Sunday, 17 January 2021

2000 AD - December 1982.

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

***

History was made in December 1982 when ABBA gave their last-ever public performance, on the BBC's Late Late Breakfast Show.

Some of us can still remember watching it, and many have highlighted the band's clear awkwardness, while being interviewed by Noel Edmonds, as proof of the internal divisions within the band but, then again, I remember every interview Noel Edmonds ever did on that show being painfully awkward.

But it wasn't the only historical event going on, because, also in that month, we got a taste of the future, when Time magazine's Man of the Year award was, for the first time ever, given to a non-human.

That non-human was the computer.

Which computer, Wikipedia doesn't tell me, so I shall assume they meant every computer, even mine, which was rubbish. So, well done to my Commodore VIC-20 for winning Man of the Year.

Over in the cinemas, we were ignoring this technological threat to our award-winning chances and burying our faces in both popcorn and the following: 48 Hrs, Gandhi, Airplane II, The Dark Crystal and Tootsie. To be honest, I'm not too keen on any of those films but, if given a choice, I'd opt for Airplane II because I'm shallow.

Over on the UK singles chart, December launched with the Jam's final single Beat Surrender gripping the highest of the high ground. Could the recently defuncted band hold on and take the highly prestigious Christmas Number One spot?

No, they couldn't. For, just as it seemed they might triumph, they were pipped to it by Renée and Renato who snatched that prize from them with the genuinely ridiculous Save Your Love.

And, with that one move, the Christmas Number One spot suddenly became a whole lot less prestigious.

Things were far less silly on the British album chart where, serenely, The John Lennon Collection reigned supreme for the whole month. 

But what of the galaxy's greatest comic? Just how was it preparing for Christmas?

It was still giving us Robo-Hunter, Harry Twenty on the High Rock, Judge Dredd and Rogue Trooper, while Tharg's Future Shocks now seems to have been re-titled Tharg's Time Twisters.

Less typically, Prog 296 gave us a strip called Homer the Barbarian of which I know nothing, while Ace Trucking Co vanished after Prog 293.

And I see that Prog 293 promised us the chance to win a video game that would talk to us, and Prog 294 gave us a review of E.T.

What more could a man demand in life?

2000 AD Prog 293, Tharg

2000 AD Prog 294, Judge Dredd

2000 AD Prog 295, Judge Dredd

2000 AD Prog 296, Judge Dredd

Thursday, 14 January 2021

January 14th, 1981 - Marvel UK, 40 years ago this week.

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

***

You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one because this week in 1981 saw John Lennon hit the top of the UK singles chart, thanks to his venerable track Imagine.

But what was that at Number Two?

Why, it was Adam and his cheeky Ants with Ant Music. Could a new musical phenom be about to assert itself upon this brave new decade?

Not on the UK album chart, it couldn't, as, yet again, ABBA were still sitting pretty, thanks to their seemingly invulnerable LP Super Trouper.

Valour #11, Devil Dinosaur

Moon-Boy and Devil Dinosaur find themselves up against hostile aliens - and it's not going well.

Dr Strange is still trying to rescue Wong and Clea from another dimension's sorcerer supreme.

King Arthur's battling to rescue Guinevere from the Prince of Darkness - and chops the blighter's head off, which you would have thought should mean mission accomplished but I have a feeling it won't be.

Conan's in the Vale of Lost Women and having to rescue one of them. Whether he gives the other lost women a map and directions to the bus stop, I have no idea.

And, finally, in this week's tale of Asgard, a youthful Thor's getting bashed about by a youthful giant, thanks to his reckless over-reliance on his youthful hammer.

That is why I never place too much faith in my hammer.

I rely on my Black & Decker Workmate.

Thor would get into so much less trouble if he took a Black & Decker Workmate with him into battle.

Spider-Man and Hulk Weekly #410, the Smuggler

Mere days ago, I was talking about the Smuggler appearing in Spidey's American book. And here is in his British one.

Not only that but it looks like the Hulk's scrap with Thor, that I talked about in Sunday's post, is also reprinted here.

Rather less topically, Daredevil's still trying to prevent the Beetle and Gladiator from gaining control of a train.

Forces in Combat #36, ROM

ROM would appear to be fighting the American airforce on a rather appealing cover that, nonetheless, probably needs to give us a closer view of the battling 'bot.

That is all I know of this issue and its contents.

Future Tense #11, Micronauts vs Molecule Man

Mr Spock discovers V'ger's looking for the answer to life, the universe and everything.

