Thursday, 6 October 2016

October 6th, 1976 - Marvel UK, 40 years ago this week.

You could never claim the 1970s wasn't the Marvel Age of Comics.


Because, on this night in 1976, BBC One was broadcasting legendary children's series Fingerbobs, the show that introduced me to the word, "Scampi."

As we all recall, the Bob Harris-esque presenter was always introduced by a name that was never totally clear and might have been Boffy but might not have been.

However, thanks to a fit of investigative journalism that Woodward and Bernstein would envy, I've just discovered his real name was Rick Jones. That's the kind of place the 1970s was. We had Peter Parker in charge of the railways and Rick Jones in charge of the Fingerbobs.

And then they claim the 1970s lacked glamour.

But they were about to get a whole lot glamorouser - because this was the week in which a brand new super-hero hit the streets of Britain. A super-hero like no other.

Needless to say, I'll be looking further into that development, at the weekend. But, in the meantime, let's see what was occurring on Planet Marvel UK just as any unsold copies of our favourite mags were being removed from the shelves to make way for that epochal event and others.

Marvel UK, Planet of the Apes #103

There's absolutely nothing on that cover that gives me any hint as to what happens inside the comic, other than that it involves humans and apes. I had already suspected that might be the case.

The inking on that cover looks quite Tom Palmeresque. I wonder if it was indeed by he?

Mighty World of Marvel #210, Hulk vs the Gremlin

The Gremlin's back!

But what of his father? Has the Gargoyle ever returned from the dead?

If not, does this make him Marvel's longest-running dead character?

It would appear, from the blurb at the top of the cover, that this is the legendary issue where the Vision beats up a Skrull.

If so, I did feel at the time that this instalment was the high watermark of the Kree/Skrull saga and I was most impressed by Neal Adams' ability to draw spaceships and bruises.

Super Spider-Man with the Super-Heroes #191, Mysterio is back

It never fails. Every time Mysterio shows up, Spidey starts to doubt his sanity. You'd think he'd have realised by now that it's all done with trickery.

Marvel UK, The Titans #51, Fantastic Four vs the Nega-Man

It's that bizarre FF story Stan Lee Frankensteined together from unpublished art Jack Kirby left behind and newly inserted panels by John Buscema.

It'd be nice to say it was a ploy that worked but it was a very strange and jarring read at the time, which left me baffled as to how such a circumstance had arisen. It was only with the rise of the internet that I finally found out.

In other news, we get the return of Batroc Ze Leapair. I first encountered him in the pages of Iron Fist, via The Avengers comic. In that tale, he seemed a far more dangerous foe than he subsequently proved to be anywhere else. Admittedly, that was probably because I didn't know who he was at that time and thus didn't know any better.


paul Mcscotty said...

Ahhh Fingerbobs I loved that show even although I was a bit (ok a fair bit) too old for it at the time (being 16) - although I got the feeling that this was the type of programme that was watched by students recovering from the previous night’ wild times dancing to the Nolan’s at the local disco etc. I forgot about the scampi (there was also a seagull and a tortoise amusingly called Flash) – The beardy mans name was “Yoffy”

That issue of MWOM (210) was used (along with a few others) on the Scottish (itv) news programme “Scotland Today” when Stan Lee and Herb Trimpe were at some event in Glasgow , not the best cover to prove the artistic majesty of comics

Steve W. said...

I think that, overall, Fingermouse was my favourite of the Fingerbobs. I was never keen on Scampi. Not that I'm prejudiced but it's hard to feel affection for a prawn.

Colin Jones said...

Yes, 40 years ago this very day saw the launch of Captain Britain No.1 but it was week ending October 13th so we won't see it till next week. I remember an episode of Fingerbobs where Fingermouse or Seagull or somebody dropped pebbles into a jar half full of water which slowly raised the level of the water till it reached the top of the jar - that was fascinating when I was six :)

TC said...

I probably first saw Batroc, you zay...Leapair in a Captain America/Marvel Super Heroes cartoon on TV. In fact, if I ever saw the character in a comic book, it would have been in Marvel Double Feature, a 1970's comic that reprinted 1960's Cap and Iron Man stories from Tales of Suspense.

In 1967, DC's Blackhawk team (who had been a sort of paramilitary unit) got turned into costumed superheroes. One of them, Olaf, became The Leaper. He didn't talk like Pepe LePew or Inspector Clouseau, though. He was the one who said stuff like, "Yumping Yiminy!" Andre, the team member who talked like Clouseau, became M'sieu Machine.

Paul McScotty Muir said...

The Gargoyle does seem to be the character that has remained dead the longest, although in true comic book style the name lives on in another character (a hero who appeared in the Defenders) and his son is really just him with another name (mind you if you give your son the name Gremlin he is bound to want to conquer the world) the original Gargoyle has also appeared in a few cartoons. The only other character that I recall snuffing it back then was Sue Storms dad in an early FF tale in the 60s but not sure if he has been brought back to life

Anonymous said...

Look Ma, no head!
Yeah, I don't know how Spidey could fall for the old "no head" trick.
Really, that's beneath an illusionist of Mysterio's caliber.
What's next, is he going to astound Spidey by pretending to pull his thumb off or pulling a quarter from behind his ear?
Mediocre, Mysterio, just mediocre.

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