Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Forty years ago today - February 1976.

They can't accuse me of not knowing how to have a good time. I've just been re-sealing my bath.

But what about in this month of forty years ago? Were Marvel comics giving us tales that could match even that excitement?

Here's where we find out as I give them a plug.

That was a pun.

And I didn't even have to faucet.

Avengers #144, Hellcat makes her debut

My razor-sharp senses tell me that Hellcat makes her fearsome debut this issue.

This is indeed good news but I am interested by the cover's claim that we wanted her.

Just how did they know we wanted her? Did people write in saying, "I want Hellcat, even though I've never heard of her, what with her never having so far existed!"?

Conan the Barbarian #59, Belit

My razor-sharp senses also tell me that this issue features the origin of BĂȘlit.

I must confess I've totally forgotten what that origin was.

I'm guessing it may have all been somewhat in the Tarzan envelope but I could be wrong.

Captain America and the Falcon #194, Trojan Horde

I have no clue at all as to what's going on here.

Daredevil #130, skeleton voodoo

And I have no clue at all as to what's going on here either.

It is, however, a very memorable cover.

Fantastic Four #167, the Thing and the Hulk team up

Hooray! I do have a clue what's going on here.


Because I actually had this issue. It came into my possession on a Sunday morning and, as I've said a zillion times before, I've never encountered a comic on a Sunday without liking it.

I believe this was the first time I learned of the existence of that big arch in whatever city it is that it's in.

It's made me always want them to build a big arch in Sheffield.

Bizarrely, they never have done.

Incredible Hulk #196

The Hulk's still convinced that the Abomination is his best friend.

Invincible Iron Man #83, the Red Ghost and his super-apes

Is the flying buzzsaw the third of the Red Ghost's super-apes?

He was always my favourite of the Red Ghost's super-apes, if only because of the sheer unpredictability of his next choice of shape.

In retrospect, it does strike me that he had a remarkable knowledge of mechanics for a baboon. Seriously, how many baboons know how a buzzsaw works?

To be honest, I'm not a baboon and I don't know how a buzzsaw works. I have officially been outwitted by a baboon. That's the kind of man I am.

Amazing Spider-Man 153, the Deadliest Hundred Yards

As reprinted in the 1977 UK Spider-Man Annual, we get a strangely atypical tale of kidnap and American College Football.

Sadly, in order to make it fit it into that annual, great chunks of the tale were edited out, including half of the all-important Mary Jane college dance scene, meaning that great chunks of the tale made no sense.

Mighty Thor #244, the Time-Twisters

The Time-Twisters are still causing trouble in the age of Zarrko.

I do believe that Jane Foster's wielding that blade because she's been possessed by the spirit of Sif.

Presumably this means she'll wave a sword around a lot and go on about being a warrior born, without actually being any noticeable use in a fight.

X-Men #97, Havok vs Cyclops

Dave Cockrum's classic early run on the X-Men continues.

I think this tale may have been the first one in which I encountered Erik the Red.

I also encountered an airport in it but I'd already encountered the concept of airports before.

Mostly in stories written by Chris Claremont.


Paul R said...

That definitely looks like a face correction by John Romita on the woman's face on the Thor cover.
When did artist correction stop at Marvel and DC?

Steve W. said...

Sadly, Paul, I don't have a clue when such corrections ended.

Paul R said...

I can't say I miss them, when I look back at the Kirby, Neal Adams, Colan, Steranko,Byrne and Buscema that were corrected, it now makes me cringe.

Julius Maloney said...

Always loved Hell Cat (Patsy Walker) and love that cover, perhaps Marvel previewed her in the ever imaginatively title 'Marvel Preview' series and her issues sold well? Spider-Woman was launched that way leading to her own title. Just a thought?

Colin Jones said...

If I remember correctly Belit was a princess and her father was overthrown and murdered by a dastardly rival - Belit is smuggled to safety and raised by friendly savages. Something like that. Eventually she gets her throne back but decides she doesn't want it after all as she prefers the life of a pirate - perhaps not the wisest of decisions as she gets killed a few issues later :D

Anonymous said...

Seeing as the cover copy - "cataclysmic Kirby action in the mind-boggling Marvel manner" - isn't enough to clue you in, Steve, that issue of Captain America was the second part of the Madbomb storyline, about a secret conspiracy of mind control and genetic engineering to restore aristocracy to the US.
Its like Kirby could see into the future! Only instead of Bush the elite neo-feudalist family are called the Taureys (ie tories, geddit?)
That issue is also notable for the Falcon's scepticism about all the bi-centennial stuff, making for a big improvement on previous versions of the character.

On the Thor cover - why would an editor correct the woman's face, but leave the Thor figure with a torso the wrong way round??!
On closer inspection, I see it was signed by Rich Buckler... thats enough to account for any stylistic inconsistencies, isn't it?


Steve W. said...

Julius, as far as I can make out, from Googling, Hellcat really did make her first ever appearance in this Avengers issue, meaning that those fans who demanded she join the Avengers truly were clairvoyant.

Sean and Colin, thanks for the info. Yet more holes in my knowledge are now filled.

Anonymous said...

St. Louis, Missouri is the city with the big arch.

Steve W. said...

Thanks for the enlightenment, Anon. :)

Anonymous said...

A baboon with a buzz-saw always spells trouble. I could tell you all something that happened to me once, but--no, I think it's best to keep it to myself. I've said too much already.

Doug said...

I had around half of these. I did not have the Daredevil, although I had the preceding issue. The succeeding issue is a big one, as it features the introduction of Bullseye. Wonderful Bob Brown/Klaus Janson art during this run.

I have always loved that X-Men cover. Havoc's togs are among the best superhero designs of any age.

In the FF book, George Perez makes the mistaken assumption that the Gateway Arch is made of concrete. It is actually made of stainless steel.


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