Sunday, January 27, 2019

Newton Comics: Considering the post-August 1976 period

Analysing the post-April 1976 period is challenging. There is contradictory information to navigate, gaps in publication to account for, undated and unnumbered comics to deal with, which appear to have been slapped together haphazardly, and little to no information in the books themselves - in stark contrast to the editorial input in the preceding period. I've taken my best shot at reading the entrails and the minutiae of both the March-July and July-August 1976 periods, so now it's time to attend to the post-August 1976 period, which has been the most problematic to date.

Post-August 1976
In his article Harken To Me Faithful Ones!, Robert Thomas says: "October 1976 was the last hurrah for Newton Comics as the last remaining proofs were used up and previously released issues were recycled into giant-sized 100 pages editions." Since the publication of this article in 2003, October 1976 has been accepted and widely quoted as the final month of Newton Comics publications. And with good reason, as the information in the article was implicitly endorsed by Marty Dougherty, the "driving force" behind the comics, who read a draft and voiced his approval. 

However, it has become evident to me that Newton Comics published issues much later than October 1976.

In preparation for his article Thomas corresponded with John Corneille, who worked one day a week as editor of the comics. In a question related to the post-August 1976 period, Corneille replies in part:

It was decided the comics had had their day. Newton tried a Happy Days/Fonzie magazine to cash in on the Fonz craze and it was very successful. This prompted Marty to change tack from comics to teenage magazines.

The following advertisement appeared in the Sunday Observer 18 July 1976:

This edition of Superstar! is likely the magazine Corneille refers to. This advertisement ran at least three times, and the last instance I recorded was in the 1 August 1976 edition of the newspaper. Note the date of its first appearance coincides with the final appearance of the Newton transfers advertisement

It does appear that the teenage magazines were a successful venture for Newton. Newton was in the teenage/pop music magazine game before mid-1976, but it is also clear that the magazines were prioritised over the comics after this Fonzie magazine. The August 1976 issues carried super hero t-shirts ads on the rear cover, but from this point on, the comics only advertised Newton's pop music and tv show magazines on the inner and rear covers. 

It is useful to group the undated and unnumbered issues into batches based on the configurations of the advertisements they contain. Identifying publication dates for the magazines in the advertisements provides a guide regarding the publication dates of the comics.

The Advertisements
Every Newton comic published post-August 1976 carried this Scream! advertisement on the inner rear cover:

For the purposes of grouping issues in batches and differentiating publication dates this advertisement is redundant.

So, putting aside the Mark Holden Scream! ad above, there are four pairs of advertisements in the remaining Newton comics. The following photos are of the advertisements, paired as they appear in the comics on the inner front and rear covers respectively:

Set A

 Set B

Set C

 Set D

Now that we have the comics grouped together in batches based on the paired advertisements they contain, let's see when these magazines were advertised in the Sunday Observer.

Set A:

The following advertisement first appeared in the Sunday Observer 12 December 1976:

It also appeared the following week in the 19 December 1976 edition.

In isolation, it is enough to designate the Set A comics as published in December 1976. However, Set A also includes an ad for the ABBA Collectors Kit.

The following advertisement appeared in the Sunday Observer 24 October 1976:

This ad for the ABBA Collectors Kit is dated almost two months earlier than the Flashez ad. However, variations of this ad - full page, quarter page in colour - appeared in the Sunday Observer every week from 24 October through to 5 December 1976. That is, it ceased momentarily in the Sunday Observer and migrated to the comics to join the Flashez ad effective 12 December 1976.

Set B:

The following advertisement first appeared in the Sunday Observer 2 January 1977:

This ad appeared in the Sunday Observer at least three times. The final one I found was in the 23 January 1977 edition. 

The following advertisement first appeared in the Sunday Observer 23 January 1977:

This ad also appeared the following week in the Sunday Observer.

It appears the Set B comics were published January 1977.

The following advertisement first appeared in the Sunday Observer 6 February 1977:

Amongst the ads for magazines featuring pop musicians and tv personalities is a solitary Newton comic: [Newton Triple Action #2]. This comic is a Set B issue, so it was most likely published January 1977, but it is possible it was published in the first week of February 1977. This ad also appeared in the Sunday Observer 20 February 1977.

Set C:

The following advertisement appeared in the Sunday Observer 27 February 1977:

This ad appeared at least three times in the Sunday Observer. The last one I noted was in the 20 March 1977 edition.

