Thursday, 2 April 2020

April 2nd, 1980 - Marvel UK, 40 years ago this week.

There's nothing this site appreciates more than failure.

And, on this night in 1980, it had plenty to appreciate because it was the night on which BBC Two's arts show Arena looked at Stephen Pile's The Book of Heroic Failures, a tome dedicated to true-life tales of those who've faltered.

Ironically, despite its subject matter, the book was a massive success, even spawning a sequel, thus defeating the whole point of its existence.

But you know who never fails?


And, on that very evening, he was, no doubt, triumphing once more, as BBC One served up his movie Tarzan and the Spider People.

I've no doubt at all that I've seen this movie, as I've always found ancient Tarzan films irresistible but that doesn't mean I've any actual recollection of it.

Still, it features giant spiders and that means it must be good.

Also succeeding but in a very different way, were Genesis who, that week, hit the peak of the UK album chart, with their LP Duke.

Meanwhile, on the singles chart, the Jam were still supreme with Going Underground.

As for Marvel UK, they were going completely mad. Not satisfied with the million and one books they were already publishing; this month, they launched even more. At this rate, they were going to end up producing more books than their parent company.

But what were they? And how am I going to tackle them all in one post?

It's issue #2 of the company's first pocket book, as Chiller dispenses more action from the lord of the undead.

This month, we're blessed with continuing drama from the later issues of Tomb of Dracula but we also get a Ghost Rider tale that includes the Phantom Eagle. How this meeting happens, I could not even speculate.

Marvel UK, Frantic #2, Miss Piggy and Star Trek

It's the second issue of the book which promises to bring endless mirth and merriment into our lives, as we get the Muppet/Star Trek crossover we all demanded.

I really don't know what Fun Funerals is. I assume it's not based on a TV show?

Marvel UK, Savage Sword of Conan #30

It's yet more of Conan's daily struggles with the paranormal, as our hero must confront The Moon of Blood.

That's not a title which rings any bells for me, so I'll assume it's not a Robert E Howard adaptation.
Incredible Hulk Weekly #57, Silver Surfer

The Hulk's still battling Sasquatch, thanks to the artistic pairing of Sal Buscema and Alfredo Alcala, which is not a team-up I can remember ever seeing outside of this Hulk tale.

The Surfer's still battling that big mutant bloke who's taken over the universe in the far-flung future.

The Beast's trying to make amends with Iron Man for having tried to strangle him to death.

From The Defenders, we finally get my most fondly remembered storyline of theirs, as the Valkyrie enrolls at college.

Granted, that means the introduction of Lunatik can't be far away - which isn't such good news.

Elsewhere, Iron Man's still battling the Mandarin's robot Hulk.

Rampage Magazine #22, the Hulk

For those who, even after all that, haven't had enough of the gamma-powered brute, there's good news because he's in Africa and the target of hunters who're out to kill him.

The New X-Men have their first encounter with Magneto - and don't do very well, from what I remember.

Dr Strange is on the hunt for someone called Xander in some place called the Quadriverse.

Spectacular Spider-Man Weekly #369

It would appear Doc Ock's trying to steal a nuclear submarine.

Bearing in mind that the last time he got involved with nuclear reactors, he managed to blow up an entire island and end up being haunted by the, "ghost," of Hammerhead, you'd have thought he'd have learnt his lesson by now.

Then again, maybe the nuclear submarine belongs to Aunt May and he's only picking it up for her? Who can know?

Star Wars Weekly #110

Of the main Star Wars tale, I know nothing.

But I do know this issue features the staggering conclusion of whatever tale it is Star-Lord's involved in, as he annihilates a load of lizard people and walks off into the sunset with some old bloke.

Next week, he'll be replaced by Howard Chaykin's Monark Starstalker.

Marvel Superheroes #360, Count Nefaria

The Avengers haven't been faring too well against Count Nefaria - but now Thor's showed up and it's game on.

The Original X-Men find themselves up against Magneto and Lorna Dane.

The Champions are battling Pluto who's trying to force Hercules to marry Hippolyta.

Starburst #20, Leela

Hooray! Leela - the woman after whom they named a character in Futurama - makes the cover of the UK's top sci-fi mag,

Then again, so do Princess Leia, that woman from Forbidden Planet and Caroline Munro.

And it would appear we get a comparison between the first Star Trek movie and The Black Hole, neither of which I remember setting my mind on fire.

But what's this? The FF's Thing in his own TV series? When did this happen? Did it happen at all? And, if it didn't happen, why didn't it happen?

