Sunday, 9 April 2017

Forty years ago today - April 1977.

It's that time once more when I must leap into my time machine and launch myself, face first, at 1977.

Can 1977 survive the impact?

More importantly, can I?

Avengers #158, Vision vs Wonder Man

"It had to happen -- Wonder Man vs the Vision!"

It didn't really have to happen, did it? If Marvel heroes would only learn to act like adults, I'm sure none of this unpleasantness would ever occur.

I do believe I have a copy of this, hiding in a cupboard. Despite this, I've never read it. Perhaps I might find myself reviewing it in the not-too-distant future. Perhaps there's a mysterious hand shows up in this issue, like there was in the previous one.

There's only one way for me to find out.

Captain America and the Falcon #208

Doesn't this one feature a very unpleasant, rampaging monster from outer space?

Fantastic Four #181

I don't have a clue what happens in this one - or why Sue and Reed can't help them.

Hulk #210, Dr Druid

I believe this was my first ever exposure to Dr Druid.

I am aware of the existence of Dr Druid and that he hung around with the Avengers but it feels like every memory of him and his adventures has somehow been removed from my mind.

But, then again, you know what they say; if you can remember Dr Druid, you haven't met him.

Iron Man #97, the Guardsman

Wasn't the Guardsman an Irish gentleman with a beard?

Didn't he die after his first appearance?

Or am I thinking of someone else?

Amazing Spider-Man #167

It's the tale we've all been praying for - the return of the Spider-Slayer!

In fairness, this incarnation of it was a bit more interesting than the multi-legged versions we'd had in its more recent appearances.

More importantly, we get Will 'o the Wisp, who I remember being quite a tragic character but possibly not one who was bright enough to try explaining his motivations to those who were seeking to punch him in the face.

Spectacular Spider-Man #5, Vulture and the Hitman

It's a striking cover by Dave Cockrum, one I remember well from the first time I saw it reproduced by Marvel UK.

Sadly, I can't say the story's equally striking, mostly because I can't recall anything about it, other than that the Hitman and the Vulture are in it, which I could have guessed from the cover.

Thor #258, the Grey Gargoyle

The Grey Gargoyle's up to no good again.

Doesn't he end up teaming up with Thor to fight some lion men from outer space or something?

But I do always wonder why Thor always had so much trouble with him. All he ever had to do was blast him with his hammer, without getting within touching distance of him and that'd the end of that.

I do feel someone should write a book for super-heroes, telling them how to fight super-villains. It'd go, "Punch Hammerhead in the stomach, not the head. Don't get within touching distance of the Grey Gargoyle. Sneak up on everyone else, from behind."

X-Men #104, Magneto

It's a major occasion in comics history. Magneto meets the New X-Men for the first time - and he gives them a bit of a thumping because, according to Cyclops, they lack teamwork.

I do seem to remember Cyclops making that complaint every time they came up against every foe. It does sort of suggest he wasn't doing his job as team leader very well.

Daredevil #144, the Man-Bull

Nope. No idea what goes on in this one. I do though approve of the Man-Bull as a Daredevil villain.

Conan the Barbarian #73, the Well of Skelos

Looks like it's business as usual for Conan.


Dougie said...

The first Guardsman, Kevin, had a beard. His brother Michael didn't. I wish they were Brian and Michael but only British readers in the 70s might find that amusing.
Conan met another giant toad from a well in Conan the Buccaneer since De Camp and Carter just like Thomas were compelled to retroactively explain REH's passing reference to the Well of Skelos.

dangermash said...

Have to disagree with you Steve wrt the spider slayer. Ross Andru can't draw a spider slayer that doesn't look as if it's about to topple over. Mind you I didn't like Gil Kane's either. Horrible Giacoia inking and a horrible story line involving a rubber mask. Ditko and Romita all the way for me.

Colin Bray said...

Dr Druid is a strange one. Despised by everyone who ever met him, he kept on getting four-colour work.

I guess he did have mad mind control skills after all.

Anonymous said...

Who could possibly forget the senses shattering first appearance of Arnim Zola in Captain America 208?
Nothing from outer space in it, Steve... perhaps you were thinking of Captain America Annual 3?


Warren JB said...

I don't know much about Doctor Druid, just a few articles in comics blogs; but whenever I see him I think he looks like Charles Winchester from MASH decided to take a leaf out of Klinger's book and dress funny. The balding-psychiatrist-in-a-red-onesie look is decidely odd.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the Fantastic Four issue, there seemed to be a bit of a mix-up. While the previous issue featured a cover showing the brief but glorious team-up of Tigra, the Impossible Man, Thundra, and the Thing (I call them T.I.T.T. for short) it actually was a reprint of one of the later issues of the Lee/Kirby run. The F.F. fought the Maggia in that one. The actual battle between T.I.T.T. and the U.S. Army over an out-of control android occurs in this issue. It's generic cover doesn't have anything to do with the contents, and was probably meant to go on the reprint.
Thank God we got this cleared up.


B Smith said...

Seeing this lot reminds me of how my Marvel mania had eased off by this point - I was only buying four of the titles shown regularly, and even that wasn't for much longer. I felt liked an old hand at these things by that time, having started to read 'em in 1970...not that I was any less interested in comics per se, just not this lot.

Steve W. said...

Dougie, thanks for the Guardsman info.

Dangermash, I think that what impressed me about Andru's Spider-Slayer was that it had caterpillar tracks. I'm automatically impressed by anything that has caterpillar tracks.

Colin, it all proves that the powers of Dr Druid should never be misunderestimated.

Sean, you're 100% right. That was the story I was thinking of.

Warren, I too have always felt that Dr Druid looks familiar from somewhere else but I've never been able to put my finger on where.

MP, thanks for the FF info. It seems a strange one to reprint, when there were much better old stories available than that one.

B, I think there's no doubt that most of Marvel's big-hitters were well past their peak by this point. The X-Men issue is the only one of those above that that I'd view as essential reading.

Anonymous said...

Steve, I think they reprinted the F.F.'s less than epic battle with the Maggia because it was a one issue story, completely self-contained, easy to reprint when the editor was faced with the Dreaded Deadline Doom. I would guess those comics were due to ship out and they had to stick something in there.
Did we ever figure out how to pronounce "Maggia" anyway? I'm not clear on this.


Joe S. Walker said...

Dougie, did Roy Thomas ever need to be "compelled" to insert a retroactive explanation for anything??

Steve W. said...

Sadly, MP, we never did get to find out how, "Maggia," is pronounced, thanks to my legendary poll neglecting to take into account the fact that most of the planet Earth's English speakers are rhotic, thus wrecking my attempts at making the poll phonetic. If the UK Electoral Commission ever get their hands on me, I'm toast.

Anonymous said...

I'm actually at a bit of a loss to understand why there was any confusion over how to pronounce "maggia".
Compared to, say, "Mjolnir" it seems quite straight forward.


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