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Thursday, 23 September 2021

September 23rd 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
***

This week in 1981, just three letters were dominating the UK album chart.

And those letters were A, B and C.

No, it wasn't a certain band from a certain city.

It was ABACAB, the latest LP by Genesis, which had just smashed in at Number One on that very listing.  How certain everyone had been the band would flounder after Peter Gabriel left.

And how wrong they'd been.

Meanwhile, over on the singles chart, there was no change, as Adam Ant's Prince Charming retained the top spot it had first claimed the previous week.

Captain America #31, Thor, the day the thunder died

My eyes detect that Marvel Action Starring Captain America is now officially just Captain America, meaning the book's reverted to the title it had before it merged with Marvel Action all those not-so-many weeks ago.

And, just to celebrate his newfound dominance of the book...

...the captain doesn't feature on the cover.

Instead, it's Thor's turn to do so and, as far as I can make out, it's well-deserved because, inside, he sits around telling some children a tale about when he and Loki were challenged, as youths, by Utgard, Master of Utgartdhall.

Sounds thrilling.

Can't wait to read it.

Sadly, I can shed no light upon what Cap, Iron Man and the Dazzler are up to.

Spider-Man and Hulk Team-Up #446, what if Gwen Stacy had lived?

By crikey, it looks like the Watcher's going to be asking just what would have happened had Gwen Stacy lived.

Well, obviously, she'd have had the chance to see the children she had with Norman Osborn grow up to be super-villains and would have been able to introduce them to their auntie, the clone of her that Professor Warren created.

Tragically, I suspect that none of this is touched upon in this story.

The Hulk's activities, this week, are not totally clear to me. It's possible he's still at that airport and still trying to stop Landslide and Avalanche trashing the place.

Marvel Super Adventure #21, Black Panther vs the Vibranium Beast

Now the Black Panther's in trouble. He has to fight the dreaded Vibranium Beast!

I don't know what the Vibranium Beast is but I can't help feeling it's going to be a whole heap of annoyance for him.

Speaking of which, in Daredevil's tale, it would appear Brother Brimstone's inconveniently died.

And DD's out to uncover his murderer.

But is he really dead?

And just how does all this involve tar pits and stuffed mammoths?

Tuesday, 21 September 2021

Speak Your Brain! Part X.

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
It's that kind of a Tuesday again.

The kind where I have nothing to write about and, thus, unleash, once more, into the wild, the excitingest feature on the internet, by decreeing the first person to comment below will set the starting point for the day's discussion.

That starting point may involve sport, art, films, music, myth, magic, mystery, sofas, mystery sofas, sausages, Scotch eggs, soda, pancakes, sci-fi, horror or sandcastles.

It may involve something else completely.

It may involve something not else completely.

Only you can decide...

Sunday, 19 September 2021

2000 AD - August 1983.

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

There's a well-known claim that every actor in Britain has, at some point, appeared in The Bill, to the degree that the show was virtually a form of national service for thespians.

August 1983 was the month in which that became possible because it was when the long-lived cop drama was first launched.

But, whisper it quietly, it wasn't called The Bill.

In a shocking revelation of the kind that only Wikipedia can furnish, it turns out the very first episode was broadcast under the title of Woodentop.

For those of us over a certain age, the word "Woodentop" conjures up images of a 1950s children's show, of almost that same name, which featured a family of marionettes and their dog called Spotty.

Clearly, such a thing could not be allowed to stand and, happily, after that first episode, Woodentop became The Bill and we could all sleep easily in our beds.

Except for the characters in the show whose police station seemed to get blown up by rogue cops every other week.

That was small screen melodrama but what of the big screen?

That month saw the release of many movies which quickly vanished into obscurity but amongst the ones that lingered slightly longer in the memory were Hercules, The Curse of the Pink Panther and Cujo.

Hercules, of course, starred former Hulk actor Lou Ferrigno and features the legendary scene in which the Greek grappler throws a bear into outer space.

The Curse of the Pink Panther was the one that starred Ted Wass of Soap fame as a replacement for Inspector Clouseau. How good a job he did of it, I couldn't say, as I can't recall it ever appearing on my television.

Then again, the fact it never seems to show up on TV may not be a good sign.

Over on the UK singles chart, the month was dominated by KC and the Sunshine Band's Give It Up which held the top spot for most of that spell until UB40's cover of Red Red Wine deposed it at the month's very climax. 

