Sunday, 15 May 2016

May 15th, 1976 - Marvel UK, 40 years ago this week.

It was an exciting evening for us all last night, with the UK sweeping to victory in this year's Eurovision Song Contest.

Admittedly, the UK in question was Ukraine but I like to think the only reason for that was because the people of Europe got confused by the similarity in names and didn't vote for the entry they intended to.

Of course, we never had that problem way back in 1976, when Eastern and Western Europe had the sense to not be on speaking terms and the Brotherhood of Man could therefore sing their way to triumph with stunning ease.

But what else was going on in this week of that year? Were the heroes of UK Marvel hitting the high notes?

Or were they just sinking horrifically down the scoreboard of life, like poor old Joe and Jake?

Marvel UK, Avengers #139

There are a remarkable number of Avengers covers from this era that show our heroes staring into things, at action that's going on elsewhere.

For that matter, they often seem to be looking into the past, mostly at Conan, or into the future, at robots. All I can say is it's about time they stole Dr Doom's time machine, so they can actually interfere in all these events.

Having said that, the Avengers are being strangely pessimistic here, bearing in mind that the Panther's clearly winning his fight - not losing it, as they seem to think he is.

Interesting to see that this is a special bombastic action issue. This leads me to announce that this post is a special bombastic action post.

And also an ordeal.

Super Spider-Man with the Super-Heroes #170, death of Gwen Stacy

Holy bombastic bombasms! It's the issue where Gwen Stacy snuffs it!

Happily, I missed this tale at the time and only got to read the death of Gwen Stacy several decades later, when my mind was strong enough to take it.

I like to think I'm not giving away any spoilers by saying that Gwen Stacy dies. To be honest, I don't know what the statute of limitations is for spoilers.

Marvel UK, Planet of the Apes #82

 What a rather lovely cover.

Mighty World of Marvel #189, the Hulk

I do believe the Hulk is still on Counter-Earth and still fighting the minions of the Man-Beast.

Interesting to see that this is a special all-action issue. Now I'm starting to wonder if I made the right decision in making this a special bombastic action post, when I could have made it a special all-action post.
Marvel UK, The Titans #30, the Fantastic Four

The FF are still trying to escape Latveria.

How did Latveria do in Eurovision last night? I don't recall Graham Norton saying. I hope the BBC aren't censoring their coverage. I hear that Dr Doom's power ballad about the unpleasantness of blowing your face off in forbidden experiments was quite spectacular.

Marvel UK, Dracula Lives #82, Ghost Rider

This can't be a good sign for Dracula. When you're reduced to secondary-feature status on the front of your own comic, it could be taken by some as a warning that that comic's days are numbered.

I do like the depiction of Satan on the cover. It's thoroughly in line with how he was drawn in his first appearance in the Son of Satan. As that tale was my first introduction to Marvel's take on the character, this fact gives me great pleasure.

11 comments:

Dougie said...

This was a week where two landscape comics failed to show up at my local shop. I wonder why I never asked about the shocking irregularity of the Titans.
I found the Gwen story quite unsettling and the man - eating tree with its nubile lure in Conan this week was a genuinely weird tale.
Jack o' Diamonds, the retroactive "first evil mutant" turned up in MWOM while Hulk and Warlock reenacted the Last Supper. I suppose that makes up for Satan hogging a cover this week.

Anonymous said...

Apes and squids have been mortal enemies since time began.
M.P.

dangermash said...

While I've never been a great FF fan, their move to the Titans has given the average quality of UK covers a much needed lift. So much colour and vibrancy!

Colin Jones said...

Yes, that's a lovely POTA cover but it bears little relationship to the story inside which is a sequel to POTA #47-49. The freed human slaves from the city-ship Hydromeda now have their own ship, the Freedom Reaver, which they use to attack and sink other city-ships. The story in POTA #81-82 (last week and this week) was basically POTA-meets-Captain Nemo as the three main characters are captured by the Nemo-like Ambrosia, instead of a submarine he had Dwelleron which was alive. The next two issues of POTA were also a two-part Freedom Reaver story but then it wasn't seen again till POTA had merged with Mighty World Of Marvel. But those aquatic adventures written by Doug Moench and drawn by Tom Sutton were, in my opinion, the best in the entire run of Marvel's POTA strips. By the way, only four weeks till the Marvel UK weeklies switched from a Saturday date (the last one was June 5th 1976) to a Wednesday date (beginning June 9th).

Steve W. said...

Thanks for the info, Colin. I shall look out for the date change.

paul Mcscotty said...

I was gutted when they killed poor Gwen and replacing her in Peters affections with that little strumpet Mary-Jane just added insult to injury - even now the pain is still palpable - I may have taken that storyline to seriously. Well at least they never sullied her memory by bringing her back from the dead or turning her into alternative world super-heroine etc!!!

pete doree said...

Random thoughts:
Although many situations in my life have been All-Action, very few have actually been bombastic. In fact, that's a word that's only ever been used in comics as far as I know.
Maybe we should all start using it, in the vague hope that the rest of the world might join in.

I seem to be the only Bronze Age fan ever who read Gwen Stacy's death at the time and simply thought ' wow, what a great story / what a good job Gil Kane did on the art etc. ' It certainly never traumatised me like it did, apparently, Mark Waid. Methinks a lot of people have spent a lot of time retroactively rewriting their emotions on that one. Felt the same way about Phoenix, by the way. Love these characters, don't love them THAT much. It's just pretend...

That shot of Satan reminds me of terrible '80's black metal band Venom, whose album 'In League With Satan' was originally released, due to a mix up at the pressing plant, as 'In League With Stan'
I don't care if that story's true or apochyphal, I love it.

TC said...

I've heard "bombastic" used to describe Stan Lee.

And if that "In League With Stan" story isn't true, it should be.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, Mcscotty...thank God Marvel leaves the dead characters to rest in peace and never unearths them again just for the sake of selling a few comics. (cough cough)
Is Dracula still dead? I'm assuming he is...
M.P.

paul Mcscotty said...

I read the death of Gwen Stacey not that long after it origianlly appeared in the US (it was one of only a handful of US Spiderman comics Imanaged to pick up at that time)it was indeed a great story with lovely art by Kane but I certainly didn't traumatise me (was Mark Waid that upset?) but I do admit I was a bit upset at her snuffing it at the time as she was one of my favourite characters in Spidey - on the other hand I was rooting for Jean Grey/Phoenix to be bumped off that really was (wait for it) ....."bombastic".

Dougie said...

My recollection of the death of Gwen Stacy (and the Goblin) is the violence and bleakness of it all. IIRC, the very next strip in the comic is headshop Englehart Dr. Strange with Mother Nature or the Earth Goddess thee-ing and thou-ing. It was all a bit full-on when I was 12 going on 13.

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