The Rugrats Are Members of the "Mighty Marvel Marching Society"
The comics in RCA were originally published in Great Britain by Marvel Comics. In the US, Marvel once published 2 Nick-related comic book series featuring Ren & Stimpy and Rocko, but discontinued these and other TV-oriented comics series in 1996. In Great Britain, Marvel US once owned the British counterpart, which reprints Marvel's comics for the British market, as well as publishes licensed and specialty fan magazines for Britain (with some exported to the US and other countries, depending on licensing situation). When Marvel US entered chapter 11 bankrupcy in 1997, Marvel sold the British unit to Panini (the sticker people), which continues to operate Marvel UK under license from Marvel US. It's unclear whether or not Marvel had plans to produce a Rugrats comic in the US before the 1996 cancellations. Nevertheless, this connection makes the Rugrats seem "Excelsior!"
The History Of The British Version
As mentioned before, Marvel UK publishes a monthly Rugrats comic for
the British audience. This version, first published in early 1997, was the
first time the Rugrats were displayed in comic-book form. Even though the
comics are the same as the ones found in the US RCA (except for the vocabulary
used, which is Americanized before their appearance in RCA), the magazine
itself is quite different.
Series I (published monthly; 5/22/1996 through early 1999):
Each issue has 3 stories, along with puzzles, a mini-poster, pictures to color, and a "make your own" section. It also has a reader contribution section called "The Nervy Centre!", which features pictures and letters contributed by the readers; each one printed gets a Rugrats T-Shirt; the letter of the issue gets a set of Rugrats dolls. There are also sections that utilize the British postal system, like contests and ads to order Rugrats merchandise. Finally, many issues have special premiums that come with the magazine, like small toys, iron-ons & candy. This series was discontinued in early 1999, though it returned in a slightly-different format 3 months later.
This first series was priced at 75p to 95p (about US$1.20 to US$1.50, respectively), and was available through newsstand sales only (unlike the American counterpart, which is also available by subscription).
Series II (Early 1999 to 2002(?)):
The second series is similar to the first series, though it now has some differences. Each issue now begins with a message from the editor, plus news, information , giveaways and contest info. This version also has 2 comic stories, instead of 3; some of these stories are the ones made for the US version, though some of these have different titles than the US counterparts. There's also no more pictures to color or "The Nervy Centre!", though there's much more puzzles, posters and pictures of the Rugrats. Finally, every issue now has some sort of free gift.
Series III (Early 2002):
For details on this third series, "Rugrats Around The World", click
The Spanish Version
The first foreign version of Rugrats Comic Adventures (apart from the US & British versions) was a Spanish-language version, first published in Mexico in March 1999 by Editorial Armonia. This version retails for N$15.00 (about US$2.25), and includes almost the same contents as the American version, only translated into Spanish.
(Left & Right: Covers for the Spanish version of Rugrats Comic Adventures; ©1998-99 Viacom. Special thanks to Carolina Hernandez T. for the left cover; right cover is from eBay.)
"Rugrats Comic-Magazin": The German Version
In May 1999, Carlsen Verlag GmbH, a major publisher of comic books in Germany, began publishing the German version of the Rugrats comic book, Rugrats Comic-Magazin, in association with Klasky-Csupo and Pro Sieben (the German broadcaster that shows Rugrats). The cover price per issue is DM 4.90 in Germany (US$2.60), 36 Schillings in Austria (US$2.70), and 4.90 Swiss Francs (US$3.19). Carlsen publishes a wide range of German comics -- some of these from top German creators; some imports from outside Germany. The comics that Carlsen publishes cover a wide range of comic genres; they publish both DC & Marvel Comics, plus various independent, underground, children's & European comics, all for the German-speaking audience. For more information, visit their website.
(Left & Right: The first 3 issues (May, June & July 1999) of Rugrats Comic-Magazin; from Carlsen Comics' website. ©1998-99 Carlsen Verlag GmbH & Viacom. Covers are based on the first 3 issues of the US version.)
(Below: Sample panel from issue 4 of Rugrats Comic-Magazin; ©1999 Carlsen Verlag GmbH & Viacom.)
According to Super Yo's Les Razmoket forum, a French Rugrats magazine will debut in February 2003.
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