Sunday, 8 January 2017

Forty years ago today - January 1977.

The internet informs me that nothing at all interesting happened in January of 1977.

Well, admittedly, it tells me that Commodore launched the world's first all-in-one home computer and that Apple Computers was incorporated and that Indira Gandhi called for an election and that the Sex Pistols were dropped by their record label but I don't care about any of that. Not that I'm shallow but all I care about is what was happening in comics at the time.

This is what would have been happening in comics at the time, had they actually been published in the month that was written on the front of them.

Incredible Hulk #207, the Defenders

The Defenders are still knocking around, so I assume we're still going through the aftermath of the death of Jarella.

While that may be a tragic circumstance, my first thought upon looking at this cover, is that I never liked the costume Valkyrie was wearing in this era. It always looked a bit cold to me and I could never understand what was holding it on. Also, metal is surely not the most flexible of things to make your clothing from.

Avengers #155, Dr Doom

I have no memory of this story whatsoever, even though I'm sure I must have read it and, with The Sub-Mariner vs Wonder Man, Dr Doom up to no good and the Whizzer blundering around, it looks like the sort of tale that would embed itself in the mind.

Conan the Barbarian #70, Belit

It would appear that BĂȘlit is still alive. Call me negative but I'd sort of taken it for granted that she'd popped her clogs by now.

Captain America and the Falcon #205

As so often with Captain America in this era, I've no idea at all as to what's going on in this issue.

As so often, it all looks a bit too sci-fi for Captain America and the Falcon to be dealing with.

Daredevil # 141, Bullseye

Didn't Bullseye once try to fire Daredevil from a circus cannon? Now he's trying to fire him from a giant crossbow. I am spotting a pattern to his behaviour.

Fantastic Four #178, the Brute

It's that rare thing, a Fantastic Four issue that I didn't have, from this era .

But hooray! The Brute is on the rampage and causing nothing but trouble for our heroes!

Iron Man #94

Iron Man's still fighting a one-legged pirate.

Even though I've never read it, I can't help suspecting this isn't one of the classic Iron Man tales of the 1970s.

Amazing Spider-Man #164, the Kingpin

That no-good rat the Kingpin is out to steal Spider-Man's life force, so that he can give it to his son, who probably won't even be grateful for it, judging by his previous behaviour.

Spectacular Spider-Man #2, Kraven and the Tarantula

There's one thing you can say in favour of the launch of Spectacular Spider-Man, it gave Marvel UK twice as much material to reprint as its weekly mags rapidly caught up with their US counterparts. For the Marvel UK editor at the time, it must have been a Godsend.

Having said that, it can't be an auspicious sign that this cover rings no bells with me. In fact, I'm all but certain it's the first Spider-Man cover I've reproduced, since I started this feature all those moons ago, that stirs no recollections for me whatsoever.

Thor #255, the Stone Men From Saturn

This is more like it! As I've said before, Thor's origin tale is my favourite Marvel Silver Age debut. Therefore, I'm delighted to see the return of the Stone Men from Saturn.

I hope one of them uproots a tree at some point and boasts about how strong he is. They won't feel like the Stone Men  from Saturn if they don't.


TC said...

IIRC, Belit was killed in Conan #100, a double-sized issue in 1979 or '80.

Anonymous said...

Cap and the Falcon battle Agron, an energy being from Earth's distant desolate and windblown future. He started out here inhabiting an eyeless cadaver, which is what I would do, figuring the pickings were better in our time period. He "will not be ousted from this era!" I think they ended up imprisoning him in a large tube of some kind, which makes sense.
Did Agron ever emerge from his tube to threaten all of humanity? I can't say.


Anonymous said...

Yeah, that energy squid on the Cap cover is the true form of Agron from the front of the previous issue. The geezer with no eyeballs freaked me out as a kid - for someone not generally associated with horror, Kirby was always good at those disturbing touches, and getting them past the comics code.
As with the Six Million Year Man from Jack's Black Panther, the apocalyptic future really added something memorable to the story, so I'm afraid I can't agree with you about the place of sci-fi in Captain America, Steve.
But we can certainly agree about Val's costume change in the Defenders.

