Marvel UK’s Bizarre Superhero Removable Guest Policy



In the latest Comic Book Legends Revealed, find out why Marvel UK originally had a very unusual way of handling superhero guest stars in its comics

Welcome to Comic Book Legends Revealed! This is the eight hundred and thirtieth episode where we examine three comic book legends and determine if they are true or false. As usual, there will be three posts, one for each of the three captions. Click here for the first part of this episode’s captions.

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Every Marvel UK comic in 1992-93 was originally supposed to be written to have a superhero guest star in exactly half of the comic and so the story could make sense with or without the superhero guest star.



As I explained in a recent article on Drawing Crazy Patterns, the sales boom of the early 1990s was a fascinating time because it took all the standard things that exist in comic books and kind of sped them up beyond your wildest imagination. For example, the idea of ​​having a popular superhero guest star in another comic to help boost sales of the less famous comic has long been something comic companies do, but when the sales boom of the late 1980s and early 1990s occurred, there were now so many books that there was a limit to how many times a certain character could appear in a title per month , otherwise the character would become completely saturated and so while Marvel certainly allowed Wolverine to appear in ANY batch of comics in the 1990s (I made a post counting how long I could go from a month to the other seeing Wolverine featured in a no x-men comic other than its own regular course and its regular Marvel Comics Presents feature and it lasted from August 1990 to at least May 1993! It’s CRAZY, right? You can check it out here), that wouldn’t allow him to do ALL the guest appearances, so comic book titles had to turn to less famous characters for guest appearances and some of them were quite funny.

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One area where this became a particular problem was Marvel UK’s big push in 1992-93 under editor Paul Neary. The sales boom and the pursuit of more and more titles was all over the place and that certainly applied to Marvel UK as well, so Neary oversaw a gigantic push for a new comic book series around 1992/1993 and one key elements of the sales push was that each comic would launch with a major Marvel superhero guest star (well, at least one major Marvel character period).

Here are some examples, Hell’s Angel #1 with the X-Men (including Wolverine, of course)…

Warheads #1 with… Wolverine, of course…

Pendragon Knights #1 with Iron Man…

and Motormouth #1 with Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD…

It’s all pretty simple, right? But wait, there’s a whole other super complicated aspect to this setup.

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You see, a very historic and famous comic series in England (and the rest of the world, really) is the weekly anthology series, 2000 AD and the series is known for being a science fiction and fantasy series, with Judge Dredd being the most famous character in the series. Here is a 2000 AD issue from 1992 (the issues are called Progs)…

Well, Neary felt that Marvel UK needed to compete with 2000 AD and so he came up with the idea of Exaggerateda bi-weekly comic book anthology that would feature sci-fi and fantasy stories featuring the best Marvel UK titles…

But because Neary felt that readers of a 2000 AD-comic-style would not like to see superheroes in it, he came up with a novel, and extremely difficult concept to pull off.

Each comic would feature a Marvel superhero guest star, but only in 11 of its 22 pages and the other 11 pages should be able to make sense if you were to delete the other 11 pages.

Check this in practice from Hell’s Angel #1 by Bernie Jaye, Geoff Senior and Cam Smith.

So the problem opens with us meeting our hero…

And she receives a supernatural offer…

And she accepts it…

She is discovered by the X-Men on the next page…

And she goes to Westchester and fights in the Danger Room…

And then goes back to England. And then the next page, we pick up with the demon (which is clearly Mephisto, but part of the way to making it work was pretending he wasn’t Mephisto and was just “a demon”).

Alright, in Exaggerated #1, the story ends with Hell’s Angel gaining her powers…

And then in the next issue, it picks up with the X-Men visit completely removed…

Can you even IMAGINE how difficult it must be to achieve something like this as a writer on a regular basis?

In the end, however, readers of a MARVEL UK comic still wanted to see Marvel superheroes in the comics and they weren’t happy with the Exaggerated series and by the seventh issue guest stars began to creep into the story and soon they were featured prominently in the book going forward.

I mean, on the one hand, I have to give it to Neary for the high level of difficulty he tried to achieve here, but on the other hand, it was really TOO difficult.


In the latest Movie Legends Revealed – did Paramount Pictures force Francis Ford Coppola to have a “violence coach” on The Godfather to make sure the story was interesting enough for a mass audience?


Check back soon for part 3 of the legends of this episode!

Feel free to send me suggestions for future comic legends at [email protected] or [email protected]KEEP READING: Marvel’s Original Spider-Woman Was Among Its First Black Heroes

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