Thursday, 13 April 2017

April 13th, 1977 - Marvel UK, 40 years ago this week.

My awesome research tells me that, in this week of 1977, nothing at all interesting happened in the whole wide world.

How so very different from the following week, in which the most head-explodingly exciting thing in the history of humanity occurred.

I think you can guess what it is.

But we shall have to wait seven days before I tackle that subject.

In the meantime, there may not have been anything happening in the real world but at least we had thrills and spills in the world of black and white to make up for it.

Hold on? Black and white? Could that be a clue as to just what was going to happen in the following week?

Perhaps it could.

But what could it be?

What?

WHAT?!?

WHAT?!?

Marvel UK, Captain Britain #27, the Red Skull

I have a feeling this may be the very last instalment of the Red Skull/Captain America/Jim Callaghan/Jimmy Carter tag team challenge that's lasted longer than World War Two itself.

No doubt, it can only lead to a brand new direction in the life of our hero. One that, if the cover can be believed, involves pulling swords from stones.

Super Spider-Man and the Titans #218, Doctor Octopus and Aunt May

The  Red Skull's battle with democracy may be over but Aunt May's battle to marry a boy her parents wouldn't have approved of goes on and on.

I've just realised that the Marvel UK mags have had a recent price increase and the glossies are now all ten pence, instead of the previous nine. When will this inflationary madness end?

Mighty World of Marvel #217, Hulk, Planet of the Apes

The Pet Shop Boys might have said, "You were always on my mind," but it's beginning to look like the Hulk is permanently in Glenn Talbot's brain, as his unique brand of two-fisted psychiatry continues.

No doubt it was this that  Neil Tennant was contemplating when he decided to cover that very song.

Is the Apes story a Jason and Alexander one? Or are we again on that Tom Sutton drawn ship, with the crossbows and the derring-doings?


Marvel UK, Fury #5

I have no idea what happens in this one but I suspect it'll be full of people declaring things like, "Gott im Himmel!", "Schweinhund!", "Donner und Blitzen!" and, "Achtung!"

With a vocabulary that limited, it's no wonder the Nazis lost the war. It's very difficult to relay complex strategy when you only have eight words in your lexicon.

45 comments:

Anonymous said...

You'd barely know that Fury was a Marvel comic from that cover. No wonder it confused buyers.

DW

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Hey Mates! (I am just testing out UK-talk that I now hear on the radio in the USA on the soccer radio program when UKers call in! I hope that's a fair greeting your way!)

May I add two German words to make it 10 for the war lexicon? "Gummi Puppen" pronounced goomee poopin.

In "The Longest Day" the German general and aide start going on about Gummi Puppen referring to the rubber dolls the allies dropped on Normandy.

My french wife and I just can't stop laughing about that because to our US and French ears it sounds so stereoytpically German.

If you want to hear it, youtube "The Longest Day Erich Marcks" and it starts at 2:30. Don't youtube "gummi puppen." At least not at work, lol.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Gents (I'm giving up on "Mates" until I hear otherwise!),

Do I look for the "Leopard of Lime Street" in two weeks at the huuuuge C2E2 comicon in Chicago???

What's the verdict? Do I shell out some schekels for "Leopard" or save them for that Action #1 in 9.2 which is supposed to be for sale?

Help Charlie out!

Steve W. said...

DW, I suspect they were hoping UK readers wouldn't realise it was a Marvel comic and would buy it thinking it was connected to, "Warlord," or, "Battle." It possibly says something about Marvel UK's increasing struggles to survive that they were trying to sell comics by pretending they were produced by a totally different company.

Charlie, I can't say I've ever heard anyone British start a conversation with the words, "Hey mates." Then again, I've never heard anything about rubber dolls being dropped at Normandy either. There were some very strange things going on in World War 2.

Despite knowing nothing about him, I'm sure that one day The Leopard of Lime Street will be an even bigger star than Superman and have his own series of mega-blockbuster movies.

Colin Jones said...

Charlie, I've never heard anyone say "Hey, mates" either but calling somebody mate is okay - my Scottish father sometimes called me "mate". I can't think what next week's exciting event is - did the BBC finally cancel The Black & White Minstrel Show ? And yes, the story in MWOM & POTA is the continuing aquatic adventures of the good ship Freedom Reaver under Cap'n Alaric - ahh-harrr me hearties.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Jolly Good! - I'll pay more attention to the soccer program when "you" guys call in. I'm serious they start off with what I think is Hey Mates but maybe it's singular Hey Mate. It's the SeriusXM program 85 (?).


