Thursday, 4 May 2017

May 4th, 1977 - Marvel UK, 40 years ago this week.

It may seem impossible now but there was a time when the phrase, "May the 4th be with you," would have elicited nothing but blank looks from those around you.

And that time was this week of forty years ago - because we were still three weeks away from the release of the film that first gave us that fateful phrase.

When I say, "We," I obviously mean, "They/You," because, here in the land of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Grand Moff Tarkin's birth, the film didn't come out until December of that year.

What kind of madness was this?

Did the film get lost in Hyper-Space, halfway across the Atlantic, before it finally got here?

If UK sci-fi fans had to endure months of frustration before we could finally see the film, we at least had something else to fill our time. And that was the output of our favourite comics company.

Marvel UK, Captain Britain #30, Lord Hawk

The UK's greatest ever hero is having trouble with a droid of his own, as Lord Hawk carries on causing chaos.

Apparently, the Fantastic Four tale in this issue is the one that sees the return of the monster that's clearly the Creature from the Black Lagoon.

Mighty World of Marvel #240, Hulk and Planet of the Apes

We're about to get an answer to the question we've all asked so many times; "Who'd win a fight between Conan and the Hulk?"

Well, admittedly, none of us have ever asked that question because it's obvious who'd win.

But it's about to be answered anyway, as the green-skinned grappler gets to tangle with Kronan the Barbarian who bears no resemblance at all to the hearty Hyborian.

It looks like this issue is also giving us viking apes vs yetis with human heads. How often have we seen that scenario break out?

Super Spider-Man and the Titans #221, Nightcrawler

This is strange. I remember reading this one on my summer holiday - and yet it came out in early May. How is such a thing possible?

Anyway, this was only my second ever exposure to Nightcrawler and the New X-Men. Needless to say, I liked what I saw of them.

Marvel UK, Fury #8

I have no idea what happens in this one but I suspect that things are not going well for the Third Reich.


Dougie said...

I'm convinced I didn't see Star Wars in Glasgow until the spring of 78! I had read one of the Marvel comics (#4) and read the paperback. I have no idea why it took so long. I was 14 and life seemed slower at the end of the Seventies.

Steve W. said...

I think I'd read the first issue of, "Star Wars Weekly," when I saw it. So I think that means it must have been February 1978.

Aggy said...

I definately saw it before Xmas. I remember my Dad taking me. Marking the only time Dad and me did anything just the 2 of us for the 1st 30+ years of my life.

I also remember the 1st issue of SW weekly. It was added to our weekly paper delivery. Dandy arrived Monday. SW weekly on a Wednesday and later in the 80s Eagle on a Friday or Saturday.

Steve W. said...

I think I also used to get, "Star Wars Weekly," on a Wednesday. I think, "Captain Britain," was a Friday and, "Mighty World of Marvel," was Saturday.

Colin Jones said...

I can remember the exact date I saw Star Wars - Tuesday, 30th May 1978. I saw it with my father and my sister - my sister's friend, Emma, was supposed to come too but she pulled out at the last minute. Before we went to the cinema I bought Savage Sword Of Conan (UK) #8 and I was reading it in the queue - for some reason I hadn't bought any of the previous 7 issues of Savage Sword even though I was a Conan fan. My first issue of Star Wars Weekly was #2 which left me underwhelmed - for a start, there were only 28 pages rather than the normal 36 in Marvel UK comics but it cost the same ! And I didn't like the art on the Star Wars strip either. After another two or three issues I dropped Star Wars Weekly - it didn't put me off wanting to see the film though, which I loved :)

Anonymous said...

I saw Star Wars on Saturday 4th March 1978, which was it's opening Saturday in Essex. I think it actually opened the previous Thursday but that was a school night. I can remember someone smoking throughout, in the seat in front of me, which seems absurd now. His lighting each new cigarette was vaguely distracting. We'd been teased with clips on tv, for months prior to it opening and I'd already read the novelisation and had the two treasury editions. Not sure why they split the 6 issues into two treasury editions. Couldn't have been to gouge the readers. I did buy the first issue of Star Wars weekly but already having the movie adaptation, rendered it non essential.

I still like the title of this week's CB story. Panic in Piccadilly!. Perhaps the good Captain should have done a themed tour of Britain. Mayhem in Manchester!, Lethargic in Leeds!, Apoplectic in Aberdeen, Mildly cross in Charing Cross!


Anonymous said...

Viking apes fighting Yetis again? I agree with you Steve, they needed to come up with some new material.


