Thursday, 5 September 2013

Forty years ago this month - September 1973.

Surely the best story of the week has to be the new skyscraper in London, whose reflected sunlight is so concentrated it's actually melting cars. As a would-be super-villain, how I've always longed to own such a building.

But let's face it, no story could be better than the ones Marvel Comics gave us every week in the 1970s. Melted cars? Why, their concentrated drama was enough to melt the human brain itself.

Avengers #115

Except in this case.

It's one of those rare Bronze Age Avengers tales I don't like, as the world's mightiest heroes have ridiculous amounts of trouble against a bunch of people who live beneath Wolverhampton or somesuch. If only Slade had turned up, that would've given proceedings the extra bit of sparkle the tale clearly needed.
Captain America and the Falcon #165, Yellow Claw

As anyone who's read my legendary novel Fatal Inheritance (available from all good online bookstores) knows, you can't go wrong with giant spiders.

Sadly, I suspect the Yellow Claw does go wrong with them and that Cap and his plucky sidekick will ultimately win the day.
Conan the Barbarian #30, Nergal

I've not read this one. Would the title mean it's an adaptation of Robert E Howard's The Hand of Nergal?
Daredevil and the Black Widow #103, Spider-Man and Ramrod.

I read this one on holiday in 1978. After all those years of Gene Colan and Tom Palmer, suddenly being exposed to Don Heck at his less-than-best convinced me it was the moment Daredevil as a strip had died.

Fortunately, I was wrong. I'm glad to say the strip recovered and had many a happy year ahead of it.

Fantastic Four #138, Miracle Man

I first read this in Marvel UK's wonderfully misconceived Complete Fantastic Four which each week reprinted an entire FF tale, meaning it was using-up material four times faster than it was being created. Disaster was sure to follow.

Still, it was good to see the Miracle Man back. He was always one of my favourite FF villains, if only for his moustache.
Incredible Hulk #167, Modok

The Mighty World of Marvel reprinted this during the wilderness months when it wasn't available in my local newsagents.

Fortunately, I've since read it in one of the Essential Hulk Volumes and, like all Hulk tales from this era, it's well worth a read.
Iron Man #62, Whiplash

I have no memory of having read this one. I do wonder if the helpless woman who showed up on virtually every Gil Kane cover was the same woman every time? By this point, Marvel's heroes must've been sick of having to rescue her.
Amazing Spider-Man #124, Man-Wolf

Hooray! It's one of my faves, as the Man-Wolf causes all kinds of trouble for Spidey and JJJ.
Thor #215, Xorr.

I believe this is the one where Thor fights a giant, stroppy crystal, with the somewhat mercurial help of Mercurio.

I've never like this tale because I've never liked to think of Karnilla being trapped and helpless inside a big, evil crystal. Treat Karnilla right, you awful comic book creators!


Joe S. Walker said...

"it was using-up material four times faster than it was being created. Disaster was sure to follow."

Yeah, that's one of the things that killed the Marvel-reprinting Power Comics of the Sixties. That, and expanding from one to five weekly titles in a year.

R W Watkins said...

So that's what the cover of Captain America & Falcon #165 looked like. I've had a coverless copy since about age four.

It's hard to forget those giant spiders....

Dougie said...

You're correct about The Hand of Nergal, which was really just an outline by Howard, fleshed out by primo pasticheur Lin Carter.

As I've blogged before, I got that very issue in the newsagent at Glasgow Airport, one of the few places selling US Marvels circa '73 in my area. My dad would bring us to watch planes taking off in the glamorous , pre-package holiday era.

Shamus said...

Isn't that Lady Sif trapped in the gem on the Thor cover?

Steve W. said...

It is indeed Sif on the cover but, inside the comic, it's both Sif and Karnilla who're trapped.

To be honest, I didn't care about Sif being trapped but I felt it was the height of indignity for Karnilla to be trapped.

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