Sunday, 4 October 2015

October 4th, 1975 - Marvel UK, 40 years ago this week.

In this week in 1975, there were two versions of Fattie Bum Bum and two versions of Una Paloma Blanca on the UK singles chart at the same time. How on Earth did we ever survive the 1970s with sanity intact?

We survived because we had the world's greatest comic company to restore our equilibriums at the end of each and every week.

Spider-Man Comics Weekly #138

Speaking of which, Spider-Man's definitely in need of some equilibrium restoration as he hits full-on hallucinatory mode this issue.

And Iron Man's up against AIM. Frankly, he's making a meal of it. He seems to have been up against them for months now.

Marvel UK, Avengers #107, the Squadron Sinister

"The master of kung-fu begins his wildest adventure yet!" it tells us. But I don't know what it is, as I never had this issue.

I do though spot that the Squadron Sinister storyline isn't over yet.

Marvel UK, Dracula Lives #50

Dracula Lives confounds many a doomsayer by hitting the big 50.

Marvel UK, Planet of the Apes #50, Escape From The Planet of the Apes

Planet of the Apes makes the big 50 as well - and does so by launching into its adaptation of Escape From the Planet of the Apes, which I seem to recall was drawn by the mighty Rico Rival but I could be wrong.

Mighty World of Marvel #157

I don't have a clue what any of the stories are in this issue - unless one of them is that one where the Hulk grows to be five hundred foot tall and holds the Fantastic Four and Daredevil in his hands. I think we all remember that one.

Marvel UK, the Super-Heroes #31, the Cat

The Original X-Men, Ant-Man and the Cat?

All in one comic?

It's like Marvel UK asked, "What's the lineup most likely to get a comic cancelled in the shortest possible amount of time?" and then published it.

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Web shooters! Get your genuine web shooters here!

1970s Spider-Man web shooter advert
As I've complained before, on Twitter, it's not easy to be Spider-Man when you live in Sheffield.

Not only are radioactive spiders a bit thin on the ground but any ambition to swing from skyscrapers is somewhat muted by the fact that it doesn't have that many tall buildings to swing from in the first place.

To make it worse, the ones it does have are all at least a mile apart, meaning one needs a very good aim to be able to hit one building with webbing whilst clinging to another.

Having achieved that, you would then smash stylishly into the pavement, roughly fifteen seconds after beginning your swing.

Of course, the other reason for my lack of Spider-Man style activities is that I don't have any web shooters.

Unbelievably it's true. Despite the fact that a penniless teenager managed to whip a pair up in his bedroom, in about twenty minutes, I, a genius beyond measure, with the resources of Croesus at his disposal, have somehow failed to make a pair for myself.

I did once make a Daredevil style billy club from Lego, a piece of string, and a metal hook from a Meccano set but, sadly, Lego isn't the strongest building material known to man and I suspect my contraption wouldn't have stood the test of supporting me as I swung majestically from the towering heights of Park Hill Flats.

But wait? What's this? All along, in the 1970s, there was a solution to my problems?

For just $2.19, I could've bought a genuine Spider-Man web shooter simply by cutting out a coupon?

Armed with this knowledge, I do find it amazing that, when  I watched American movies and TV shows, as a youngster, there were never any children in sight swinging around in the background, from their web shooters. Clearly they must have all been skillfully edited out, so as not to divert attention from Kojak or McCloud as they went about their crime-smashing business.

Now that I have that problem solved, all I need to do is find out from which issue of which Marvel comic I can find a High Evolutionary style Genetic Accelerator and I will at last have all the comics-related hardware I have ever desired.

Sunday, 27 September 2015

September 27th, 1975 - Marvel UK, 40 years ago this week.

Hold on to your telescopes because it would seem that tonight there's a supermoon in the skies.

Well, supermoons are all well and good but, here in 1975, all we care about are supermen.

But wherever could we find such beings?

Why, we can find them in the pages produced by the comic company upon whom the moon may never shine but upon which the sun will no doubt never set.