Biotron's up against the Molecule Man, who's a noticeable step up from the quality of foe the Micronauts have been confronting lately.

On Counter-Earth, Warlock argues with the High Evolutionary about whether the planet should be destroyed, before going on to fight an evil pigeon.

The Man-Wolf is clearly sending his best agents on these missions.

Team-Up #18, Fantastic Four

The Fantastic Four must contend with those dreaded space Vikings at the North Pole. You know, there are times when writing these posts starts to feel like Groundhog Day.

Elsewhere, we find out what would have happened had Aunt May gained spider powers.

And the real Spider-Man teams up with the Black Widow in a story that may or may not be the one in which she's lost her memory and thinks she's a schoolteacher.

Tuesday, 12 January 2021

The Marvel Lucky Bag - January 1981.

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

In January 1981, a trip to your local cinema was clearly more fun than a trip to your local seaside.

And that's because the month saw the release of Blood Beach, a nightmarish film in which people can't get to the sea because a creature beneath the sand keeps eating them. 

As if that wasn't bad enough, even those who stayed away from the beaches were still doomed because their heads were busy exploding in Scanners which also came out that month.

Still - on the lighter side - the theatres were no doubt being packed by people keen to see the movie The Incredible Shrinking Woman which was, apparently, a comedy.

But not a comedy I've ever previously encountered.

Master of Kung-Fu #96, Shang-Chi

You have to hand it to Shang-Chi. The martial arts craze may have died-out years ago but his comic doesn't care. It's still going strong.

And it's giving us all-blue covers of the kind we can't fail to notice!

Apparently, this month, the maestro's co-opted by the CIA to find their agent Carter.

I'm assuming that's not Sharon Carter.
Man-Thing #8, Captain Fate

I vaguely recall once reading a story in which the Man-Thing encounters a bunch of pirates from space. But, as I read that in a late 1970s issue of Planet of the Apes, I'm assuming this isn't it.

I do wonder, though, if it's the same set of pirates?

From what I can gather, in this one, Sheriff Daltry's cursed to take Captain Fate's place on his ghost ship.

I don't have a clue who Sheriff Daltry is.

Or who Captain Fate is.

Or if he's now cursed to take Daltry's place as local sheriff.

ROM #14, The Mad Thinker

This is more like it. Forget all that Dire Wraith and Neutralizer rubbish. This time, ROM gets to grapple with the Mad Thinker and his Awesome Android.

It's strange the things that strike me as I'm composing these posts, as I suddenly, randomly, have the need to discover if the Awesome Android has ever fought Dragon-Man.

Regardless of that, it seems this issue's not totally devoid of Dire Wraith action, as somebody's about to marry someone else, unaware he's been replaced by one of those dastardly villains.

Spidey Super Stories #50, She-Hulk and the Rhino

Spidey's most-neglected book's now managed to clock-up fifty issues, which is a serious achievement, bearing in mind it looks rubbish.

This one seems a bit more promising than usual, though, as, if that cover's to be believed, it sees the savage She-Hulk square up against the Rhino.

Sadly, I can offer no further details as to what happens within.

Crazy #70, Super Special

For no noticeable reason, this month, Crazy gets to double its page count and be labelled a Super Special.

Granted, it's not that special, as it seems to be composed entirely of reprints.

Inside, we're treated to parodies of The Towering Inferno, day-time television, Saturday morning television, Richard Nixon (via the medium of Peanuts), human body language, the music industry and commercials.

We're also given the tale of how escaped mooses created the foundations of the British Empire.

Marvel Spotlight #10, Captain Universe

Captain Universe is up to whatever it is Captain Universe does.

That is all the wisdom I can impart, upon the topic.

Moon Knight #3

Moon Knight tackles the Midnight Man who would appear to be some sort of art thief.

Again, I've picked this one because it has a striking cover, rather than because I have any actual knowledge of the contents.

Sunday, 10 January 2021

Forty years ago today - January 1981.

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

The year 2021 pushes on as we march into that realm which was once the future.

But, right now, it's the past which interests us.

A past that is packed with incident, heroics and villainy.

Avengers #203

And also packed with bafflingness, as the Beast and Wonder Man get lost in the middle of town and discover a colony of artificial organisms living in the sewers.

Although the organisms are friendly, the locals think they're evil and attack them, causing their destruction.

Then it turns out it all never happened. Or possibly it did. Or possibly it didn't.

Or something.

Anyone who can explain this tale is a better reviewer than I am.