Doctor Who Weekly #25, the Movellans!

The nation celebrates as Doctor Who's most Discotastic villains the Movellans make the front cover.

That's right, the magazine's still looking at the robot foes of the Doctor.

Other than that, my knowledge of this week's contents is limited.

Therefore, I shall assume the strips which were present last week are still in situ.

Star Heroes pocket book #1, Battlestar Galactica

If Marvel UK's Chiller pocket book was feeling lonely, it need feel so no more because, hot on its heels, the company's launched another one, as Star Heroes hits the newsstands.

Battlestar Galactica and The Micronauts? In one comic? Who wouldn't want to buy that?

Probably me but I'm sure it's a good fun read, regardless.

The Fantastic Four Pocket Book #1

And we get yet another pocket book as the Fantastic Four version of that genre is unleashed.

And it hits us with a classic, as Dr Doom decides to wreck Reed and Sue's wedding, leading to all kinds of Kirby-drawn chaos.

Spider-Man Pocket Book #1

I've no idea what's in this, the first issue of Spidey's pocket book but I gather it's a title which, generally, makes heavy use of Marvel Team-Up tales.

Sunday, 29 March 2020

Ms Marvel #1. This Woman, This Warrior!

Ms Marvel #1
You could never accuse this site of ignoring that new-fangled Women's Lib that's so fashionable now that we're in the 1970s.

Having already tackled the savage She-Hulk and sensational Spider-Woman ("To know her is to fear her!"), I'm now looking at that other battling female Marvel gave us in that period.

That's Ms Marvel, yet another book launched to prevent the company's lawyers having nightmares.

The She-Hulk and Spider-Woman books were not exactly classics, so, how does Ms Marvel's measure up?

It's New York and a bank robbery's underway.

But not for long because barely has it started than a brand new heroine flies in to smash teeth and fling cars around.

She's so new that and no one has a clue who she is - including herself.

Ms Marvel #1, car lift
And what she also doesn't know is those bank robbers are a mere distraction, hired so the Scorpion can sneak in round the back and rob the bank himself.

Next, we meet Carol Danvers, former head of security at Cape Kennedy, who's in the process of landing an editorial job at the Daily Bugle. And the first thing J Jonah Jameson wants her to do is write an expose of the brand new heroine.

No sooner is that agreed to than she bumps into Mary Jane Watson, invites her to her flat and promptly has a funny turn which leaves her telling her guest to leave so she can pass out on her bed in mysterious circumstances.

But there's no time for us to dwell on that because the Scorpion's back - and he's kidnapping Jonah!

And Ms Marvel's back as well! Her psychic powers having tipped her off, in advance, about the kidnapping, she sets off to free the publisher and bring the Scorpion to justice.

Ms Marvel #1, punch the Scorpion
Once she locates him, a one-sided fight erupts and poor old Scorpy finds himself flung into the acid vat he'd prepared for Jonah.

Suitably alarmed, the villain flees, Jonah's unscathed, our heroine decides to call herself Ms Marvel and the day is saved.

But, back at work, showing his usual gratitude, Jonah demands Carol work even harder at exposing the terrible truth about Ms Marvel, as he's more convinced than ever that she's a deadly menace.

But just who is Ms Marvel? Why is Carol Danvers in the habit of blacking out? And just what is the mysterious link between the two women? What? What? What?

Ms Marvel #1, J Jonah Jameson dangles, prisoner of the Scorpion
I would say that, in terms of feel, this is a comic which slots neatly between the She-Hulk's and Spider-Woman's.

As with Spider-Woman, more thought seems to have been put into the central character and her quandary than was the case with She-Hulk. However, the mood of the comic's more conventional than Spider-Woman's, making it seem closer to the She-Hulk's.

The main thing that strikes me about this issue is it feels like we've walked in halfway through it. Ms Marvel already exists, though we're given no idea how long she's been around for. She may have been in existence for months or appeared literally seconds before the splash page.

We also get a very familiar character in Carol Danvers but she's suddenly in an environment and a role some of us have never seen her in before.

Ms Marvel #1, J Jonah Jameson haggles
Because of this, I've had to check with Wikipedia to see if Ms Marvel turned up as a guest in another book before this one launched but it seems the splash page of this issue really is her first-ever appearance.

I'm not sure if we're supposed to be as baffled by the link between Carol and Ms Marvel as Carol and Ms Marvel are, as you'd have to be pretty stupid not to realise they're the same person.

