Thursday, 25 May 2017

May 25th, 1977 - Marvel UK, 40 years ago this week.

It's time to grab your lightsabre, shoot Greedo first and punch a droid in the gob because today marks the fortieth anniversary of the release of the film that changed the course of human history.

That's right. It was on May 25th, 1977, that Star Wars was unleashed upon an unsuspecting planet and the picture houses of the Western World and beyond were saved.

Not only that but Marvel Comics - in both the US and UK - was about to be saved by it as well. Good gravy, is there anything that wasn't saved by that film?

As it turned out, Borussia Mönchengladbach weren't. On that very night, they lost 3-1 as Liverpool won the first of their eighty five billion European Cups. Clearly, the Force was not strong with the titanic Teutons that night.

But what of Marvel UK in the week that ended on that historic day? Could it offer anything that could match the epoch-making significance of that film premiere?

Marvel UK, Captain Britain #33

Not half it could, as Britain's greatest hero gets a makeover at the hands of Merlin.

I assume this is the issue where he gets his sceptre to replace his stick, meaning he can now fly instead of having to get everywhere by pole vaulting. Does he get any other powers to go with it? I don't recall.

I do know that, in the back-up strips, the FF are still battling the Space Creature From The Black Space Lagoon, we're getting the origin of SHIELD, and Spider-Man is teaming up with Werewolf By Night.

So, would this be the tale that comes just a few weeks before his first encounter with Man-Wolf? At that stage in his career, he must have been feeling like he couldn't move without tripping over a lupine adversary.

Super Spider-Man and the Titans #224

I remember liking this Spidey tale at the time but, in retrospect, with its gun-toting villain whose face has been stitched back together after having been rammed through a plate glass window, it's quite unpleasant. Call me juvenile but I preferred it when he fought foes he could defeat with a vacuum cleaner.

Let's face it, in the 1960s, a Marvel villain who'd had his face rammed through a plate glass window wouldn't have become a homicidal maniac. He'd have gained the powers of a window and then used those powers to frame Ant-Man.

Quite what the powers of a window are, I have no idea but who cares? Super-powers are super-powers and we should accept what we can get.

Mighty World of Marvel #243, Hulk and Planet of the Apes

The Hulk seems to still be on Jarella's world.

I'm not sure what's going on on the Planet of the Apes.

Marvel UK, Fury #11

It's the same old situation. It's a nice cover and I have no idea what happens inside.

Only another fourteen issues to go before my torment and that of my readers is over.


cerebus660 said...

Cap doesn't get his Star Sceptre until the last page of issue 35. You'll be glad to he hear that, as well as flight, the sceptre is also capable of projecting force-fields. Unfortunately for Cap the flight power only lasts for 15 minutes at a time. Cheers Merlin!
( It can also transform into a saxophone when Brian Braddock hits the jazz clubs of Ol' London Town but that's a tale for another day... )

Steve W. said...

Thanks, Cerebus. It's nice to have my Captain Britain confusion cleared up.

Anonymous said...

The powers of a window, Steve? Isn't that basically what the Invisible Girl has?
Maybe you could finally namecheck Carlos Ezquerra for those Fury covers if you want to vary the Thursday posts a bit.

Cerebus660 has me wondering about Marvel superheroes' taste in jazz... I suspect Brian Braddock was more likely into what they used to call trad than, say, the Spontaneous Music Ensemble.


Steve W. said...

Sean, I always avoid crediting Carlos Ezquerra for the Fury covers because I know that the first time I do it, it'll turn out to be a week when someone else drew the cover. We must always remember that my cluelessness is total.

Steve W. said...

I wonder if there are any super-heroes who're into Stockhausen.

I wonder if Galactus ever listens to music.

I mean, he must do something when he's not eating planets. Does he have any hobbies? Does he like to whittle? Does he collects stamps? Does he make animals via the medium of balloon bending? Why are we never told?

Charlie Horse 47 said...

I'm guessing when Galactus is not eating planets he's looking for heralds?

What would have happened had Galactus eaten Loch Ness whilst Satan was still in his/her stomach? I can't imagine the horror that team up would have inflicted on the world!

Who gave birth to the G, though? Is that ever discussed?

Steve W. said...

I suppose, technically, the Watcher gave birth to Galactus, as it was his interference that turned him from a normal man into the planet devouring menace we all know and love. That Watcher, when will he learn to stop interfering in things?

pete doree said...

Window Man would be able to stand at a certain angle so that sunlight would reflect off him, and thereby blind his enemies. He'd also have access to a million flies who'd flown into him, but never managed to get out.
In a series of hilarious mishaps, he'd team up with Wonder Man, and keep having to explain he wasn't him.
And The Watcher really should've changed him name to The Butter-Inner by now.

Timothy Field said...

I've always been curious about the big 'G' on Galactus' chest in his early appearances. Here is an excellent piece of alien character design and he chooses to accessorise like a 4 year old boy called Gary. I imagine this to be Stan's input to the character "Hey Jack, love your whacky Galactus guy. One thing though, he doesn't really say 'devourer of planets' to me, how about you stick a big 'G' on his chest and call him Galactus-Man? Excelsior!"

Anonymous said...

I remember the Mandarin had a big "M" on his tunic in the old days.
I assumed it was to make things simpler on laundry day, so his stuff didn't get mixed up with his henchmans'.
Woe betide the bungling minion who forgets the Mandarin's shirts get extra starch!
Maybe his underwear had a big "M" on them too.


Steve W. said...

And Hydra agents had a big, "H," on their shirts, to make sure anyone who saw them knew who they were, even though they were supposed to be a secret organisation.

Didn't Magneto have a big, "M," on his costume at some point in the 1980s?

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Well, you guys speak English so it's nothing would change but what happened when Marvel published in Germany or France. Does Galactus translate to Galactus and thus he gets a "G" on his chest?

Hey - do any other European countries have ancient creatures like Nessy who could also have swallowed Satan at some point? I don't recall any USA stories of where Big Foot (our only "creature") swallowed Satan. Occasionally Big Foot like creatures would hit the comics though though I can't recall where. Hulk? Wolverine? X-men? Maybe I'm getting mixed up with Sabre Tooth.

Anonymous said...

Well, there was this guy named Stingy Jack who ran up an enormous bar tab. The Devil came to him and offered to pay it off in exchange for his immortal soul. During the course of negotiations, Jack somehow tricked the Devil into climbing up a tree. This is not as far fetched as it sounds, I've been tricked into climbing up a tree before.
Anyway, Jack carved a crucifix on the bottom of the tree, which prevented the Devil from getting down again. Jack offered to erase the crucifix, in exchange for the Devil's promise never to claim his soul.
The Devil agreed, but when Jack finally kicked the bucket he found that his soul was not welcome in Heaven either, so he was doomed to walk the fens and swamps holding a candle.


Steve W. said...

MP, I think that's a salutary warning for us all when it comes to our dealings with the Devil.

Charlie, various lakes around Europe are supposed to have monsters in them. I know there's one in Italy and a number in Scandinavia that lay claim to such a thing. Russia has its own equivalent of Bigfoot and there's even supposed to be a British Bigfoot, despite there blatantly being no untamed wilderness in which he can live. There are various mystery big cats and giant hellhounds supposed to lurk the wilds, and not-so-wilds, of Europe. As we all know, Iceland has a healthy population of elves, while you can't move in the Isle of Man for fairy-folk.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

I guess things are pretty tame here, by comparison... We have Big Foot and a headless horseman (Ikabob Crane).

But no sea creatures which is pretty amazing given the wilds of the swamps in Louisiana, the Cajuns, Creoles, etc. You'd think we'd get at least one story.