I got Jolly Good from my Tiger Annual 1962 I've been nibbling at the past weeks. Hopeful I used that correctly! Actually Colin B squared me away on "JOlly Good" that a week ago. I guess that expression is no longer in circulation. But it sounds quite fun to say/ write so I just had to work it in! Thanks for humoring me!

Anonymous said...

If not for this blog, I would not have been aware of the existence of the Leopard of Lime Street, Neil Tennant, or the Apeslayer.
My horizons have been broadened, no doubt about it.

M.P.

TC said...

During the Normandy invasion, the RAF and US Air Corps dropped rubber mannequins by parachute. The decoys drew enemy fire, causing the Germans to waste ammunition, and confused them as to where the actual drop zones were.

The dummy paratroopers were nicknamed "Oscar" by the Americans, and "Rupert" by the British.

TC said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steve W. said...

Colin, next week's event is even more exciting than the cancellation of the Black and White Minstrel Show. Admittedly, when I say that, I'm probably the only one here who thinks it's exciting.

Charlie, I don't think anyone's said, "Jolly good," since that annual came out - apart from commentators at the Wimbledon Tennis tournament who were probably saying it well into the 1980s.

MP, I would love to see a comic where the Leopard of Lime Street, Neil Tennant and Apeslayer team up to fight crime.

TC, thanks for the Normandy clarification. I must confess I had misunderstood the nature of the dummies and had assumed they'd been dropped to distract German soldiers who were missing their girlfriends, so they wouldn't notice they were being invaded. In that form it seemed like a plan that was unlikely to work.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Steve W - Your assumption that Oscar/Ruperts were dropped in Normandy as surrogate girlfriends, for the Germans, is most understandable! Gummi Puppen indeed!

By the way, if any of you are Normandy Battle aficionados, "That's All Brother" has been found and is being restored. The Commemorative Air Force is hoping to do a flyover on June 6, 2019 - 75 years later. And, Pee Wee Reese, who jumped from "That's All Brother" is hopeful to parachute out of it (again) 75 years later.

TAB was invasion aircraft #001 for the paradrops.

Colin Jones said...

Charlie, the vast majority of the population never said "Jolly good show" or "I say, old chap" - only posh people spoke like that. In the BBC's first few decades only upper-class voices were heard on radio and TV but all that started to change in the 1960's. Nowadays you wouldn't be allowed on air with a "cut-glass" accent (really posh and upper-class) - even the Queen had lessons to change her voice and make it sound less posh. But if anybody is saying "hey mates" on your soccer programme it is likely an affectation - knowing that American listeners won't understand. As far as I know, you address an individual as "mate" not a group. By the way, I'm still stunned by your revelation that baseball and American football are "old man" sports - we think of those sports as symbols of America !

Charlie Horse 47 said...

This is really a great conversation! I was listening to the Soccer radio program this morning and the caller from London address the group as "Hey Chaps!" I assume that's common?


Regarding baseball the median age of someone watching the playoffs is about 58 years old now. Regarding football the median age of someone watching the playoffs is 48 years old. Regarding basketball the median age is 28. In my town in Illinois we have about 3500 kids playing soccer , about 700 playing baseball.


Generally speaking enrollment in football is declining among wealthier or better educated settings. Enrollment is dropping o 2 to 3% per year. This is primarily due to brain damage suffered from the constant stopping and starting Due to collision although the football league has done it's best to convince people it's only a problem if you have a concussion. In fact. It's the constant stopping and starting causing the brain to slash around causing the brain damage. And this is being shown to be a problem even at the high school level. So in a nutshell football is going the way of boxing.

Steve W. said...

I have heard callers to the Talksport radio station in this country say, "Hey, chaps," at the start of calls. It's the only place I've ever heard anyone say it, so it seems to be unique to soccer fans. The callers in question always seem to come from London and be from middle class backgrounds. Therefore I conclude that it's unique to middle class, London based soccer fans.

Colin Bray said...

Well I might consider saying 'hey chaps' but then, I'm a London-born lower-middle class soccer fan so have 2.5 of the 3 boxes ticked. I have called Talksport radio, but to confirm, almost certainly didn't say 'hey chaps' to Goldstein and Cundy.

Colin Bray said...

Steve - keeping the sporting theme, you said nothing happened across the world this week 40 years ago.

How about the world championship of snooker played in your home city for the first time this week in 1977? Did this register on your radar at the time or were you too engrossed in the conclusion of the Capt Britain/Captain America/Red Skull story?