Conan the Barbarian #118

Years after he threw her into a sewer, Conan re-encounters Jenna the not-so-trustworthy good-time girl from Rogues in the House.

Sadly, she's succumbed to a form of deadly leprosy inflicted by an evil sorcerer from space.

And he's been doing it to loads of people.

Needless to say, Conan gives him the stabbing he's asking for, and Jenna gets her good health back.

Daredevil #168, Elektra

Elektra makes her stab-happy debut, as we're given a flashback to Matt Murdock's college days and his and her romance.

You know the one. The one in which he showed her his super-powers and went on a mission to rescue her kidnapped father.

But, of course, we don't need a flashback to it because we all remember it from when it was in Origins of Marvel Comics.

Oh. Wait. Hold on. For some reason, none of this was mentioned in Origins of Marvel Comics.

I blame Stan Lee.

Fantastic Four #226

Finally having got done with fighting space Vikings, the FF are back in civilisation and having to stop a rampant robot that's under the control of some evil person or other.

I think this is all here to wrap up a storyline from whatever that cancelled series was about the people with the giant Japanese robots.

Incredible Hulk #255, Thor

The Hulk's back in town, and Don Blake decides only Thor can stop him - and prove, at last, which of them is the stronger.

Except he doesn't. The fight comes to an abrupt halt when Thor decides it's more important he prevents a road tunnel from collapsing and the Hulk gets bored and leaves.

Spectacular Spider-Man #50, Aliens

It's a very special day for some of us, when the Tinkerer's alien allies reappear.

Except, this time, they're not working for the Tinkerer. They're working with Mysterio.

I hope this isn't one of those tales which claims they're not real aliens and are just men dressed up, because that is a reality I refuse to accept.

As far as I can recall, we also get to meet Aunt May's new fiance who, for once, isn't a man with mechanical arms.

X-Men #141, Days of Future Past

It's the far and distant future.

Probably 1995 or something.

And mutants have been hunted to near-extinction, by the Sentinels.

Needless to say, our heroes do the obvious and send Kitty Pryde back to the present, in order to halt the sequence of events which created the apocalyptical world she knows.

Captain America #253, Baron Blood

Captain America's back in England.

And Baron Blood's back from the dead!

It may be a tale stuffed with inaccurate portrayals of Britain (do village bobbies really investigate serial killings?) but it's still a tale it's impossible to not love.

Thor #303

When Thor helps save a priest and his church from destruction at the hands of local gangsters, the priest rediscovers his faith in the Christian God, even though you would have thought it would merely give him faith in Norse gods.

Iron Man #142

Hooray! We get to see Iron Man's brand new space-armour when someone with a satellite death-rays a small town into oblivion, and Shell Head goes to investigate.

But what's this? When he gets into space, that satellite turns out to have the word Roxxon written on the side of it, in gigantic letters?

Amazing Spider-Man #212, Hydro-Man

Thanks to last issue's scrap between Spidey and Subby, a sailor's now turned into the unstoppable Hydro-Man, a villain who is to water what Flint Marko is to sand.

How can our hero stop such a being?

And does it involve heat?

At least it doesn't involve a vacuum cleaner, so the baddie's one up on Marko.

Thursday, 7 January 2021

January 7th, 1981 - Marvel UK, 40 years ago this week.

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

Forty years ago this week, Europe drew that little bit closer, as Greece joined the then European Economic Community. Clearly, nothing could halt the inevitable growth of the European Union. Nothing!

Back in Britain, a lengthy manhunt finally ended with the arrest of serial killer the Yorkshire Ripper.

Rather more cheerily, BBC Two's adaptation of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy began transmission. It later received the Royal Television Society's award for Most Original Programme of the Year.

Over on the UK singles chart, John Lennon snatched the Number One spot, with Imagine, and was also at Number Two, with Happy Xmas (War is Over).

ABBA, meanwhile, continued their dominance of the British album chart, thanks to Super Trouper.

Titans Pocket Book #3, Iron Man and Captain America

Unless I miss my guess, this issue, we see Iron Man battle the hordes of Attuma, and we get the origin of the Red Skull.

But it seems we're also treated to the occasion when Iron Man travelled back in time and met Cleopatra, thanks to the pencils of dashing Don Heck.

Just what this week's Thor story involves, I have no idea.

Star Heroes Pocket Book #10, the X-Men

Here's a turn-up for the books, as the X-Men get their own series in a publication that's supposed to be dedicated to space-faring protagonists, which the original X-Men are, most assuredly, not.

