Thursday 29 December 2016

December 29th, 1976 - Marvel UK, 40 years ago this week.

If the internet's to be believed, nothing at all interesting happened anywhere in the world on this day in 1976.

Nor was there anything interesting on the TV.

Therefore, I shall plunge into my latest adventure in blogging, with the air of carefree abandon that can only manifest itself in the eternally perplexing limbo between Christmas and New Year's Day.

Marvel UK, Captain Britain #12 Dr Synne

Captain Britain showing the fighting spirit that's made him a legend.

After all these years, I still don't have the slightest clue who Dr Synne is. I assume he's not related to the character played so ably by Peter Cushing in the Hammer movie Night Creatures. That character used to ride around on a horse disguised as a skeleton. I doubt if any of Captain Britain's early foes ever had the style to ride around on a horse disguised as a skeleton.

Mighty World of Marvel #222, Daredevil

It's a rare John Buscema cover for Daredevil.

Come to think of it, it's a rare Daredevil cover for The Mighty World of Marvel. It was always a pleasant change to see someone other than the Hulk being allowed on the front of the book.

Then again, it was always a pleasant change to see a decent cover of any kind on The Mighty World of Marvel. No doubt, next week we'll see a return to covers that look like they've been drawn by people holding their pencils with their feet.

Marvel UK, Planet of the Apes #115, Beneath

I still have no recollection at all of Conan ever having appeared in the pages of Planet of the Apes. I suppose it made sense for him to be there though, what with the equally loin-cloth loving Ka-Zar already being present.

In retrospect, the fact that our favourite monkey mag was having to recycle Planet of the Apes movie adaptations it had already reprinted should have been a warning that Marvel UK was running out of new Apes material to put in the comic and that its days were therefore numbered but, somehow, I don't think that occurred to me at the time.

Super Spider-Man with the Titans #203

I remember the Liberty Legion as being a less interesting copy of the Invaders.

Needless to say, this made me very uninterested in them indeed.

I do wonder why, instead of standing there, narrating his life story to rats, Spider-Man doesn't just escape up that ladder to his left. Clearly, he's been taking defeatism lessons from Brian Braddock.

Sunday 25 December 2016

Christmas Day, 1976.

Hold on.

What's that?

I seem to hear the sound of sleigh bells...

...and hooves on my roof tiles.

Now there's a rustling in my chimney.

And a sudden thud from my living room.

It can only mean one thing!

I'm being burgled by Bullwinkle!

Quick! Hand me my shotgun! Once I've finished shooting him in the face and disposing of the body, I'll take a look back at just what was going on on Christmas Day of 1976, in the season of goodwill to all.

As mentioned in a previous post, Johnny Mathis was Number One on the British Top 40 with When a Child is Born.

At midday, BBC Two was showing Horizon: The Mystery of King Arthur and his Round Table, a scientific investigation into the infamous, "Table," hanging from the wall of Winchester Castle. Whatever the claims one way or the other, to me, it's always looked suspiciously like it's meant to be a giant dartboard.

Later, that self-same station gave us a cartoon version of The Snow Queen and an adaptation of Alice Through the Looking Glass.

Not to be left behind in the intellectual stakes, that morning, BBC One gave us Hong Kong Phooey.

Later, on that channel, Angela Rippon appealed on behalf of the deaf, Top of the Pops gave us the year's greatest hits and Billy Smart gave us his circus.

The big afternoon movie was Oliver.

The Morecambe and Wise Christmas Show guest-starred Elton John.

And the big evening movie was Airport, back in the days when you could watch it without wondering when Leslie Nielsen was going to show up.

ITV, that morning, gave us Dr Dolittle.

But the real surprise for me is that, that afternoon, ITV put their own music show Supersonic up against Top of the Pops. I wasn't aware that Supersonic was even still going in 1976, let alone that it had Christmas Specials. Next they'll be revealing that there were Christmas editions of Lift Off With Ayshea.

