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Axa by Enrique Romero

Comics Retrospective was an old-fashioned, cut 'n' paste fanzine self-published by Tony Ingram from mid 2003 to late 2006, running 34 issues in total (although #34 had extremely limited distribution). It featured a mix of historical articles on British and American comics and comic creators, with subjects ranging from the lives of Ken Reid and Alan Moore to characters from 2000 AD such as Robo-Hunter or American superheroes like The Defenders, to newspaper strips such as Jane and Garth or actual comic titles including Star-Lord, Whoopee! and Tornado.

Originally bi-monthly, it later switched to (more or less) monthly frequency and gained a new cover logo designed by Comics International editor Dez Skinn. From issue #7 onwards, it gained its first regular feature, The Avengers Files, a serialised rundown of Marvel Comics' long-running Avengers title. The number of issues of Avengers covered varied from issue to issue, but the bottom corner box reflected the characters prominently featured. From issue #9 onwards, Comics Retrospective gained its second regular feature, Axa's View from the Vault, which saw former newspaper strip character Axa introduce and narrate (supposedly in the first person) brief articles on old British characters and strips. The conceit was aided by images of Axa taken (without authorisation) from old Axa comics by her creator Enrique Romero. Additionally, most of the back covers contained classic cover images.

Much of the material in the early issues had first been published in the apazine Rainbow Bridge in the 1990s (see also Cosmos, Inc.). Later issues also included material from other contributors, including Mario Botte (who drew cartoon versions of Marvel and DC characters as mini pin-ups) and the late David E. Wiggins, who regularly reminisced about his life-long love affair with comics. Comics Retrospective spawned numerous oversized summer and winter specials dedicated to subjects such as Marvel UK, Marvelman, Doctor Who comics and the New Eagle. A short-lived sister title, Marvel Retrospective, ran for just two issues. Additionally, there was a Best of Comics Retrospective spring special reprinting selected material from the first nine issues; a second print of this had slightly different contents to the first, featuring the Robo-Hunter piece from #1 instead of the Captain Britain piece from #2. Comics Retrospective eventually ceased publication after Comics International, which had provided its main source of advertising, stopped being published on a regular basis, causing it to lose the majority of its audience.

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