The very first issue of Tony Roche’s “HEROES UNLIMITED” comics fanzine arrived through my door in the world – changing Summer of Love 1967. My fifteenth birthday was in July of that year and HU #1 was the kind of present any fifteen year old comics fan could respect and fondly cherish. Tony had already started the ball rolling with the MERRY MARVEL FANZINE some months before ,but now he had surrounded himself [albeit by the good graces of the G.P. O. and An Post, the postal services operating in both the U.K. and Ireland ] with a gang of like-minded souls and his ambitions were growing.
He was out to prove that there was more to comics than just kidzstuff.Changes were already stirring across society.Music, fashion,drugs, civil rights, the Vietnam war, all helped polarise the Right and Left , the young and old. The Us and Them.
Just as America was feeling the first flames of revolutionary zeal and high profile musicians such as the Beatles, the Rolling Stones ,Hendrix, Captain Beefheart and the Jefferson Airplane were twisting all that jazz into spikier forms. we all wanted to get in on the act too and do something new and “out there”. …even though we had barely glimpsed at what “out there” meant at fifteen.
The Beatles appeared with the Thing and the Torch in Marvel comics.American comics had featured in the Beatles film “Help” and comics and rock music were cross-pollinating and being read, heard and referenced by students.
Tony’s idea of self-publishing a comics fanzine might not have been new but no-one in Ireland or the UK bothered to get there before him.Tony was a revolutionary in his own small way and comics,..especially Marvel Comics were doing revolutionary things in those times in both content and form. For a while Marvel even named themselves POP ART productions..Well, what the hell was art anyway?Wasn’t Andy Warhol the king bee after all and weren’t the Velvet Underground his house band and Bob Dylan his guest? . Most of us were die-hard Marvel fans but Tony began to let us see that it wasn’t the company but the creators that mattered.Kirby , Ditko, Stan Lee , Carmine Infantino, Dick Giordano ,Al Williamson….
THE MERRY MARVEL MARCHING SOCIETY [THE M.M.M.S. WANTS YOU]
For this reason I’m reproducing these old issues in their entirety. So few were printed that I am quite sure that very few of them have survived these past forty plus years. As anyone who has done any scanning can attest , it is boring work and some of the scans are not the best , however, Dez Skinn says, these things have to be preserved, so who else is going to do it? I’ve numbered each printed page’s running order.I’ve got all of Tony’s fanzines except for Merry Marvel Fanzine #1 which I foolishly traded away several years ago. If anyone can supply scans of this to complete this project, please let me know.