Thursday, 9 June 2016

June 9th, 1976 - Marvel UK, 40 years ago this week.

On this day in 1976, BBC One was showing the first episode of The Changes, that nightmare drama in which mankind goes insane, destroys all machinery and plunges itself into a new Dark Age.

On the same night, it showed an episode of The Survivors, that nightmare drama in which a plague wipes out almost all mankind, plunging us into a new Dark Age.

Blimey, that must have been a fun evening's viewing.

Still, thanks to the change in publication schedule, at least we could take refuge in what Marvel UK were giving us that week.

Marvel UK, Avengers #143

It's that one where Ronan tries to devolve us all back into cavemen, in order to plunge all mankind into a new Dark Age.

Good grief! Was there no escape from new Dark Ages in 1976? No wonder they got rid of it and replaced it with 1977.

This was the first issue of The Avengers I'd managed to get my hands on in ages, thanks to a stall in the legendary Sheaf Market. That market no longer exists. Thankfully, it has not been replaced with a Dark Age.

I remember enjoying this issue greatly, especially its reprint of the story in which Conan and Red Sonja find themselves trapped in a tower, with a pair of  randy sorcerers.

Mighty World of Marvel #193

I've no idea what happens in this issue. I'm wondering whether the Hulk's still on Counter-Earth or not.

Marvel UK, Planet of the Apes #86

Captain Marvel's back in the book where he made his Marvel UK debut but I don't recall his return to it at all - which is odd, as I assume it featured the work of Jim Starlin and should therefore have been highly memorable.

Marvel UK, Dracula Lives #86

It looks like it's all getting exciting in Dracula Land as his comic reaches its second-to-last issue.

Super Spider-Man with the Super-Heroes #174, Man-Wolf

I have a feeling this was Ross Andru's first issue on Spider-Man, although, so strong was John Romita's inking on it that, at the time, I totally failed to notice that Gil Kane had left.

Marvel UK, The Titans #34, the Thing vs the Skrulls

Marvel UK seriously underestimating the number of super-heroes I can shake my fist at.

I reckon I can shake my fist at at least thirty seven super-heroes, and there were nowhere near that many in a typical issue of even The Titans.

I do feel we need a poll; "How many super-heroes can you shake your fist at?"

In fact, we do have such a poll - in this blog's right-hand sidebar. Make sure to vote. Remember, this is the most important poll that'll be conducted in the UK this month and could decide the whole future of the country.

Meanwhile, The Thing's still having trouble with the Skrulls. Given the Star Trek influence on the tale, it's much he's not having trouble with tribbles.


Anonymous said...

Only Planet of the Apes for me, this week. With hindsight, I wish my eight year old shelf had switched to The Titans instead.

I'm guessing (as I have no memory of any change) that it was only the cover date, rather than the actual available for sale date, that changed.


Steve W. said...

I had five of the six this week. That has to be my best total ever.

Colin Jones said...

DW, it was indeed the actual "available for sale" date that changed. The Marvel UK weeklies had always gone on sale on a Saturday - but Saturday, June 5th 1976 was the last time. The following week's issues went on sale four days later on Wednesday, June 9th. This was a big event for me at the time as it meant I got my comics on a different day. By the way, Steve, I've never heard of The Changes - but I was forced to go to bed at 9pm if there was school the next day so if it was broadcast after 9pm I wouldn't have known about it. I'd never heard of Survivors either till a few years ago when I read about it in a magazine (SFX probably).

Steve W. said...

Colin, The Changes was a children's show, so it would have been broadcast in the teatime slot. Sadly, it doesn't appear to be available on Youtube anymore.

Colin Jones said...

Steve, now I'm really surprised that I haven't heard of it. I remember a children's programme from around 1975-76 called "The Boy Dominic" and its' follow-up called just "Dominic" but I've googled it and found nothing and there's nothing on YouTube either - it's like it never existed. Obviously not all kids' TV from the '70s is fondly remembered !

Steve W. said...

The Boy Dominic rings a bell. Was it about a junior monk?

Dougie said...

I remembered the title and Googled it: Victorian story about child poverty.

BTW, that Conan story in Avengers involves the hero being gang-raped by female monsters. The House of Strange Ideas.

Colin Jones said...

As far as I remember, "The Boy Dominic" wasn't about a junior monk or Victorian child poverty. It was set in the 18th Century (there were stagecoaches in it) and Dominic was searching for his father or something - in the end he finds his father who wore an eye patch. In the sequel, "Dominic", Dominic's father and step-mother are shot dead and he has to solve the crime - something like that, it was a long time ago. I'm also pretty sure it was on ITV.

Colin Jones said...

OK, I just used Yahoo and found The Boy Dominic straight away (I thought Google was supposed to be the best !!!) - as Dougie said, it was indeed set in Victorian times (but I'm positive there were stagecoaches in it so it must have been early Victorian). But I was right about the missing father.

Colin Jones said...

UPDATE: Boy Dominic (no "The" apparently) was set in the 1820's - that's NOT Victorian times (no wonder I remembered the stagecoaches). And Dominic was played by Murray Dale who was the son of Carry On legend Jim Dale !!

Anonymous said...

Is 'The Changes' the programme that follows the adventures of a little girl and where it turns out that the throwing out of technology and returning to a pre-technology civilisation is something to do with Merlin? If so, then I remember we were mesmerised by the fact that there was a Sikh in the programme. Simpler times.

Steve W. said...

That was indeed The Changes. I seem to recall there having been a caravan in it. Every piece of Speculative Fiction should feature a caravan. That's why Dr Who should get rid of the TARDIS and replace it with a caravan.

Colin Jones said...

Steve, I just voted in the "Shake Your Fist" poll - I see by the percentages that it's even more on a knife edge than the EU referendum (and the result is equally anticipated, I'm sure). You said recently that you were looking forward to announcing (only 40 years late) the merger of POTA and Dracula Lives - because of the comics' date change you'll be doing that announcement on June 23rd, the very day of the referendum - the EU referendum AND the merger of POTA and Dracula Lives on the SAME day, how much more excitement can we take ???

Steve W. said...

I'll be amazed if my head doesn't explode from the excitement.

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