It's also surprising because the adventures of the original X-Men are already being reprinted in Marvel Superheroes.

With the New X-Men also present in Rampage, it means the world's dashingest mutants now have three strips in the pages of Marvel UK's publications.

One can only assume they're proving popular with readers.

Incredible Hulk Pocket Book #3, Tyrannus

Hooray! The Hulk has his first encounter with Tyrannus, continuing the tradition of Marvel's heroes encountering underground menaces, in their early issues.

Sadly, that's all I know of the contents of this book but it's a hundred pages long, so it's clearly packed with Hulky goodness.

Chiller Pocket Book #10, Man-Thing

I only know two things about this issue.

One. The Man-Thing's in it.

Two. The back cover features an advert for a Star Wars wristwatch.

I like to think that's all we need to know about any book to convince us to buy it.

Conan the Barbarian Pocket Book #3

I've no doubt at all that this issue contains the whodunit tale in which Conan and a bunch of supporting characters find themselves trapped in a big house, overnight, with a mystery killer who turns out to be a snake with a human head.

It's escaped from an ancient bowl and only our hero can stop it.

Not only that but this issue contains Devil-Wings Over Shadizar which is one of those titles that lodges in your brain forever, even if you can't actually recall what happens in it.

Fantastic Four Pocket Book #10, Ronan the Accuser

Ronan the Accuser makes his judicial debut, as the Kree set out to punish the fantabulous foursome for destroying their Sentry and his secret base.

Ronan may be big news in outer space but the FF soon teach him who's boss.

Spider-Man Pocket Book #10, Dr Octopus

Dr Octopus is back and, somehow, Betty Brant's brother's got himself tangled in his tentacular machinations.

It can only end in tragedy.

And it does.

And, because of it, Betty turns against Spider-Man.

Which is bad news for Peter Parker whose love-interest she currently is.

Young Romance Pocket Book #3?


This is an odd one because I can't find a copy of the cover to Young Romance Pocket Book #3 anywhere online.

Needless to say, I can't unearth any information about its contents, either.

I'm starting to wonder if it has ever even existed.

If it does exist, I'm confident it features various attractive young women sobbing over the current state of their love life.

Doctor Who Magazine #48, State of Decay

This month, the mag looks at the show's latest serial State of Decay which, I think, is the one about space vampires in a big castle that's really a spaceship.

It also looks back at The Talons of Weng-Chiang, the series' Victorian adventure which not only gave us a giant rat but inspired a 1980s band to call itself Wang Chung.

But the issue kicks off with an article investigating claims Doctor Who's too frightening for a young audience.

After that, we get a two-page look at some of the show's monsters.

We're also supplied with a report on the previous month's Marvel Convention, at which, it seems, many people from the show were present.

This month's comic strips are Dreamers of Death which sees the departure of Sharon, and Touchdown on Denab-738 which features K-9 in solo action.

Rampage Monthly #31, the X-Men

Magneto's holding the X-Men prisoner in his base beneath the Antarctic - and now he's causing trouble in Australia.

Luke Cage is involved in a tale called Jingle Bombs which threatens to ruin the Christmas of everyone in New York.

And the Thing and Thor unite to tackle someone called Seth who I have a suspicion may be the Egyptian god Set.

The Empire Strikes Back #142

I'm afraid to say the contents of this one are a mystery beyond my solving.

An even greater mystery is why it claims to be from December 1981 when it's from January 1981.
Frantic #11

Frantic takes some sort of look at Kiss, a band that, at this point, I only knew of thanks to their appearances in Marvel mags. Just as I only knew of the Harlem Globetrotters through their appearances in Scooby-Doo.

It would also seem to be satirising Buck Rogers, a show that, surely, had its tongue so far embedded in its cheek that it was beyond parody.

Starburst #29, Battle Beyond the Stars

Hooray! We get info about Battle Beyond the Stars which, despite its title, didn't take place beyond the stars at all. It has to be the most misleading film title since Neverending Story.

We also get a look at John Carpenter's The Fog, and the Starburst Fantasy Awards.

Just who wins those awards, I could not say. I suspect it depends on whether The Empire Strikes Back is counted as Fantasy.

Savage Action #3, Moon Knight

Moon Knight's discovered who's stolen a statue, and arranges to buy it.

I must confess to not knowing just what it's a statue of but have no doubt it's vitally important and I'm getting a Maltese Falcon vibe about it all.

Night Raven, meanwhile, is investigating just how come a bunch of leading politicians has suddenly become senile.

