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The Six Million Dollar Man was a magazine released by Charlton Comics. It ran for seven issues between July 1976 and November 1977. It was a mixture of comic adventures and behind-the-scenes articles about the production of the television show.
The publication was of the standard American magazine format. It had a glossy cover like a magazine, but standard newsprint interior like a comic book of the era. Issues had around 60 pages, including the covers. Unlike the comic book of the same name, the interiors were entirely monochromatic, and the page size was larger, the format being similar to contemporary titles such as Vampirella. Each issue featured several stories of varying lengths, along with photographic features related to the TV series, including biographical features on Lee Majors and Richard Anderson; at least two photographic features featured Lindsay Wagner, although the character of Jaime Sommers did not otherwise appear in any of the issues (and while a Bionic Woman comic book was published at the time, no Bionic Woman magazine was commissioned). Advertisements in the magazine were minimal, and were generally in-house promotions for other Charlton publications or related merchandise. Charlton Comics published several of its licensed titles in both magazine and comic book format. Besides Six Million Dollar Man, similar magazine/comic counterparts existed for Space: 1999 and Emergency!, all launched and, ultimately, cancelled, around the same time.
The storylines of the magazine series tended to be somewhat darker and more violent than those presented in the comic book; this was possible due to the magazine format not falling under the guidelines of the Comics Code Authority. For example, Issue #4 features a story entitled "School for Assassins" which squares Austin off in violent combat against trained killers. In another issue, Austin apparently throws Oscar Goldman off a building, though this is revealed to be a ruse. The first issue contained two stories that appeared more closely cut from Caidin's concept of the character than the TV version. In "An Eye for Details", Austin undergoes plastic surgery in order to impersonate a Soviet agent. Parachuting near the man's home, Austin is shown delivering a brutal karate chop to the unarmed man's neck with his bionic hand, presumably killing him, and he proceeds to spend the night with the man's wife in order to maintain his cover. Another story in the issue, "Escape from Shark Island", culminates in a vicious attack on Austin by a pack of dogs and Austin is shown killing the animals (the story also includes a rare glimpse of Austin's bionic leg radio transmitter, a device never used in the TV series). Artwork in the Issue 1 origin story shows Austin's left arm as being bionic, per the Caidin novels, though otherwise the artwork (including the cover to Issue 1) depict Steve's bionics as they appear on TV, save for the tendency to show his bionic arms and legs damaged in some way, revealing the inner mechanisms (something that only occurred occasionally on TV).
The top left corner of the first five issues features a photograph of Lee Majors. Beginning with issue 6 this is changed to the same drawing of Majors featured on issue 2-9 of the comic book series.
As with most of Charlton's magazines, The Six Million Dollar Man is a difficult publication to find, with all issues considered collector's items and Issue #7 particularly rare.
Issues cost $1 and the magazine was commonly available across North America. At least one overseas edition in Lebanon is known (see Six Million Man (Arabic)).
Like the comic book, George Wildman was the sole editor of this publication as well. This tended to ensure that the two publications shared some of the same creative staff. It also seems to have allowed the two publications to clearly aim towards different markets. While some of the art from this magazine was later used to illustrate text stories in the comic book, in general the two publications created their own unique work. The cover to Issue 1 is arguably iconic, although the framing and placement of the series logo obscures the image; Dynamite Comics later paid homage to this cover with one of the variant covers used for the first issue of its The Bionic Man series in 2011.
While names associated with the comic book — like writers Joe Gill and Nicola Cuti and artists Jack Sparling and Neal Adams — did contribute to the magazine, they were not quite so dominant on this publication as they were on the comics. A great deal of the writing chores were taken here by Mike Pellowski, and a surprising amount of the interior art was farmed out to a sub-contractor, Continuity Associates. This makes it difficult to place an individual's name on most of the art seen in the magazine. However, CA was headed by Neal Adams, implying that he was the book's de facto art director.
Here is a brief description of the contents of each issue. Dates given are the cover dates for the issues, but in reality they would have been actually on newsstands one to two months before the cover date.
|1||July 1976|| Lee Majors biographical feature|
The Cyborg is Born - abbreviated adaptation of Cyborg; shows Austin crashing a standard Air Force jet rather than a Lifting body
An Eye for Details - Austin impersonates a Russian official to steal plans for a giant submarine
Meet Lindsay Wagner - biographical feature
The Deadly Raven - comic story
Richard Anderson biographical feature
Escape from Shark Island - features Austin using the radio transmitter in his leg and a very violent confrontation with a pack of dogs
Day on the Set of The Six Million Dollar Man - photo feature
|2||September 1976|| The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman - photo feature|
Witch Hunt for an Alien - comic story
Meet the Real Steve Austin - photo feature
The Rubber Ball Project - comic story
Steve and Oscar - photo feature
The Destroyers - comic story
|3||November 1976|| How the Six Million Dollar Man Stays in Shape - photo feature|
The Oldest Man Alive - comic story
Don't Bug Me - comic story
Dead Heat - comic story
|4||January 1977|| 26 Fax About the Six Million Dollar Man - trivia/photo feature|
The Last Flight - comic story
13 Fax About Oscar Goldman - trivia/photo feature
School for Assassins - Austin infiltrates a training facility for killers
Ordeal in the Desert - Austin and a young woman have to cross a blazing hot desert and survive.
|5||May 1977|| Steve Austin and Friend - photo feature|
High Stakes in the Himalayas - He's already met Bigfoot, now it's Austin's turn to square off against the Yeti
It Takes Two to Tackle the Six Million Dollar Man - photo feature
Come Back Alive - comic story
Vanished - comic story
How Well Do You Know The Six Million Dollar Man? - trivia
|6||August 1977|| The Kidnapping of Oscar Goldman - comic story|
2 other stories (details unavailable)
other contents to be confirmed
|7||Image unavailable||November 1977|| The 10-Minute Time Limit - comic story|
An Alien Charm - comic story
Deadlier Than the Male - comic story
Steve Austin's Photo Scrapbook - photo feature