The comics I have designated Set C appear to have been published late February/March 1977.

Set D:

The following advertisement appeared in the Sunday Observer 27 March 1977:

It also appeared the following week in the 3 April 1977 edition.

The following advertisement also appeared in the Sunday Observer 27 March 1977:

This also appeared in the Sunday Observer a week later in the 3 April 1977 edition. 

The comics I have designated Set D appear to have been published late March/April 1977. All the Set D issues appear in the advertisement above except for Sub-Mariner  and Unknown Worlds of Science Fiction #NN[3], which suggests they were the last two issues published. The Giant Man Doctor Strange issue in the ad above is a Set C issue, which suggests it was last of the Set C issues to be published - possibly 26 March 1977.

I went looking for one thing and found another. 

In investigating the advertisements in the Sunday Observer I hoped to find some small clue regarding the order of publication of Sets A-D. I also wanted to test a hypothesis - that the final batch of Newton comics, whichever batch it was -  was likely published c.December 1976. This was based on common sense arithmetic - four batches published in the four months after August 1976.

What I found has me reconsidering much of what I thought I knew about Newton Comics. 

For one thing, it appears that there were three, not two periods in which the publication of the comics was suspended: December 1975/January 1976; April-July 1976; and September-November 1976.

For another, it appears that I incorrectly ascribed proxy issue numbers to the last two issues of Planet of the Apes.

It also appears the last Newton Comics issues were published in April 1977.

As counterintuitive as it is, I find the evidence thorough, compelling and convincing.

Which is not to say it cannot be queried.

Querying the information
In the last couple of days I have shared some of my findings with friends interested in Newton Comics. The responses have ranged from exuberant proclamations of Eureka! to mildly cautious scepticism. I understand both reactions. So let me address some of the questions or concerns which have arisen.

Why would Newton have relaunched in late July/August 1976 and suddenly cease?
I do not know for certain but, as per Corneille, it appears that the unexpected success of the Fonzie magazine in July 1976 prompted Dougherty to focus on the pop magazines in lieu of the comics. Considering the Fonzie magazine was published virtually simultaneously with the relaunched comics, it may be that the sales figures outstripped the comics by such a large margin that the decision was a quick and easy one. 

Are the advertisements in the Sunday Observer January-April 1977 as reliable as the dates on the magazines?  
Over a long period of time I have searched for copies of the magazines advertised in these Sets. I have only found samples of US editions of the Fonzie Versus Barbarino and Charlie's Angels magazines. The US editions are dated 1976. This is not reliable data regarding the Australian editions, but it did lead me to believe the Sets concerned were published in 1976. If I find Australian editions with dates I will happily take that information into account.

You have previously argued that the Sunday Observer ran ads that were not current. How do you know the ads above are current?
This is a legitimate question. If I was basing my conclusions on the evidence of  only one ad I would be less confident in drawing broader conclusions. However, given the ads relate to all four Sets, and they are aligned with the pairings, and they appear in quick succession, I am compelled to accept them on face value. I do concede the Mark Holden Scream! ad is anomalous. I did not find any such ads in the newspaper in 1977, only in November and December 1976. I can only assume it was a place holder which became a space filler in the comics.

The Sullivans premiered in November 1976 and was a hit tv show. Is it not possible that Sets B and C were published in late 1976?
Of course it is possible but it is very unlikely. Consider this article:

This was published in the Sunday Observer 24 October 1976. It begins:

Channel 9 has lifted the cloak of secrecy from its new series The Sullivans. Filming of the historical drama began about a month ago. But it was not until this week that photographs have been released from the set, and the full cast named.

The article ends "It is expected to be on air next month."

According to Wikipedia, The Sullivans premiered three weeks later on 15 November 1976. So, it is possible the TV Stars issue was published very late in 1976, but it also appears extremely unlikely.

The Flashez advertisement warrants a further comment. The first instance of it that I found was in the 12 December 1976 issue of the newspaper. It may have also appeared a week earlier in the 5 December issue. I say this because, according to the following article in the Sunday Observer 5 December 1976, the tv show ended a week earlier:

In other words, the Flashez ads and magazine were current as the program itself was defunct.

The ABBA Collectors Kit also continued in the Sunday Observer. After migrating to the comics, it reappeared in the newspaper the following week 19 December 1976 and could be found in March/April 1977 editions.

