Sunday, 12 February 2017

Forty years ago today - February 1977.

February 1977 was an epoch-making month for comics fans, as IPC's legendary 2000 AD made its first appearance on the newsstands of Britain.

This was awesome news indeed.

But what of the Marvel comics that were being removed from the shelves even as that happened? Could they possibly hope to match it for sheer thrill-power?

Here's where we find out.

Daredevil #142, the Cobra and Mr Hyde

You do wonder how many attempts it can take before Mr Hyde and the Cobra actually manage to kill Daredevil. Given that they once gave Thor problems, he shouldn't be able to stand a chance against them.

And yet, somehow, he humiliates them every time.

Fantastic Four #179

I had this issue, in my youth.

I'm not sure what it says about me but my main memory of it is of The Thing eating a steak.

I also think that Reed Richards may cook and eat a bat creature type thing in it, whilst stuck in the Negative Zone.

But, the Negative Zone? Surely that can only mean the imminent arrival of a certain grasshopper.

Incredible Hulk #208

I have no idea at all as to what happens in this issue but that looks like a Marie Severin cover to me - and quite a dramatic one at that.

Iron Man #95, Ultimo

I've always liked Ultimo, even though I can't remember ever seeing him fight anyone except Iron Man.

Then again, did he once fight the Avengers in one of their annuals? Or am I just imagining that?

Amazing Spider-Man #165, Stegron the Dinosaur Man

This tale was my first exposure to Stegron.

To be honest, I wasn't a fan. To me, he just seemed like a rip-off of the Lizard.

Plus, I thought the idea of him bringing dinosaur skeletons to life was far too silly for the pages of Spider-Man.

Spectacular Spider-Man #3

I don't remember the Lightmaster but I do know that's a very Steve Ditkoesque cover by Al Milgrom.

X-Men #103, The Juggernaut

The X-Men are still having trouble with the Juggernaut.

Still, not to worry, at least they've got leprechauns on their side.

Thor #256, Sporr

Hooray! It's the return of Sporr!

Was this the same Sporr who showed up in the pages of Where Monsters Dwell when I was lad? Or was it another Sporr, who just happened to bear a remarkable resemblance to him/her/it?

Captain America and the Falcon #206, the Swine

I seem to recall The Swine being a very unpleasant individual in serious need of a punch in the face.

I have no doubt he got it.

Conan the Barbarian #71

I genuinely have no idea what happens in this one.

Is that cover a product of Gil Kane and Ernie Chan? I don't think I've ever seen that combination of artists before. I like it. Chan adds a certain texture to Kane's normally pristine pencils.
Avengers #156, Dr Doom

I'm fairly certain I've never read this issue.

I do note the Vision seems to be missing his cape. I have no doubts this will turn out to be a major plot point.

13 comments:

TC said...

IIRC, Thor and Hawkeye fought Ultimo in Avengers Annual #1 in 1967.

Russ said...

Did you forget about the legendary pairing of Kane and Chua/Chan in Supernatural Thrillers #3? "The Valley of the Worm" may have been their first pairing and was much admired at the time. I'm pretty sure it was reprinted in one of the Black and White magazines and may have recently been released again by Dark Horse. If you've never seen it before, it's worth seeking out.

Steve W. said...

TC, thanks for the Ultimo confirmation.

Russ, I must confess to not having been previously aware of that tale. Thanks for drawing my attention to it.

Anonymous said...

This might be hard to believe, but Sporr, or a reasonable fascimile, showed up in the pages of the Conan newspaper strip back in the late '70's or early '80's. That strip was carried by our state newspaper, the Des Moines Register.
It was a pretty good strip, drawn by Big John Bucsema himself, and at least sometimes inked by Ernie Chan.
A mere lad, I followed it with heated interest. Sporr's deal was, even though he came across as a tentacled monster, he created a peaceful paradise for those he captured, and when Conan, or in this case Thor, managed to mortally wound him, Sporr's "victims" were bereft.
A tragic mistake, no doubt meant to illustrate the dangers of assuming motives based on appearance.

M.P.

Anonymous said...

Much as I like Gil Kane's work, Steve, I reckon it generally tended to look better when he was paired with a stylish inker who could add weight and texture. Besides Ernie Chan, see also Rudy Nebres inks on his John Carter of Mars stuff.

Not sure why dinosaur skeletons coming to life are too silly for a comic about a geezer who gets superpowers from being bitten by a radioactive spider.

-sean

Dougie said...

I agree with MP and commented on the Sporr/Conan connection in my blog recently.
I had six of these comics although I would've loved to have the X-Men.
The Conan story is the second half of a 2-parter in which Conan & Belit meet a captive goddess, a bit like La of Opar. The lost civilization that month is a bit like Atlantis in Doctor Who- The Underwater Menace.

Anonymous said...

I always wondered what happened to Mr. Hyde and the Cobra too. They got demoted pretty fast, from Thor to Daredevil, and are probably currently snatching purses in Central park.
On the subject of leprechauns, which, from what I've seen in comics, they apparently infest the Emerald Isle, much like Bigfoots do here. Long ago, I had a sergeant in the Army who resembled a leprechaun, and we called him "Lucky" behind his back.
In actuality, he had the personality not of a cheerful leprechaun with delicious breakfast cereal, but of an orc, or a rock-troll, and when word got back to him I called him that, he threatened me with a severe beating, possibly resulting in death. I have no doubt he would have succeeded.
Dougie,what's your blog? Sounds interesting!

M.P.

Anonymous said...

Hey MP, any idea why its Bigfoots and not Bigfeet?
And btw, leprechauns are completely different because they do not actually exist.

-sean

Anonymous said...

Sean, I believe a lot of the anti-social behavior attributed to Bigfeet, including melon stealing and arbitrary vandalism, was in fact perpetrated by random Homo-Sapiens.
Sasquatch is often unfairly blamed.

M.P.

Ant Master said...

IIRC Visons cape had been taken off him as a trophy and he was wearing a slave collar at this point.

Dougie said...

MP, if Steve doesn't mind, the Sporr/Thor/Conan connection is mentioned here:
https://materioptikon.wordpress.com/2017/01/28/walt-the-worlds-been-waiting-for/

Steve W. said...

Thanks to everyone for all the Sporr info. I feel like I'm now a world authority on giant amoeba.

Ant Master, thanks for the Vision cape info.

Dougie, you're more than welcome to plug your blog. You can plug your other one too if you wish to.

Anonymous said...

MP, probably best to just blame Canadians, and build a big, beautiful wall across the border to keep them in Canada. That should sort it out.

-sean

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