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Secret Wars Vol 1

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Marvel Super-Heroes Secret Wars was a fortnightly title launched by Marvel UK on 27th April 1985, reprinting the American Marvel limited series of the same name (originally a twelve issue epic starring the Avengers, the X-Men, the Fantastic Four, Spider-Man and the Hulk) with a backup feature starring Canadian super team Alpha Flight beginning in #2. The first issue gave away a free gift in the form of a set of rub-down transfers (several subsequent issues gave away superhero stickers, which were usually impossible to remove from the cover without destroying it), and there was also a long running two page humour feature, 'Marvel's Secret Artist', about a hit and run caricaturist who would sneak into the Marvel offices and draw grotesque portraits of Marvel characters (later, this series was replaced by the spoof superhero Macho Man). With issue #10, the title was shortened to just 'Secret Wars', and with #16, Alpha Flight were replaced by a limited series starring Iceman of the X-Men (Alpha Flight would return in #19). Issue #19 also introduced a new feature, toy tie-in strip 'Zoids', and from #20 the title changed to 'Secret Wars featuring Zoids', as the Zoids strip took up its new regular home in the centre pages. Issue #25 saw the end of the Secret Artist strip, and an exclusive three page Spider-Man story tying into the Secret Wars strip, written by Jim Shooter, which the Americans never saw (it actually followed up the UK originated Spider-Man strip the previous year). The Zoids feature ended in the same issue, but they would return in new weekly Spider-Man & Zoids.

Secret Wars II

With issue #31, both the Alpha Flight strip and the original Secret Wars story ended, and from #32 the title changed to 'Secret Wars II' as Marvel began reprinting the sequel series, and from #33 the backup strips became a little erratic as Marvel began reprinting, somewhat randonly at first, the issues of various other US titles which Secret Wars II had tied into (or some of them, at least) including the Avengers, Captain America, Spider-Man, the X-Men and the Fantastic Four. As the series progressed, so Marvel UK's editing of the various US titles (or sometimes just parts of them) became more and more inventive, making this series a version of Secret Wars never seen anywhere else before or since (in some cases, balloons are re-lettered to change elements of the story to fit the new timeframes being presented). Frequently, in these issues, the crossover material actually squeezed out the main Secret Wars II strip, though from #57 onwards this practice was stopped (unfortunately, they did begin missing out chunks from the original strips more and more often from this point).

Alpha Flight made a brief return in #39 and #41, while Lew Stringer's humour strip 'Macho Man' debuts in #42 (and lasts until #79). The series concluded with issue #80 0n 17th January 1987, with an epilogue appearing in Spider-Man & Zoids the following week. There were also two specials published, Marvel Super-Heroes Secret Wars Special #1 in 1985 (reprinting material from the first two issues of the original series) and Secret Wars II Special #2 in 1986 ( reprinting material that tied-in to the ongoing series), and a Marvel Super-Heroes Secret Wars Annual in 1986, also reprinting the first couple of issues of the series yet again.

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