And the Man-Thing is up to something in a Jim Starlin drawn tale called Among the Great Divide.

Marvel Superheroes #369, the Avengers

This is it. The Big One. We get the origin of Michael Korvac. An origin which involves both the Badoon and the home base of Galactus, and you can't say that about many origins.

Not only that but we get an investigation into just who's killed the Collector.

Elsewhere, the original X-Men are still having trouble with Sauron.

But not, it seems, for long, as the ptalking pterosaur plunges to his doom.

Or does he?

The Champions are going through their zillionth issue of battling the Crimson Dynamo, Titanium Man and Griffin. They really are making heavy work of disposing of them.

Then again, that could be because they're too busy fighting amongst themselves.

Also, it's turned out the Crimson Dynamo is Ivan's son.

Savage Sword of Conan #39, Marvel UK

The Hour of the Dragon continues, for the umpteenth month running. I know I've said it before but that really is a long hour.

This installment is Sword of the South, the long-awaited sequel to Walt Disney's Song of the South.

It would also appear we get a meeting of Red Sonja, Conan and Kull which I would assume to be a reprint of the storyline from Conan the Barbarian #68.

I could, however, be completely wrong.

Spider-Man and Hulk Weekly #409

The Hulk and Doc Samson are still having to contend with Woodgood's highly-strung creations.

Back in New York, Daredevil must tackle the Gladiator and Beetle who, I think, have hijacked a train. Needless to say, they prove no match for our hero.

Meanwhile, Spidey's up against the Smuggler who I would assume to have been smuggling things.

Forces in Combat #35, ROM

All I know about this issue is ROM's still whittling about his lost Neutralizer. I'd probably be concerned about it too, if only I knew what it is.

But that's quite a striking cover, even if it does seem to have originally been intended purely for use as a splash page.

Team-Up #17, Ant-Man, Marvel UK

Scott Lang's Ant-Man takes on a very angry-looking villain.

I've a feeling I've read this tale in the not-too-distant past but don't have a clue when, where or why.

I see Spider-Man's teaming up with the Black Widow. I wonder if it's the one in which she's lost her memory, thinks she's a school teacher and can't understand how she keeps developing the ability to beat people up every time she's attacked?

Future Tense #10, Star Trek

Marvel's adaptation of Star Trek: The Motion Picture glides serenely along and, now, the Enterprise's new lieutenant's been possessed by V'ger!

The Micronauts are encountering their deadliest foe yet.

A broken fridge.

There's an Alex Nino drawn strip whose word balloons are too annoying for it to be worth the effort of reading them.

Finally, the High Evolutionary's mithering about the danger of Earth and Counter-Earth discovering each other's existence.

Valour #10, Conan the Barbarian

Conan's still fighting a tribe of vampires.

Moon-Boy's worrying about the dangers of alien invasion, while Devil Dinosaur's more interested in having a nap.

King Arthur's still trying to retrieve Guinevere from her abductor - who turns out to be the son of the Prince of Evil!

Dr Strange is still in the process of rescuing Wong, from another dimension.

And, in this week's tale of Asgard, Odin decides to give Balder the gift of invincibility - after having earlier ordered all his friends to kill him.

What a guy.

Tuesday, 5 January 2021

The Marvel Lucky Bag - January 1971.

Thanks to Charlie Horse 47 and Killdumpster for their sponsorship of this post, via the magic of Patreon.
***
Irwin Allen. What a producer. He gave us Lost in Space, The Time Tunnel, Land of the Giants, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea and The Towering Inferno.

He also gave us City Beneath the Sea, the movie about attempts to rescue an underwater drilling project and an undersea city. To be honest, I don't remember much about it but do recall its cast included a man who swam with the same dolphin-inspired technique the Man From Atlantis used.

If you're wondering what the relevance of any of this is, it's that the film came out in January 1971 and is, thus, now exactly fifty years old.

Back above the waves, Dad's Army star Clive Dunn was busy invading the UK singles chart, as, for the first half of that month, his magnificent track Grandad sat proudly atop that listing.

Grandad was, of course, written by Herbie Flowers, the man who'd supplied the iconic bassline for Lou Reed's Walk on the Wild Side.

Sadly, this didn't lead to the duet between Clive and Lou the world was, no doubt, clamouring for.

However, even the power of Clive can't withstand that of a Beatle, and the second half of January saw him driven into retreat, as George Harrison suddenly annexed the hit parade's pinnacle, with his lawyer-bothering masterpiece My Sweet Lord.