The British album chart, meanwhile, was dominated by The Very Best of The Beach Boys and Michael Jackson & the Jackson 5's 18 Greatest Hits, with the two albums alternating in their ownership of the top spot.

Top of the comics was, of course, 2000 AD and, in that month, it was still giving us Rogue Trooper, Judge Dredd, Tharg's Future-Shocks, Robo-Hunter and, for the most part, Skizz.

However, that last strip soon had to make way because, with Prog 330, a new star appeared within the 2000 AD galaxy, in the shape of Sláine who I remember being a cross between Conan the Barbarian and the Hulk - a Celtic warrior who could increase in size, strength, tattoos and brutality when the need arose.

I can't say I ever particularly enjoyed his strip but I do, at least, remember it. So, it must have been doing something right.

2000 AD prog 328, Judge Dredd

2000 AD prog 329

2000 AD prog 330, Slaine

2000 AD prog 331, Rogue Trooper

Thursday, 16 September 2021

September 16th 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
***

Are you waiting for your mail to arrive?

If so, you'll know just how vital a good postman is.

And that means you'll be awed to know that, on this very day in 1981, a new kind of hero was born.

That hero was Postman Pat.

For, it was there and then that his show first aired on BBC One and a delivery legend was born, leading to forty years of argument about whether his theme song includes the words, "black and white cat," or, "black and white cap."

Reader, I have the definitive answer but refuse to reveal it.

What I can do is expose what happened in his very first adventure.

It was this:

Postman Pat and Jess call in at Mrs Goggins' post office to collect the items to be delivered in Greendale. But his round quickly becomes a search for Katy Pottage's missing doll.

Tense stuff, I'm sure you'll agree.

Over on the UK singles chart, things were probably no less tense. It was bad news, after all, for Soft Cell, as their track Tainted Love was deposed by Adam Ant, thanks to his recording Prince Charming.

That chart had the kind of people on it you'd expect to be on an early 1980s UK chart. But, rather intriguingly, it also included a trio of once-faded early 1970s Glam gods who'd helped sire such phenomena as Adam Ant in the first place.

That's right, Marc Bolan, Slade and Alvin Stardust were all in the Top 100 - with Stardust even managing to be in the Top 10, thanks to Pretend.

Was this coincidence?

Had the New Romantic movement spawned a wave of nostalgia for the days of Glam that had propelled those stars back into the public consciousness?

I've no idea.

Over on the British album chart, Meat Loaf was still ruling the roost, thanks to his LP Dead Ringer.

Spider-Man and Hulk Team-Up #445, She-Hulk

Spider-Man teams up with the She-Hulk, thanks to the biros of Tom DeFalco & Jim Shooter, and the pencil of Herb Trimpe.

This is the limit of my knowledge of this issue's contents.

Marvel Super Adventure #20, Daredevil vs Brother Brimstone

And I know barely more about this one.

Clearly, Daredevil's up against the bludgeoning powerhouse that is Brother Brimstone which suggests to me that he's still on the trail of Karen Page and is still in Hollywood.

After all, as far as I can recall, Brother Brimstone is, in fact, a heavily disguised lowly technician working on the TV show Karen's currently starring in, in her capacity as an actress.

And he's a small man in a big exo-skeleton.

Of the Panther's activities, this week, I can say little.

However, Marvel UK's still playing on the idea that this is a comic for all lovers of moodiness.

Marvel Action starring Captain America #30, Dr Octopus

Doc Ock makes a rare appearance against someone who's not Spider-Man.

And that suggests this is the tale in which Cap goes in search of a youth who's run off with a biker gang, only to have the tentacled terror gatecrash the meeting.

Happily, the bikers quickly recognise Cap's an OK cat, for a square, and help him see off the villain.

The Dazzler, meanwhile, is starring in a tale called Hell... Hell is for Harry. I can make no claims to know just who Harry is.

And Iron Man's battling the Titanium Man.

I'm sure Thor's fighting someone too but I can shed no light upon their identity.

Tuesday, 14 September 2021

The Marvel Lucky Bag - September 1981.

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

It was a case of, "Periscopes at the ready," in September 1981 because it was the month that saw the release of celebrated submarine movie Das Boot. Surely, at the time, the most globally renowned German-language film since Metropolis.

