An Addition to the Guide to Marvel’s Unannounced Reprint Issues

I thought that I’d gotten them all, but it turns out that there was one last straggler instance of an unscheduled reprint being run in the place of an intended new story in a regular Marvel title due to unforeseen delays. I missed it because it didn’t happen in a color comic, but rather in the 20th issue of the black and white magazine MARVEL PREVIEW. And there’s a bit of a story to go with it, one that i thought was worth sharing with a wider audience.

In MARVEL PREVIEW #19, the page shown above ran, announcing that the next issue of the magazine would be devoted to an adaptation of the Japanese live action Spider-Man television series that was then airing in Japan. I can recall being excited about getting a chance to see this, as the likelihood of ever being able to experience the Japanese Spider-Man (or Supaidaman) first hand seemed impossible to me. The idea here was that Marvel was going to put together what amounted to a fumetti strip, adapting one or more episodes of the show by printing photographs from the production and adding in captions and word balloons as needed.

So what went wrong? Well, the printing technology that was used on the Marvel black and white magazines wasn’t all that wonderful. And so, when tests were done, it was found that the images that came back were too dark and blurry to be printed. A lot of time and effort was spent in trying to make this work–all of the lead time on the issue, as it turns out–but it simply wasn’t going to be possible. So at the last minute, in order to maintain the press time that had been paid for, an issue of BIZARRE ADVENTURES was hastily assembled, reprints of earlier Dominic Fortune stories with a few other odds and ends thrown in. This makes MARVEL PREVIEW #20 the very last of the unscheduled reprint issues–at least until something else I’ve missed turns up.

Painter Joe Jusko, then only starting his career working for Marvel, had painted the cover for what would have been the debut of Japanese Spider-Man in MARVEL PREVIEW #20. It’s shown above–and remained hidden in the archives at Marvel for more than 30 years before somebody came across the transparency and I recognized what it was. Joe recently posted the much better scan of the painting that you see above to social media.

2 thoughts on “An Addition to the Guide to Marvel’s Unannounced Reprint Issues

  1. This was my second or third cover at Marvel when I was 18 or 19. It has its issues but is still kinda kitschy-kool! John Romita Jr. actually drew the sketch while he was still working in the bullpen before embarking on his own career.

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