That's all for now. There is much more I have to say about the comics themselves, and I will shortly turn my attention to the individual issues and the Sets in dedicated posts. Besides, I expect there is plenty for you to digest in this post. I trust you'll excuse the rather dry and repetitive nature of some of the detail in this post, but I wanted to lay out the information as clearly as possible in order for interested parties to interrogate my evidence and then assess my conclusions.

1. In some cases above I have ascribed titles and issue numbers in parentheses. The indicia in the issues in this period in particular is notoriously slapdash, incomplete and subject to crude modifications eg. words erased and others pasted in. For example Captain America The Amazing Spider-Man is titled Newton Triple Action in the indicia - although it does contain a Thor feature, Thor is not mentioned on the cover. In contrast the unwieldy The X-Men Here Comes... Daredevil The Mighty Thor is a Newton Triple Action issue in all but name, but there is no title on the indicia.

2. There were 19 comics published in this period. I have all but one of these issues in my collection. The information contained in the missing issue has been provided to me and I am confident it is accurate. It was tempting to provide scans or Set photos of the batches but in the end I decided it would clutter the post unnecesarily. In due course I will add hyperlinks to the issues concerned as I index and post them on the blog.

3. When I refer to advertisements in the Sunday Observer, I mean this in the generic sense. Most if not all of the ads referred to in this period appeared in Sunday Observer supplements such as TV Observer including Pop. The supplements changed format and titles over the period coinciding with Newton Comics.

4. The Sunday Observer collections I accessed are incomplete. The collection in the State Library of Victoria is complete for 1975 but is missing the 1976 issues. The various supplements are stored separately and are also incomplete. The 1977 issues are also incomplete, contrary to the catalogue listing. The 1976 collection in the National Library is also incomplete however the associated available supplements are at least bound into the volumes with the newspapers. For this reason I often explicitly refer to the first or last instance of an advertisement I have noted. Presumably there are relevant advertisements in the missing supplements or editions.

5. My thanks to Robert Thomas who has provided me with scans of relevant material from his research and collection, including copies of his correspondence with John Corneille, and has enthusiastically supported and embraced my findings. Thanks also to Mark Cannon who accompanied me to the National Library and helped in poring over the newspapers on a 40 degree day, and chuckled intermittently at the ludicrous headlines and advertisements in Newton's tabloid rag.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Newton Comics: Considering the August 1976 period

On the heels of the transfer ads in the Sunday Observer during the period May-July, the following advertisement appeared in the Sunday Observer 25 July 1976:

The three issues clumsily namechecked in this ad are:

These three issues have a uniform design. They are numbered, they are cover-dated August 1976, and they have the same black banner across the top of the cover pronouncing the Free King Size Superhero Poster and the Camera Contest. 

They also happen to include a Captain America Bulletin on the inside front cover:

We recall this making it's first appearance with some degree of fanfare back in December 1975. Like a tried and true political slogan it is reinvoked in August 1976 as Newton launches another campaign to establish a presence in the marketplace. The darker shading differentiates it from the bright yellow of the original Bulletin, and perhaps unconsciously symbolises a somewhat less optimistic relaunch than its sunny forebear.

Also cover-dated August 1976 are the following issues:

Dracula #14

The Deadly Hands of Kung Fu #4

These three issues also belong to the set above - they have the same Poster and Camera Contest and the same Captain America Bulletin. However, they are also a conspicuous subset - the banner at the top of the cover begins at the top of the page and, more significantly, these issues are new instalments of previously suspended series.

The issues in the first subset are all advertised as On Sale Now. On first blush this suggests that all of these issues - or at the very least one of them - was published 24 July 1976, irrespective of the August cover date. However I suspect that these three were published over three successive weeks. I say this because the advertisement ran for three weeks until 8 August 1976. Assuming this is the case, then the publishing schedule for these three issues pans out like this:

24 July 1976: Newton Four-In-One #1
31 July 1976: Newton Triple Action #1
7 August 1976: Newton Spectacular #1

It's an assumption, but it is based on balancing the merits of the evidence to hand. It also has the benefit of precedence as it replicates the practice of the initial launch of Newton Comics in May-June 1975.

It also means the next three issues in the second subset neatly fill the schedule for the remaining three weeks in August 1976. The sequence can be juggled in any compatible configuration, but for argument's sake, if we place the two blue banner issues first, reflecting the order of each series' initial publication, the schedule looks like this:

14 August 1976: Planet of the Apes #17
21 August 1976: Dracula #14
28 August 1976: The Deadly Hands of Kung Fu 14

Yes, there's even more guesswork re: the second subset, but in lieu of further data, I'm pencilling these dates with an asterisk into my database for my own reference.

