Thursday, 16 March 2017

March 16th, 1977 - Marvel UK, 40 years ago this week.

My in-depth research tells me that nothing in the slightest bit interesting happened in this week in 1977. Just what strange madness had befallen the Earth, that allowed such a thing to happen?

I have no idea.

But, whatever it was, I probably didn't care. I was no doubt too wrapped up in the never-ending dramas that were befalling the heroes and heroines of our favourite comics company at the time. Not for them the quiet ennui of the real world. They inhabited a realm where every day was a life or death struggle.

And, if it wasn't, they'd contrive to make it so.

But what were those dramas?

And just how did they affect me?

Super Spider-Man and the Titans #214, Dr Octopus

Doc Ock is still causing trouble and still hasn't made an honest woman of Aunt May yet.

It's a shame he never did. Just think of all the angst, torment and storylines they could have gotten from Peter Parker having Otto Octavius as his stepfather. If Stan Lee had still been writing the strip, he'd have known how to get maximum soap opera shenanigans out of that set-up.

Marvel UK, Captain Britain #23, Jim Callaghan and Captain America

Haven't I published this cover elsewhere in recent weeks? I'm sure I remember people commenting on the fact that Jim Callaghan is the only one not trembling with fear on this cover.

But if I have posted it before, when, where and for what reason?

Is this the last ever colour issue? I have a feeling it might be.

Mighty World of Marvel #233, Planet of the Apes

The battle for the Planet of the Apes is still ongoing.

Will it never end?

At this rate, the poor old Lawgiver'll have popped his clogs from old age before it ends.

Even worse than that, it's keeping the likes of the Hulk, Captain Marvel and Daredevil off the cover.

Marvel UK, Fury #1

This is it! The comic that changed the world!

Well, alright, admittedly it didn't.

To be honest, there's not much I can say about it, as I never owned - nor even ever saw - an issue of the comic.

I believe that, as well as the Howling Commandos strip, the mag reprinted various other Silver Age and possibly even pre-Silver Age war tales.

It does make you wonder why Marvel UK never took a leaf from Alan Class's book and produced any mags that recycled Marvel's pre-Fantastic Four monster stories. After all, such a policy kept Class's company afloat for a good three decades, so it must have had some sort of commercial viability.

Oh well, at least if the strips in Fury weren't to everyone's taste, one could at least get a free model plane from the endeavour.


Anonymous said...

The thought of having Doc Ock part of the family at every Christmas dinner is pretty horrifying, but at least you won't have to pass the turkey, he can reach it from where he's sitting.


Colin Jones said...

Steve, that Captain Britain cover appeared on the BITBA blog a few weeks ago and regular commenter Colin Bray noticed how Callaghan seemed totally calm unlike the two Captains - is that what you're thinking of ? I can think of two reasons for the PM's lack of fear:
1) Callaghan usually wore glasses but they are missing here so maybe he couldn't see the guns pointing at him.
2) Callaghan famously said "Crisis ? What crisis ?" so maybe he was equally relaxed in the face of imminent death.
And yes, that was the final colour issue of Captain Britain. Another last is this week's MWOM cover - the last ever time the apes had a cover all to themselves.

dangermash said...

Actually, MP, it's either this week's SSMATT or next week's when there's a panel with Doc Ock asking Peter Parker to pass the chicken!

Steve W. said...

Thanks for the Captain Britain explanation, Colin. I was starting to wonder if I was going mad and imagining comments that had never existed. :)

Paul McScotty Muir said...

I agree Steve I also would have loved to have seen a Marvel comic reprinting their old monsters comic strips from the 50s - 60s - these are still some of my favourite comics especially Ditko's small 4 or 5 page tales that he did and were a staple of many an Alan Class book.

Colin Jones said...

On the subject of Captains America and Britain shaking with fear - I think they are actually meant to be struggling to free themselves. On the left of the cover there are "movement lines" (or whatever they're called) on the post to which Cap B is tied - either he is quivering with terror so much that he's shaking the post too or he is struggling to free himself and thereby also shaking the post which is probably the more likely explanation (and Cap B is British so would obviously maintain a stiff upper-lip at all times !!). This would also explain the passive attitude of the PM - as well as being his usual unflappable self, Callaghan is not struggling to free himself and then hurl himself at the Red Skull's goons because he's not a superhero. The Prime-Minister best suited for this situation would be Harold MacMillan a.k.a "Super-Mac" - he'd sort out the Red Skull single-handed !

Colin Jones said...

Or Thatcher of course - she'd give the Red Skull a good telling-off and wallop him with her handbag.

Barnsley Dave said...

Fury seemed to be a bit out of place at the time. The idea of trying to compete with "Battle" and "Warlord" proved to be a bit of a mistake, although the covers by Carlos Ezquerra were a nice touch. I do remember that the back up strip was "Captain Savage and the Leatherneck Raiders", which was a US Marine Corp version of the Howling Commandos. I do recall Baron Zemo turning up as a villain in one story and I think Captain America and Bucky teamed up with the Howlers at some point.

TC said...

Captain Savage had appeared in Sgt. Fury's comic a few times, whenever the Howlers were transported by submarine on a mission. The spin-off series, AFAIK, never did explain why a submarine officer was put in charge of a Marine Raider (i.e., commando-type) unit.

Marvel didn't really seem very confident in Capt. Savage's ability to carry his own comic. It seemed like Sgt. Fury and other Marvel heroes guest starred in Savage's series more often than not. The raiders rescued Howling Commando Izzy Cohen from a POW camp in one story, and Lt. Ben Grimm in another. Baron Strucker appeared in a three-part serial that dealt with Hydra's origins.

I'm pretty sure that Captain America and Bucky guest starred in Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos at least once. Fury, as a colonel and head of S.H.I.E.L.D., often appeared in Silver Age superhero stories set in the present time, and it was mentioned that he had worked with Captain America and Reed Richards during WWII.

IIRC, some of the 1950's monster stories were reprinted in the 1960's, as back-ups in Marvel Tales and Fantasy Masterpieces. They were also reprinted in the early 1970's in Where Monsters Dwell and Where Creatures Roam.

Steve W. said...

TC and Barnsley Dave, thanks for all the Fury info. :)

Dougie said...

I've never read a single Captain Savage story. I did read the Kirby Howling Commandos recently and enjoyed them.

Dougie said...

I've never read a single Captain Savage story. I did read the Kirby Howling Commandos recently and enjoyed them.

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