Steve W. said...

Colin, the snooker was the huge event that I was talking about happening next week. I'm sure Wikipedia claimed it didn't start until the 18th.

It certainly did register on my radar though. I remember John Spencer winning it and it was all very exciting to see Sheffield on the telly, which hardly ever happened back then (or even now).

We used to watch it on our black and white TV, even though everyone claims you can't watch snooker in black and white. That's how hardcore we were about it.

Colin Bray said...

Oops, apologies for the spoiler re: the snooker. A celebration of 40 years at The Crucible on TV this evening mentioned the tournament had always started 'the same week' in the calendar since 1977. I guess that doesn't preclude the 18th...

I used to watch snooker in black and white too. It's amazing how good the eyes get at distinguishing shades of grey. No, not those shades of grey.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Colin, I have to ask how you discovered that? I'm not even really sure what snooker is? It's a 3-ball or 9-ball game on a billiards table (with/without pockets)?


Oh, does the following still hold true in the UK (London?)

When I spent a week at the Reuters offices in London in 1990, I learned that, despite my youth and recent Army days, I just could not drink 2 pints for my lunch. I had to have food. So, the next day they accommodated my wishes and took me to a bar that had potato chips (If I remember they even had Andy Capp hot chips or something!) So, 2 pints and potato chips for lunch. (My wife was starting to see a deterioration in my alacrity.) Good grief... it took 5 days before we finally ate a place having something like a buffet of food... I ate, they drank their 2 pints... they did not understand how I would be able to stay awake after eating, LOL!

I know, it's 25 years later but just curious. I haven't been to London since then.

Colin Bray said...

Hey Charlie, I think you experienced an almost exclusive vice of British journalism, the liquid lunch...

As to snooker, perhaps Steve will enlighten us further next week :)

Steve W. said...

What I will say right now is that Snooker's similar to pool but played on a bigger table. It involves disposing of 22 balls in the correct order. The balls aren't numbered but are colour coded. Snooker's heyday as a spectator sport was in the 1980s - when it made household names of its top players, some of whom even managed to have hit singles on the back of their fame - but The World Championship is still a big event and has a fair degree of popularity in China as well. It's held at the Crucible Theatre and lasts for two weeks.

As for the drinking, Colin's right. The journalistic profession has always been famed for its liquid lunches which could explain the Reuters thing. There used to be a big drinking culture in British work places. In a lot of cities, industrial areas used to have a pub on every street corner because factory workers would pop into a pub for a drink on their way to work, pop out to a pub for a drink at lunchtime and then pop into a pub on their way home from work. Back then, no one seemed to see a problem with people operating dangerous machinery with a stomach full of beer. Times have changed a lot since then and such behaviour is now frowned upon.

Colin Jones said...

I remember my father watching Pot Black on our black & white TV in the late '70s so watching in black & white wasn't a problem. Steve, I've long been meaning to ask if you've ever attended any snooker matches at the Crucible. I was quite a big snooker fan in its' '80s heyday - my father and I were both watching when Dennis Taylor won in 1985. We couldn't stand Steve Davis because he was a Tory so we were desperate for Taylor to win. But my father hypocritically made excuses for his fellow Scot, Stephen Hendry, when he threatened to leave the country if Labour won in 1997. Now I'm in the mood to visit YouTube and listen to "Snooker Loopy" :D

Anonymous said...


Time was called on drinking culture in the UK when ecstasy arrived in a big way.

On the subject of "Hey mates" -
It was an anachronism even in the 70s, which is why we don't recall hearing it. But readers were regularly addressed like that in the pages of Battle - as in "Hey mates, don't forget to find out what happens next week" - so I thought Charlie was pretty sharp using it given the context.

And since you asked Charlie, Action 1 is really only worth getting if you're after a full run. Otherwise, the better stories don't start til a little later...

-sean

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Howdy!

Two questions, maybe 3 - 4 depending on one's math:

Was Andy Capp shooting snooker?

Do any of you have a recollection of Ben Grimm shooting pool, or any other Marvel character? I seem to recall some situation, with a cigar perhaps?

Sean - Sage advice! Besides I already read Action #1 in Secret Origins #1 (along with a Batman #1, Flash #1, and Hawkman v. Ghost Golden Age story). So, forget the the Action #1. It's "Leopard of Lime Street" or bust!

Funny that Hawkman v. Ghost golden age story. The Ghost actually has a reel-to-reel projector perched in the rafters projecting a bogus image, as I recall, that confuses Hawkman. Talk about "primitive technology" LOL.