All but one of these issues includes the same Bullpen Bulletin/Marvel Mailbag in which the new formats - 84-page and 100-page issues - are ratified as permanent. Some of these issues are cross-promoted in the in-house advertisements.

The Free King Size Super-Hero Posters in these issues were different to the posters in the 1975 issues. Rather than being stapled into the centre of the books, these posters were larger and folded, and inserted loose into the books. One of the posters used the same image as the advertisement above:

This poster is in my copy of Newton Spectacular #1

Another poster I believe was inserted into Newton comics in August 1976 is this one:

This photo was supplied to me by Robert Thomas. I have a copy of this poster, but it is eluding me for the moment. When I locate it I will update this image and also check for any markings which may indicate where it came from. I note the copy above has 7 written on the top. If this indicates a month, it may refer to a July 1976 issue as discussed earlier. 

Robert sent me a photo of yet another King Size poster:

It is possible, even likely this poster was also inserted in some August 1976 issues. 

However, this may be the Thor poster referred to by Ash Long in his notes to Robert Thomas: "Thor posters were inserted into 28,235 new (Captain America, Planet of the Apes) and recycled (Daredevil, Apes, Captain America, Hulk, Sub-Mariner and Kung Fu) in March 1976" And I note there is a 3 pencilled in at the top of the poster, which may refer to March. (I will address this particular episode relating to recycled Heritage Series issues in a separate post). I also note that Long's notes indicate that "[In] March 1976, Spiderman posters were added to Daredevil, Hulk, Captain America, Submariner, and Planet of the Apes comics (quantity 18,600)". It does appear that these large posters were used twice - in March 1976 and August 1976.

Being loose, such posters are now much scarcer than the stapled variety, and even scarcer than the swap cards. Indeed, based on Ash's notes, it appears many issues hit the stands without the advertised posters.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Newton Comics: Considering the March-July 1976 period

At the end of my overview of the final issue of Newton Comics' The Amazing Spider-Man I suggested the manner in which the end of the line was evident - in the absence of a current letter column, the lack of a subscription page, the out-of-date contest - and the fact that in April 1976 the line was suspended before being relaunched later in the year. I want to take a closer look at this period of Newton Comics.

Newton comics cover-dated March and April 1976 carried a new value-added promotion on the rear cover - a free iron-on transfer. Most of these issues offered a Captain America transfer;

The iron-on transfer was duly advertised in the Sunday Observer:

The first such advertisement appeared 7 March 1976. There was another a week later on 14 March 1976, and also on 4 April 1976.

Two other transfers were offered by Newton: Hulk;

and The Amazing Spider-Man;

One month after the last Captain America advertisement, the following advertisement appeared in the newspaper: 

This advertisement first appeared in the Sunday Observer 9 May 1976, and ran weekly over two months until 18 July 1976. 

In his article "Hearken to Me Faithful Ones!" The Rise & Fall of Newton Comics, as reprinted in Word Balloons #6, October 2007, Robert Thomas says:

Early in 1976, Maxwell Newton voluntarily called in the receivers to get his newspapers and finances in order, only to be dismissed as manager of his own company by telegram from the receivers in April of that year. For the second time Newton Comics were halted as a scheme of arrangements for the Newton group of companies was announced... Newton Comics underwent a further consolidation of titles when printing resumed in August 1976, using whatever supplies of proofs were left. titles were amalgamated into giant eighty-four page and 100 page titles...

At this point you are probably asking the same question I asked myself: Why were there advertisements for Newton Comics in the Sunday Observer during May-July 1976 when Newton Comics was not producing new comics?

In order to reconcile the contradictory evidence I chatted with Ash Long on the phone, and he offered some plausible explanations. 

One is that paraphernalia such as t-shirts and Planet of the Apes kits  advertised in the Sunday Observer did a fair bit of business, so it may have been that the Receivers deemed it viable to run these ads to newspaper readers even though there were no new books being printed, given they primarily focussed on the transfers. Presumably orders would be filled by existing stock.

He said another explanation is that in this period "the right hand didn't know what the left hand was doing." If the production side of the company and/or the advertising arm of the newspaper weren't in concert with one another, advertisements which had been earmarked to run may have run despite other factors impacting on the business. 