It was also probably the most famous movie about submersibles released since Yellow Submarine.

It was, however, very different from Yellow Submarine.

The month also featured the unleashing of The French Lieutenant's Woman and Mommie Dearest, neither of which I've ever seen, despite their high profile.

Marvel Super Special #19, For Your Eyes Only

And, speaking of movies, James Bond comes to Marvel Town when his latest mission gets adapted, thanks to the typewriter of Larry Hama and the pencils of Howard Chaykin.

Just to leave us both shaken and stirred, we also get a look behind the scenes of the movie.

Raiders of the Last Ark #1, Marvel Comics

Anything James Bond can do, Indiana Jones can do.

And so it is the adventurous archaeologist also gets his very own adaptation of his very own film.

This time, we get a Walt Simonson script and a John Buscema art job.

Spider-Man, Captain America, The Incredible Hulk and Spider-Woman Collectors Edition

Who hasn't fantasised that, at some point, there'd be a comic starring Spider-Man, Captain America, The Incredible Hulk and Spider-Woman?

I know I have.

Frankly, I can't stop fantasising about it.

And now, at last, we get it, thanks to their very own Collectors Edition.

I really don't know what happens in it but, with the Enchantress, Wizard, Rhino and Trapster also onboard, it promises to be an action-packed 27 pages.

Apparently, this was a comic produced for, and distributed entirely through, 7-11 stores.

Marvel Two-In-One #79, The Thing and Blue Diamond

The plot of this one is a mystery to me and I'm not that familiar with the Blue Diamond but I've included it purely because it features someone called Star-Dancer.

I've no idea who she is but what reader could resist a comic that features someone called Star-Dancer?

The Dazzler #7, the Incredible Hulk

Speaking of dancers, the Dazzler's still going strong.

So strong that she's now decided to take on the Hulk.

Not only is he in this issue but the Enforcers are, as well.

And they're out to kill Harry S. Osgood!

Weren't the Enforcers also present in the story that first pitted Spider-Man against the Hulk, way back in the 1960s? Clearly, Marvel history has a knack of repeating itself.

Marvel Super Special #18, Raiders of the Lost Ark

Marvel's clearly decided the comic-buying public can't get enough Indiana Jones, because, this month, it gives us not one but two books that adapt the movie.

And this seems to be the exact same adaptation as is in that other book.

Can this madness succeed?

Well, the approach worked with Star Wars. So, why not?

Sunday, 12 September 2021

Forty years ago today - September 1981.

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

Many are the times a man must let bygones be bygones and put the past behind him.

But, right now, I'm going to put the past in front of me.

In fact, I'm putting it slap-bang in front of everyone.

Avengers #211, Everybody wants to be an Avenger

A mystery - and a fight - breaks out when a zillion-and-one Marvel heroes are summoned to the Avengers Mansion to try out for the team but no one seems to know who sent for them all.

Then it turns out it's Moondragon who's to blame, as she's decided to interfere in who should and shouldn't be in the gang.

Anyway, somehow, at the end of it all, the Vision, Scarlet Witch and Jocasta have left the team and, in their place, Tigra's joined, even though none of the Avengers have a clue who she is.

Strangely, at no point does Tigra point out to them that their previous member Hellcat "borrowed" her old costume.

Iron Man #150, Dr Doom

It's a double-length epic, as Iron Man and Dr Doom find themselves trapped in medieval England and entangled in the courtly machinations of King Arthur and his acquaintances.

Needless to say, it's barely five minutes before Shellhead's teamed up with Arthur, and Doomy's allied himself with Morgan Le Fey.

That conflict over, the armour-clad clobberers then have to join forces, in order to get themselves back to the present.

Spectacular Spider-Man #58, the Ringer

Our favourite wallcrawler's put through the ringer by Marvel's newest villain who I have no doubt is destined to go on to be one of Marvel's greats, on a par with the Boomerang.

Greg Salinger also puts in his first appearance.

I know! Greg Salinger! Who'd have thought it?

I now have to Google to find out who Greg Salinger is.

I have now checked. It would appear he becomes the 2nd Foolkiller.

X-Men #149

For reasons I struggle to recall, the mighty mutants go back to Magneto's abandoned headquarters beneath the Antarctic - only to bump into what's left of Garokk the Petrified Man.

And it would be true to say he's not pleased with them.