Ms Marvel's 7th Sense is a total cop-out. It means that any time she needs answers, she can just call on it to provide them. A perfect example here is how she finds the Scorpion's hideout just by a picture of it appearing in her head. It may make things easier for her but it also makes things far too easy for the writer who can just get away with taking any liberties with it that he wants to.

Ms Marvel #1, Mary Jane Watson, headaches
Speaking of writers, it's penned by Gerry Conway who seems to be struggling a bit to make it all cohere and it's drawn by John Buscema who's in his Workmanlike Pro mode.

Overall, I'd say it's not a comic that exactly demands you rush out and buy the next issue. Ms Marvel feels like too much of a black hole, as a character, for that, we've all seen JJ's hero-hating routine once too often, and the mystery of the link between Carol and Ms Marvel isn't a mystery, so that's not exactly likely to hook you either.

It also has to be said that that is one of the worst costumes any super-heroine has ever been lumbered with.

And I say that as someone who's seen every outfit Supergirl put on in the 1970s.

Items of possible further interest:

Thursday, 26 March 2020

March 26th, 1980 - Marvel UK, 40 years ago this week.

For any lover of great music, perhaps the biggest tragedy of the Coronavirus pandemic has been the cancellation of this year's Eurovision Song Contest.

Obviously, as a disaster, the cancellation of Eurovision is only a slightly lesser catastrophe for music than the contest actually going ahead.

But there were no such concerns on this night of four decades ago. Preparations for that year's competition were progressing strongly, with BBC One broadcasting A Song for Europe in which the UK's entry was chosen.

We all know Eurovision 1980 itself was won by Ireland's Johnny Logan, launching a trend for the Republic to win so often that they ended up deliberately trying to lose it by entering a glove puppet but that doesn't mean Britain's entry was overshadowed.

No, because the nation had a cunning plan.

And that was to wow judges and voters alike with Love Enough For Two by Prima Donna, a band made up of Kate Robbins, Jane Robbins, Sally Ann Triplett, Danny Finn, Alan Coates and Lance Aston.

They were definitely a band with a pedigree.

Lance was brother to Bucks Fizz's Jay Aston, Danny was a former member of the New Seekers, and Kate Robbins was Paul McCartney's cousin.

As Jane Robbins was Kate's sister, I assume she was also Paul McCartney's cousin.

Sally Ann Triplett was, of course, two years later, a member of Bardo who represented Britain in Europe, with their song One Step Further which bore a noticeable and suspicious resemblance to Manfred Mann's cover of Blinded by the Light.

It's hard to believe anything in any comic could stand comparison to drama on that scale.

But let's see if it does!

spectacular spider-man weekly #368, dr octopus

Spider-Man's on a boat and up against a man who's in a bad mood because he's lost one of his mechanical tentacles.

Meanwhile, the Sphinx now disposed of, Reed Richards sees-off the threat of Galactus by pretending to have built his own Ultimate Nullifier.

Galactus believes him and recedes quickly into Outer Space, thanks to the Watcher's assistance in the deception.

It's always good to see Uatu rigorously sticking to his vow of non-intervention.

star wars weekly #109

That is the most impassive-looking bunch of floating heads I've ever seen on the front of a comic.

Then again, perhaps they're merely looking unimpressed by my total lack of knowledge of what's happening inside it.

Doctor Who Weekly #24, Daleks, the Robot of Death

The Fourth Doctor's still dealing with whatever problems it is the Star Beast is causing.

You can win a poster by colourising a black and white picture of the first four Doctors.

We take a look at various robots the Doctor has had to thwart.

We get more of Marvel's adaptation of First Men in the Moon.

And we're treated to a text adaptation of the First Doctor's tale Galaxy Four.

Incredible Hulk #56, Iron Man

It's the question we've all asked since the early days of Marvel; "Who'd win a fight between the Mandarin's pointless robot copy of the Hulk and Iron Man?"

And now, at last, we're going to get the answer, as those two comic book titans clash.

No, I'm not totally sure why Mandy has a robot copy of the Hulk but he does - and he's unleashed it from its crate.

Come to think of it, I wonder who'd win a fight between it and the robot Hulk from The Eternals?

Then again, didn't the Thinker build a robot Hulk in Fantastic Four #100?

And Dr Doom built one in Incredible Hulk #143.

What is it with super-villains and robot Hulks?

Elsewhere, the Surfer's still in the future and self-pityingly gunning for the man who wrecked the universe.

The Beast's single-handedly foiling the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants.

And a whole nation celebrates as the Defenders have finally succeeded in rescuing Jack Norriss from Scorpio!

