Thursday, 17 November 2016

November 17th, 1976 - Marvel UK, 40 years ago this week.

It's been a week of outright lunacy for us all, with the Supermoon looming large in our skies. At one point, it got so big that I contemplated fleeing to Australia to get further away from it.

But one set of people who are guaranteed not to be fleeing from anything are the stars of our favourite comics company in 1976, as they set out to launch their foes into a similar orbit, by using just their bare super-fists.

Super Spider-Man with the Super-Heroes #197, the Tarantula and the Jackal

At last we get to find out who the Jackal is, in one of the least likely revelations in the history of literature. Why didn't they do the obvious and have him be Harry Osborn? Why?

Marvel UK, Captain Britain #6, the Hurricane

Chris Claremont's love of smashing up airports is back with a vengeance, as our hero tackles the windy wastrel of wanton wreckery.

Marvel UK, Planet of the Apes #109

I'm assuming we're still being given Battle for the Planet of the Apes.

I seem to recall it having been drawn by Alfredo Alcala. This was, of course, a good thing.

Mighty World of Marvel #216, Glorian and the Toad Men

Hooray! The Toad Men are back!

And so is the Shaper of Worlds!

And we get to met Glorian for the first time!

How could anyone not love this story?

In my adulthood, I do feel there's a noticeable gay subtext to this tale, which was a very advanced thing to do in a comic back in those days.

In my childhood, however, this all passed me by and all I knew was that I was delighted to see the Toad Men restored to their rightful place as the awesomest aliens in the Marvel Universe.

Then again, I also loved the Stone Men from Saturn, so my taste in comic book aliens might not have been as sophisticated as you might expect from a man whose favourite movie is Carry On Cowboy.

Marvel UK, the Titans #57, The Avengers

Everyone else seems to dislike this Avengers story.

I love it.

On top of the chess drama that we all demand from a super-hero yarn, it also gives us Rich Buckler doing his Neal Adams impersonation which I always much preferred to his Jack Kirby mimicry.

But, "Captain America No More!" Does that mean we've reached the point where he fakes his own death, during Jim Steranko's brief run on the strip?


Colin Jones said...

"I'm assuming we're still being given Battle For The Planet of The Apes" - Steve, the adaptation only started last week so you assume correctly !! But Alfredo Alcala was the artist on the adaptations of "Beneath" and "Conquest", not "Battle".

Anonymous said...

I think the Steranko Captain America didn't features until after the Spiderman/Titans merge. I was sure I bought POTA until its own merge with MWOM but I haven't recognised the the covers for weeks. In fact I can't recall the Battle adaptation at all. Didn't the Hurricane turn out to be far less threatening when we see him outside of his armour. A bit like Rorshach


Steve W. said...

Colin, they didn't let Alfredo Alcala do Battle? I only conclude that whoever made that decision was hopelessly insane.

DW, sadly, I never owned the conclusion to the Hurricane saga and so don't know what he looked like without his armour.

TC said...

Could "Captain America No More" be from Tales of Suspense #95 (1967)? That was the one where he decided to retire from super heroics. He unmasked, and publicly revealed his identity. Of course, it didn't last. Later, during the Steranko run, he un-exposed his secret identity by dumping a Steve Rogers dummy into the river or something.

And, was that Avengers story written by Harlan Ellison? Or adapted from an Ellison story? The guy was going to kill five innocent people to prevent their descendants from starting WWIII? It turned out the Watcher was manipulating the situation to get the Avengers to stop him.

The Watcher was as bad as Captain Kirk about violating the non-interference rule.

Steve W. said...

TC, I think you may well be right about the Captain America story.

I also think you might be right about the Avengers story. I seem to remember that it was devised by a well-known science fiction writer, so Harlan Ellison may very well have been the individual concerned.

Dougie said...

I agree: Claremont must've had some terrible experience at an airport. iron Fist and X-Men 97 also come to mind. In fact, there are at least three or four exploding planes - and a hovercraft and a space shuttle - in the first Claremont/Cockrum era.

Anonymous said...

So far as I can remember, Steve, the credits for Avengers 101 says it was based on a plot from Ellison, but its vague on any details.
Its not unheard of for comic stories to seem, shall we say strangely familiar, and I wonder if that credit wasn't simply added to avoid possible problems. Not unlike the ones which later accompanied Hulk 286, which despite the lack of a credit turned out to be based on an old Ellison tv script after he complained.
The same one Terminator was nicked from.


Steve W. said...

Judging by the lack of an onscreen credit, I can only assume Ellison never heard about Dr Who's Day of the Daleks storyline, which also had elements reminiscent of that Ellison story.

Anonymous said...

After a second failed invasion, The Great Horned Toad called off any further expeditions to Earth by his people.

TC said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TC said...

There was also a low budget science fiction movie, Cyborg 2087 (1966), starring Michael Rennie and Karen Steele, that could be considered a precursor to The Terminator or a swipe from Ellison's Outer Limits TV script. Since Ellison never sued anyone over it (AFAIK), I'd assume he either never heard of it, or decided it wasn't worth bothering with.

Ellison is a Doctor Who fan, and, in 1980, he wrote introductions for American reprint editions of Who novels, including Day of the Daleks. So, presumably, he knew about that one.

Maybe, in both cases, he just decided, "You can't sue everybody."

Anonymous said...

I don't think its really a case of similarities, coincidental or otherwise - Ellison won credit and compensation for Terminator and that issue of the Hulk because both were demonstrably nicked from his work.
Doubt that credit would have appeared in the Avengers if Marvel weren't concerned it might get out that's where the story had actually come from.


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