Ash also said that at the time, if newspapers found they had a blank space to fill and a printing deadline loomed, they would sometimes resort to running previously published ads, whether they were current or not, and face consequences as such later. 

In other words, it's uncertain  whether it was an active or a passive decision to run these advertisements during this period, nor who was responsible.

I personally sourced the advertisements referenced above from copies of the Sunday Observer held in the National Library. The collection is incomplete. The advertisements appeared on the rear cover of a supplement titled Modern People. There is a month gap between the last Captain America advertisement and the first Hulk advertisement. From memory, the papers in this period were all present but, given the month gap, I am now second-guessing whether all the supplements were intact. If they were missing, it is possible there were advertisements in this period featuring the Spider-Man transfer. 

Update 20/1/19: Further to the note above re: Newton winding up the comics line in April 1976, Robert Thomas has sent me a scan of the Victoria Gazette Notice 19 May 1976:

The notice is of the presentation of the petition 29 April 1976 to wind up Towart Distribution Co. Pty Limited., Newton Comics (Aust.) Pty. Ltd. and Regal Publications Pty. Limited. 

Saturday, January 12, 2019

The Amazing Spider-Man #17: The Newton edition

Newton Comics' The Amazing Spider-Man #17 is cover-dated March 1976:

The cover is based on Marvel's The Amazing Spider-Man #17:

The story contents are as follows:

The Return of the Green Goblin!, originally published in The Amazing Spider-Man #17, October 1964
The End of Spider-Man!, originally published in The Amazing Spider-Man #18, November 1964

The splash page to the Green goblin story is cropped at the bottom:

The cropping is intentional. Apart from accommodating the indicia, the references to a previous issue are deleted. At the bottom of the original page a text box advised the reader to see Spider-Man #14, in reference to the previous battle with the Green Goblin, which was quoted and asterisked in Peter Parker's thought bubble. The text box is omitted with the cropping. The asterisk referencing the text box has also been deleted, hence the space between the exclamation mark and "I wonder..." in the thought balloon.

However the main reason I included a scan of this page was to point out the marginalia. The previous owner of this book wrote Sp 17 crudely at the top of the page, and left a squiggle at the bottom of the page. Nowhere near as classy as the previous owner of  my copy of The Amazing Spider-Man #14. Just sayin'...

The final page of this story is also modified. In the last panel of the Newton edition the editorial note in the caption refers to Part Two:

This is altered from the original which reads Next Issue.

The front cover advertises a Super Color (sic) Poster. My copy is complete - the numbered pages are intact - but there is no poster stapled within. A few months ago I saw a copy of this issue advertised online with a loose poster, but unfortunately the seller did not provide any details about the poster in his listing.

This was to be the final issue in the series and, despite the editorial hand evident above, there also signs of exhaustion in the publishing program. 

For example, the Marvel Mailbag/Bullpen Bulletin takes over the centre pages of this book, and this letter column is out of place in this issue - it's the same letter column which advised the delay in the publication of The Amazing Spider-Man #16. There is no official word on the future of the line or the series, in contrast to the Most Exciting New Plans just a few months earlier.

Furthermore, and rather bizarrely, the contest in this issue reportedly expires 31 January 1976 - two months earlier! 

There are two in-house advertisements for other series: Daredevil #2 and Prince Namor, The Sub-Mariner #1, both of which are cover-dated March 1976 (the Sub-Mariner advertisement omits the month but includes the issue number and the year). These would be the final issues of their respective series. 

This issue was promoted via an in-house advertisement which appeared in other Newton Comics issues:

This advertisement is scanned from my copy of The Avengers #15.

And there is no longer a subscription page.

The line would splutter along for a few more weeks or so before another hiatus, and a final desperate relaunch later in the year. 

Spider-Man would feature in a few more one-shot Newton issues. For example, the story from The Amazing Spider-Man #19, Spidey Strikes Back!, was published in Newton Four-In-One #1

The Amazing Spider-Man #16: The Newton edition

Newton's The Amazing Spider-Man #16 is cover-dated February 1976:

It is based on Marvel's The Amazing Spider-Man #16:

The Newton cover has been modified. Apart from the Newtonese colouring, the image been cropped on the RHS and along the bottom, and the art extended along the LHS and the top. The Warning!! text box has been resituated across Spider-Man's left foot. 