Hey - I keep meaning to ask you guys... Did you have DC comics to read or was it just Marvel (12 years worth in 3 years - good grief) being run by one of the Pet Shop Boys???

(Surely there is a plot to a book, movie, something in that???)


Anonymous said...

Not as sage as you think, Charlie - I thought you were asking about the IPC/Fleetway Action. Duh - it did seem unlikely there'd be copies of that for sale at a US con...

No "DC UK" reprints, but we used to get import US DC monthlies. Generally distribution was haphazard, but I could usually find faves like Kamandi and OMAC. Seemed to be more war comics (Enemy Ace!) than superheroes around... Possibly we got all your unsolds (in the sale-or-return days)

Marvel pool?
Pretty sure you're right about Ben Grimm, but can't recall specifics.
Wolverine... he smoked cigars and I'd put money on him being a pool player.
All those tough guy type superheroes - you know, the ones with stubble who smoke and say things like "I'm good at what I do and what I do isn't good" (what does that even mean?) - they've probably all shot pool at some point in a comic.
Daredevil spent a lot of time in pool halls in the Miller era, but I think that was just to hassle the Kingpin's men in a hardboiled fashion... don't recall him shooting any frames. Its not really a blind man's game is it?
Plus he's not a smoker.
(Actually, smoking has sort of gone the way of all day drinking - do even the tough guys with stubble still smoke in comics these days?)

-sean

Steve W. said...

Colin J, I've seen plays at the Crucible but I've never attended any snooker matches there. For some reason, it's never occurred to me to go. Then again, given the modest size of the venue, I suspect that it's virtually impossible to get tickets.

Colin Jones said...

I never even saw a DC comic till I was 16 - I was given a pile of Batman and Wonder Woman which I quite enjoyed. Up until then I only knew those characters from their TV shows. One of the Batman issues featured Batman in Hong Kong and Batman tells Robin that Hong Kong is a British colony which will return to China in 1997 - the subject of Hong Kong became a bigger and bigger news story over the next 15 years but I'd first heard about it in a Batman comic !

TC said...

There was a British magazine, The Super Heroes Monthly, in the early 1980's. It had B&W reprints of DC comics, usually with at least one Superman and/or Batman story in each issue. My impression is that it was not very popular, and that it ran for fewer than twenty issues. Also, I don't know why it was published as a monthly, rather than a weekly. DC had published super hero comics uninterrupted since the 1940's, and had a larger back log than Marvel.

Steve W. said...

TC, I thought I'd never heard of the mag but, having Googled the covers, it turns out that I have seen them before in the dim and distant past. I especially recognise the cover that features Debbie Harry as Power Girl.

Anonymous said...


Now I think about it, there were some paperback format DC reprint books before that, Steve. Anthologies of complete stories.
One of them was my first encounter with the Fourth World, and another the LSH.
(Marvel did something similar with the Barry Smith-era Conan)


-sean

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Ok, I have a feel for the Marvel scene and the DC scene... did you chaps have Harvey (Richie Rich, Sad Sack Hot Stuff...) I think it's fair to say that Harvey had maybe 50% of the market in the 60s and 70s.

I say this because they had like 30+ titles every month? In my little town, we had two spinner racks at the news agency and Harvey and Archie had one, and Marvel and DC the other.

Now I have to wonder if you had spinner racks?

I hate to sound like a bumpkin and hope I'm not offensive. My french wife has been asked so many "dumb" questions about France like "Do you have TV?" So I hope I am not going down that path!

Also, do you have "comics" pages in the newspapers?

And, though he was British, did you have Andy Capp in the newspaper comics? Or was he done for the US newspapers? (Americans have a sweet spot for so many British things. A British accent automatically conveys some higher level of intellect and worldliness.)




Steve W. said...

I don't remember ever seeing any Harvey or Archie Comics in my youth. The only non-Marvel/DC US publishers that I recall seeing were Charlton, Dell, Gold Key, Atlas and Skywald. Then again, it might just be that I never noticed them because my eyes went straight to the more melodramatic comics on offer.

I don't remember ever seeing any spinner racks in my hometown but I did see plenty of them in shops in seaside resorts. It might be that shops in seaside town stocked more comics and therefore had more need of such fancy technology.

Andy Capp used to feature in a British Newspaper. I think it was the, "Daily Mirror." I don't know if he still does.

