As I’ve written previously, Marvel started its British publishing arm in 1972. Prior to that though, Marvel material was reprinted over here by a variety of publishers. Alan Class reprinted some very early Lee, Kirby and Ditko tales (alegedly, Class bought the original printing plates, with the result that in some cases the printing in his magazines is superior to that of the original Marvel comics). Later on, Odhams Press, using the Power Comics banner, began a well-remembered line of comics with titles such as Pow and Smash, many of which had Marvel reprints. Still later, that venerable old comic, the Eagle, a huge hit in its 50s heyday, but showing its age by the late-60s, tried to reverse its inexorable decline by reprinting a few of Lee and Kirby’s Tales of Asgard. Finally, in 1971, Fleetway picked up the reprint rights for Spider-Man and the Silver Surfer, running them in their recently relaunched TV21 comic.

Fleetway butchered the material, reformating panels to a standard size and fitting several of the US pages onto a single page of TV21. To do this panels would sometimes have to be crudely redrawn to extend them.

Here are some samples:

Spider-Man in TV21

Silver Surfer in TV21

See that picture of the Thing up there, left-hand corner? Here’s a better look:

The Thing in TV21

Jack Kirby and John Buscema must be spinning in their graves. While the Marvel UK reprints often left something to be desired, at least they were a step up from this!!

Images ©2011 Marvel Characters Inc