Comic Legends: What Was Marvel's Weird Planet of the Apes Restriction?

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Marvel had a word limitation per page in their Planet of the Apes comic book magazine.



1974 was a big year for Planet of the Apes fandom. The movie series was now finished after five films, but there was a TV series and the success of the movie series led fans to want anything they could get their hands on to re-live the movie experience (this is why novelizations were once such a big deal. It was like a VHS before there was VHS. You couldn't literally re-air the movie, so the next best thing was to read about it again. Or see it in a comic book adaptation). So novelizations of the films and adaptation of the film like Marvel's black and white comic book magazine were big hits...

Over at his website a few years ago, former Marvel staffer Scott Edelman discovered an amazing fact.

Due to the novelizations that were on the market at the time (including the books that adapted episodes from the TV series, as well)...

There was a fear that the Marvel comic book stories would hurt the sales on the novelizations. Therefore, according to a bit in the The Comics Reader, Marvel dealt with a word restriction per page!

This way, if you wanted to have a lot of words written about the Planet of the Apes, you would have to go to the novelizations instead.

Isn't that just the funniest sort of compromise for the sake of multiple licenses? I mean, I get it, it was probably a realistic concern from the novel publishers that the comic book was going to cut into their audience, but it is still funny to think that a word limit was really going to make much of a difference.

Thanks to Scott, who has a great podcast where he goes out to dinner with luminaries from the world of fantasy, science fiction and, of course, comic books. Check it out here.

Check out my latest TV Legends Revealed - Is there a Twilight Zone episode where the star was slowly dying throughout the episode?

Check back later for the final part of this week's Comic Book Legends Revealed!

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