Tuesday 23 July 2024

Speak Your Brain! Part 83.

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

Many are the questions I cannot answer in life.

But there's one question above all others that lies beyond my ken.

And that is, "What are we talking about today?"

You guessed it. This announcement sees the cosmos-crunching return of the feature they'd all be talking about if it had yet been decided what it is they'd be talking about. 

It's the one in which the first person who gets to comment below gets to decide the topic of the day.

Therefore, hesitate ye not, and cast the die whose throw will decide just what discussion will fill the next 48 hours.

Sunday 21 July 2024

2000 AD - June 1986.

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

June 1986 saw drama hit the World Cup when, in Argentina's game against England, Diego Maradona aggravated his foes with a blatant handball that would go on to be nicknamed, "The Hand of God."

However, not long after that, he then dribbled his way past almost the entire English team to score again. This time, there was no controversy and, given its brilliance, the goal was nicknamed, "The Goal of the Century."

Whatever people chose to call those goals, they proved decisive, with Argentina going on to win 2–1, thus booking their place in the semi-final.

Not only did they win that semi-final; shortly after, they went on to defeat West Germany 3–2 to lift the trophy for the second time in eight years.

Depressed Anglo-Saxons may have sought to flee their sorrows by paying a visit to the cinema. If so, there was plenty in there to distract them, with Invaders from Mars, My Little Pony, SpaceCamp, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Mona Lisa, Legal Eagles, Karate Kid Part II, Labyrinth and Ruthless People all being released that month.

Which was my favourite of that lot?

Possibly Ruthless People but I must confess that, despite their fame, I don't remember much about the actual contents of any of those films. It all seems such a long time ago...

Far more memorable to me was the UK singles chart, and June began with Doctor and the Medics' Spirit in the Sky ruling the roost before that was pushed aside by Wham!'s latest smash The Edge of Heaven.

On the accompanying LP chart, the month kicked off with Peter Gabriel at Number One, thanks to his album So. However, that was soon displaced by Queen's A Kind of Magic which then had to make way for Genesis' Invisible Touch

And, with that all dealt with, I'm now free to concentrate upon the thereabouts of the galaxy's greatest comic.

It was a month which offered us yet more of old favourites like Anderson PSI Division, Judge Dredd, Ace Trucking Co, Strontium Dog and Tharg's Future-Shocks, as well as new potential favourites such as Bad City Blue and Sooner or Later.

I could thrill the eager visitor by telling him or her just what transpires in each of the issues below but I don't have a clue what transpires in the issues below. Therefore, I won't. I'm nothing if not a rationalist.

Anyway, here are some nice covers to look at.

2000 AD  Prog 473

2000 AD  Prog 474, Judge Dredd

2000 AD  Prog 475, Judge Anderson

2000 AD  Prog 476 Judge Dredd

Thursday 18 July 2024

July 20th 1974 - 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 remember that the legendary chat show host Michael Parkinson would often claim that a guest needed no introduction. That's good because there are some posts that require no introduction.

And this is one of them.

Even though I've just introduced it.

The Mighty World of Marvel #94, Iron Man vs Hulk

If that cover's to be believed, it looks like bad news for the Hulk.

Or is it?

After all, the military and Iron Man merely want to reintegrate the brute with Bruce Banner, so that he'll stop trying to hunt down and kill that scientist.

Bearing in mind that killing Banner would kill himself, such preventative action has to be a good thing for both parties.

Meanwhile, long-term readers will be delighted to know Daredevil returns to the pages of the book he's made his home.

And he does so by having an encounter with Spider-Man, while the Masked Marauder blunders around New York, robbing places, left, right and centre, with the awesome power of his telescopic van tube that serves the same purpose as a ladder but, in a stroke of genius, cost millions more.

And, finally, the Fantastic Four are about to enter a startling new era when Madame Medusa reappears - only to be pursued by both Dragon Man and a heavy-footed heel she calls Gorgon!

Spider-Man Comics Weekly #75, the Avengers

And it's a big moment in the life of Spider-Man too. The world's mightiest super-team have concluded that they need another member - and the webbed wonder could be it.