ITV's big afternoon movie was Please Sir and their big evening film was Waterloo with Rod Steiger.

But all of this, of course, was of little importance to any wise youth. All that such a person would want to know on such a day was what adventures was Marvel UK giving us?.

These were the adventures they were giving us.

Marvel UK, Avengers Annual 1977

This one reprints the Avengers' first encounter with Nuklo and reveals the (possibly) true origin of the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, not to mention the return of the Whizzer

The book also features a tale in which Conan fights a giant crocodile, plus the concluding part of the Avengers' Wild West battle with Kang. As we hadn't yet read the first part of that tale in the pages of Marvel UK, and several pages were cut out to make it fit the annual, a certain degree of comprehensibility was lost as regards that particular outing.

Marvel UK, Titans Annual 1977

The Titans weekly comic may have been dead but that didn't prevent it having an annual.

This one features the Sub-Mariner versus a glob monster from outer space, which, if memory serves me, was originally intended as part two of an Aquaman story that then got recycled for Subby. Possibly the most memorable part of it is that it approvingly quotes Hitler, which is not something you see every day in children's literature.

We also get the horror of the Original X-Men vs Frankenstein's Monster, a Werner Roth drawn feature on the various X-Men's powers and a Frank Robbins drawn tale in which Captain America tackles Dr Faustus on a Jumbo Jet. It was in this story that I first discovered the American Emergency number is 911, not the 999 that we're all familiar with in this dear country.

If there'd been any sanity in the world, this annual would have been in landscape format but, sadly, it was  published in portrait mode.

Marvel UK, Mighty World of Marvel Annual 1977

From Marvel UK's flagship title, the Hulk sees the return of the Missing Link - as a good guy, we get the middle issue of Daredevil's first encounter with the Death-Stalker, featuring a guest appearance by the Man-Thing,

We also get a George Perez drawn Fantastic Four vs Hulk tale and, in another yarn, the Fantastic Four fight Galactus in order to protect the Silver Surfer. The day is saved by Agatha Harkness doing her thing.

The Hulk story is the only one of these that's a complete tale but, somehow, that didn't seem to matter at the time. All that mattered was that I was getting plenty of Marvel with my turkey.

Marvel UK, Spider-Man Annual 1977

This is the one in which Spider-Man, "teams up," with Doc Savage to thwart a woman from another dimension, plus the one in which he teams up with the Punisher to tackle Moses Magnum, and the one with the American Footballer whose daughter's been kidnapped by evil gangsters. All the tales are drawn by Ross Andru.

Sadly, as with the aforementioned Avengers/Kang tale, the last of those epics had several pages excised to make it fit the book, a fact that leaps out at you when you read it. The worst part of this crime is that most of those excised pages featured Mary Jane.

So, that was Christmas in the Marvel UK world, done and dusted.

"But hold on a minute! What's this blithering idiocy?" I hear you cry. "What kind of a round-up is that? Where's Marvel UK's Planet of the Apes annual that I've been waiting all year for?"

Planet of the Apes Annual, 1976/77
Sadly, although there was a Planet of the Apes annual that year, it wasn't produced by Marvel. Of its contents, I can tell you nothing, as the internet has refused to yield answers but this means that, unless I've been misinformed, we only got four Marvel UK annuals that year.

However, for me, personally, I got so much more - because this was the Christmas when, as well as the books above, I was given the first three Marvel Origins books.

Four Marvel UK annuals and three Marvel Origins books? This had to be the most Marvellous Christmas in the history of humanity!

Thursday 22 December 2016

December 22nd, 1976 - Marvel UK, 40 years ago this week.

Get that turkey plucked, Matron; it's fast approaching Christmas - that magical time when we all look forward to the year ahead and wonder what it might bring.

And that can mean only one thing.

That I'm looking in completely the wrong direction and looking back to 1976!

But what a year it was!

