Sunday, 8 March 2015

March 8th, 1975 - Marvel UK, 40 years ago this week. A sensational new era begins!

It's exciting times for me. Not only has the UK chosen this year's Eurovision entry but it's the fortieth anniversary of the week when I discovered that Conan is pronounced Coh-nan and not Con-nun.

How did I find that out?

I found out when Stan Lee appeared on ITV children's magazine show Magpie to plug the launch of Marvel UK's two new comics, The Super-Heroes and Savage Sword of Conan. How I gasped as he began his appearance by pretending to be J Jonah Jameson while Mick Robertson dressed up as Spider-Man.

I believe it was also the first time I'd ever seen Stan Lee on TV, though I could be wrong.

But what else was happening in the mighty world of Marvel UK on that fateful week that shall live forever in legend?

Marvel UK, the Super-Heroes #1, the Silver Surfer

It's issue #1 of one of the very books that Stan was plugging, as the Silver Surfer gets his own mag and is now free to inflict his own unique brand of self-pity and tirelessly depressing sanctimony on the people of Britain.
Marvel UK, Savage Sword of Conan #1
And Conan too is launched upon the nation.

How ironic that he and the Surfer should get their own mags in the same week. Were there ever two characters who were more the polar opposite of each other? One all moping and speechifying; and the other a man of few words, with barely any capacity for moping at all.

Why did Conan's mag not succeed in Britain when it was a major success in America? Who can know? Certainly the cover of issue #1 should have had it flying off the shelves.

Was Conan technically Marvel's first British hero? I suppose it depends where Cimmeria was.

Personally, I like to think it was in Cleethorpes.
Spider-Man Comics Weekly #108, the Schemer

Who can guess the dread secret of the Schemer?

In all fairness, I think we all did. Still, it's a dramatic cover if nothing else.
Mighty World of Marvel #127, the Hulk

Marvel UK merrily printing the Hulk's adventures out of order. Straight after the first Jarella story, we get the one where she comes to Earth and it all goes a bit unfortunate if you're a sun worshipper.
Marvel UK, the Avengers #72, Dr Strange

Doc Strange in what I assume is the prelude to possibly my favourite John Buscema Avengers tale.
Marvel UK, Planet of the Apes #20

I take it from the cover that the Jason and Alexander tale's over.

I don't have a clue what happens in this week's story but it all looks like its going to be exciting.
Marvel UK, Dracula Lives #20

A less than stellar cover does however contain news that we're about to meet the man who was, at one point, Marvel's biggest movie star.


Anonymous said...

Well, I didn't guess the Schemer's secret - when he pulled off his (totally lifelike and previously undetectable) rubber mask I was shocked !!! And the Kingpin's son was never heard of again (as far as I know). That POTA cover is part 1 of "Evolution's Nightmare".

Anonymous said...

And I've always pronounced Conan as Coe-nun and I always will :)

Steve W. said...

It's an always controversial issue, Colin. I'm amazed wars haven't been started over it.

Anonymous said...

Back then, Steve, I really wanted to get the Conan comic, and thought about switching from PotA. Luckily, my moment of madness didn't go any further or I'd have missed the senses shattering debut of Apeslayer within a few short weeks, but I think that might suggest why Savage Sword wasn't a hit - seven weeklies was too much. Who could possibly afford the fabulous sum of 56p for all of them each week?

Marvel's first British hero? That would be Barry Smith, surely.


Anonymous said...

Sean. when you say "the senses-shattering debut of Apeslayer" I can't tell whether you are being serious or sarcastic. For me Apeslayer was so awful that my previously unshakeable loyalty to POTA was seriously wobbling but I clung on and thankfully Apeslayer didn't last long. As for why Conan wasn't a hit it's difficult to say - I only had No.2 and a later issue (but I can't remember which number). Did anybody get all seven weeklies - I was only getting POTA and Spider-Man at this time and the others now and again.

Steve W. said...

I was getting The Avengers, Spider-Man Comics Weekly, The Mighty World of Marvel and Planet of the Apes every week. The other comics, I only got very occasionally.

Anonymous said...

I've always pronounced it Co-nan.
Also, everytime I see "Sub-mariner," I pronounce it in my head as "Sub-mareener."
I just can't help it.
Not verbally, just in my head. It's never come up in conversation.

Steve W. said...

MP, when I was a kid, I always pronounced it, "Sub-Mareena," too, until my dad corrected me and told me it came from the word, "Mariner," and not from, "Submarine."

He also told me that, "Puny humans," wasn't pronounced, "Punny humans."

Anonymous said...

I also thought it was 'Sub-Mareena' till my father corrected me - but to me he's still the Sub-Mareena. Also I pronounced The Schemer as 'The Skemmer' and John Buscema was 'Bus-Kemma'. Annihillus was 'Ann-ill-eye-us' and to this day I'm still unsure about Red Sonja - apparently it's Sone-ya.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and Valkyrie was 'Val-eek-ree' - can't forget that one lol.

John Pitt said...

Am I the only one who pronounced Wolverine Wolver - EYE -ne? Still do! And Submareener!
Stuff them all! I'm right and everyone else is wrong!
Anyway, here's the thing - After waiting for 3 years for the X-Men strip ANYWHERE in Marvel UK, all their stories are so out-of-sync with everyone else!

Anonymous said...

John, Wolver-eye-ne would be the more logical way to pronounce it - we say porcup-eye-ne not porcupeene - but for some reason that never occurred to me and I've said Wolvereene from the beginning. The cover of The Super-Heroes No.1 looks magnificent here but The Super-Heroes covers were dreadful during the second half of the 50-issue run - extremely shoddy "UK exclusive" covers that looked like they were drawn by an 8 year-old :(

Unknown said...

I have always pronounces Valkyre as "Val - key - ray" and Conan as "Con - ann" (as in the girls name).
I never got all 7 titles regualrly but got 4 for a whle (MWOM, Spider-Man, Avengers & Super Heroes)and picked up the od issue of the others form time to time - I dropped the "Super Heroes" not long after the Silver Surfer ended (it got very poor indeed imho after that). I think at one point I was buyng about 6 titles at my peek from Marvel UK regularly (but that included monthiles/pocket books and 3 weekiles) I still regret not picking up POTA more often as I missed some great back ups.

Dougie said...

I'm for COE-nun. Not Coe-NAN or indeed CONN-an. I had to tell a work colleague it's NAY-Mor and not NAMM-or ( which is what I always thought until my brother met Stan Lee -KLAANG.)

Also, I'm for Wolver-EEEN.