Sunday, 15 March 2015

March 15th, 1975 - Marvel UK, 40 years ago this week.

Twitter tells me that today is the Ides of March, as made famous by that legendary historic epic Carry on Cleo.

But what kind of a carry-on will we be getting from Marvel UK in this week of exactly forty years ago?

I must wrap myself in my time-travel toga and find out.

Spider-Man Comics Weekly #109, the Black Widow

The Black Widow goes all Emma Peel, gets a new costume and decides to tackle her male counterpart.

More importantly, the stationers I got this from at the time had an underground tunnel that linked it to what claimed to be the largest toy shop in Europe.

And if that didn't make that stationers more glamorous than any stationers should ever be, I don't know what would.

You can read my review of this Spidey tale, right here.
Marvel UK, Avengers #78, old vs new

It's easily my favourite Don Heck Avengers story, as our heroes go back in time to fight themselves.

I do like the evil Wasp in it. I think they should have kept her.

You can read my review of that very tale, right here.
Marvel UK, Dracula Lives #21, Blade

Blade gets his first cover appearance.

I do worry about him though. On that cover, he looks about eighty. It's a miracle he managed to even get up those stairs.
Marvel UK, Planet of the Apes #21, Evolution Nightmare

Not only do we get a highly dramatic cover that promises apes vs monsters but we get the promise of Killdozer.

You can read my review of that tale, right here.
Mighty World of Marvel #128, Hulk and Jarella

Marvel heroes never have a straightforward love life, do they?
The Super-Heroes #2, Silver Surfer, origin

The tale that I first read in Sons of Origins of Marvel Comics continues.

I did like the fact that Galactus was taller in it than he'd been in previous appearances.

I wasn't sure, however, about the Surfer having been a living, feeling person before Galactus created him. I had preferred the idea of him having been created from scratch by the Big G.
Marvel UK, Savage Sword of Conan #2

Much as I love Conan and much as I love Barry Smith - even early Barry Smith - I'm not sure that's the greatest cover ever to grace the front of a Conan comic.


Anonymous said...

I agree with you about the Surfer, Steve-o. I would have preferred his as a weird, cosmic homunculus who somehow develops a strange empathy, than a mopey, whiny bald-headed guy who misses his girl friend.
I think you could have a pretty cool comic without the human backstory, just show him as an alien construct flying around Earth discovering things that are new and strange, like hamburgers, for instance.
Or in the U.K., pancakes!

Steve W. said...

The Silver Surfer? Getting his hands on our pancakes? Why is the government not doing anything about this?

Kid said...

One thing that always bothered me was why Surfy didn't feel more guilty about all the billions of beings he'd led the Big G to destroy. Okay, he'd have been the same whiny, conscience-stricken baldy that Stan made him, but for a better reason than merely missing his burd.

I've still got my original SMCW, MWOM, The Super-Heroes & SSOC mags that you show here. Okay, you're not showing MY original mags, but you know what I mean.

Colin Jones said...

When the Silver Surfer first appeared it was implied that he'd been Galactus' herald for eons but whenever we saw Shalla Bal she seemed no older than when the Surfer had first left his homeworld meaning he'd been Galactus' herald for a couple of years at most. I've seen that Dracula cover (or the TOD original) zillions of times but I never noticed Blade's wizened appearance before !! That issue of 'Savage Sword Of Conan' was the first one I bought and it was my introduction to the character - I love the story, "Lair Of The Beast-Men", even though the plot is basically Planet Of The Apes meets Spartacus. I remember buying that comic from a man in the local market who was selling them - he had no other comics at all, just a pile of 'Savage Sword' No.2 for some reason.

Kid said...

CJ, you're overlooking the possibility of space/time warps, through which Surfy and the Big G hopped from cosmos to cosmos.

pete doree said...

Thanks for still insisting, as I do Steve, on calling him Barry Smith and not Barry Windsor poncy hoity toity Smith.
As we've both said before, unless he's a hitherto undiscovered member of the royal family, which would make him, ( as Captain Hurricane would say ) a sausage swallowing sauerkraut, it's a totally made up name...

Steve W. said...

Don't worry, Pete. Calling him Windsor is a Rubicon I can never see myself crossing.

For that matter, I can't even bring myself to call the Royal Family, "Windsor." To me they'll always be the Saxe-Coburg-Gothas.

Come to think of it, I might call myself Steve Saxe-Coburg-Gotha W from now on. I feel it'd give me a certain air of class that I currently lack and would justify any future desire I might have to wear a monocle.

Colin Jones said...

Kid, I suppose I had overlooked that possibility although I doubt Stan Lee had that in mind when he first wrote the Surfer and Galactus. It seems he didn't even know the difference between a solar-system and a galaxy (eg : references to the Skrull galaxy when surely he meant the Skrull solar system) so I doubt he had much of a grasp of anything as complicated as space/time warps. It's nice to know I'm not the only one who thinks Barry "Windsor" Smith is a stuck-up bourgeois twit. Last year was the 300th anniversary of the Queen's family coming to the throne in 1714 - the House of Hanover of course - curiously the anniversary was never mentioned once.

Anonymous said...

To be fair, isn't Windsor his mum's name or something? Anyway, however annoying it sounds I'd be happy to call him whatever he wants if it meant he'd finally put something new out. Would love to be able to read that Monsters book he's been working on for ages.

Agree about the Surfer, Steve; not to knock John Buscema - his artwork was fantastic on those stories - but it does seem like Stan Lee really missed the input of a Kirby or Ditko.


Anonymous said...

I think the alien construct was more in keeping with Kirby's idea for the character. That said, Stan's origin did give us his greatest ever line:

"I shall now coat you in a silvery substance of my own creation"

If only this story had appeared in giant sized man-thing (ooh err!).

Anonymous said...

The "galaxy vs. solar system" thing is common in shlock science fiction. It seemed to be a pet peeve of Dr. Isaac Asimov, who complained about stories where the aliens were said to come from another galaxy. He said that assuming aliens from another planet must be from another galaxy was like assuming that anyone from another city must be from another country.

Of course, Stan Lee was the same writer who said that the Skrulls came from the fifth quadrant of the Andromeda galaxy.

The British annoyance with Barry "Windsor Smith" reminds me of W.C. Fields as "Egbert Souse" in "The Bank Dick," insisting that it was pronounced soo-ZAY. Or the Atlanta Braves baseball player, Tony Dorsett, who insisted on being called, "Anthony Dor-SETT." And, of course, Hyacinth Bucket, always insisting that it was pronounced "Bouquet."


John Pitt said...

Is Barry Smith's mum Barbara Windsor?

Steve W. said...

And his dad's Windsor Davies.

Colin Jones said...

And I suppose he lives in the House of Windsor :)

Steve W. said...

And only uses Winsor & Newton brushes.

Dougie said...

I loved seeing all those weeklies- although as I said in my own blog, I never got that issue of the Super-Heroes in my standing order.

Coincidentally, I was telling one of the S1 boys in my class this week about the influence of Modesty Blaise on the Black Widow.

Steve W. said...

I take it Natasha hasn't taken to copying Modesty's tactic of flashing at foes in order to distract and defeat them.

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