Spider-Man Comics Weekly #137, the Vulture

I do believe this is the launch of the six-armed saga that's long divided fandom as vigorously as the age-old debate about whether it's Marmite or Vegemite that's best.

Personally, I loved Spidey having six-arms and think he should have kept them.

I have no opinions at all about Marmite and Vegemite, never having been brave enough to try either of them.

Marvel UK, Avengers #105

This issue sees the beginning of childhood tragedy for me, as it marks the start of the lengthy spell where the Avengers comic all but disappeared from the shelves of my local newsagent, meaning I had to to endure week after pitiful week without it.

Mighty World of Marvel #156, Hulk vs Abomination

Fortunately, the company's flagship title was still around to keep my spirits up.

And it did it with style, flinging the Abomination in my face, in a tale I cherish to this day.

Marvel UK, Dracula Lives #49

I assume this is the reprint of the Aleister Crowley inspired tale that I reviewed in this blog's earliest days.

And that review can be found by clicking on this link here.

Marvel UK, Planet of the Apes #49

I assume we're still being given Tom Sutton's apes-on-a-ship tale.

I have no clue what the back-up tales are, though Warlock and Captain Marvel may be involved.

Marvel UK, The Super-Heroes #30, Human Torch vs Silver Surfer

This cover does look weirdly like it was coloured in with a felt-tip pen. I suspect that that was not the case. Even Marvel UK's ofttimes idiosyncratic approach to reprinting methodologies probably didn't extend that far.

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

"Go Badge Mad, With Marvel!"

Marvel UK badges, December 1974 Bob Dylan once said, "Ma, take this badge off of me. I can't wear it anymore."

Clearly it couldn't have been a Marvel badge because a man would never feel such a way about such a thing. Why, he would go to his grave, clutching it to his chest, with rigor mortised fingers, sooner than have it removed from him.

I've mentioned in the past that, in my childhood, I had two Marvel badges, one with the Sub-Mariner on it and one with the Thing on it.

For some reason, Subby was bright red. Perhaps he was merely embarrassed to be depicted fighting seaweed. Or perhaps the people who were to blame for always miscolouring Dinky Toys' copies of Gerry Anderson vehicles had got hold of him.

The Thing, fortunately, was the correct colour and was accompanied by some fabulously 1970s lettering.

Thanks to my supreme detective skills (ie, getting some comics out of a wardrobe), I've tracked down the adverts for those very badges and discovered they were for sale in December 1974, which at least lets me know what I was doing in that month of that year.

I have nothing profound to say about the badges in this ad other than that, when I got mine, I was impressed by their larger-than-average size and that I think I got the best two, although I do also like the Silver Surfer and Conan ones. The Spider-Man one is also interesting for its unconventional camera angle and sense of design.

As with all offers from ancient comics, I'm sorely tempted to send off for them and see if I receive them. I like to think that somewhere, forty one years later, there's a warehouse in Tunbridge Wells with piles of these badges still in it, just waiting to be mailed out to the eager children of Britain, whatever their current ages.

Sunday, 20 September 2015

September 20th, 1975 - Marvel UK, 40 years ago this week.

Taking advantage of the late sunny weather, I've been murdering my privet today. It was an epic battle described by one eyewitness as shear lunacy.

But what of our favourite comic company?

Were its heroes, on this day of forty years ago, battling evil on a similarly epic scale?

Were they too vetting their hedges?

Or were they merely hedging their bets?

Spider-Man Comics Weekly #136

For some reason, this cover holds a special significance for me.

What that significance is, I have no idea but, every time I see it, it resonates with me as though it should stir a fondly-held memory of whatever it was that was happening at the time.

Marvel UK, Avengers #105, the Grandmaster

The Grandmaster's still up to no good and proving he's no mate of the Avengers.

Mighty World of Marvel #155, Rhino vs the Hulk

The Hulk gets to go to Counter-Earth.

I don't have a clue which tale the Fantastic Four story is. For the dedicated nostalgist, it is always frustrating that the cover blurbs so often give little idea as to what the back-up strips are about.

