Sunday, 29 November 2015

November 29th, 1975 - Marvel UK, 40 years ago this week.

In this week of 1975, Queen smashed their way to Number One on the UK singles chart, with Bohemian Rhapsody, forcing You Sexy Thing by Hot Chocolate to settle for second place.

I can forgive Queen for many things but not for keeping Errol Brown off the Number One slot.

There's only one thing for it. I'm going to have to soothe my nightmarish rage by looking at what our favourite comic company was giving us in that very week.

Marvel UK, Avengers #115, Arkon

Hooray! The Avengers reappeared in my local newsagents this week, meaning I actually got to read this issue.

How impressed I was by the artwork of John Buscema and Tom Palmer. How struck I was by Arkon's resemblance to Conan. How unlikely his trans-dimensional lighting bolts seemed.

Sadly, I recall nothing of the Dr Strange or Conan stories that accompanied it.

Marvel UK, Titans #6, Captain America

I never had this issue. I'm assuming it features the tale where the Red Skull brainwashes Cap into trying to kill Roosevelt?

Marvel UK, Dracula Lives #58

Looks like Dracula's about to meet a watery end.

Come to think of it, can vampires drown? I mean, do they actually breathe?

Marvel UK, Planet of the Apes #58

I'm going to guess the Ka-Zar tale is the one where he fights Gemini. I've no reason for thinking that other than a little voice in my head says it is.

The voice in my head also tells me the Black Panther tale is Panther's Rage. I feel I'm on firmer ground with that guess.

Spider-Man Comics Weekly #146, Kraven the Hunter

Speaking of Ka-Zar, Spidey's still messing about in the Savage Land.

Mighty World of Marvel #165, Hulk vs Captain Omen

And the Hulk's still messing about at the bottom of the sea, in one of my favourite Hulk tales.

Marvel UK, The Super-Heroes #39, X-Men

Hold on. Can it be? An Original X-Men story that actually looks interesting?

Admittedly I only think that because they're up against villains you wouldn't normally expect them to come up against.

In fact, that's one of the most random collections of super-villains I've ever seen.


dangermash said...

In that X-Men tale, as well as Plantman, Unicorn and Eel, they're up against Porcupine and Scarecrow. Just in case you thought it couldn't get any more D listy. All under the leadership of Count Nefaria.

dangermash said...

And on a separate subject, time to chip in with a couple of Marvel UK questions that have bugged me for the best part of 40 years...

1. Why in MWOM did Hulk appear in the cover every week rather than the FF? Was it in response to letters? Maybe I wasn't the only Brit that thought the FF were a bunch of spoilt brats....?

2. I always think of the ten classic strips as Spidey, DD, Doctor Strange, FF, X-Men, Thor, Iron Man, Cap, Hulk and Avengers. With this in mind, X-Men and especially Cap seem to have been given a rough deal when it came to UK reprints. Conan, Shang Chi, Dracula, Iron Fist all came in font if both and Cap also came behind Ant Man p, the Cat and the Surfer. Was the first incarnation of the X-Men really held in such low esteem? Did they really think we'd not take to someone in star and stripes?

Anonymous said...

Regarding Arkon, I can picture Roy Thomas going into Stan Lee's office and saying, "Stan, I got this idea where the Avengers fight this barbarian like Conan! I'll just make him from outer space or another dimension or something. Whaddya think?"
Stan replies, "Yeah, sounds great, kid. Hey, how do ya like my new golf clubs? great, huh?"

Steve W. said...

Dangermash, I always wondered why the Hulk was nearly always on the front cover too. It always seemed to me that if they alternated the leads, they could have the Hulk on the cover one week, Daredevil the next and the FF the next, which'd mean they could use the original US covers and only have to create one new cover a month. Whereas, by sticking with the Hulk, they had to create three new covers a month.

M.P, I wonder if Roy put Arkon in the Avengers to demonstrate to Stan that Conan could work for Marvel, especially if drawn by John Buscema.

Colin Jones said...

Am I the only one who thinks 'Bohemian Rhapsody' was pretentious, bombastic, over-rated tripe ?

Steve W. said...

I find I always enjoy it for the first couple of minutes or so and then start to lose interest once it speeds up. Stairway To Heaven has the same effect on me.

Paul McScotty -Muir said...

I think the Hulk was on the cover of MWOM almost all the time as he was probably the most famous comic character at the time with the successful TV series airing etc . After Spidey left MWOM (issue 19 of so) I can only recall a few issues of MWOM where the Hulk wasn’t on the cover ( there were a few with the early Avengers , X-Men and Daredevil on the cover (this was before the mergers happened with POTA , Fury etc etc etc).

dangermash said...

Thought about that already Paul but it turns out the TV series wasn't until 1978.

Colin Jones said...

Bohemian Rhapsody also stopped Greg Lake's masterpiece 'I Believe In Father Christmas' from reaching #1 - one of the best ever Christmas songs. Whatever the reason for the Hulk being the permanent cover star of MWOM it was certainly successful - MWOM ran for 329 issues till January 1979. The question is would it have been as successful with anybody else on the cover ?

Paul McScotty -Muir said...

Oh sorry I only meant Hulk was on cover so often from the TV series saying that I thought the TV series was before '78 so thats not the reason.

I would say he was on the cover of MWOM before that (imho ie a wild guess) simply becasue FF and DD were not that well known at the time to the general comic buying UK public and the Hulk was more like a traditional UK type character that would appear in the Valiant, Lion comic etc. I know when Spidey left MWOM and after DD was introduced they had 2 Hulk stories every week (they rested DD for some reason) maybe readers letters showed he was popular or UK Marvel did a poll and Hulk was 2nd only to Spidey when the decided on giving Spiderman his own comic. I actually dont think MWOM woud have been as successful with the Hulk on the cover, the FF got their own UK Marvel comic (and DD headlines one as well) and both didnt last too long (although this was after Marvel UK was really popular

dangermash said...

Being like a traditional UK comic character is a good shout Paul. Maybe they really had thought this through!

Dougie said...

I think the Conan story in Avengers was "Two Against Turan", which is about a magician and his doppelganger. Dr. Strange might be early Englehart-Brunner. "The Crypts of Kaa-U", possibly.

Realised I didn't get MWOM that week- don't remember the cover. But just bought that Marvel annual again the other week.

I think the Nefaria/D-List villains is the very first x-Men story I remember, from Fantastic!

Sure you're right about Panther's Rage with the Wakanda map. Always loved a map.

Steve W. said...

Sadly I don't remember either the Conan tale or the Dr Strange one, though I'm sure memories of them would come flooding back the moment I clapped eyes on them. I shall Google them and see what comes up.

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