When I say, "Rescued," I mean Scorpio's killed himself in a fit of depression, leaving Jack free to leave of his own volition.

I'm not sure what the Black Knight's up to but I'm sure it's thrilling.

And I think the real Hulk's in the process of beating-up Sasquatch.

Marvel UK, Chiler Pocket Book #1, Dracula

But this is it! As predicted by Sean in the comments section, mere days ago, the launch of a brand new comic!

Admittedly, the Chiller pocket book didn't necessarily come out this week but it did come out this month.

And it heralds the imminent arrival of a whole slew of similar books Marvel UK will launch in this period, and which are almost as hard to put a date on as anything published by Alan Class.

But what's in it?

Some very very late Tomb of Dracula action featuring the Domini/Janus storyline, and also a Satana tale, written by Chris Claremont, that's reprinted from Marvel Premiere #27.

Sunday, 22 March 2020

2000 AD - February 1982.


Do you like them?

Do you spend your free time in them?

If so, you'd have loved February 1982 because, in that very month, something was stirring.

Something weird and green and fighty.

No. It wasn't Kermit!

It was The Swamp Thing!

That's right, this was the very month in which the cinematic version of that comic book monster hit our big screens and the world would never be the same again!

Personally, I prefer Return of the Swamp Thing but, for the sake of this post, I'll pretend I don't.

And that wasn't the only legendary film unleashed upon us that month because it also saw the release of Death Wish II and Quest For Fire, neither of which I've ever got round to watching yet.

But what was happening on the UK singles chart while films I'm not that fussed about were being unveiled?

The Jam were happening.

They were celebrating what I believe was their third Number One, with the Motown-inspired A Town Called Malice.

The grumpy trio almost held on for the whole of the month but, in the very last week of it, they were dethroned by Tight Fit's cover of The Lion Sleeps Tonight.

You have to hand it to the early 1980s, it was a musical era that was nothing if not eclectic.

Over on the album chart, things were far simpler, with Barbra Streisand's Love Songs holding the Number One spot for the entirety of the month.

The Jam, Tight Fit and Babs were being highly successful but the following organisations weren't because February saw the collapse of London-based Laker Airways - leaving 6,000 stranded passengers and debts of $270 million - and the DeLorean car factory in Belfast. Now how was Marty McFly supposed to travel through time?

In the pages of 2000 AD, we were still getting Ace Trucking Co, Tharg's Future Shocks, Mean Arena, Nemesis the Warlock, Rogue Trooper, and Judge Dredd's Apocalypse War.

As though those regular features weren't enough to spoil us with, Prog 252 gave us a tale called The Hume Factor but I don't have a clue what it was.

I also have no idea what the cover of Prog 252 has to do with Nemesis the Warlock.

2000 AD, Prog 250

2000 AD, Prog 251, Ace Trucking

2000 AD, Prog 252

2000 AD, Prog 253

Potential further exploration:

Thursday, 19 March 2020

March 19th, 1980 - Marvel UK, 40 years ago this week.

Are there times when it seems to you like popular music has hit the rocks?

Well, on this night in 1980, it literally did when the MV Mi Amigo ran aground and sank in the Thames Estuary.

That mattered to music fans because it was the ship from which legendary pirate station Radio Caroline operated and the calamity forced the station to cease broadcasting. It would be another three years before transmissions would resume.

But, if a famous radio station was no longer broadcasting, the UK charts survived unassailed and, that very week, the Jam entered the UK singles chart at Number One, with Going Underground, giving them the first of their four Number Ones.

The Jam were a famously angry-sounding band. In fact, Paul Weller's ability to be grumpy about every single thing he ever encountered during that phase of his career is a thing of wonder to me, even now.

Over on the British album chart, things were a little more relaxing, with Johnny Mathis suddenly ruling supreme, thanks to his LP Tears and Laughter which succeeded in holding off Marti Webb's Tell Me On A Sunday.
Incredible Hulk Weekly #55, Sasquatch

Sasquatch decides to dangle Bruce Banner off a cliff, to make him turn into the Hulk, so he can discover which of them is the stronger.

I think we can guess what the answer to that one's going to be.

The Black Knight and Merlin have seen off the would-be invaders of their castle - but, now, that castle's in danger of plunging into an abyss, thanks to the damage done in the fighting!

The Fantastic Four are still having their first encounter with the Hulk. Will they ever discover the truth about Karl Kort?

Starting to shake of his amnesia, the Beast has begun to recognise the truth about his new allies the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants.

