Sunday, 13 March 2016

March 13th, 1976 - Marvel UK, 40 years ago this week.

It was an arresting evening on BBC One on this day in 1976, as the channel was showing Dixon of Dock Green followed by She.

I must confess it's a bit of a shock to discover that the quintessentially 1950s Dixon of Dock Green was still going so late into the 1970s. It means it was still airing at the same time as The Sweeney, which seems an unlikely juxtaposition.

Apparently, Jack Warner, who played Dixon, was eighty when the 1976 series was filmed. I assume there wasn't a lot of running around involved in it.

As for, "She Who Must Be Obeyed," that sounds suspiciously like some sort of feminist thing.

And, "Some sort of feminist thing," can only mean one thing.

It means that...

Marvel UK, Avengers #130, Valkyrie and the Lady Liberators favourite ever Defender makes her senses-shattering debut.

Sort of.

You have to hand it to the Valkyrie. There aren't many super-doers who could have three different alter-egos in their first three appearances.

Then again, on that cover are also the Vision who'd had two different personas, Clint Barton who'd had two different super-hero identities, the Black Panther who couldn't decide if  he was called the Black Panther or the Black Leopard, plus Medusa, the Black Widow and Quicksilver who started out as villains before they'd become heroes. It's like some sort of meeting of Schizophrenics Anonymous.

At least the Wondrous Wasp was there to add a lone smidgen of stability.

Super Spider-Man with the Super-Heroes #161, Dr Strange

To be honest, it's not the most revealing cover of all time.

Seeing Spidey and Doc Strange like that makes me think of that scene in the Nicolas Cage Ghost Rider movie, where the current Ghost Rider and the original Ghost Rider set off together to confront the villain and then, when they finally get there, the original Ghost Rider, suddenly says goodbye and departs, leaving you wondering why he bothered to travel all the way there if he was only going to leave the moment he arrived.

I like to think that's what happens with Doctor Strange and Spider-Man in this comic.

I wonder what the free colour sticker was?

Going on the previous two weeks' obsessions, it was probably sea monkeys.

Marvel UK, Planet of the Apes #73

Things are all getting a bit shouty on the Planet of the Apes.

It's a little known fact that Shouty on the Planet of the Apes was going to be the title of the next film after Battle but, sadly, they changed their minds and it  never got made.

Apparently, Brian Blessed was going to play the main part; "WHAAAAAT! THERE ARE TALKING AAAPES?!!!!!!!?"

And that was just in the scene where he was whispering in order to hide from the apes the fact that he could speak.

Marvel UK, Dracula Lives #73

Speaking of Dixon of Dock Green, it looks like he and two of his friends are on the trail of everyone's favourite vampire.

When Dixon gets his hands on him, no doubt he'll give him a clip round the ear and send him on his way with a warning not to let him catch him scrumping apples again.

Come to think of it, Dixon of Dock Green died at the end of his first movie appearance and then mysteriously returned to life to star in his own TV show. How could this be possible?


Could it be?

Could it be that he was secretly a vampire?

Mighty World of Marvel #180, Hulk and Juggernaut

I think it's the question we've all asked; "Who'd win a fight between the Hulk and the Juggernaut?"

This week, forty years ago, we finally got our answer.

Actually, come to think of it, the ending was a bit of a cop-out and we didn't really get an answer.
Marvel UK, The Titans #20, Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD

"Lo! The Eggs Shall Hatch!"

I'm not convinced that that's going to go down as one of the great story titles of all time.

I don't have a clue who the bloke punching Nick Fury is. He looks like he should be a member of Zodiac but I don't recognise him as one, unless he's Taurus in a whole other costume to the one we're used to him wearing.


cerebus660 said...

Steve, the guy punching out Nick Fury was The Druid, a complete loser who first appeared in Strange Tales 144-145 and was hardly ever( if at all )seen again. ( He may have popped up in an issue of Captain America but it's hard to remember because he was just so forgettable... )

The Artistic Actuary said...

"Evening all"

That women's line story in Avengers also appeared in a UK Avengers Annual. 1976? 1977? I'm amazed to find out that it also appeared in the weekly comic in March 1976.