Charlie Horse 47 said...

Ok - Here's Charlie's goof-ball question for UK fans!

Did Loch Ness Monster ever figure into comics analogous to apes fighting yetis? Like Apes fighting Loch Ness? I imagine being a sea creature and not on land would limit the possibilities but.. did like Sub Mariner or Triton or Aquaman ever take on Lochy? Did Lochy ever go on land in comics? Was it ever treated as an alien???

Steve W. said...

The Hulk took on the Loch Ness Monster right at the end of Herb Trimpe's reign, although the characters in it all refer to it as, "The Loch Fear Monster." Needless to say, all readers saw through that cunning ruse.

In Atlas Comics' Phoenix #3, the Phoenix tackles the Loch Ness Monster, which is working for Satan. Tragically, Satan is then eaten by the Loch Ness Monster.

Anonymous said...

Holy smoke! Satan was eaten by Nelly? Did Satan ever appear again in comics? Did Nelly become eviler? How did I miss those issues??? Well, truth be told, my favorite Atlas character was Scorpion as drawn by Chaykin with that 1930s setting. Very Shadow-esque which I dig.

I do have Phoenix 1 in a long box just because you never know when you might want to read a comic from a defunct comic company that had a 6 month (?) run. It's nestled next to my Skywald Jungle Action #2, another defunct company that had a 6 month (?) run. Oddly, truly oddly, I've held onto that Jungle Action since 1971 and it is beat to crapola. There've been a few times I was going to give it to the library or the Good Will but at the last minute I just couldn't let go. But I just occasionally enjoy reading it, you know, like every 10 years. Go figure...

Anonymous said...

Let's all calm down here. I'm sure Satan is perfectly alright. Nothing to worry about.


TC said...

Don't know about UK comics, specifically, but Nessie has often appeared in comics, cartoons, and TV shows, though sometimes using an alias. And sometimes turning out to be a hoax.

In Nick Fury Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. #3, the neo-Nazi villains had a secret submarine base in the loch. The sub was occasionally seen by witnesses, who thought it was the monster. There was an episode of Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea about four years earlier, with a very similar premise.

A Scooby-Doo cartoon had the kids visiting the loch and exposing a crypto-zoologist who had rigged up a fake monster. At the end, as they are leaving, Scooby catches a fleeting glimpse of what might be a real serpentine creature in the lake.

There was an episode of The Saint where the murderer made it look as if the victim had been killed by the monster. At the end, the real monster kills the murderer. In the original story by Leslie Charteris, Templar actually sees the plesiosaur. In the TV episode, they hedged, saying that maybe the killer's boat collided with a ferry in the fog.

Marvel published a B&W Doc Savage comic magazine in the 1970's, and there was a story set at Loch Ness. It may have been another case of the murderer making it look like the monster was killing the victims. I do remember the ending was the villain's boat getting smashed by the real monster.

The fourth Doctor Who (Tom Baker) encountered the monster in a TV serial in the 1970's. That story did involve aliens (the Zygons), although I don't recall offhand if they had brought the creature with them from their home planet, or if they had captured and enslaved an Earth creature.

And Jimmy Olsen and the new Newsboy Legion encountered a "big thing in a deep Scottish lake" in JO #144 in the early 1970's. IIRC, it turned out to be another hoax; the villains had built a submarine or a giant robot that looked like a sea serpent. And they would have gotten away with it, if not for those meddling kids.

Steve W. said...

Thanks for all that info, TC. You definitely deserve some sort of award for such a comprehensive answer.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Wow TC... I'll never look at comics and Nessie the same! And now that I know Nessie swallowed Satan well... I don't know if I have the courage to visit the UK?

Anonymous said...

There was an episode of Stingray where they found the Loch Ness monster was a robot, and Troy agreed to keep it a secret, so the Scots could use it as a tourist attraction.

In the Disney Channel cartoon comedy series Phineas & Ferb, there was an episode where they visited Lake Nose, and found the sea serpent, Nosey. The kids agreed not to reveal their discovery, so the creature would not be disturbed by tourists.

In the Alley Oop comic strip, the scientist, Dr. Wonmug, used his time machine to send Alley back to prehistoric times to capture two plesiosaurs (presumably, one male and one female). On the return trip, the time machine malfunctioned, and the two dinosaurs landed in ancient Scotland, where they got loose in Loch Ness. And the rest is history. Or folklore.

Steve W. said...

Thanks for the additional Nessie info, Anon. :)

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