The Silver Surfer's travelled into the far future, to escape Galactus' Space Barrier but has found nothing save a universe in ruins.

And, for the nine millionth week running, the Defenders are still battling to rescue Jack Norriss from Scorpio.

Spectacular Spider-Man Weekly #367, Dr Octopus

I do believe that cover's adapted from a panel that originally featured in the tale which brought us the death of George Stacy.

Speaking of deaths, inside the comic, Peter Parker's worrying about arranging Aunt May's funeral, even though the book's already printed the story in which he discovers she's still alive.

If that was confusing to readers at the time, they could, no doubt, take reassurance from the fact that the Fantastic Four, Iron Man, Thor and Daredevil were still present in the comic.

Star Wars Weekly #108

The contents of this one are mostly a mystery to me but the cover boasts of it containing four great strips.

I know one of them's a Star Wars tale and I also know the book is still giving us the origin of Star-Lord.

I would assume the other two strips feature Deathlok and a tale of the Watcher but I cannot guarantee that.

Doctor Who Weekly #23, Cybermen

I can, though, guarantee The Star-Beast storyline's still going. As predicted by Sean, in the comments section, the other day, the strip is yet to shake off this mortal coil.

We also get a text history of UNIT.

We get a quick report about former companion Victoria Waterfield.

We get more of Marvel's adaptation of First Men in the Moon.

We get more of the text adaptation of The Time Meddler.

And we finish off with a Steve Moore/Steve Dillion strip called Ship of Fools which seems to involve a spacecraft named after The Flying Dutchman.

I predict stormy seas ahead.

Sunday, 15 March 2020

Spider-Woman #1. A Future Uncertain!

Mere weeks ago, I took a look at the pulse-pounding debut of The Savage She-Hulk, the comic which proved women could smash things up too.

But She-Hulk wasn't the only female imitation of a male Marvel superstar to receive a comic of her own in that era.

We also got the start of a brand new series for Spider-Woman, brought to us by the dream team of Carmine Infantino and Marv Wolfman.

As the cover blurb informed us, to know her is to fear her! And, let's be honest, there are some who fear the writing of Marv Wolfman and the art of Carmine Infantino.

But what of me? Can I survive such three-sided terror, with my sanity intact?

We start with Spider-Woman hanging from a ceiling in a deserted London supermarket, at night, contemplating whether to steal from it, having not eaten in days.

No sooner has she decided not to lower herself to such robbery, than an agent of SHIELD, called Jerry, tries to arrest her for shoplifting, on behalf of Scotland Yard.

She gives him the slip - but not before he's seen her face and declared that he recognises her.

Actually, he says something along the lines of, "Your lovely, lovely, beautiful, gorgeous, magnificent face! I've seen it somewhere before!" I am paraphrasing there but it gives you an idea of the sort of thing Jerry from SHIELD likes to blurt out.

She declares it to be impossible for him to recognise her and rapidly returns to her rented hovel to bemoan her lot as an unemployed super-heroine who no one likes because, being half spider, they find her disturbing.

A lengthy flashback then tells us she's Jessica Drew, daughter of a scientist who wanted to inject us all with spider serum so we can survive the pollution and radiation the future's guaranteed to bring us.

Happily for the story, he wasn't a lone lunatic because his best friend was the man who'd go on to become the High Evolutionary and, when little Jessica started to die from radiation sickness, thanks to the massive quantities of uranium that lay beneath their base in Wundagore, her father injected her with his spider serum while the High Evolutionary started super-evolving her until, after several years, she became half-woman and half-spider.

Now living in London, she spends her time agonising over her life, failing to get a job and repulsing everyone, with her latent air of spideryness.

But, as it happens, roaming around the city again, she sees Jerry fighting a bunch of criminals armed with laser guns and she quickly puts a halt to their activities.

But it's all too late for Jerry who's been lasered, good and proper.

So, she rushes him to the hospital, gives him a transfusion of her blood and flies off, leaving him to lie in his bed and, not at all creepily, declare that he wants her as he's wanted no other woman!

I thought issue #1 of Black Goliath was depressing but it's nothing compared to this. Our heroine really is in a wretched situation and it seems to be getting worse with every moment. She has no family, no friends, no sense of identity, no sense of purpose, no food, no money, everyone hates her for reasons they don't seem to know, and the law is after her.

There are strangenesses to all this.

For instance, just why is a SHIELD operative guarding a supermarket while on secondment to Scotland Yard? I can only assume Hydra's been a bit quiet lately.

