Thursday, 24 November 2016

November 24th, 1976 - Marvel UK, 40 years ago this week.

On November 24th, 1976, BBC One showed the episode of Last of the Summer Wine that went by the title The Kink in Foggy's Niblick.

This isn't very exciting news but it did introduce me to the word, "Niblick," and is the only Last of the Summer Wine episode whose title I can recall. So, whatever people think about the show, it did at least, for one evening, enlarge my vocabulary.

Well, my vocabulary may have been enlarging but, at that very moment, Marvel UK was shrinking, as one of its magnificent comics was about to breathe its last. Reader, can you guess what that comic was before I reveal it?

Marvel UK, Captain Britain #7, the Hurricane

I must confess to being somewhat curious. Where exactly is the Hurricane meant to be on this cover?

Is he in the plane's cockpit?

If so, how come he's facing the engine? I'm no aviation expert but I'm pretty sure planes don't have their engines in front of their windshields.

On the other hand, is he in the airport's control tower?

If so, how's he controlling the plane's engines? I'm no aviation expert but I'm pretty sure Concorde didn't work by remote control.

This is the sort of nightmare mystery that'll keep me awake tonight, worrying about it.

Speaking of mysteries, I wonder just what story the Howard the Duck pull-out comic featured.

Marvel UK, The Titans #58, final issue, Avengers vs Sentinels

This is it, the last ever issue of The Titans, and I for one will be sorry to see the back of it. In its fifty eight issues, it gave us an eclectic mix of strips that didn't always quite seem to know where they belonged.

One strip that had totally lost all sense of where it belonged by this stage was The Avengers, which, in the space of just months, had managed to move from its own comic to The Mighty World of Marvel then to The Titans before being shunted off into Spider-Man's comic. The world's mightiest super-team must have not known whether they were coming or going by this point.

Despite all that, I loved this Avengers tale and remember it revealing that the Vision was an android of several decades vintage, thus letting us know there was a mystery to his origin that we'd never previously suspected.

Is the Hercules solo story the one where he fights Typhon whose axe is stuck to his hand?

If so, I remember that one.

If it isn't, I probably don't remember it.

Marvel UK, Planet of the Apes #110, Battle for the Planet of the Apes

Hold on a banana-peeling moment! If I recall my Battle for the Planet of the Apes lore, Isn't it Aldo the gorilla who chases Cornelius off the tree - not some random human? What is this madness? It's the kind of mystery that'll keep me awake tonight, worrying about it.

Super Spider-Man with the Super-Heroes #198. the Jackal meets his fate

It's the Spider-Man story the whole world loves because it launched the Clone Saga that everyone still recalls with such fondness.

It also gave us the death of Professor Warren. I don't have a clue if he's still dead or not. I'm sort of hoping he's alive again and has learnt the error of his ways.

Mighty World of Marvel #217, Conan the Barbarian

Oooh! I remember this one! It's the one where Conan comes up against what are effectively a trio of super-villains.

Somehow, the idea of Conan fighting super-villains just feels wrong, even if there's no good reason why he shouldn't.

Was The Tribune from the Daredevil story that man with the hammer who liked to sit in judgement on people and then find them guilty whether they'd done anything wrong or not? I remember him being a little unhinged and certainly not an example of the Judiciary at its finest.


dangermash said...

est ever lineup in a UK Marvel comic.

But they could never get the timing right in these mergers and movements, could they? The Avengers went on to become my second favourite strip (I only ever read Spider-Man's comic) but joining them right in the middle of a multi part sentinels story wasn't the greatest ever introduction.

And didn't they move to Titans (or was it MWOM) slap bang in the middle of the Kree Skrull war?

Steve W. said...

They joined The Mighty World of Marvel early in Neal Adams' run on the strip. In fact, it might have been for his first issue on the strip. They then joined The Titans for the very last installment of the Kree/Skrull War.

Dougie said...

I like to think Conan's Brothers of the Blade are the ancestors of the Mad Thinker's Triumvirate of Terror.

Colin Jones said...

I had that issue of Captain Britain (in fact I had all 39 issues) but I don't remember the Howard the Duck pull-out comic at all - that's a better free gift than the crappy mask in #1. And yes, a sad farewell to The Titans but in my opinion its' glory days were #27-52 when the Fantastic Four were the cover stars. Only another seven months till the landscape experiment was dropped permanently but it was great while it lasted.

Anonymous said...

I remember the Howard the Duck pull out comic. It was actually the centre four pages, printed horizontally (Titan-tastic?) so that they could be folded in half, and have the tops cut, to form an eight page mini-comic. A web search tells me that it was the man-frog story. Personally, I struggle to remember anything good about Howard the Duck, but this did demonstrate how easy it is to make your own mini-comic. They became the next big thing at my junior school for about two weeks.


Anonymous said...

That must have been the Howard the Duck back-up from the somewhat carelessly titled Giantsize Man-Thing 4.

It does seem like an odd fit for Captain Britain, but... maybe they wanted to test reader response to the character? With the US HTD monthly being (I think) the only new Marvel title of the 70s with a character they actually owned to sell well, I wonder if they were considering a new weekly fronted by Howard or something...?

In which case, it would seem Howard and Garko the Man-Frog weren't a big hit with CB readers.


Anonymous said...

Climbing a tree won't help you! There is ho hiding place from Aldo the Gorilla.

dangermash said...

If they were mooting Howard the Duck in the pages of Captain Britain, that's more evidence to back up my hypothesis from a few weeks ago that Captan Britain was the comic for hipsters back in the day.

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