To prove them right, all he has to do is defeat the Hulk and drag him back to the Avengers Mansion - as a helpless prisoner.

I can't help feeling that might be a slightly over-ambitious audition piece.

Anyway, before he can overcome the Hulk, the wall-crawler has to first overcome his urge to beat up the Avengers. And, knowing how hot-headed he is, I can't help feeling that might be asking a bit much.

It's not just Daredevil who's making a comeback, this week. So is Iron Man who's again having trouble with the Black Widow.

To redeem herself in the eyes of her communist overlords, she steals Tony Stark's brand new anti-gravity device and only goes and uses it to attack Fort Knox!

Thor, meanwhile, is told the origin of the High Evolutionary and gets to watch when the demented Darwinian's base takes flight and shoots off into space, in search of a new home among the stars.

The Avengers #44, Shang-Chi

I do believe that, having survived the latest assassination attempts upon him, everyone's favourite martial artist infiltrates Fu Manchu's lair and beats up a bunch of the villain's lackeys before said villain flees in a helicopter.

Hawkeye, meanwhile, is upset about his girlfriend the Black Widow committing yet more espionage. A situation which somehow leads him into the clutches of the Mad Thinker who's allied himself with someone called Hammerhead.

This is, of course, in the pages of The Avengers.

But I'm going to assume he's not the same Hammerhead who will go on to give Spider-Man and Doc Ock numerous headaches over the years. Mostly because he looks nothing like him and just seems to be a man with an anvil strapped to his noggin.

Having said that, I could be wrong about that.

And, finally, Dr Strange also has a serious problem on his hands because Umar is now out to flatten New York.

However, she might yet be stopped by the intervention of someone called Zom.

And I do believe that Stonehenge puts in an appearance!

Tuesday 16 July 2024

Speak Your Brain! Part 82. Favourite comic book-style movies not based on Marvel/DC.

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

Once again, crushing failure has beset the nation, with England's football team spurning the chance to win the European Championship.

This, of course, comes as no shock. After all, if there's one thing in this world you can take for granted, it's that England's men will crash out of any tournament the moment they come up against anyone decent.

However, there's something you can take even more for granted.

And that's that the second half of each month will see the return to Steve Does Comics of a feature which never fails to score.

It's the one in which the first person to comment below gets to set the agenda for discussion.

Just what that agenda may be, I cannot say.

Only those who are truly psychic - or get to the comments section first - can say.

Therefore, feel free to get the ball rolling and hope that none of us end up paying a heavy penalty.

Sunday 14 July 2024

The Marvel Lucky Bag - July 1984.

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

The 1980s had never been more 1980s than they were in July of the year made famous by George Orwell.

Why, one merely had to visit a cinema to see that, with the month unleashing the release of such films as The Last Starfighter, The Muppets Take Manhattan, Electric Dreams, The NeverEnding Story and Purple Rain.

I think the only one of those I've ever seen is The Last Starfighter. Therefore, my opinion about the merits of them all is not only irrelevant but non-existent.

Coyote #7

I could claim to have encyclopedic knowledge of the contents of this one but I know nothing.

However, the internet leads me to believe it features tales with such titles as High No One and The Djinn. The latter of which being drawn by Steve Ditko.

Moon Knight #38

We find ourselves confronted with the last issue of this book and it's one that waves goodbye to us with a stylish cover by Mike Kaluta.

The tale inside is drawn by Bo Hampton and it would seem that, plotwise, a sorcerer called Zohar is out to resurrect Marc Spector's father.

Whether that's a good thing or a band thing for our nocturnal nobbler of nefarious ne'er-do-wells, I'm not altogether sure.

Marvel Fanfare #15, the Thing

It's another one whose contents I know little of but I do know the main story stars the Thing in sensational solo action and is brought to us by Barry Smith who's also in sensational solo action, having both written and drawn the tale.

Then again, it's not that solo, from the Thing's point of view, because the Human Torch is also in it.

But there's a second tale in this issue.

And that stars Daredevil who's involved in a yarn its creators have dubbed Crimson Ash.

Six from Sirius #1

A thrilling new mini-series smashes its way into our lives.

And I can tell you nothing about it, other than it's brought to us by Doug Moench and Paul Gulacy and that this issue's instalment bears the name Phase 1 Phaedra.