Also, Jessica decides to dye her hair black, so Jerry won't recognise her if he sees her again but, at the same time, she alters her mask, making her hair visible. Thanks to this, if Jerry ever does see her again, he'll be able to spot, at once, that she's changed her hair colour, ruining the whole point of her changing it.

Also, how exactly is she paying her rent?

I have to say it, Marv Wolfman's script is terrible. No one talks like the people in this comic talk and Jerry, who I assume we're supposed to like, comes across as a weird, stalkerish madman. Try as I might, I think I'm going to have serious trouble accepting him as Spider-Woman's Steve Trevor.

Carmine Infantino's art is fairly heavily buried beneath Tony DeZuniga's inks, so it looks noticeably more stylish than it often did during this phase of his career.

So, has knowing Spider-Woman caused me to fear her?

Well, not really.

I just feel a sense of hopelessness for her.

And that's probably my problem with the book. It's certainly more interesting than that first issue of She-Hulk but it's such a downer that I'm not sure I'd want to read any more issues of it.

Then again, there is a part of me that's curious to see just how it goes from here and whether this aura of misery and depression is maintained or if it's quickly abandoned for something less offputting.

Items of possible further interest:

Thursday, 12 March 2020

March 12th, 1980 - Marvel UK, 40 years ago this week.

BBC Two is an oft-ignored channel, having traditionally been the home of intellectuals and those who like cooking but there's no denying that on this night in 1980 it was the place to be.

Not only did we get Michael Woods setting off In Search of Arthur, we got another episode of Flash Gordon, in which Flash rescues King Vultan, even as Princess Aura sets out to capture Dale.

As if that wasn't enough, the station's arts documentary series Arena was giving us Rudies Come Back or The Rise and Rise of 2-Tone, as Adrian Thrills investigated the then-current chart success of Ska music and the tiny record label that lay behind it all.

But it wasn't only music lovers in Britain who had something to get excited about because, behind the Iron Curtain, things were also stirring.

Only two days previously, the Soviet Union had launched its first-ever Rock festival, in Tbilisi, Georgia. The event lasted from March 8th to March 16th and is often considered a turning point in the history of Soviet and Russian culture.

Speaking of music, back in the UK, while the Shadows held dominion over the LP chart, with their covers album A String of Hits, the singles chart found Fern Kinney supreme with Together We Are Beautiful, a song I still can't sing without it turning into Janet Kay's Silly Games.

Star Wars Weekly #107

I bet you can't wait for me to tell you what happens in this week's pulse-pounding issue.

Neither can I.

Which makes it all the more galling that I don't have a clue what happens in it.

Obviously, the Star Wars gang's present and my keen senses tell me we're also getting the origin of Star-Lord.

From memory, I can't recall whether that origin bears any resemblance to the one in the movies, so I shall choose not to comment upon it.

Spectacular Spider-Man #366

Just to prove my Star Wars ignorance wasn't a fluke, I can proudly announce that I know even less of what goes on in this book.

I do know Spidey's up against Doc Ock but that's all I know.

Doctor Who Weekly #22, Tom Baker

Hooray! I've found a comic of whose contents I'm not totally ignorant.

It looks like we've got the finale to the Fourth Doctor strip The Space Beast in which our hero finds a way to render harmless the bomb that's been implanted in his stomach.

He does this by wrapping the lead from a woman's roof around himself, in order to block off the detonation signal.

And that kind of improvisational thinking is why he's the greatest hero in the universe.

We also get an adaptation of The First Men in the Moon as scripted by Don McGregor.

It would appear there's also a text adaptation of the William Hartnell story The Time Meddler which famously featured the first appearance of a TARDIS other than that owned by the Doctor.

And, to wrap it all up, we get more from The Twilight of the Silurians.

Hulk Weekly #54, the Black Knight

It's a strange cover which highlights this week's Black Knight tale, rather than one featuring the book's actual star - and doesn't even include the Knight anyway, meaning he has to be added as a near-afterthought.

As for the insides, the Fantastic Four finally get to have their first-ever encounter with the Hulk who proceeds to flatten them.

In a more modern tale, set in Canada, Sasquatch is preparing to confront the Hulk.

Back in the USA, an amnesiac Beast's hanging around with Unus, the Blob and Mastermind who are tricking him into robbing the house of someone wealthy.

Higher up, the Silver Surfer's flown into the future, in order to thwart Galactus' Space Barrier.

And the Defenders are enduring their 85th consecutive week of trying to rescue Jack Norriss from Scorpio.