Marvel UK, Dracula Lives #48, Lilith

Lilith make her first appearance on the cover and it would seem that Tigra makes her first appearance within the covers.

I won't make the obvious point about the phrase, "Were-Woman," meaning, "Man-Woman," as I believe that millions of others have also raised that issue over the years. Somehow, it never seemed to matter how many people pointed that out to Marvel, via their letters pages, the company still carried on using the phrase.

Marvel UK, Planet of the Apes #48

Forget snakes on planes, Tom Sutton's tale of apes on ships continues apace.

I wonder if the Warlock tale is one of those inked by Sutton as well? If so, Planet of the Apes was quite the Sutton fest at the time.

That reminds me, I have to do a post about Tom Sutton's Charlton covers, at some point, as they were rather fabby and proved he was one of the great cover artists of his era.

Marvel UK, The Super-Heroes #29, the Silver Surfer

Galactus is looking somewhat worried there. To be honest, although I've never read the tale, I suspect that the prospect of the Surfer going on the rampage doesn't worry him quite as much as the cover suggests.

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

2000 AD - August 1977.

I know what you're thinking.

You're thinking, "I wonder what was going on in the world exactly thirty eight years and one month ago."

So am I.

I wonder it every single day.

And here's where we all find out.

The space shuttle Enterprise was test-launched from the back of a Jumbo Jet, Voyager 2 was launched (not from the back of a Jumbo Jet), Elvis Presley and Groucho Marx died and SETI detected the infamous Wow! Signal that may or may not have proven once and for all that aliens exist.

Meanwhile, in Comic Land...

2000 AD #24

...I remember reading this in a motorway service station car park.

You can stick your space shuttle, your Voyager 2 and your Wow! Signal. I don't need them when I have free access to motorway service station car parks.

2000 AD #25

This issue, on the other hand, I have no memory at all of having read, although I'm sure I must have done.

2000 AD #26

If I'm right, this cover depicts the tale in which a Mongol-style horde sets off to ravage the world, only to unwittingly destroy their own home village because it didn't occur to them that the world is round and that they've circled it and ended up back where they started. Oh, the bitter irony.

2000 AD #27

I do wonder what the full-colour postergraph involved and if I ever assembled it?

I do seem to recall assembling a multi-part poster, with the aid of glue, at some point in my youth, so perhaps this was the one.

Sunday, 13 September 2015

September 13th, 1975 - Marvel UK, 40 years ago this week.

On September 12th, 1975, Pink Floyd released their classic album Wish You Were Here.

But what about the day after that? Were the heroes of our favourite comic company wishing they were here too?

Or were they merely wishing they were somewhere else?

Spider-Man Comics Weekly #135

Spidey clearly wishes he was somewhere else, as a prison riot breaks out and it's Gil Kane up-the-nose action a go-go.

On other matters, Iron Man now seems to have been fighting Whiplash for about fifteen consecutive weeks. Did they really manage to stretch that story out over so many issues?

Marvel UK, the Avengers #104, Squadron Sinister

It's one of my Avengers faves, as the Squadron Sinister makes its dastardly debut.

As for the copy at the top of the cover, I'm not sure what the Hoardes of Hell are. I can only assume they do a lot of hoarding.

Marvel UK, Dracula Lives #47

It's all high-drama in Draculaville.

Marvel UK, Planet of the Apes #47

Unless I miss my guess, it's the start of that Tom Sutton tale where there's a bunch of apes on a gigantic ship. I seem to recall it with fondness though my recollections of it are vague.

Mighty World of Marvel #154, Hulk vs Tiger Shark

There's something very strange about this week's cover. A great big Steve Does Comics No-Prize goes to the first person who points out what it is.

Marvel UK, The Super-Heroes #28, the Silver Surfer and the X-Men

I assume this cover is symbolic and that the comic doesn't really feature the Silver Surfer teaming up with the X-Men to fight the Sentinels?

On other news, we're promised a battle issue that'll blast big brains.

But what of Doc Savage? Has his own big brain been blasted into oblivion, never to be seen again? Or is he contained within but just not mentioned on the cover?

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