Marvel Super-Heroes Secret Wars #3

In a wave of intrigue and plotting, Marvel's most ambitions project continues with the Wasp cosying up to Magneto, the Hulk concerned that his intellect is fading, and Spider-Man single-handedly defeating the X-Men.

Dr Doom, meanwhile, is still working on whatever scheme he has in mind, while Thor and the Enchantress head off together for a chat.

Tarzan of the Apes #1

It's practically the law of the jungle that there always has to be a Tarzan comic out there somewhere.

And so it is that we're treated to the launch of a brand new limited series dedicated to the wildest posh bloke of them all.

It seems to be an origin story for our hero and would also appear to be reprinted from 1983's Marvel Super Special #29.

Thursday 11 July 2024

July 13th 1974 - 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
***

Football fever's hit the nation, with Engerlund having reached the finals of this year's European Championship.

However, that sport was also the talk of the day, fifty years ago this week, with West Germany defeating the Netherlands, 2–1, to win the 1974 World Cup. That event, just like this one, was played in Germany.

That may have been big news in all our lives but what wasn't news was that Charles Aznavour's She was sitting pretty at the top of the UK singles chart. That's because it had also been top of the pile the week before.

There was, however, change at the summit of the British LP listings, thanks to Elton John's Caribou entering at its very pinnacle.

I must have been hiding beneath a rock for the past half-century because, even though it was a Number One album - and by one of the biggest stars of the last sixty years - I've never even heard of it. Clearly, this matter deserves further investigation on my behalf.

I must confess that She is not really a song which massively fait flotter mon bateau but singles I did dig on that week's Hit Parade were:

One Man Band - Leo Sayer

Band on the Run - Paul McCartney and Wings

Wall Street Shuffle - 10 CC

Beach Baby - First Class

Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me - Elton John

If You Go Away - Terry Jacks

There's a Ghost in My House - R Dean Taylor

When Will I See You Again? - The Three Degrees

and

Judy Teen - Cockney Rebel.

Should you wish to further probe the issues raised by this week's post, that UK singles chart can be found by clicking on this link.

While the accompanying LP chart dwells within.

The Mighty World of Marvel #93, Hulk

A titan stalks the tenements when the Hulk lands in some city or other and encounters a teenager called Jim Wilson who's down on his luck but does, at least, have a bar of chocolate he's willing to share.

Possibly of even more concern to the foliage-hued fighter of felons, fiends and freakish phenomena is that Iron Man's also in town and tooled up to smash his face in.

Daredevil's still lacking a strip of his own but, this week, as with last, he's a guest at the wedding of Reed and Sue which I suspect is coming to a startling conclusion in the Fantastic Four's strip when the Watcher defies all expectations by breaking his oath of non-interference, for only the thousandth time in two years.

But that's not all because, from completely out of the blue, we get a ten-page retelling of the origin of Captain America, as presented by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby as reprinted from the depths of 1965's Tales of Suspense #63.

Spider-Man Comics Weekly #74, the Green Goblin

The Green Goblin's still out to avenge himself upon Spider-Man - and intends to do so by destroying the wall-crawler's mind, with hallucinogenic pumpkins.

The bounder.

Needless to say, our hero's far too strong-willed for that to work and, instead, turns the tables on his foe by using their effects to inflict yet another dose of amnesia upon him.

There's again no sign of Iron Man, this week but Thor's very much present and correct and battling the murderous Man-Beast in the corridors of Wundagore.

The Avengers #43, Shang-Chi

I have no recognition of that cover. Therefore, I shall assume my habit of missing every other issue of The Avengers, during this period, ran true to form.

It would appear, though, that Shang-Chi finds himself up against the Slayer of the Sewer which is not a title I would have thought many self-respecting assassins would wish to lay claim to. 

I do believe this is is the issue in which Hercules gets banished to Earth by Zeus who's clearly as big a moron as Odin, forcing the prince of power to join the Avengers.

And I also believe this issue's likely to wrap up Dr Strange's search for Clea.

Meanwhile, the back cover offers us the chance to win a Meccano set by designing a gadget worthy of Reed Richards himself.

