It's an exciting time in the Steve Does Comics household.
Because my boiler's been declared free of deadly carbon monoxide.
But freedom from the threat of carbon monoxide poisoning is nothing compared to the other grounds for excitement.
That's because, in but a few short days from now, we celebrate the fortieth anniversary of the most important event in the history of humanity.
That event was the launch of The Mighty World of Marvel - a magical moment when American and British comics traditions fused to create an experience guaranteed to blow the socks off any child.
Sadly, despite seeing it advertised on TV, I missed issue #1 but my dad did see sanity in time to come home three weeks later with issue #4. And, from that point on, no weekend was complete without it.
How I thrilled as the Hulk took on the terrible Toad Men. How I boggled as the Fantastic Four were grabbed by the Skrulls. How I did whatever it was I did as the Amazing Spider-Man battled the FF.
I've not read issue #4 since I was eleven but what I do remember of it was how dark the world of Marvel Comics seemed in it. While the heroes of DC inhabited a mostly cheery world in which they were revered by their fellow inhabitants, Mighty World of Marvel #4 gave us a Frankensteinian monster whose first instinct was to destroy humanity rather than save it, a Fantastic Four who had another monster amongst their ranks and defeated aliens by brainwashing them into becoming cows, and a teenager with the powers of one of the most loathed creatures on Earth.
It's easy as an adult to read those early Marvel tales and see them as cheery, naive escapism but escapism wasn't the real secret of their allure. Like Dr Who, they brought a weekend dose of the unsettling and sinister into the world of a child and, for that, some of us were strangely grateful.
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