Well, I say that. I can barely remember a thing about it. I think we've already established that the only memory I have of it is that Kevin Keegan fell off his bike.

But I do know that, forty years ago today, When a Child is Born by Johnny Mathis was the UK Christmas Number One. Bionic Santa by Chris Hill was at Number Ten and Ring Out The Solstice Bells by Jethro Tull was at Number Twenty Eight.

Amazingly, those three tracks were the only Christmas songs in the Top Forty that week. I can only conclude that Christmas was still viewed as a newfangled, fancy, foreign thing and therefore not as big an event as it is nowadays.

Meanwhile, on this day of forty years ago, at 10:30 AM, BBC One was showing The Great Grape Ape Show. This week's episode was called Grape Marks the Spot and starred Grape Ape and Beagley Beagley and Bailey's Comets in Kenya Catch that Clue. Frankly, if any of that made any sense to you, you have better powers of comprehension than I do. It has to be the most baffling TV listing I've ever seen.

Also showing on BBC One that morning was the original Flash Gordon, plus Tarzan's Desert Mystery.

Later that night, that selfsame channel was showing its adaptation of Charles Dickens' The Signalman - an adaptation that is still spoken of in hushed whispers, to this very day.

Marvel UK, Captain Britain #11

What's this? Women being burned at the stake? Angry locals with flaming torches? Half-timbered dwellings with thatched roofs?

It can only be 1970s England.

Marvel UK, Planet of the Apes #114

The award for The World's Least Observant Ape goes to...

Mighty World of Marvel #221, Hulk vs Loch Fear Monster

What's this? Men in kilts? Sporrans? Lairds, broth and castles? It can only be 1970s Scotland!

It's that legendary moment when the Hulk fights the Loch Ness Monster, even though they can't quite bring themselves to admit it's the Loch Ness Monster.

Super Spider-Man and the Titans #202, The Shocker

I believe this is that story where the Shocker uses strategically planned blackouts to spell out his name, using the buildings of New York as letters. Some might call that  a trifle ostentatious.

I also believe the Avengers tale is the one where our heroes come up against Magneto and his Beast-Men or whatever they're called, and the Vision decides he's incapable of love because the call of the Lorelei doesn't affect him

Even I, a mere child, could spot the flaw in his logic, as it clearly merely proved he had ears made of plastic. For a man with a computer for a brain, he didn't seem to be very logical.

Finally, we have to finish this post with the results of our biggest poll yet.

And that's the poll to discover your favourite incarnation of legendary super-hero stalker Rick Jones.

There were thirty three votes in total, and the results were as follows:

The Hulk's third wheel
  9 (27%)
The Avengers' third wheel
  4 (12%)
Captain America's third wheel
  2 (6%)
Captain Marvel's third wheel
  12 (36%)
The Teen Brigade's absentee leader
  2 (6%)
  0 (0%)
The Whisperer
  0 (0%)
The singing sensation
  2 (6%)
Some other incarnation
  2 (6%)

So, there you have it. The world's favourite incarnation of Rick Jones is as Captain Marvel's Third Wheel. Don't forget you heard it here first - and don't forget to tell all your friends that you heard it here first, because it's the sort of thing that will no doubt impress them.

Thanks to you for voting, and Merry Christmas to you all.

Sunday 18 December 2016

2000 AD - November 1978.

Having scoured the internet, I can only conclude that little that was good was happening on the planet Earth in November of 1978. Clearly, we could only hope that a certain comic could whisk us off into space and far away from such terrestrial cares.

I do know that something quite odd and mysterious was about to happen in the world of the galaxy's greatest comic.

But will there be any signs of it in this month's issues?

Not that I can see.

But I do want to know what the Preying Mantis Cutaway is that Prog 89 promises us. Is it a story? Is it a free gift? Is it a big drawing that we can pull free of the staples and hang upon our walls? What? What? What? What can it be?

