endlessly maintained elsewhere, either to recoup some of the money paid or perhaps because of contractual committments to keep the logo on the newsstands a minimum number of times. Watch out for this effect in different ways with both Action Force and Visionaries, both within Transformers and advertised elsewhere. (I wonder if the handful of Transformers reprint specials in 1992-1994 were also driven by a requirement to have the logo out there somehow.)
Partly right on Zoids. Morrisson wrote a couple of quite good stories, but it was a revolving door arrangement creatively with Ian Rimmer handling writing on most story arc issues. It was surprisingly entertaining in a massively derivative way, with stuff nicked from Alien, The Terminator, Aliens, Bladerunner and so on...
Also, not only was Luke Skywalker playing second fiddle to Zoids, so was Spider-man! I bought every issue of that comic and was frequently annoyed by the webbed... er.. Man In Black being sidelined by a toy range. (And I liked the toys!)
Oh, and I still love the blog! I've been following it since you pimped it out on Gallifrey Base but have been too lazy to comment. Good write up this time, as ever. I think because I first read it when I was 9, it never occurred to me how little sense the TV broadcast made!
Oh yes... write more about Rocket Raccoon! At this slightly iffy point in the TF comic it was the saving grace for me. Surprisingly good SF story under really stylishly weird art. I recently tracked down RR's early appearances and he really did appear in an issue of Incredible Hulk with the big green guy landing on Halfworld. Couldn't quite believe it.
I thought the broadcast made sense...it had been established that Robot Master made random broadcasts before and he would have needed a camera crew, and IIRC weren't some of Barnett's crew and RM etc present when the inert Megatron was discovered. I just assumed the camera crew were also held prisoner.
...I'm such an apologist for this story!
This third part is definitely the best anyway. Another glimpse of why Soundwave is awesome, and his disdain and impatience with the two Decepticon commanders. I sometimes wonder if Soundwave is the reason the Decepticons haven't crumbled into outright anarchy, what with all those egos and misfits in their ranks. He's a very astute politician.
As for the back ups, I could never get into Rocket Raccoon at the time (or many of the other random US reprints that made up the back up strip), but it strikes me as the sort of thing I'd really enjoy now. I should find out if a trade of this stuff exists...
Sorry! Forgot to add that Jeff Anderson's art here is great.
Back from AA! Phew (James Roberts is aware of this site. I may mention this a lot in this week's entry).
@Tim: I have always suspected (with no substantiation) that the '94 Collected Comics were a way of Marvel/Panini testing the water for doing some form of Generation 2.
Considering Star Wars is quite a popular thing I'm surprised at the paucity of information about the British comic on the Wookie, you'd have thought there would be at least one Chris McFeely over there. IIRC it didn't even mention the Zoids thing. A lot of later issues of the comic proper seem to have been reprints of earlier ones, but it's hard to be sure there wasn't another, new, story in there as well.
@Benway: Thank you for the kind words Sir, I do like the idea of Zoids pwning Spider-Man. If there's not a Rocket Raccoon collection out there now I suspect there will be when the film comes out.
@Simon, bless you Sir, your defence of this story is inspirational.
The last special was nearly a year before Panini came on the scene. (Exactly how to describe the Marvel UK -> Panini switchover can cause near flame wars on other forums.)
I'd disagree with your theory because the specials had been running continuously since 1992 (or even 1985 if we ignore the dropping of the term "Collected Comics" and the numbering), well before G2 began in the US let alone in the UK. I'd chalk them as more likely being down to the licence still having some time left on it though I don't know if Hasbro were still pushing for the name to have a newsstand presence (for overseas readers the toyline continued here during the US interregnum) or Marvel UK were just milking the last drops of the licence & inventory. Oddly the final special came out after Fleetway had launched their G2 title - perhaps the original and G2 licences were separate beasts, similar to the way some of the Doctor Who licences separate out the classic and modern series.
Ah, my cheating memory thought there the collections stopped in the early 90's (or around when the comic ended) and didn't start up again till a year or so later.
I was aware the Panini/Marvel change was complicated (and probably not helped by them continuing to use the Marvel logo-at least on DWM- until the turn of the century) but didn't realise it caused quite that many headaches.
Stuart Webb. Who knows everything about nothing and not a lot about that.
Action Force/G.I. Joe