Meanwhile, on an island in the middle of nowhere, Cyclops bumps into Magneto himself!

Captain America #261, Nomad is back

Cap visits Hollywood to get involved in a movie that's being made about him but no sooner does he arrive than Nomad shows up and starts trying to steal his glory.

Who can this mystery man be?

And what does he have to do with a giant homicidal version of Cap?

Fantastic Four #234

This is a peculiar one, as the FF find themselves confronting a man whose every wish comes true.

When I say, "confronting," I'm not sure if they ever actually meet him.

Thor #311

When a young boy, wrongly shot by the police, is brought in to be treated at the clinic where Don Blake helps out, Thor has to step in to prevent a full-blown race riot from breaking out.

However, thanks to our hero neglecting his doctoring activities, in order to concentrate on his Thor activities, the boy dies, which doesn't do Don's reputation a lot of good.

Admittedly, it doesn't do the boy's life a lot of good, either.

Daredevil #174, Elektra and the Gladiator

From what I remember, the Kingpin's secretly ordered a ninja-packed hit on the lives of the Gladiator and Matt Murdock, meaning Elektra has to step in and help the pair out.

Conan the Barbarian #126

My memories of this one are a bit muddled but I think Conan promises to get a jewel for an ageing witch, in order to free her people and it all leads to a fight with a giant worm.

Amazing Spider-Man #220, Moon Knight

What's this? Moon Knight's turned to crime and agreed to kill Spider-Man, on behalf of the mob?

Well, no, he hasn't. It's all a ruse cooked up by Spidey and Knighty to help the latter infiltrate the criminal underworld and bring down its leadership.

Incredible Hulk #263, Avalanche and Landslide

The almost identically-powered Avalance and Landslide decide to have a scrap - and the Hulk, Rick Jones and Betty Ross get caught up in the middle of it.

As does the airport where it's all happening.

Just how is anyone going to get out this alive?

Thursday, 9 September 2021

September 9th 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
***

This week in 1981, the word "plonker" entered your vocabulary.

I know this because it was the week in which BBC One broadcast the first-ever episode of the sitcom Only Fools and Horses. The saga of two brothers in eternal pursuit of get-rich-quick schemes struggled, at first, to gain traction with viewers but would go on to become, possibly, the most popular sitcom in British history.

And that wasn't the only major event occurring on the channel, that week.

For, on this very evening, BBC One was broadcasting the final part of the Stephen King vampire mini-series Salem's Lot, starring David Soul as the one who's not the vampire, and a bald bloke as the one who is the vampire.

If that wasn't terrifying enough for us all, BBC Two, on the same evening, was showing something called Spine Chillers. I don't know what that was but the title alone tells me it's a thing I have to see.

Then again, it was broadcast at 7 pm. So, it probably wasn't that terrifying.

A thing that could strike terror into the heart of any music lover is the release of a new Meat Loaf album and, in this week in 1981, his album Dead Ringer smashed onto the UK album chart at Number One, forcing the Rolling Stones' Tattoo You to only enter at Number Two.

There was no such drama on the UK singles chart where Soft Cell's Tainted Love calmly retained its place at Number One.

Spider-Man and Hulk Team-Up #444

It looks like everything's hitting the fan in the tale about the Black Widow losing her memory and thinking she's a schoolteacher.

Is that the Boomerang I detect on the cover?

And the Silver Samurai?

It looks like it's going to be so crammed with action, the comic'll practically burst at the seams.

But Spidey's not the only one who's got more going on in his life than he'd like, as the Hulk finds himself caught up in a fight between Avalanche and that lackey of the Mole Man who has the same powers as Avalanche. Can the Hulk possibly prevail?

And, more urgently, what will become of the airport they're all in the middle of wrecking?

Marvel Action starring Captain America #29, Iron Man

"Will Iron Man survive the challenge?" demands the cover.

I don't have a clue. I don't know what the challenge is.

Then again, I suspect he probably will survive it.

Whatever it is.

You know what else I don't know?

Anything at all about the contents of this comic.

Other than that Captain America, Thor and the Dazzler are in it.

Marvel Super Adventure #19, Daredevil vs Stunt-Master

Like the old romantic he is, Daredevil's in Los Angeles, trying to find Karen Page.

Unfortunately for him, that's when he runs into the Stunt-Master!

Meanwhile, the Black Panther's entangled in a symphony of chaos.