Regardless of that concern, it's always nice to see Walter the Wobot on the cover. I have a suspicion that the issue may see the start of the Judge Cal storyline that so resembled my own dear home life. But don't quote me on that, as I may be completely wrong and I have no evidence to back up my theory.

Prog 90; "They feared his shadow throughout the galaxy!" That must be one hell of a shadow.

2000 AD, Prog 89, Judge Dredd

2000 AD, Prog 90, Strontium Dog

2000 AD, Prog 91, Ro-Busters

2000 AD, Prog 92, Tharg

Thursday 15 December 2016

December 15th, 1976 - Marvel UK, 40 years ago this week.

Never mind all the fallout from the US election result. There's an even more important result in.

And that's the final standings for this site's legendary, "How do you pronounce, 'Maggia?'" poll.

These are those results:
  • Mag-ear. 9 votes (29%).
  • Ma-gear. 1 vote (3%).
  • Madge-ear. 1 vote (3%).
  • Ma-jeer. 2 votes (6%).
  • Some other way altogether. 11 votes (35%).
  • I don't pronounce it any way. To speak of the Maggia is to die. 7 votes (22%).
So, there you have it. It's official. "Maggia," is pronounced some other way altogether. At last, decades of confusion are finally dispelled.

In retrospect, I can't help feeling I dropped a bit of a clanger when I composed the poll without taking into account the fact that many people on the internet are rhotic and therefore don't pronounce the word, "Ear," the way that most people in England do, thus causing no end of confusion and torment for the vote. Anyway, if you have further thoughts on how the word is pronounced, you're welcome to share them in the comments box below.

In the meantime, what were our favourite Marvel UK mags up to in an era when people were more concerned about the threat of Maggie than the Maggia?

Marvel UK, Captain Britain #10

Betsy Braddock there, in the days when she was a posh, white Englishwoman and not an Asian ninja mutant psychic armed with mind-daggers.

People might knock the literary value of comics but, surely, only a comic could give you that kind of a character development.

Marvel UK, Planet of the Apes #113, Battle

A cover that's a strange mash-up of both Battle and Beneath the Planet of the Apes.

I'm not totally sure who the red-haired, blue individual is on the left of the cover.

Judging by that blurb, it would seem that Conan's been shunted out of Mighty World of Marvel.

But why?

What dread turmoil could possibly have driven such a sturdy character from his normal home?

Mighty World of Marvel #220, Nick Fury

Here's our answer to that previous question!

The entire nation celebrates as Nick Fury and his Howling Commandos invade The Mighty World of Marvel!

Or possibly not.

To be honest, I can't help feeling I'd have been a lot happier if such a move had never happened. At the time, I viewed it as a catastrophic development for Marvel UK's flagship title - and I still do. Leaving aside the fact that I hated the strip, it didn't tie in at all with the feel of the rest of the comic.

Super Spider-Man and the Titans #201, Peter Parker is dead

At last, the Clone Saga is laid to rest and we never need worry about it ever again, as our hero dumps his replica in an incinerator and destroys him to pieces.

Blimey, that's a bit dark.

I take it the Captain America tale's the one in which the sentinel of liberty appoints Rick Jones as his sidekick.

You can read a review of that very tale by clicking on this very link.

And don't forget to vote in our Rick Jones poll at the top of this page. A feature unique and exclusive to this ground-breaking blog.

Sunday 11 December 2016

Forty years ago today - December 1976.

December 1976 was a momentous month for Marvel Comics.

Well, granted, it wasn't really. It was probably October or September or August that was the momentous month but doing maths hurts my head, so I'll pretend these comics actually came out in December like they pretended to.

Whichever month it was, it was momentous because the company launched a brand new comic that would, in many ways be a harbinger of things to come.

What was it?

Why was it?

How was it?

There's only one way to find out - and that's to read the rest of this post.

Avengers #154, Attuma

Those have to be the most talkative floating heads I've ever seen in my life.

