Is there any explanation of why the instalments weren't published?
“Holy cow! I'm going through my boxes of comics getting ready for a small toy show this Sunday, and I actually have a copy of this comic. What a coincidence!”
You don’t have the one with my letter in it? Too bad… that’s sure to be worth a couple of extra bucks. :)
“Is there any explanation of why the instalments weren't published?”
Unfortunately, no. If anyone finds out I would love to know. The villain (see below) originally appeared in Daredevil #92-93. I imagine the reason it was used at this time is that Frank Miller’s then-recent redesign of the Widow’s costume rendered the story soon-to-be obsolete.
FRONT COVER: Snap Dragon by Arthur Adams. This is the first published work by the soon-to-be fan-favorite artist I remember seeing. What makes it memorable is the letter which will appear in a future installment of “Marvel FanFlair.”
BACK COVER: Warriors three by Charles Vess.
FIRST STORY: The conclusion to the Black Widow story. The villain is revealed to be Damon Dran, from the Daredevil/Black Widow days, which gives you an idea of how long this story has been sitting in inventory. This story could conceivably have taken place between #161 and #188 of Frank Miller’s run, but I suspect it was quite a while before that.
MARVEL FANFLAIR: A fan points out that the Widow’s stats in issue #10 say eyes: green; height: 5’ 9” but the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe says eyes: blue and height: 5’ 7” and wants a No-Prize. Another letter-writer says, “Outrageous! $1.50 plus five pages of pin-ups. DISGUSTING!” while a third writes, “MORE PORTFOLIOS! (please?)” I’d like to welcome the guy who complained about the price to 2019.
SECOND STORY: “Tales of Asgard” by Alan Zelenetz and Charles Vess. Bragi, the God of Poetry, has gone missing, and the Warriors Three need to find him before the festival. Marvel has tried to resurrect Lee and Kirby’s old “Tales of Asgard” series from time to time, mostly unsuccessfully. This is one of the few times it works. All of Zelenetz and Vess’s tales have been collected in a “Marvel Premiere Edition” hardcover.
SHOOTER’S PAGE: 11 guys from Marvel went to the Bath Beach Body Building gym in Brooklyn. One of the guys was boxing aficionado Ron Wilson, whose Super Boxers graphic novel (script by John Byrne, inks by Armando Gil) was due to be released soon. Initially, I bought all of Marvel “graphic novel” series. Later, I got rid of all the non-super-hero ones, including Super-Boxers. Later still, I came to regret some of those cullings. When Image Comics started up and folks such as Todd McFarlane and Erik Larson (I forget which one it was) started talking about “holding back,” it put me in mind of Ron Wilson’s Super Boxers. There’s no way Wilson was “holding back” by any stretch of the imagination. It is the best work of his career. Luckily, I was able to pick up a replacement copy for a buck a couple of years ago.
The net tells me the Black Widow serial was intended for Marvel Premiere.(1) From #26, when it became a try-out/spotlight title, Marvel Premiere mostly ran one- or two-issue try-outs and sometimes three-issue ones. After the first couple of try-outs it went bimonthly, so a three-issue try-out was half-a-year, and a four-issue run would've taken eight months. Perhaps - this is just my speculation - they were thinking of taking Marvel Premiere monthly or switching to longer try-outs, and when whichever didn't happen the Black Widow's try-out didn't either.
(1) Wikipedia's Marvel Fanfare page footnotes the information to Back Issue.