Thursday, 21 September 2023

September 22nd, 1973 - Marvel UK, 50 years ago this week.

Thanks to Charlie Horse 47 and Killdumpster for their sponsorship of this post, via the magic of Patreon

Roy Wood's Wizzard are, perhaps, best remembered for two songs; See My Baby Jive and perennial Yuletide favourite I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day.

It is, therefore, easy to forget they had other major hits as well.

And one of the biggest was a thing called Angel Fingers which proved just how big it was by hitting the Number One spot on the UK singles chart, this week in 1973. It has to be said it was noticeably similar to all their other hits.

The British album chart, meanwhile, was seeing an assault from an act of a whole other style, with the Rolling Stones' Goat's Head Soup smashing straight in at Number One. Who would have thought, back then, that fifty years later to the week, they'd still be around and still bothering the chart compilers?

The Avengers #1

Wait! What's this? A brand new mag's hit our newsagents? And it stars the team who've recently been dominating The Mighty World of Marvel at the Hulk's expense?

It's true. A brand new era starts for the UK imprint. One which even goes so far as to bring us the magic of glossy covers. Truly, things will never be the same again.

Well, not until 1979 when Dez Skinn will consign glossy covers for weeklies to the dustbin of history, sensing that what British readers want most from their comics is a drastic reduction in quality.

And I must declare that this issue arrives with more cover blurbs and fonts than I've ever before seen on the front of a comic.

But what actually happens inside the thing?

Plenty happens.

For one thing, we get the return of Captain America after the Sub-Mariner throws a mysterious block of ice into the sea and it turns out to contain the hero, trapped in suspended animation since World War II.

Retrieved and thawed out by the Avengers, Cap helps the gang tackle a space alien who's blundering around New York, turning people to stone.

As if that's not enough melodrama for any human being to withstand, we also get the origin of Dr Strange when top surgeon Stephen Strange damages his hands in an accident and seeks the Tibetan-style help of a mysterious and aged mystic....

Spider-Man Comics Weekly #32

No signs, though, of glossy covers for Spidey. His mag is still as matt as matt can be.

He's also lumbered with a rubbish villain when failed fighter Joe Smith tries his hand at acting, dresses up as a robotic monster and is zapped by enough electro-chemical mayhem to send him on an orgy of destruction.

Elsewhere, Thor's about to encounter a villain of far more staying power than that, thanks to the arrival of the maddening menace of the Absorbing Man.

And our tale of Asgard, this week, involves Thor and Loki, as boys, invading the castle of a bunch of storm giants, in order to steal stuff from them.

The Mighty World of Marvel #51, the Space Parasite

Now that the Avengers have gone, Hulkie-Baby can return to bossing Marvel UK's flagship title.

And he immediately finds himself up against the Space Parasite who, after watching a TV show about our hero, visits Earth to steal the jade giant's power, so he can use it to further his plans for interplanetary conquest.

Sadly, for the villain, representatives of his home planet take against him and decide to blow up his spaceship.

Meanwhile, the Fantastic Four must fight three criminals who've been recruited by Dr Doom to help him destroy the team.

Tuesday, 19 September 2023

Speak Your Brain! Part 62.

Thanks to Charlie Horse 47 and Killdumpster for their sponsorship of this post, via the magic of Patreon

The Steve Does Comics Megaphone
Image by Tumisu
from Pixabay
Can it really be that time of month again?

The one where I totally run out of things to talk about and have to ask you The Reader to come up with a suitable topic?


It can.

Therefore, feel free to make your suggestion below - and we'll see just what kind of mayhemic maelstrom of marauding chit-chat is generated.

Sunday, 17 September 2023

2000 AD - August 1985.

Thanks to Charlie Horse 47 and Killdumpster for their sponsorship of this post, via the magic of Patreon

August 1985 was a mixed month, to say the least, for aviation.

On the plus side, it saw the selection of Takao Doi, Mamoru Mohri and Chiaki Mukai to be Japan's first astronauts.

On the downside, there were not one but three airplane disasters.

