Sunday, 31 May 2015

May 31st, 1975 - Marvel UK, 40 years ago this week.

This week in 1975, Whispering Grass by Don Estelle and Windsor Davies hit the Number One slot on the UK singles chart. Surely music could only go downhill from that point on.

And it did. Never again would we get to see two actors from a sit-com appearing in character at the top of the music charts.

Admittedly, when I say, "Never again," I don't know if we did or not. I'm just assuming we didn't, as I can't believe we could have been blessed enough to have experienced such a thing twice in our lifetimes.

But what about Marvel UK's output of that very week all those years ago? Was it indeed half hot, Mum? And could it possibly live up to such lofty standards?

Spider-Man Comics Weekly #120

Never mind all that pesky grass being a nuisance. Spidey's still having trouble with a man called Bullit.

Mighty World of Marvel #139, the Hulk

I seem to recall that this features the Hulk's first encounter with the Silver Surfer, meaning it was printed several years later than it should have been if continuity had been stuck to.

Regardless, It's always been my favourite Marie Severin Hulk tale and, at the time, there was something strangely pleasing about seeing her, "return," to the strip after a couple of years' absence.

Marvel UK, The Super-Heroes #13, Silver Surfer vs Spider-Man

Not only does the Surfer have his hands full this week with tackling the Hulk but he's also got to tangle with Spider-Man.

Marvel UK, The Avengers #89, Dr Strange, the Hulk and the Night-Crawler

And not only does the Hulk have to tackle the Surfer but he's also up against the original Night-Crawler in a tale that had already been reprinted several months earlier in The Mighty World of Marvel. Such were the continuity problems Marvel UK found themselves lumbered with.

Marvel UK, Dracula Lives #32

It's that rarity, a Dracula Lives cover where our favourite fang-barer isn't boasting about how he's going to kill everyone.

Marvel UK, Planet of the Apes #32

I'm not sure that insulting an ape by calling him, "Ape-face," makes an awful lot of sense. I mean, what other kind of face would he be likely to have?

Marvel UK, Savage Sword of Conan #13

Is this the first ever appearance of what became that good old cover staple; Conan stood atop a veritable hillock of attacking foes?


Anonymous said...

Ape-face made a bad mistake, bringing a knife to a gunfight.

Steve W. said...

Yeah, that thought struck me too. Never threaten to stab a man who's got a gun - especially when he's on the other side of the room from you.

Anonymous said...

I always thought Dracula Lives was a stupid title for a comic. I mean, vampires are dead so, being a vampire, Dracula doesn't live. That's logical, right?
Drawing attention to that with a cover saying "Dracula is dead" underneath the title Dracula Lives doesn't seem like a good idea to me.

Btw, what happened to your videos, Steve?


Anonymous said...

Was DRACULA LIVES the U.K. version of TOMB OF DRACULA? I'm assuming it was.
Sean's right, it is a goofy name. I wonder why they changed it.
The original was better...dare you enter...the TOMB OF DRACULA?
Yheeaaggh! No! I don't!
Man, that was a great comic.

Anonymous said...

Strictly speaking, M.P., I suppose you'd have to say it was the UK version of Dracula Lives since it was an anthology. Yep, it was those sharp literary geniuses (genii?) in the US bullpen that came up with that title for one of the old black and white mags (remember them?)
Although the material for Dracula Lives - the UK one - was drawn from the colour horror comics and, yes, reprinted the Tomb of Dracula stuff as lead feature.
Um...not that I want to seem like a pedant or anything (perish the thought).


Anonymous said...

I guess Dracula Unlives would have been a marginally more accurate title. Actually, The Unliving sounds like a good title for an edgy, 90's, low budget vampire flick, where the vampires are all hooked on heroin or something...


Steve W. said...

I believe that the comic was originally going to be titled Dracula Elvis and be about the adventures of a portly Rock and Roll vampire superstar but, thanks to a misprint that was too expensive to put right, they had to make the comic be about a Transylvanian count instead.

Sean, I must confess that I keep forgetting to make any new videos. At some point, I'll get myself organised enough to make some.

pete doree said...

I like the fact that Spidey's holding a cost-cutter cheap price star thingy on the Surfer cover, like they have in seaside shops.

Colin Jones said...

Steve, I hate to criticise your fine blog but this post should be called "Marvel UK 40 years ago LAST week" as the covers are always a week late - the covers of 40 years ago THIS week were dated as week ending June 7th. Anyway, another big event 40 years ago this week was the Common Market referendum on June 5th - suddenly very topical !

Anonymous said...

Dracula Elvis.
I don't laugh out loud very much, but...
I think I woke up the neighbors when I read that.
Dracula Elvis.
I think there's a movie in there somewhere...

Steve W. said...

It's true, Colin but it hurts my head trying to work it out by anything other than cover date.

M.P. It's nice to know my efforts are appreciated. :)

pete doree said...

Oh, and everybody 'Lived' in the '70's; How many Kung Fu books were emblazoned with the legend 'Bruce Lee Lives'? Seems like you had to be dead to live...
Everybody 'Spoke' too. George Pal 'Speaks' in the first issue of Doc Savage, Ron Ely 'Speaks' in the 2nd. So much more fun than just 'in interview' innit?
We need to bring both them phrases back.
Drelvis Speaks! And Lives!

Dougie said...

That Conan weekly reprinted the slightly naughty Dweller in the Dark story that I think turned up in both Savage Tales and the US Savage Sword of Conan mag. Did it also carry the Gil Kane short about the Hydragon?

I am trying to remember the back up in POTA- was it a Kane story too? The one with the Warren Worthington lookalike? "He That Hath Wings?"

Steve W. said...

I must confess that I can't remember what back-up strips were in either of those issues. I think Colin may have said that Warlock had arrived in POTA by this point, but what else was being reprinted in its pages at the time is something I couldn't claim to be able to recall.

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