Above is an image from the 1981 Thomas Salter trade catalogue, showing six of the eight titles in this series. Thor & the Fantastic Four do appear on the box header artwork, but they didn't survive to the second edition which is shown here.
The story of this series is almost fiendishly complicated, which is typical of Letraset on a bad day. Much of the artwork is re-used from previous titles, & where it isn't it can appear slipshod. Notably, each set has a "Combatdoodle" on the back which serves no apparent purpose & is shockingly badly drawn — & often inadvertently hilarious.
Check them out, if you think your nerves can stand it.
The "Bruno Tilley" illustrations (N.B.: not actually Bruno Tilley, but his successor in the job of holding up the backgrounds) on the back covers do show artwork from the correct sets, but somewhat randomly out of place & order. Presumably these were put together before the artwork actually used was finalised.
Instead of the traditional Panorama-style background filling the whole printable area, these sets divide the background into two or four panels. This seems like a serious miscalculation, but it could have made sense from the practical viewpoint of putting sets together cost-effectively & out into the shops for a quick sale.
All the above notwithstanding, these titles still seem to be popular with collectors who, after all, are probably not going to try rubbing them down…
Indeed, they must have been big hits at the time: L64 & L69 were originally printed in 1978, & yet they were rapidly promoted to a second edition as L80 later that same year. And Spider-Man wins the popularity contest, making it to L100 the next year, followed by a fourth edition — 090/024S — under the Thomas Salter banner in 1981.
(Litho reprints could easily & conveniently have their own serial numbers, which would have been too expensive back when Letraset were still gravure printing; this is lucky for me, because it makes it easier to keep track of this stuff.)
Here are the other Super Heroes & related series:
Picture Credit: The SPLAT Scan Archives
© Tom Vinelott 2023