I assume those are special chains that Attuma's using, otherwise it's hard to see how they could pose any problem for a man who can turn intangible.

Conan the Barbarian #69

Hooray! I had this issue!

That means I had four consecutive issues of Conan the Barbarian. That must have been a record for a US Marvel comic.

From what I can recall of the tale, something comes out of the sea and Conan has to fight it.

Admittedly, you could probably tell that from the cover but it's all I can remember of it other than that I liked the artwork which may have been by Val Mayerik.

Captain America and the Falcon #204

I know nothing of this story but the monster reminds me of a less surreal version of Orrgo from Strange Tales #90.

Daredevil #140, the Beetle and the Gladiator

If I guess right, this tale was reprinted in one of the Marvel UK annuals.

From what I can recall, the Beetle and the Gladiator hijack a bus - which seems an odd plan for a pair of super-villains - and there might be some sort of action involving a newsagent.

Admittedly, I may be remembering the tale completely wrongly.

Fantastic Four #177, the Frightful Four

Hooray! I had this one!

That means I had five consecutive issues of The Fantastic Four, which must have been a record for a US Marvel comic.

I enjoyed this issue greatly. With its reappearance of Thundra and Tigra, the debut of that super-villain who passes out at the sight of fire, and the return of The Brute, how could any comic fan not love it?

Incredible Hulk #206

Is this the issue after Jarella dies, when the Hulk gets a bit destructy until the Defenders show up?

Iron Man #93

So, let me get this straight, The villain of this issue is a pirate with a rocket-powered peg leg? Were they a bit short of ideas this month?

Amazing Spider-Man #163

Isn't this the story in which the Kingpin attempts to transfer Spider-Man's life energy into his own son?

What a dastardly bounder that man is.

Spectacular Spider-Man #1, the Tarantula

This is it! A pivotal moment in the history of Marvel Comics, as it launches a second Spider-Man comic!

Admittedly, it's technically a third Spider-Man comic, as we already had Marvel Team-Up but I've never regarded Marvel Team-Up as canon.

Spectacular Spider-Man might have given us even more opportunities to enjoy our hero but I can't help feel it signalled the future trend of Marvel's major heroes starring in a million and one books every month in order to extract as much cash from them as the company possibly could. It's a slippery slope that I don't like sliding down.

I therefore feel that this was a bad thing.

I also tend to feel its existence robbed Amazing Spider-Man of its uniqueness and therefore robbed it of half its magic, making it feel increasingly like it was just another comic.

Thor #254, Odin

Oh blimey. Odin's at it again. Does he never learn?

X-Men #102, the Juggernaut

Hooray! The New X-Men go to Ireland and I get my first exposure to the Juggernaut!

It's a silly tale, with leprechauns showing up but it's oddly endearing and I still enjoyed it.

Friday 9 December 2016

First Official, "Spider-Man: Homecoming," trailer!

Hooray! Marvel have released the first official trailer for Spider-Man: Homecoming. And, with skills to match any super-villain, I have, by some means, managed to steal a copy and smuggle it onto this site.

Well, OK, I admit it, I found it because Edo Bosnar pointed it out on the Back In The Bronze Age blog and I simply followed his link. Thank you, Edo.

My first thoughts are that it all looks fun and lively and it's good to see Spider-Man integrated into the Marvel Universe for the first time in cinema history.

Not only that but Aunt May manages to get through the trailer without having a heart attack. I am, though, somewhat disappointed by the shortage of Marisa Tomei in it. I hope this isn't reflective of a lack of screen time for Peter's glamorous granny in the actual film.

Spider-Man looks and sounds like he should. I especially like the underarm webbing when he, "flies." That takes me back to my early comics-reading days.

Is that person with the wings the Vulture? If so, I'm not convinced about the design for him, though I accept it must be difficult to get the Vulture right on screen. Just showing him as an weedy, old, bald bloke might, admittedly, provoke more amusement than awe amongst a theatre audience.

