Thursday, 12 January 2017

January 12th, 1977 - Marvel UK, 40 years ago this week.

On this day in 1977, BBC Two was spoiling us all by showing  the legendary ratings smash Trade Union Studies at peak viewing time.

Elsewhere, BBC One was showing that episode of The Goodies where they decide to make millions from selling string.

But it has to be said that even this was overshadowed by one event - because, as Colin Jones has pointed out to me, on the 10th of this month, ITV showed the first episode of Children of the Stones and, suddenly, even Trade Union Studies seemed dull and mundane in comparison.

I re-watched Children of the Stones, on YouTube, a couple of years ago and it still has a certain appeal even when you're grown up and it's no longer 1977. Needless to say, it gets the Steve Does Comics thumbs-up, along with its spiritual brothers Escape Into Night and Timeslip. 

But what of Marvel UK? Could it rise to meet such a challenge head-on?

Marvel UK, Captain Britain #14

Children of the Stones may have got its power from Avebury but Captain Britain got his powers from Stonehenge. That raises the obvious question; "Which is best? Stonehenge or Avebury?" Don't forget to vote in our exclusive poll at the top of this page.

Meanwhile, that's a very Ross Andruesque villain, even though the cover's not drawn by him.

But how exactly did Captain Britain's parents die? I can't remember ever reading anything that touched upon the subject.

Of course, this has now led me to try and think of super-heroes who have two living parents. Needless to say, I'm struggling to come up with any names.

Mighty World of Marvel #224, Hulk vs the Locust

Is this first issue of Sal Buscema's lengthy run on the Hulk? I have a strong feeling it might be.

I seem to recall the Locust having a somewhat over-inflated opinion of his prowess and not exactly being a major challenge for the Hulk.

Super Spider-Man with the Super-Heroes #205

I could be wrong but I have a suspicion this cover is for the Longest Hundred Yards tale that, only weeks earlier, had appeared in that year's Spider-Man Annual. The irony being that the scene depicted on this cover was excised from that annual in order to make the story fit the available page count.

I seem to recall the advertised cut-out model being a rooftop backdrop upon which we could add cut-outs of Spider-Man and the Green Goblin. I remember getting great pleasure from assembling it at the time - and also from shooting the Green Goblin off of those rooftops, with my Dinky Toys UFO Interceptor. All of this raises the obvious question; "Why has there never been a Spider-Man/UFO crossover? Why?"

Marvel UK, Planet of the Apes #117

Battle and Beneath both rumble along.

But the exciting news is that we get the backdrop to our Apes cut-out, which, in this case, depicts the Statue of Liberty lying around on the beach.

But what of Captain Britain and Mighty World of Marvel? If Super Spider-Man and Planet of the Apes published cut-outs this week, does that mean those two other mags did likewise?

And, if so, what did those cut-outs depict?


Dougie said...

Very vague memory of Captain Britain and Hurricane on an airport runway...

dangermash said...

Wasn't happy to see the longest 100 yards reprinted in the weeklies so soon after appearing in the annual. And spread over two weeks - that was a long break between new Spidey material. And I was at the age when I didn,t appreciate stories like this - no villain meant no interest for me.

And I'm not sure when it happened but we seem to have transitioned back from one ~20 page Spidey story/week to half a story/week. What with MWOM having five strips (maybe about 1/3rd length each?) we seem to be heading back to the pre Marvel UK days when you'd get just 3 or 4 pages of a story each week.

Aggy said...

Spolier Warning

Captain Britains parents died in a "lab accident" of suitable vagueness. Claremont probably just put it in to just explain why they weren't around anymore and gave it no more thought.

But this is comics and such a badly defined death is going to be used by a future writer. (Exactly what IS the current story with Spideys parents?).

Anyway Gary Friedrich had the deaths caused by the supercomputer Mastermind which was located in the Braddocks family mansion. In only a few weeks from now!

TC said...

Peter Parker and Commander Straker both made Joe Btfsplk look like Gladstone Gander. A Spider-Man/UFO crossover would have been unbearably depressing.

Colin Jones said...

I too watched the entire series of Children Of The Stones on YouTube a couple of years ago but I don't remember Escape Into Night or Timeslip. I do remember Sky, King Of The Castle and The Georgian House which all had a sci-fi theme. I think this week's issue of Captain Britain was the one where all the colour pages were printed in the wrong order.

Steve W. said...

Aggy, thanks for the Captain Britain info.

Colin, you should definitely watch Escape into Night and Timeslip if you can. They're classic children's sci-fi/horror.

Anonymous said...

If anybody appearing in a comic is supposed to be super-intelligent, like this Mastermind, you gotta draw him with a big ol' noggin, like Hector Hammond, the Gremlin, the Gargoyle, the Leader, the Watcher, or Alpha the Ultimate Mutant. That's so the reader can tell he's really smart!


Anonymous said...


It was CB #17 that had the colour pages messed up, and #18 contained a corrected reprint of the whole colour section of #17, with instructions to wrap the new pages around the black and white centre pages, to 'correct' the mistake. I'd missed issue 17 and so was quite happy to have most of that issue included as a bonus.

I think the Mastermind/Braddock parents story was the end of Captan Britain offering anything remotely different (which was a stretch, at best). Once Captain America and the Red Skull joined the storyline it became tedious and I can barely recall any subsequent stories. When Moore and Davis revamped the whole thing in the 80s, Mastermind and Braddock manor was used for a central plot point, whereas the rest was mostly discarded.


Anonymous said...

Wasn't Mastermind a super computer under Braddock manor? Something like that... Alan Moore actually picked up quite a few plot points from the various earlier versions of CB, to get across the idea that Merlin deliberately created far fetched, unbelievable scenarios so CB could eventually cope with Jim Jaspers' reality warps.
So, retrospectively all that rubbish in the earlier comics makes sense.

Tricky poll this time round, Steve - Stonehenge used to be brilliant, but less so since our fascist police state closed down the old free festival and built that ridiculous visitors centre.
And now theres this planned tunnel... I'm a bit worried digging under the stones will awake our ancient alien overlords.


Colin Jones said...

Thanks, DW - I remember the corrected version that was supplied with the following issue.

Colin Jones said...

Talking of Stonehenge - people always turn up at Stonehenge to celebrate the summer solstice but it was most likely the winter solstice that was important in ancient times as that was the point when the days started lengthening again.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I don't wanna hear that Yog-Sothoth or Nyarlyhotep are crawling out from under Stonehenge because of current digging after Merlin went to all the trouble of burying them under there in the first place.
We've got enough political problems at the moment, thank you very much.


Steve W. said...

Personally, I voted for Avebury because it's creepier. I'm not sure I'd be able to sleep in a village at night if I knew it was surrounded by a stone circle. I'd be too worried about the stones coming to life and killing me in my bed.

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