Also - seeing as the subject came up in the comments not so long ago - I believe that issue of the FF with the Frightfuls is the one with the Gerald Ford cameo in it.
He refused to pay a ransom to the Wizard, which may be a reference to his being being unwilling to bail out New York at the time.


Michael Phillips said...

Crom,but that Conan issue was the first with Ernie Chan on Big John's pencils, a superbly drawn issue, though I was never keen on Our favourite Cimmerian having a bent nose when EC inked Buscema.

Anonymous said...

Kirby could indeed do scary stuff; in a Captain America annual Cap fought a horrifying space vampire who fed on energy. Outer space abounds with energy vampires of all sorts. Watch the skies! This one had a huge mouth full of sharp teeth and glowing eyes. Very nasty. They had to teleport him into a supernova.
I believe the pirate fighting Iron Man is Captain Kraken, and pirates are always cool.
So are the Stone Men of Saturn, who could easily squash the Toad Men by just stepping on them, should their respective interstellar races ever go to war.


Anonymous said...

Ah, The Thing From the Black Hole Star, MP... that was a good one, further evidence that Captain America benefitted from Kirby's sci-fi touch -

Did you ever read that issue of Kamandi with the mutated Russian cosmonaut? At the time, that was quite disturbing for a nine year old, I can tell you.


Paul McScotty Muir said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paul McScotty Muir said...

Although I wasn't a fan of Kirby's return to Captain America at all and never liked his stories on the strip at this time I do remember some of his work (a bit earlier than this) being pretty scary. In particular. I recall a few issues of the DEMON (especially issue 13) that were really unsettling. in fact the only time my mum and dad questioned me reading so many US comics was in seeing issue 13 of the DEMON with a full splash page of a man with his face burned doff.

Actually in saying I never liked Kirby's Capt America work at this time as a 17 year old that changed slightly when I read one of my many comic related Christmas presents this year ( a collection of his Cap America strips from issues 193 - 200 from the very underrated "The Ultimate Graphic Novel collections" series) and whilst not the greatest work he has done they were a pretty enjoyable read. Anyhoo I hope you have a great 2017 Steve (and all our followers as well of course)

Colin Jones said...

January 1977 also saw the inauguration of Jimmy Carter, the debut of Leela on Dr. Who and the start of "Children Of The Stones" on ITV. The death of Belit occurred in Conan #100 dated July 1979 - I had that issue but I'd never read any of Robert E. Howard's Conan stories so I didn't know Belit was supposed to die. Annoyingly, the cover of Conan #100 was a huge spoiler - a distraught Conan holding Belit in his arms with "Death On The Black Coast !!" emblazoned underneath...I had a feeling that Belit might be dying in that issue :D And wasn't "the Marvel UK editor at the time" none other than Neil Tennant, later of Pet Shop Boys fame ?

Steve W. said...

A Happy New Year to you too, Paul and to everyone else who visits this site.

Colin, if only I'd known about Children of the Stones having started this month in 1977, I would definitely have mentioned it. It left an indelible impression upon my youthful mind.

As for disturbing Jack Kirby/Captain Americaness, I recall there being an issue where some fiend or other tries to scratch his eyeballs out and he has to spend an entire issue blind. That seemed very strong for a comic of its era.

Steve W. said...

Colin, I do believe that Nifty Neil was indeed the Marvel UK editor at the time. I know he left in 1977 but I assume he was still there in January, as he was involved in the launch of the legendary Fury comic.

Anonymous said...

I remember that Kamandi story very well, Sean! One of the first comics I ever had, as a kid, that wasn't about a duck or a rabbit. Scared the daylights outta me.
You're a man of refined tastes!


Colin Jones said...

Steve, you aren't the only one who forgot about Children Of The Stones - the latest issue of SFX magazine (which calls itself the world's greatest sci-fi/fantasy magazine) contains no mention whatsoever of the 40th anniversary of a TV series widely considered to be a classic. Instead they devote pages and pages to the 40th anniversary of Star Wars which doesn't even occur till May.

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