Liz Allen looks rather fetching (I'm assuming she is Liz Allen and just not some random girl who just happens to be called Liz).

I do worry there's a lack of angst in the trailer and that the tone might be a little too knowing and too flippant. After all, where would Peter Parker be without monumental levels of self-pity?

Most of all, I love that it uses Time to Pretend by MGMT all the way through, because I've always been a sucker for it.

Those are my thoughts. You might have others. If so, feel free to leave them in the comments section below.

Thursday 8 December 2016

December 8th, 1976 - Marvel UK, 40 years ago this week.

On December 8th, 1976, BBC Two was showing its awesome gift for showmanship by broadcasting Simple Science, in which Pat O'Sullivan was reportedly showing us all how to use basic ideas to get rid of the, "Zones of Discomfort," in our living rooms.

No doubt this was the BBC's biggest ratings blockbuster since the Sunday morning thrill-fest that was Trade Union Studies.

Well, I'm no expert but I'd suspect the best way to get rid of zones of discomfort in our living rooms is to make sure there are no super-villains lurking in them.

And, fortunately, forty years ago, in the UK, we had a whole slew of super-heroes looking to do just that.

Marvel UK, Captain Britain #9, Dr Synne

Captain Britain certainly looks to be in a zone of discomfort - and it'll clearly take more than even the powers of Pat O'Sullivan to get him out of it.

I know nothing of the Demon-Creatures of Dr Synne but I do know the one on the right's a dead ringer for one of the monsters Dr Strange came up against in that prolonged Shuma-Gorath epic whose beginnings I reviewed over two years ago.

I seem to remember it lurking in the sea, off the English coast and having had a doorknocker made in its image.

You know you've arrived as an occult menace when you have a doorknocker made in your image.

Marvel UK, Planet of the Apes #112, Battle for the Planet of the Apes

Speaking of Zones of Discomfort...

I'm not sure if the cover's a reference to the Beneath the Planet of the Apes adaptation which the comic relaunches this week, or Battle For The Planet of the Apes which it's also running at the same time. By a disturbing coincidence, both strips feature a trip to that very area in this issue.

Super Spider-Man and the Titans #200, Spider-Slayer

Can this be true? Can Super Spider-Man really now be Britain's Number One comics weekly? Has it officially surpassed the Mighty World of Marvel comic that spawned it?

Mighty World of Marvel #219, Toad Men

At last, Luke Cage faces a menace that I can remember.

I seem to recall Mace being what John Lennon would no doubt have labelled, "A bullet-headed, Saxon mother's son," armed with a great big William the Conqueror style mace where his hand should have been.

From what else I can recall, such an implement turned out to be not much use for swimming, especially if your helicopter's just crashed into a river.

Sunday 4 December 2016

Fifty years ago this month - December 1966.

December 1966 wasn't a good week for those who liked to stay alive, as it saw the death of Tara Browne, London socialite and heir to the Guinness fortune, who died in South Kensington after ignoring a red light and crashing into a parked lorry. While that might have been a tragic occurrence, it might not sound a historically significant one, until you realise it was the event which inspired the first verse of the Beatles' A Day in the Life.

Elsewhere, Walt Disney died and - despite urban myths claiming that he's cryogenically frozen and awaiting revival - was cremated.

But they weren't the only ones to depart this world in that month, because legendary music show Ready Steady Go! was broadcast for the final time, with its last performers being The Who.

Does this mean that month was all about departures?

No - because in this month of 1966, The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly made its debut.

But what of the good, the bad and the ugly of the comics world? Just how were they getting on in the month that featured that cover date?

Avengers #35

I'm trying to recall what the big change in Goliath is. Is it that he regains his ability to change his height?

Is that the Living Laser on the cover? I do hope it's not his light that's failed or it's not going to be much of a story, with the Avengers having to spend twenty pages fighting a non-super-powered man who has no weapons.