The first was the crash of Japan Airlines Flight 123 which killed 520 people including Japanese singer Kyu Sakamoto, making it the worst single-aircraft disaster in history.

Days later, at Manchester Airport, the left engine of British Airtours Flight 28M caught fire while on its takeoff roll, causing 55 people to die while trying to evacuate the vehicle.

And, just days after that, Bar Harbor Airlines Flight 1808 crashed in the United States, killing all eight on board, including thirteen-year-old American celebrity schoolgirl Samantha Smith.

Meanwhile, the cinemas of the world were being introduced to a whole slew of new movies. Among the most well-known of which were Fright Night, Weird Science, Pee-Wee's Big Adventure, Return of the Living Dead and Teen Wolf.

Of those, I believe I've seen Fright Night, Weird Science and Return of the Living Dead. The latter of which being the one I recall enjoying most.

When it came to music, August kicked off with Madonna ruling the UK singles chart, thanks to her dancerrific Into the Groove. But, before the month was out, it had been deposed by the rather more sedate I Got You, Babe from UB40 and Chrissie Hynde.

On the British album chart, the month began with Dire Straits' Brothers in Arms on top before that was forced to make way for Now That's What I Call Music 5, back in the days when NOW albums were allowed on the official chart.

"That's all well and good," I hear you cry, "but what of the galaxy's greatest comic?"

It has to be said there wasn't a lot new on offer from it, with the book containing the usual fare of Strontium Dog, Tharg's Future-Shocks, Judge Dredd, Ace Trucking Co, Rogue Trooper and Sláine - although Prog 430 did feature a brief six-page return for Nemesis before that particular space warlock disappeared again, the following week.

2000 AD Prog 429, Rogue Trooper

2000 AD Prog 430

2000 AD Prog 431, Roger Trooper

2000 AD Prog 432, Judge Dredd

2000 AD Prog 433, Judge Dredd

Thursday, 14 September 2023

September 15th, 1973 - Marvel UK, 50 years ago this week.

Thanks to Charlie Horse 47 and Killdumpster for their sponsorship of this post, via the magic of Patreon

I've no vital information from the worlds of sport, music, TV, film or politics to impart at the beginning of this post. Therefore, let us launch straight into comic book action of a kind that only Marvel UK could provide.

The Mighty World of Marvel #50

The Avengers and Fantastic Four are still falling over each other in their feeble attempts to stop the Hulk, AKA Bob, from running amok on the streets of New York.

With Reed Richards hospitalised, the Thing starting to feel like a punch bag, the Human Torch injured and Sue Storm being Sue Storm, how can the two teams possibly hope to put an end to the menace that only Bob can pose?

Meanwhile, in their temporary strip, the X-Men are still having their first-ever adventure and still trying to stop Magneto from gaining control of all those nuclear weapons at that military base he's trying to take over.

I'm assuming the mighty mutants have been given their own brief slot in the book because they'll soon be turning up as guest stars in the Fantastic Four's strip, and someone at Marvel UK wants the readers to know who they are when that occurs,

But what's this? I see that, on that cover, the team are billed as the world's strangest teenagers. Let's face it, they have plenty of competition for that title.

Spider-Man Comics Weekly #31

I do believe this is the tale in which, fresh out of jail, the embittered Professor Stromm decides to claim revenge upon Norman Osborn for having previously double-crossed him.

It's a move that leads to the unleashing of Stromm's menacing robots - and to him being shot by a sniper, through a window that only someone who can fly could possibly access. But who could that be? And just who is this man they call Norman Osborn?

And why does he have the same weird hair as his son?

After several weeks of battling, Thor finally defeats the Grey Gargoyle. I think he does it by, somehow, rendering him immobile.

Even more importantly, our hero gets his powers back, after they were severely curtailed by Odin in one of his huffs. 

I note that this tale's inked by Chic Stone which, given the villain involved, seems very apt.

But there's more entertainment than even all that because we also get another Tale of Asgard. And, in this timeless classic, Odin discovers the trolls have teamed up with Surtur in a bid to rebel against Asgard.

