Well, it's a very exciting day here in the land of white cliffery, with our beloved MPs voting on whether England should finally have a national anthem.
I like to think that debate's entirely down to the legendary e-petition I once launched for Kate Bush's Oh England, My Lionheart to be the national anthem. It's a pleasing tune. It's not jingoistic. Grown men can't sing it without hurting themselves. It's about a plane crash. Watching England play in the World Cup is like watching a plane crash. It's therefore the perfect song.
Granted, that petition may have only got twenty seven signatures - and therefore missed its target by ninety nine thousand, nine hundred and seventy three signatures - but I like to feel it launched ripples that are now becoming unstoppable waves.
But what is this? There's a land that already has a national anthem?
And they didn't even need an e-petition?
That land is America. And, in 1976, it was singing it even more often than ever, as it mourned two hundred years of not being British anymore. Thanks to some insane revolutionaries, never would that land know the joys of On The Buses, Keith Lemon and terrifying roundabouts. Reader, I still pray for them.
And that can only mean one thing. That it's time for me to leap once more into my big fat Steve Does Comics' time machine and see what our favourite Marvel heroes were up to in the first month of the year in which their land of origin celebrated its two hundredth birthday.
I believe this is the story where the Avengers go back to the Wild West to deal with Kang's latest act of naughtiness.
Having said that, I don't remember any of the Avengers who're on the cover having been in that tale. I may therefore be completely wrong.
If it is that story, I have noticed that an awful lot of the content of the 1977 UK Marvel annuals was culled from comics that came out in this month and the month before.
Bêlit makes her debut and a small part of my soul dies. I mean, she was OK for one story but she wouldn't go away - which is ironic considering how little time she managed to last for in the original Robert E Howard tale.
Jack Kirby returns to the character he'd been long associated with.
Sadly, I do feel that, by this stage of his career, he was better suited to the more sci-fi strips like The Eternals than he was to super-heroes, where his anything-goes mentality could fatally derail things.
I don't know if I've ever read this one. I did, however, always have a soft spot for the Man-Bull. He was powerful enough to feel like a threat without being too formidable for DD to have a chance of actually beating him.
If this is the story I think it is, then it's yet another tale from this period that showed up in a 1977 Marvel UK annual.
In this case, I think it was the Mighty World of Marvel annual. Sadly, that annual only used the first half of the tale, leaving us all cliff-hanging until the story was finally reprinted in the weekly comics.
This story didn't appear in a 1977 UK Marvel annual but I believe this is the one where the Hulk teams up with the Abomination, convinced that he's his only friend. Which proves the Hulk is even stupider than we all thought he was.
Are those the Red Ghost's super-apes?
I hope so. There was a certain silliness about them that appealed to me. If I ever manage to become a mad genius, I shall definitely recruit a trio of super-apes as my lackeys.
The Shocker's still causing trouble for our hero.
It's the one where Zarrko recruits Thor and his mates for a trip to the future.
This is the only one of this month's comics I ever owned at the time. And you can read my review of it by clicking on this very link.
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