1979 was an eventful year for Marvel UK's venerable THE MIGHTY WORLD OF MARVEL. The weekly had spearheaded the Marvel invasion of the UK back in 1972 but had spent the rest of the decade hosting the Hulk alongside a succession of mergers (THE COMPLETE FANTASTIC FOUR, PLANET OF THE APES, DRACULA LIVES and FURY) as the British line expanded and contracted.
The anthology probably would have shuttered earlier but the arrival of the live-action INCREDIBLE HULK TV show ("Marvel's TV sensation" as the cover splashes declared) undoubtably gave it a shot in the arm in '78. Nevertheless, Dez Skinn had it in his sights as he prepared for his Marvel Revolution, to be instigated early the following year.
His plan was to remove the bulk of MWOM's superhero strips and relaunch it as the adventure anthology MARVEL COMIC. The Green Goliath survived the first few weeks of the relaunch before shifting across to his own weekly.
Unfortunately, the early weeks of the revolution coincided with a national drivers strike which played havoc with distribution and forced Marvel to put the line on hiatus until the dispute ended and the issues already trapped in the system finally reached stores. The strike probably contributed to what happened next.
Another Skinn innovation was the launch of one-shot Summer and Winter specials for the first time. There was nothing revolutionary about that aspect of the revolution, Marvel's bigger rivals had been doing it for years but Marvel's New York management, largely ignorant of the British market, had previously nixed the idea in favour of imports of treasury editions, which they regarded as the Marvel equivalent.
Skinn saw specials as a way of expanding the line dramatically (eight summer specials, and four winter specials, appeared in 1979) as well as piloting new ideas for possible regular books (other try-outs included FRANTIC, TV HEROES and STAR HEROES).
MARVEL SUPERHEROES was one of those first eight specials and Skinn was obviously pleased by the results as, by the end of summer, MARVEL COMIC was simultaneously cancelled (it officially merged with SPIDER-MAN) and revived as a monthly under the new masthead.
The first relaunched issue was issue 353 although the numbering was omitted from the cover in favour of text that emphasised that this was a new launch.
The bankable initial line-up consisted of The Avengers, the original X-Men (the new incarnation of the merry muties was running in RAMPAGE) and makeweight Ms. Marvel.
The monthly continued through to 1983 before finally expiring after an impressive 397 issues. Arguably that may have been a deck-clearing exercise to make way for the revived THE MIGHTY WORLD OF MARVEL which launched shortly after.
Marvel Superheroes folded into THE DAREDEVILS from issue 6. The Daredevils, in turn, shuttered after 11 issues and merged with THE MIGHTY WORLD OF MARVEL volume 2.
Along the way, Marvel Superheroes absorbed companion monthlies SAVAGE ACTION from 382 and RAMPAGE from issue 393. In the interrelated world of Marvel UK, Rampage had already absorbed the short-lived (and inappropriately titled) BLOCKBUSTER from issue 45.
PREVIOUS POSTS YOU MAY FIND OF INTEREST:
The history of THE MIGHTY WORLD OF MARVEL (here)
The history of THE HULK at Marvel UK (here)
TV HEROES SUMMER SPECIAL '79 (here)
STAR HEROES WINTER SPECIAL '79 (here)
SUMMER SPECIAL 1979
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