Needless to say, this can only mean one thing. That Odin gets all disputing factions together, around a table, to discuss just how the realm can be run in a way that's fair and equitable to all and that doesn't leave anyone feeling aggrieved.

Oh. No, he doesn't. Instead, he decides it's time to kick troll butt!

Tuesday, 12 September 2023

The Marvel Lucky Bag - September 1983.

Thanks to Charlie Horse 47 and Killdumpster for their sponsorship of this post, via the magic of Patreon

How many films came out in September 1983?


Among the most well-known were Escape from the Bronx, Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence, Heat and Dust and Strange Invaders.

I was going to say that, of those, the only one I've ever seen is Strange Invaders. However, having just watched the trailer for it, on YouTube, I've come to the conclusion that I've never seen it in my entire life and was, clearly, thinking of a totally different film. One that involved a couple of children finding themselves on board an alien spaceship.

The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe #9

It's good news for all fans of Quicksilver, Sunfire and Ronan the Accuser because the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe gives us brief profiles of the Marvel characters whose initials run from Q-S.

The Kree-Skrull War Starring the Avengers #1

For anyone who missed the Kree/Skrull War the first time around, rejoice - because your suffering's finally over.

It's true. This very month, a brand new book's launched which reprints the whole thing, over the course of a two-issue mini-series.

Having said that, I notice it doesn't seem to include the Sal Buscema drawn, Antarctic-based, tale in which the war actually starts.

Hawkeye #1

Hooray! Everyone's favourite bow-slinger's awarded his own limited series!

I must confess to having almost no knowledge of what happens in this one but it seems it involves Bobbi Morse of Ka-Zar and Man-Thing fame. And we get a reminder of Hawkeye's origin.

Dazzler #28

Bill Sienkiewicz's covers continue their brave battle to convince us the stories within this book are going to be better than they actually are.

However, I can offer no insight into the contents of this one, as I've not read it. But I can confirm it's brought to us by the team of Frank Springer and Vince Colletta.

It's also brought to us by co-writer C. Tomlinson L.T. U.S.A.F. (Ret.) which is not the sort of co-writing credit you see every day in a super-hero comic.

The Thing #3

It looks like the Thing's in a spot of bother.

It also looks like the Inhumans might be to blame.

For, it seems that Benjy helps Crystal prevent her human daughter from being exposed to the notorious Terragen Mist that grants the Inhumans their powers.

Marvel Age #6, Cloak and Dagger

All I know about this one is it gives relatively brief coverage to Cloak and Dagger and to Illyana and Storm. What exactly it says about them, I cannot say.

Sunday, 10 September 2023

Forty years ago today - September 1983.

Thanks to Charlie Horse 47 and Killdumpster for their sponsorship of this post, via the magic of Patreon

September is once more upon us. So, let us see what transpired in our favourite Marvel comics that featured the month on their covers, all of forty years ago.

Captain America #285, the Porcupine

It's a sad day for Cap, as he has to pay a deathbed visit to his old World War 2 colleague the Patriot who's about to pop his clogs, thanks to not being one of those heroes who's popular enough to never be allowed to age.

Of course, in order to do that, our hero has to actually get there. And, in order to do that, he has to defeat the prickly plotting of the pesky Porcupine.

The Incredible Hulk #287, Bereet

From what I can remember of this one, Bruce Banner, now working with Stark Industries and SHIELD, gets a brand new lab assistant who seems to have the hots for him.

Unfortunately, the robot, that Bruce has created to keep him company at work, seems to be the jealous type.

I do believe the Abomination is about to make a return, as well.

The Amazing Spider-Man #244, the Hobgoblin

I don't recall too much about this one but I suspect the Hobgoblin may be back.

The Spectacular Spider-Man #82, Cloak and Dagger and the Kingpin

This one's far more memorable. Cloak and Dagger, in their crusade against crime, decide they're going to take down the Kingpin. The problem is that the far less ruthless Spidey keeps trying to talk them out of it.

Also, the Punisher's out to take down Kingie as well.

It never rains but it pours.