And "Lo The Eggs Shall Hatch" is an awesome name for a story. It's like a spoof Stan Lee story name. Somewhere on the web I once saw a list of the ten worst silver age marvel cover. The original Strange Tales (?) issue was on the list purely for the name FF the story.

The great thing about this website is that nobody has a great knowledge of what's inside the comics. We're often speculating by looking at the covers and I get a great nostalgic feeling from the days of seeing these comics for the first time. With so many othe websites reviewing what was inside the comics, the gives SDC a unique charm!

Steve W. said...

Thanks for the info, cerebus. I'd love to know how they came up with that costume design for a man called The Druid.

Dangermash, I like to think my total cluelessness will one day prove to be my greatest asset.

Anonymous said...

The Druid, creator of the Awesome Alchemoid, as Captain America learned to his cost in "Assault of the Alchemoid!"

Anonymous said...

"Assault of the Alchemoid!"... as covered in this very blog not so long ago (US monthlies 40 years ago). Come on, Steve, sort it out - you can't get by on just charm forever.
Just kidding, of course - those pre-Kirby Caps are a bit forgettable, so no worries on that score.

Dr Druid didn't look much like a druid either - I assume Marvel just did random designs because a superheroey druid might look a bit like a ku klux klan member to an American eye.
But that's just a guess.


Anonymous said...

PS Didn't the Valkyrie turn out to be the Enchantress in that Avengers story, or am I confused?( And I don't even have the excuse that I'm charming)
Not sure schizophrenia really covers that kind of thing.


Dougie said...

The Conan story in Avengers that week is part 1 of Curse of the Golden Skull. A mash up of a Kull fragment and a reworking of the Carter/De Camp City of Skulls. Looks better than it reads. Meanwhile, Mar-vell is in the doldrums prior to Starlin, drawn by Wayne Boring.

Steve W. said...

MP, How have I got to my current age without ever before having heard of the Alchemoid?

Admittedly, as Sean points out, it turns out I have heard of the Alchemoid before but, somehow have no memory of him.

Sean, the Valkyrie was indeed initially the Enchantress. Then, in her second appearance, she was Samantha Parrington and then, finally, in her third appearance, she got to be Barbara Norris.

Steve W. said...

Thanks for the info, Dougie. I must confess my knowledge of pre-Starlin Mar-Vell is limited to the very early Gene Colan tales and a couple of Gil Kane stories.

Steve W. said...

And also a couple of Don Heck issues.

Anonymous said...

I was a big fan of the Valkyrie, and her role in the Defenders. Under writers Steve Englehart and Dave Kraft, Val and her fellow distaff members of the World's Greatest Non-Team, Hell-cat, the Red Guardian (the female one) and the sometimes-defender Clea, were the most complex and well-written heroines in comics, in my somewhat-humble opinion. The interplay and dialogue in those stories was always compelling. Even the Hulk had some good lines.
As for Val's complicated and confusing genesis, there are only three people who could explain it logically. One got run over by a train, one jumped out of a tall building, and me, the third guy, suffers from long-term memory loss and has completely forgotten what he is talking about.

Anonymous said...

Correction: it was Steve Gerber, not Englehart. My mistake!
M.P. (looking for his brain medicine)

Anonymous said...

I googled Dixon Of Dock Green and the final episode was on May 1st 1976, only 7 weeks away. Surely by then Jack Warner was only doing the opening and closing monologues ?

Steve W. said...

Colin, I must confess my memories of Dixon of Dock Green are very vague. Sadly, I can't recall just how active Dixon was by the end. My main impression of him was that he just sort of strolled everywhere, with his hands behind his back, saying hello to greengrocers. To what degree that constituted active policing, I'm really not sure.

Steve W. said...

MP, I always get Englehart and Gerber mixed up too.

TC said...

My favorite part of that Avengers story was when they showed up at the Halloween party in Rutland Vermont, and Jean Thomas asked which one was Mrs. Peel. (Come to think of it, Black Widow's costume at the time did show an Emma Peel influence.)

Maybe today, the gag seems too cute by half. But I was easily impressed when I was twelve.