Saturday, 2 April 2011

April 1971. A month in comics.

As always, a whole new month on Steve Does Comics brings with it a whole new slew of covers as we take our regular look at just what our favourite Marvel heroes were up to exactly 40 years ago.

Amazing Spider-Man #95, Spidey goes to London

A delight for all UK readers, as the Amazing Spider-Man finds himself visiting London, in a bid to find Gwen Stacy.

Needless to say it's a London that bears no resemblance to any London anyone from Britain will ever recognise. Just how long has Tower Bridge been next to the Houses of Parliament?

Like the trouble-magnet Peter Parker is, no sooner has he arrived than he's up against a bunch of terrorists and a literal race against the clock.
Avengers #87, the origin of the Black Panther revealed

For a change of scenery from the usual Avengers fare, we get the origin of the Black Panther.

Reading the tale, it feels somewhat odd to see a well-established character get his origin told in a group mag but, as T'Challa didn't have his own book at the time, I suppose this seemed the most convenient place to put it.
Captain America and the Falcon #136, the Mole Man

This cover of Captain America #136 promises us a mystery villain, though, looking at that profile and the mention of, "The World Below," I'm betting it might just be the Mole Man.

For some of us the main mystery is why Marvel kept bringing the Mole Man back when they had the far more stylish Tyrannus available to do the same job.

But wait a minute, what's that? The Falcon seems to be zooming around through the air with the aid of rocket pack? Was this a long-lasting development or was it just for the purposes of this issue?
Conan the Barbarian #4, Barry Windsor Smith, giant spider

Barry Smith's art develops apace as our hero finds himself up against a giant spider.

If you think the size of that spider's something - that's nothing. You should see the size of the glass Conan has to use to scoop it up in.
Daredevil #75, El Condor

My memories of this are vague. Was El Condor some sort of Latin American villain?

It's a very odd cover that looks like a strange amalgam of Marie Severin, Syd Shores, John Romita, Herb Trimpe, Bill Everett and just about anyone else who'd ever drawn a Marvel comic up to that point.
Fantastic Four #109, Annihilus

Hooray! The Fantastic Four enter the Negative Zone to have another punch-up with Annihilus.

I seem to recall they were really after Janus the Nega-Man but who cares about that bum? He couldn't even decide if he was being drawn by John Buscema or Jack Kirby. It's Annihilus we want to see.
Incredible Hulk #138, The Sandman turns to glass

Yet another classic as the Sandman decides the cure for his turning-into-glass problem is to turn Betty Ross into glass.

And then people wonder why she had a nervous breakdown.
Iron Man #36, Ramrod

Yet another Iron Man tale that I must've read but have no memory of. I do vaguely recall the name "Ramrod" though.

Looking at him here,  even though the cover's presumably by Sal Buscema, Ramrod looks very Don Heck.
Thor #187, Thor vs Odin

Who'd win a fight between Thor and Odin?

The reader would, of course.

My memories of exactly what happens this ish are vague, me not having read it since the heady days of Super Spider-Man with the Super-Heroes but I seem to recall it as being fab.

Was the Odin Sword involved? I hope so.


cerebus660 said...

Yep, the trusty ol' world-ending Odin Sword is, er, unsheathing itself again and, wouldn't you know it?, Odin is under the control of Infinity so can't stop it. King of the Gods, eh? Luckily, those plucky Asgardians have, in Balder's words, "a giant vise to sheaf yon blade!" ...but unluckily "it doth not yield!"

It does make you wonder why Odin bothers with that sword, especially when it's about 50 feet long and surely would be a tad difficult to swing around. Still, we shouldn't question the bearded one as he's "the Will, the Word and the Way!" Apparently...

cerebus660 said...

Sorry, that should have read "sheath" not "sheaf". Verily, all those Asgardian "thees" and "those" hath confused me...

Steve said...


R. W. Watkins said...

I liked those scenes of Gwen in London in Nos 97 and 98.

Anonymous said...

I'm enough of an old grump to say that I would rather any of the above single issues than the last twenty years' worth of the same title.

B Smith

Anonymous said...

The Falcon's rocket pack was just for the purposes of that one issue. Tony Stark gave it to him so he could fly down to the "world below" and rescue Captain America from the Mole Man. How did Cap get there? He fell down a pit while fighting a giant gorilla.

Steve W. said...

I think we can all sympathise with Cap on that one. Can any of us, hand on heart, say we've never fallen down a pit whilst fighting a giant gorilla? :(

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