I remember trying to complete that challenge but ultimately deciding that whatever it is I'd designed wasn't up to Reed Richards' standards.

In fairness, I was ten. What did these fools expect of me?

Tuesday 9 July 2024

The Marvel Lucky Bag - July 1974.

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

We all love a good movie.

Some of us even like bad movies.

But would we find more of the former or of the latter if we traipsed gently to the cinema in July 1974?

I shall leave that to you to decide, by revealing it was a month which saw the release of the following cinematic offerings: Carry On Dick, Mr Majestyk, Death Wish and The Internecine Project.

Frankly, it's hard to believe anyone would vote against Carry On Dick as being the movie of the month.

In fact, I can't believe it never even got an Oscar.

Captain Marvel #33, Thanos

I do believe this is the end of the Thanos/Cosmic Cube saga in which our hero defeats the all-powerful Titan by giving his cube a good karate chopping.

And not even the villain's attempt to age him to death can stop him!

Creatures on the Loose #30, Man-Wolf

Someone at Marvel's clearly decided one werewolf comic a month isn't enough for any sensible reader and so it is that J Jonah Jameson's son gets his very own strip.

Will it be as successful as Werewolf by Night and just how will it distinguish itself from that book?

Simple. He's wearing bright yellow and that's all the difference I need to keep me happy.

The Defenders #14, Nebulon

I don't remember too much of what happens in this yarn but that's a memorable cover and, as far as I'm concerned, that's good enough reason to include it here.

According to the Grand Comics Database, the world's greatest non-team must attempt to prevent the Squadron Sinister and Nebulon from destroying the planet.

As we're all still here, I'm going to assume they succeed.

Giant-Size Creatures Featuring Werewolf #1

I said Marvel now has two werewolf books.

I was wrong.

It now has three!

Admittedly, this one will only last for one issue but it does give us a chance to see Jack Russell team up with Tigra the werewoman!

And, unless I miss my guess, this is the very tale in which Greer Garson ceases to be the Cat and becomes Tigra.

Also, Hydra are involved.

And Cat People!

There's also a two-page feature detailing the origins of the Werewolf by Night strip and there's a Reed Crandall drawn tale in which a blind man has the eyes of a wolf transplanted into his head and, therefore, becomes a werewolf!

Giant-Size Defenders #1

But it's not only lycanthropes who're getting the Giant-Size treatment, this month.

So are the Defenders.

From what I can make out, this would appear to be a string of reprints of solo Dr Strange, Hulk, Sub-Mariner and Silver Surfer tales, held together by a framing narrative of Valkyrie being told their stories, by someone or other.

Jungle Action #10, Black Panther

Billy Graham takes over as artist, while Don McGregor continues to supply the words.

There's a shock revelation for the Panther when he enters the tunnels beneath a cemetery, fights King Cadaver and Baron Macabre and then discovers Killmonger's only been looting the Wakandan armoury!

Marvel Premiere #16, Iron Fist

Ron Fist demonstrates his awesome ability to pointlessly karate chop pavements, on a cover that promises us huge thrills, spills and kills.

In this one, as far as I can make out, Fisty returns to New York, only to have the Shang-Chi problem and immediately blunder into an assassin. This time, it's one called the Scythe.

Sgt. Fury #120

I don't normally include Sgt Fury and his Howling Commandos in this feature. Mostly because I can't stand it. However, I do feel I should mention this story, as after a mighty 120 issues, this is the last one.

Do our team go out in style?

That I cannot say but it seems they find themselves Trapped In the Compound of Death!

Giant-Size Spider-Man #1, Dracula

It's the comic anyone with a functioning brain would want, as Marvel's flagship character finds himself having to confront the horror of Dracula.

Or he would if they ever actually got to meet in the story.

Instead, in a massive letdown I still haven't recovered from, we get the tale of Spider-Man boarding a ship which contains a doctor who may be able to help Aunt May pull through her latest health emergency.

However, Dracula and the mob are also after that doctor!

But there's more because we also get a Human Torch adventure in which an art thief frames Spidey, meaning he quickly comes to blows with Torchy. This is, of course, a reprint from 1963's Strange Tales Annual #2.