Thor #335, Jane Foster returns

Thor and Sif make a right old Horlicks of trying to find Jane Foster's spirit inside the runestaff of Kamo Tharnn but, finally, they succeed in locating her - and a zillion and one other beings - trapped inside Kamo Tharnn himself.

That gives us a chance to finally discover the origin of the intermittent villain.

Fantastic Four #258, Dr Doom is back

It's an eye-catching cover, as Marvel's top troublemaker returns to cause more mischief.

This time, the tin-plated tyrant decides it'd be a grand wheeze to revive Terrax and restore his cosmic powers.

I can't help feeling that definitely isn't a good idea.

Daredevil #198

Daredevil's in Japan and managing to make enemies wherever he goes.

Speaking of which, the villain the world calls Dark Wind has decided the time is right to give the crippled Bullseye an adamantium skeleton.

Iron Man #174

Obadiah Stane still has control of Stark Industries and, as a result, Rhodey decides to break into the room that holds all the Iron Man armours, so that Stane can't get his hands on them.

Meanwhile, Nick Fury and SHIELD have exactly the same idea.

The Avengers #235, the Wizard

The not-so-wondrous Wizard is back and, clearly having decided he's the Arcade of the anti-grav set, has created a trap for each of the Avengers. A trap that even they can never hope to escape.

Needless to say, every single one of them does escape. Even the ones who aren't too bright.

The Uncanny X-Men #173

Daredevil's not the only Marvel hero in Japan, this month - because Wolverine and Rogue are in sensational joint action and aiming to stop the Silver Samurai and Viper who've poisoned the rest of the team.

Meanwhile, Storm's suddenly decided to adopt a punk look, which makes sense, as it's 1983 which, as we all know, is the height of the punk era. You can't accuse Chris Claremont of not keeping up with the times.

Next issue, Rogue becomes a flapper girl and Cyclops becomes a mod.

Thursday, 7 September 2023

September 8th, 1973 - Marvel UK, 50 years ago this week.

Thanks to Charlie Horse 47 and Killdumpster for their sponsorship of this post, via the magic of Patreon

No change could be detected atop the UK music charts, this week in 1973. Sitting proud above the milling throng on the singles list was Donny Osmond's Young Love, while ruling the LP roost was the world's most English Scotsman Rod Stewart with his compilation Sing It Again, Rod.

I must shock the world and confess the Donny Osmond single isn't one of my favourite tracks of all time - but songs I did approve of on that week's chart included:

Rock On - David Essex

Angie - Rolling Stones

Life on Mars - David Bowie


Nutbush City Limits - Ike and Tina Turner

Should you wish to explore the subject further, that week's UK singles chart can be found here.

While the corresponding album chart resides here.

The Mighty World of Marvel #49, Hulk vs Thing

There's no shortage of super-team action in this week's Mighty World of Marvel
when the Avengers and the Fantastic Four both land themselves in crossover action, due to a desire to find and stop the incredible Hulk.

Needless to say, this leads to a near endless battle, on the streets of New York, between the green one and the orange one.

Even more memorably, I do believe this is the tale in which Stan Lee keeps referring to Bruce Banner as Bob.

And that's not the only super-team action we get, because a brand new gang makes its Marvel UK entrance, as we join the X-Men for their first-ever adventure, thanks to the arrival of Jean Grey and a dastardly plot - by a man called Magneto - to take over an Air Force base that's packed solid with nuclear missiles.

Spider-Man Comics Weekly #30, the Looter

Meanwhile, a deadly new opponent enters the life of Spider-Man too, as we're introduced to Norton Fester who gains incredible strength and agility when exposed to a meteor.

Obviously, with him having gained his powers in such a fashion, he becomes the menace the world knows as Meteor Man!

Well, no. In fact, he chooses to call himself the Looter. Clearly, this man doesn't have a clue how these things are done.

A man who does know how these things are done is the Grey Gargoyle who's still having his first-ever tussle with the mighty Thor.

But even that punch-up may not be enough to satisfy fans of Norse fisticuffs. And, so, we also get a Tale of Asgard in which Odin launches into sensational solo action and battles Ymir and his giant ice buddies.