I haven't read a newspaper in well over a decade and am struggling to recall how they presented comic strips. I think a number had a bunch of them on one page, possibly accompanied by puzzles and crosswords. I think some (possibly Sunday newspapers) might have had dedicated pull-out sections with comic strips in them. Most newspapers would publish a cartoon strip at the bottom of the back cover.

pete doree said...

Hey mates! I'm late to the conversation as usual, but yes Andy Capp was indeed in The Mirror, as of course was the completely wonderful Garth. And UK newspapers did have a whole page of comics, some of them as breathlessly inexplicable as The Sun running the even more wonderful Axa ( can't remember what else was on the page as I was too busy checking out Axa's boobs ( she was, as they used to say, a stunna )
Charlie, Leopard From Lime St only ran for 2 or 3 pages so I'd say grab an Action or several, and wait for somebody to reprint The Leopard in a glossy trade ( mind, we're still waiting for a decent Garth trade so who knows how long that'll be ).
Actually I remember 'alright, mate?' as a greeting, and certainly whenever somebody buys you a pint, the correct response is always 'cheers mate '... you won't go far wrong with that one here.

pete doree said...

Oh, and with yet more blatant pluggery, I did do some posts about Action a while back on Bronze Age Of Blogs, with scans of Dredger, Death Game 1999, The Running Man, Hookjaw and the complete Kids Rule Ok. Just scroll down till you see 'Action Presents'

Steve W. said...

I concur. I can highly recommend Pete's blog. It was one of the sites that motivated me to start one of my own, all those years ago.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Pete - I enjoy your blog too! And I really dig the cover to it, of that Action Comic. (That cover has always been one of my favs. Something innocent and pure-comic-book like for the older comic reader.)

Your post on Hansi the Good German was quite good. I meant to add something or another about "Treasure Chest" comics which ran for 30(?) or so years and were published under the auspices of the Catholic Church. I even think Crandall did some issues for them. Also, being here in the USA I got my fair dose of "Chick Tracts" and such. That dude... he was on the weed or fell on his head or something. Quite coincidentally, I found some of them left behind in the crapper at the local restaurant the other day. I was surprised b/c I had not seen one since like 1981. I thought about reading them, just to remember why I thought this guy smoked the bad weed or fell on his head, but decided not to get riled up whilst dining with the wife and kids, lol.

pete doree said...

Well, as I said on the blog I actually found Hansi the mildest of the Spire's I've read. Some of them are breathtakingly right wing.
Of course, you have to let the class know what you eventually buy, Charlie!

Colin Jones said...

Happy Easter, Steve, and everybody who reads Steve Does Comics !

Steve W. said...

Happy Easter to you too, Colin.

Dougie said...

I read a few Harvey comics- Hot Stuff, Richie Rich - as a wee boy, so you could get them in Lanarkshire. As I've often said in my blogs, DC comics were sold in a variety of shops up until the early 80s. So too were some Charltons and Atlas comics, til about 75-76. Round about that time, Marvels returned in abundance after a three- four year hiatus...just not every month.
BTW, in Glasgow, "mate" ( pronounced mett) is how everyone is addressed. Occasionally "pal" or "bud". China ("china plate") is archaic and mucker (prison slang) has fallen out of favour. Dude is heard among the 20-35 year old crowd only. The perennial "man" is really commonplace: " Aye man. Naw man. Awrite man?"

Dougie said...

I read a few Harvey comics- Hot Stuff, Richie Rich - as a wee boy, so you could get them in Lanarkshire. As I've often said in my blogs, DC comics were sold in a variety of shops up until the early 80s. So too were some Charltons and Atlas comics, til about 75-76. Round about that time, Marvels returned in abundance after a three- four year hiatus...just not every month.
BTW, in Glasgow, "mate" ( pronounced mett) is how everyone is addressed. Occasionally "pal" or "bud". China ("china plate") is archaic and mucker (prison slang) has fallen out of favour. Dude is heard among the 20-35 year old crowd only. The perennial "man" is really commonplace: " Aye man. Naw man. Awrite man?"

Dougie said...

We had spinner racks in most newsagents, bus and train stations and even in one department store in West Central Scotland right up until about 1982.

Steve W. said...

Pal and mate are common in Sheffield too. Once you cross over the border into Derbyshire, it's not unknown for men to call each other, "Ducks," which seems to be very specific to that area.

Dougie said...

I used to have a friend from Mansfield, Notts who said " youth" which was lovely. "It's your round, youth"

Dougie said...

I used to have a friend from Mansfield, Notts who said " youth" which was lovely. "It's your round, youth"

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