When it came to album sales, it was Andy Williams who initially ruled the roost that month, with his Greatest Hits package. However, Simon and Garfunkel's Bridge Over Troubled Water then reclaimed the Number One spot, for the 30 millionth time, before George Harrison triumphed again, as his triple album All Things Must Pass rose, without peer, to finish the month on top.

Avengers King-Size Special Annual #4, Masters of Evil

It's the first of a whole slew of annuals that have been released this month, even though they're generally labelled, "King-Size Specials," rather than, "Annuals."

In this one, the Avengers must thwart the invasion of the Lava Men who, no doubt, light their underground kingdom with lava lamps.

As if that wasn't enough on the team's plate, they also have to win their first-ever encounter with the Masters of Evil, thanks to both Baron Zemo and the power of reprint.

Captain America King-Size Special #1, Bucky

Captain America finally gets his very own annual, and celebrates it with a retelling of his origin, for those who've somehow managed to miss out on it until now.

In this case, it's a reprint of the 1965 Lee/Kirby version, which is the one we're probably all the most familiar with.

As if that's not enough, we get three-part World War II action, as Cap and Bucky must spend Midnight in Greymoor Castle.

And we get a reprint of Cap's attempts to prevent Batroc from laying hands on the nightmare terror of Inferno 42.

Whatever that is.

It sounds like a discotheque.

I suspect it isn't.

Incredible Hulk King-Size Special #3, Annual, the Leader

More early Hulkinanigans, as our anti-hero dares not revert to being Bruce Banner, thanks to a bullet that's lodged in his brain. Glenn Talbot thinks Banner's dead and tries it on with Betty, and the Leader tries it on with everyone by attacking Gamma Base.

This all leads to the Hulk being beamed to another planet to retrieve a goldfish bowl which'll give the Leader access to the Watcher's vast repository of knowledge.

It's at this point the tall-headed heel discovers it's not always a good idea to get what you've always longed for.

Thor Special Marvel Edition #1

What the difference is between a King-Size Special and a Special Marvel Edition is, I've no idea but Thor could probably tell us.

Then again, he may be a little too busy for that. Having lost a fight with Loki, the thunderer must recover a bunch of Norn Stones from Vietnam, in order to regain his good name.

No doubt, he socks it to some communists while he's at it. Even a god of the storm knows there's no substitute for a good old dose of square-jawed capitalism.

This, of course, leads him to his first-ever encounter with the Destroyer, in one of my favourite Lee/Kirby Thor tales.

Just for a break, we get a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, as fed through a decidedly Asgardian filter.

Sub-Mariner #33, traitor

When Atlantis is hit by shockwaves from an underwater explosion, that bounder Byrrah re-shows his face to claim the throne of Atlantis - with eager support from the populace.

All of which sends Namor to an international nuclear convention to find out what caused the explosion.

Needless to say, it's all down to underhanded treachery by the realm's new ruler.

But is there anything Subby can do about it?

Sub-Mariner King-Size Special #1

Because one comic isn't enough to contain the raging power-house that is Subby, he also gets the launch of his own annual.

In a Gene Colan drawn reprint, when Warlord Krang takes over Atlantis, Namor sets off to get the trident of Neptune to prove he should be monarch.

Some of us might have thought he'd be better off staying in Atlantis and beating-up Krang but, no, he's royal and doesn't do things that way.

This, inevitably, leads to a confrontation with Marvel's greatest-ever villain Seaweed Man while Krang gets bored with Lady Dorma's constant spurnings and banishes her to the realm of the Faceless Ones.

Thor King-Size Special #3

Wait? Hold on? Not only does Thor get a Marvel Special Edition, he also gets a King-Size Special too? What is this, no doubt, troll-induced madness?

In this one, the hammer-happy deity reveals his secret identity to Jane Foster but she doesn't believe him.

In the same story, he also has to contend with the Grey Gargoyle.

In a tale of Asgard, Loki tries to kill Balder, with mistletoe.

In another tale of Asgard, Thor wrecks a troll mining operation. Well, so much for him being a hero of capitalism.

In another tale of Asgard, Arkin the weak betrays Asgard to win the hand of Queen Knorda. I don't have a clue who these people are.

And, in another tale of Asgard, Odin loses a battle against an army of men.

Or does he?

Far more importantly than any of that; in our final tale, Loki turns mortal prison inmate Crusher Creel into the nightmarish Absorbing Man. Now Thor's got problems...