The story contents are as follows:

Kraven the Hunter!, originally published in The Amazing Spider-Man #15, August 1964

Duel with Daredevil, originally published in The Amazing Spider-Man #16, September 1964

The last instance in which the Newton covers and issue numbers aligned with the US parent title was the previous August with The Amazing Spider-Man #5. It was managed this time around by not printing the cover to the Kraven story, and opting for the Daredevil cover which represented the second story in the issue. I firmly believe this was a conscious effort at cross promotion between the Spider-Man title and the new Daredevil series which launched earlier in the year. 

Such cross promotion between these two characters had significant precedence. In 1964 Spider-Man was used to promote Daredevil #1:

Newton's Daredevil #1 was launched January 1975 and whist the cover replicated that of the US Daredevil #1, it was also modified to reflect Newton's Historic Edition badging which first appeared on Newton's The Amazing Spider-Man #1:

Not only that, but on the splash page to The Origin of Daredevil, the Newton editors imposed a copy of the cover to their own The Amazing Spider-Man #1 in lieu of the US edition in the original art:

I love it! Rest assured you wouldn't get an outfit like Page Publications pulling this kind of cunning and classy editorial stunt! (After I wrote this I pulled out my copy of Yaffa's Daredevil #1 just to check - it does reprint The Origin of Daredevil as the first story, but you wouldn't know it from the cover, which reprints the cover to US Daredevil #2 and, I kid you not, they omitted the splash page altogether! And, for the record, The Horwitz edition doesn't have the cover of Strange Tales on the splash page...)

The poster in Daredevil #1 was - you guessed it - Spider-Man and the Human Torch as per the Newtonese cover on The Amazing Spider-Man #9. Add to all this circumstantial evidence the fact that The Amazing Spider-Man series skipped a month in January 1976 (and, according to the letter column in Dracula #12, was a week late), so this was the first issue in the series published after the launch of Daredevil #1, and I'm calling the Daredevil cover on this issue intentional. 'Nuff said.

The poster in this issue is a recoloured version of the cover to Newton's Doctor Strange #8:

The contest expiry date is 21 February 1976. Contest expiry dates could be unreliable in this period, but if we take the contest date and cover date on face value, the likely publication date for this issue is 7 February 1976.

This first page in this issue logs a roll of nineteen monthly (and one bi-monthly) current titles available for a yearly subscription. This was optimistic and ambitious and ultimately ill-fated.

This issue was advertised in other Newton comics:

This ad is scanned from Newton Team-Up #2.

The Amazing Spider-Man #15: The Newton edition

Newton Comics' The Amazing Spider-Man #15 was published 20 December 1975:

The cover is from Marvel's The Amazing Spider-Man #14:

This issue was advertised with a pre-production cover a week before publication in Planet of the Apes #14:

The new Giant Size Monthly Edition banner had yet to be superimposed on the cover. 

A variation of this ad appeared in The Avengers Giant Size 84 Page Annual #1:

Yet another variation of this ad appeared a week later Monsters Unleashed #1:

This sample has even less Newton cover dress despite being issued after the other to samples. It suggests things were moving rather quickly in the Newton office. More on this below.

The story contents are as follows:

The Grotesque Adventure of the Green Goblin, originally published in The Amazing Spider-Man #14, July 1964

Face-To-Face With... The Lizard!, originally published in The Amazing Spider-Man #6, November 1963

The splash page to the Green Goblin story was modified. Here's the splash page in the Newton edition:

This is a scan of the same page as per my Marvel Masterworks Vol. 5:

The creator credit text box and  the note! text box have been rearranged, and the art beneath Spider-Man's has been extended. This is opposite strategy to the established pattern of cropping splash pages to accommodate the indicia.

The Lizard story didn't run in earlier issue. It appears it was a victim of the Dr. Doom story which ran over The Amazing Spider-Man #4 and #5. As it is a Marvel cover story it was possibly held back to be published as a Newton cover story in an upcoming issue. It was now pulled into service for the expanded format at the expense of the second part to the Thor story in The Amazing Spider-Man #14.

This issue has the following Bulletin on the inner front cover:

The Most Exciting New Comics Plans were detailed in the Marvel Mailbag/Bullpen Bulletin in various December 1975 issues. It was announced that all titles would henceforth be monthly, and new titles were also announced. I will discuss this further in a separate post.

My copy of this issue is missing the centre pages. There is no poster advertised on the cover. The two middle pages may have included a poster or in-house advertisements. The other two centre pages likely contained the Marvel Mailbag/Bullpen Bulletin referred to above. TBC.

The contest expired 31 January 1976.