In 1986 the Finnish publisher for Marvel superhero comics, Semic, had to find new partners in order to keep publishing the X-Men or “Ryhmä-X” comics. Since Finland is a small market area, the publishers have always tried to find other publishing companies abroad to even out the printing costs. You see, back in the day the magazines were printed most likely using offset technique, which meant that you had to make pressplates for all the colours (red, blue, yellow, black) used in the magazine individually. Making these press plates was the most expensive part of the procedure meaning it was almost all the same how many magazines you were going to print. With joint printing expenses you could re-use the red, blue and yellow plates and only needed to have the black plate made invidually for each language, which saved lots of money.
For most Finnish companies the most natural way is to search for business partners from other Northern European countries and print the magazine with them. Unfortunately, according to Mail-Man, the other northern European publishers had decided to stop publishing X-Men and thus Semic had to find new partners. They did, from the Netherlands.
The time leap of 1/1986
Unfortunately the Dutch were ahead of us and thus the Finnish magazine had to catch up with the Dutch with a compilation of all the important events. Not only did Mail-Man list some things which had happened, also the comics pages themselves were cut and pasted compilations from various comics.
Mail-Man lists some of the changes that have happened:
- Peter Rasputin’s (Colossus) sister Illyana had been kidnapped to Limbo by Belasco and learned to use magic. Now she lives with the X-Men.
- Professor X has adopted a new group of young students called the New Mutants.
- The X-Men have been adventuring in space. Kitty had met Lockheed, the little dragon. Lilandra has been dethroned. Xavier has received a new cloned body, which should allow him to walk. Carol Danvers has also received new superpowers.
- Also the Morloks have been introduced to the Marvel Universe and Storm has defeated their leader Callisto, thus becoming their new leader.
- Mail-Man also lists an event that has not yet happened: Rogue asking joining the X-Men.
- Scott Summers has met his new girlfriend Madelyne Pryor who looks exactly like Jean Grey did.
And THAT’S why I HAD to go and buy the comics from USA when I visited there last summer. I have always wanted to know how Madelyne Pryor became part of the X-Men. And since Mail-Man wrote that Madelyne was the sole survivor of a plane crash I just had to find out.
But now I’m having a bit of a problem since I want to go through all the magazines they have published in Finland, but in this case the magazine is something completely different, including many noteworthy events. So, instead of writing about the magazine in just one post, I’m going to write many posts on Ryhmä-X 1/1986 as I read the stories which were skipped back then, and see how they were handled in the Finnish issue.
The last Uncanny X-Men story published in Finland was # 143 and it came out in Ryhmä-X 11/1985. Ryhmä-X 12/1985 included stories from different Avengers comics, so we can forget that magazine for now. Since Ryhmä-X 1/1986 is just a compilation of many magazines, the next “true” X-Men comics in whole were printed in 2/1986 and included stories from the Uncanny X-Men #177-178.
Thus we are missing issues #144-176.
The Ryhmä-X 1/1986 has small pieces from issues #168, #170, #171, #173, #174, #176, and #177.
However, in year 2006 Egmont Kustannus, the current publisher of Marvel comics in Finland, published some of the skipped issues in Ihmesarja #8. The comic book holds black and white prints of The Uncanny X-Men #145-157.
And then I have that Essential X-Men vol. 4, which I bought from the USA, which holds black and white reprints of Uncanny X-Men #162-179, Annual # 7, and Marvel Graphic Novel #5.
Thus I’m happy to say I have almost all the missing issues. But the most important point is that I have the book which holds Madelyne Pryor’s first appearence and that’s all that counts.
So welcome to follow the nearly lost stories of Ryhmä-X!