Sunday, 14 May 2017

Forty years ago today - May 1977.

Call me, "Hard as nails," if you like but I'm proud to announce that I survived this year's Eurovision Song Contest, last night.

Needless to say, I was torn between voting for the man stood up the ladder, wearing a horse's head, the dancing gorilla, the man doing a duet with himself and the rapping, yodelling Romanians, and so, I voted for none of them.

Obviously, the United Kingdom deserved to win, like it always does but once more we were thwarted, despite a highly impressive set of visuals and a bravura performance from a woman not anything like weird enough to stand a chance of actually getting any votes.

Of course, it wasn't always thus. Once there was a time when we did well in Eurovision.

That time was the 1970s.

And that's where we're going right now, to see what our favourite heroes were up to in the year when the UK finished second, thanks to Lynsey de Paul and Mike Moran's Rock Bottom.

You don't want a rock bottom. It's a very uncomfortable thing to sit on. Just ask the Thing.

Avengers #159, Graviton

I remember little of this tale, even though I seem to keep coming across it wherever I go on the internet.

Conan the Barbarian #74

It's the same old routine for Conan. Everywhere he goes, there's peril. Why he doesn't sue his travel agent is beyond me.

Captain America and the Falcon #209

I take it, from the cover blurb, that this is Arnim Zola's first ever appearance anywhere. Who would have thought, reading this comic, that, decades later, he'd be a movie star and played by Toby Jones?

Well, no one, obviously, as no one had heard of Toby Jones back then and, anyway, Toby Jones looks nothing like Arnim Zola.

I don't have a clue who the yellow individual attacking Cap is. I would assume it's an android but, as Zola is described as a, "Bio Fanatic," I have to conclude that it's not an android.

Daredevil #145, The Owl

I have no idea at all as to what happens in this one, other than that the Owl is likely to be involved.

Fantastic Four #182, the Brute

Hooray! After last month's reprint, the Brute is back.

I always liked the Brute. I liked the idea of an evil Reed Richards. Plus, he was suitably unpleasant for a villain.
Incredible Hulk #211, Mongu

I assume this isn't the same Mongu who showed up in the Hulk's early days and turned out to be a communist in a big costume, pretending to be an alien invader?

Iron Man #98, Sunfire

The world's most annoying super-doer is back, as Sunfire shows up.

No doubt we'll get twenty pages of bitter, nationalistic nonsense from him before he flees the scene, still ranting on about foreigners.

But why is Iron Man wearing what looks to be his Steve Ditko era armour?

Amazing Spider-Man #168, Will O the Wisp

I can't help feeling that calling Will-o'-The-Wisp a, "Superstar," might be a slight exaggeration. In fact, was he ever seen again after this story?

I would have assumed the answer is, "No," given that he died at the end of the tale but, knowing the world of comics, that's no guarantee he didn't go on to have a long and fulfilling career.

Spectacular Spider-Man #6, Morbius and the Human Torch

That's a bit poor. They're only on issue #6 and they're already reduced to using reprints.

I recall this tale from its Marvel UK printing but remember little of it. Didn't Morbius attack some woman near a bridge?

Thinking about it, there's a bridge on the cover. Maybe it's the same bridge.

Thor #259

Unless my memory betrays me, the cover to this issue was reproduced in the John Buscema/Stan Lee book How To Draw Comics The Marvel Way.

I'm assuming those creatures on the cover are the High Evolutionary's evil New Men?


Anonymous said...

If memory serves, those creatures were part of the Grey Gargoyle's alien pirate crew.
The Gargoyle had managed to get himself shot into space in the pages of Marvel Team-Up and, being the kind of guy who makes lemonade out of lemons, he became a space pirate.
I always liked Will-O-the-Wisp and was surprised he didn't show up very often. Wispy did come back some years later to battle Spider-Man and a mutated Tarantula, who had, well, mutated into a mutant tarantula.
No doubt he's still floating around like a big yellow puffball, somewhere. I'd like to think so, anyway.


Aggy said...

Willo the Wisp ended up as part of Silver Sables merceneries. I assume he's appeared in the background of one from Secret Invasion or whatever huge crossovers Marvel has done in last few years but don't know for sure.

Steve W. said...

Aggy and MP, thanks for the Gargoyle and Wisp info.

Anonymous said...

Steve, I gather from the press this week that the UK might be returning to the 70s after the election if enough of us vote for extreme Marxist lunacy.
Perhaps that will improve the country's Eurovision fortunes in future.

The first appearance of the awesome Arnim Zola was actually in the previous issue of Captain America, with its senses shattering cliffhanger ending.

Dunno about Sunfire as the world's most annoying super-doer - irritating as he was, theres some pretty stiff competition...


Colin Jones said...

I listened to Eurovision on Radio 2 so I had to rely on Ken Bruce describing the dancing gorilla et al. Poor deluded Ken actually thought the UK had a good, ever heard of Brexit, Ken ? They've hated us in Eurovision for years, no matter how good the UK song is. We came about 19th as usual and Ken Bruce described it as a good solid performance to be proud usual. And what the heck is Australia doing in Eurovision - Israel, Turkey and Kazakhstan are stretching the definition of "Europe"...but Australia ???

Anonymous said...


For some reason Eurovision is really big here in Australia. When I first moved here I was amazed at the fuss. To me it's still the musical version of European It's a Knock out.


dangermash said...

I look forward to when Australia wins and has to host the following year. They'll have to screen it on Saturday morning over here and we'll get our Saturday evening back.

Colin Jones said...

I think it's been arranged that Australia wouldn't be the host the following year if they won.

B Smith said...

The first appearance of an Australian entry was really just a nod to the audience that Eurovision has down under. It has been screened on the government "ethnic" station for a couple of decades, but it's only in the last ten years or so that it's appeared on the mainstream radar.

Appearances by Australian "entries" in the couple of years since have been because Sony Australia has flung a large wad of cash at the Eurovision people (it's just a coincidence that the singers performing are all signed to Sony Australia).

"Israel, Turkey and Kazakhstan are stretching the definition of "Europe" - they are members of the European Broadcasting Union, which qualifies them for entry (and you might have noticed during the grand final score add-up that the Israel network carrying the show announced their imminent closure, and thus the end of Israel's involvement)

Steve W. said...

Thanks for the info, B. I do sometimes feel we should just send along a donkey to just stand there and relieve itself on the stage, as it couldn't really do any worse and would involve a lot less effort on the behalf of all involved.

The terrifying thing is it'd probably win.

dangermash said...

That's what Finland did one year. "Let's put in a Planet Of The Apes tribute band. It can't do any worse than last year,". Or was it "...can't do any worst than the UK"? And we all know what happened next.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Was that A-Ha?

dangermash said...

It was Hard Rock Hallelujah by Lordi. If you've not seen it before you're in for a treat.

Steve W. said...

Lordi were legends who shall never be forgotten.

John said...

FF 182 has one of the best cliffhanger endings ever, as the Brute throws an unconscious Sue Storm out of a 40 story Baxter Building window. Steve, I agree with you that the Brute was a neat foe. It is too bad that he did not return a few years later.

Steve W. said...

There's nothing better than a villain who's evil just for the sake of it.

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