Daredevil #23, the Gladiator

I believe this is the one in which our hero has to fight the Gladiator, for the entertainment of the Maggia, and the Gladiator reveals himself to have a surprisingly honourable streak - one that I can't remember ever surfacing again.

PS. Don't forget to vote in our all-important Maggia poll which you can currently find at the top of this very page.
Fantastic Four #57, Dr Doom steals the power of the Silver Surfer

Does that cover mean we've reached the epic in which Dr Doom steals the Silver Surfer's powers and goes on a global rampage?

I love that story. How could I not love it? After all, without it, we'd never have had that unbelievably brilliant second Fantastic Four movie that everyone loves.

Amazing Spider-Man #43, the Rhino

My main memory of this story is that Mary Jane gets to dance to records and the Rhino's clothes fall off. These two events are not related.

Strange Tales #151, Nick Fury

I have no idea what's going on in here.

Tales of Suspense #84, Captain America vs the Super-Adaptoid

Hooray! The plain old Adaptoid becomes the Super-Adaptoid!

Like all villains who can copy the powers of their opponents, the Super-Adaptoid was remarkably useless at taking advantage of his seemingly unbeatable abilities.

Tales to Astonish #86, Sub-Mariner

Krang's up to no good again.

Exactly what no-good, I couldn't say.

Aren't he and Dorma the wrong colour on this cover?

Thor #135, The Man-Beast looms over our hero

One of my favourite Thor stories is in full swing, as one of my favourite super-evolved wolf villains is still causing trouble.

X-Men #27, the Mimic is back

As I've mentioned before, my knowledge of the Mimic comes entirely from reading that issue of The Hulk in which he appears. Therefore I can offer few thoughts about this tale, other than to wonder what would happen if he had a fight with the Super-Adaptoid.

Thursday 1 December 2016

December 1st, 1976 - Marvel UK, 40 years ago this week.

On the first of December, 1976, two events occurred that rocked Britain to its very foundations.

The first was that the Sex Pistols (and Siouxsie Sioux) achieved TV immortality when they said naughty words on Bill Grundy's early evening TV show.

The other was that Kevin Keegan fell off his bike in Superstars.

Talking-Head nostalgia shows would have us believe that the former of those events had the greatest impact on the British public at the time but my memory is that, the next day, everyone was talking about the Keegan incident and no one at all was talking about the Sex Pistols one.

This is hardly surprising, as one was transmitted at peak viewing time on national TV and the other was only on local television and therefore couldn't have been seen by around ninety percent of the people who claim to have watched it at the time. Presumably they're also the five million people who were at the Sex Pistols' first gig despite it having been in a venue that only held one man and his dog.

Either way, with such trauma in the air, we clearly had no choice but to seek respite in the world of super-heroes.

Marvel UK, Captain Britain #8, Hovercraft driving up the wall of a building in Regent Street, London

What's this?

Hovercraft can drive up walls?

Now that I know this, it makes me wonder why they've never caught on with the public. I'm going out to get one, right now. Come to think of it, I have a hover mower. I'm going to see if I can use it to mow my ceiling.

Marvel UK, Planet of the Apes #111, Battle for the Planet of the Apes

They're still battling for The Planet of the Apes.

It looks like someone's going to have to tell that chimp that at least one human's already reached the guns and he seems to have nabbed virtually all of them already. Those sneaky humans.

Super-Spider-Man and the Titans #199, the Vulture kicks Spider-Man in mid-air, above New York

It's an epoch-making moment in human history, as Super-Spider-Man with the Super-Heroes merges with The Titans to give us what promises to be the greatest comic in the Universe.

I believe this is the issue in which Peter Parker sets out to discover if he's a clone or not.

Fortunately for us all, he soon realises he's not, and that's the end of the matter and it's never mentioned again.

Mighty World of Marvel #218, the Hulk vs the Toad Men

The Hulk's still sorting out the Toad-Men.

I have no memory of Diamondback at all, though the name rings a bell.