Thursday, 8 June 2017

June 8th, 1977 - Marvel UK, 40 years ago this week.

We all know that the most annoying people on Earth are those lunatics who insist that human beings and dinosaurs never co-existed.

We all know full well they did co-exist because we've all seen the documentaries that prove it.

And perhaps the most famous of those documentaries is One Million Years BC, in which a beautiful blonde cavewoman in a designer bikini has a series of prehistoric misadventures while declaring, "Akita!" at every possible opportunity. How we gasped as she tried to survive onslaughts from allosauruses, pterodactyls, brontosauruses, giant turtles, giant lizards, giant spiders, apemen and Martine Beswick.

"That's all great," I hear you cry, "And highly educational but what does it have it do with the price of velociraptor eggs?"

What it has to do with it is that, on this night in 1977, BBC One was showing that very documentary. Oh yes, you can keep your Walking With Dinosaurs, Kenneth Branagh. We had much better stuff back in those days.

We also had great stuff to read as well - and top of that list of reading matter was the output of the venture the world knew as Marvel UK.

But just what was it up to in the comics that bore that epochal cover date?

Marvel UK, Captain Britain #35

Our hero showing the, "Never say die," spirit that made our nation great.

I do believe that, in this issue, we get John Buscema's retelling of the FF's origin and also Nick Fury trying to find out just who Scorpio is or was.

I'm confused. Was Scorpio Nick Fury's brother or was he just pretending to be?

Super Spider-Man and the Titans #226, the Kingpin

I'm not sure what's going on on that cover. Are they in a TV studio?

If so, why? I can't remember a TV studio featuring in the story and, as we all know, when it comes to comics, my memory is impeccable.

Mighty World of Marvel #245, Hulk v Psyklop

The Hulk retains his dignity by falling over and headbutting the floor.

Then again, I can't say I remember the Hulk ever acting in a manner that could be called dignified.

Anyway, does the return of Psyklop mean we're about to get the death of Jarella?

Elsewhere, the Planet of the Apes strip would appear to have turned into some sort of Atlas Comics style Conan knock-off. It's now clearly unrecognisable as a spin-off of the film series that spawned it.

Marvel UK, Fury #13

Just twelve more weeks go before I'm put out of my misery and can stop having to try and think of things to say about Fury.

I notice it's one pence cheaper than the other Marvel UK comics. That's an interesting talking point, I'm sure.

I do always wonder why the plural of, "Commando," is, "Commandos," and not, "Commandoes." I mean, the plural of, "Tornado," isn't, "Tornados."


Anonymous said...

Well, originally Jake Fury, Nick's no-good red-haired younger brother, was Scorpio, and he blew his own brains out in the pages of the Defenders.
Many years later, they decided that particular Scorpio was really an evil LMD(robot) who looked like Jake, and the real Jake was still alive somewheres, working as a spy. Sure, that makes sense.
It could have been worse. He could have been a clone.
Or maybe he was a clone. I just don't know anymore.


Kid said...

Talking of dinosaurs and humans co-existing, there are stratas of rock where primitively shod human footprints criss-cross over footprints of dinosaurs. Scientists can't explain it, so therefore ignore it. And I wouldn't be surprised to learn that legends of dragons (and flying dragons at that) may have something to do with a few lingering dinosaurs and pterodactyls being around at the same time as humans. Makes sense to me.

Anonymous said...

They just found some fossils in Morocco that seem to indicate modern humans may have been around for over three hundred thousand years, so I don't think it's out of the question humans might have run into some pretty weird stuff in that time.
It seems like most cultures have some reference to dragons, and archeologists believe aborigines may have run into some darn big lizards in Australia when they got there, forty or fifty thousand years ago. Heck, over here I once saw a snapping turtle the size of a fairly large dog, and it glared at me with evil intent.


Steve W. said...

MP, thanks for the Scorpio info.

Kid, my pessimistic streak forces me to doubt any dinosaurs hung around long enough for us to have seen them but I suppose anything's possible.

dangermash said...

I just checked out that Spider-Man story and, yes, he does take on Kingpin in an old film studio. With Kingpin sat behind a desk I'd always assumed it was set in some sort of office headquarters.

And re Scorpio, wasn't there a story (maybe in Avengers?) where Nick Fury was disguised as Scorpio? Not one that I've ever read, wherever it was.

Colin Jones said...

BBC exit poll says Tories will lose their majority. Keeping my fingers and toes crossed.

The apes story is the continuing adventures of Alaric and the crew of the Freedom Reaver but this is the last ever Planet Of The Apes story to appear in UK Marvel...part 2 next week then it's over.

TC said...

Nick Fury was disguised as Scorpio in Avengers #72 in 1970 or early 1971. That issue had a flashback to a Steranko story in either Strange Tales or Nick Fury Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. where Nick fought and unmasked the "real" Scorpio and it turned out to be his own brother Jake.

With all the retcons since then, maybe that story is no longer canon. Like M.P., I just don't know anymore.

TC said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TC said...

I've read that some of the human footprints found in the same strata with dinosaur footprints turned out to be hoaxes, and some turned out to be dinosaur prints that had been deformed by erosion. But I've also heard the claim that scientists assumed that dinosaurs became extinct 60 million years before humans first appeared just because dinosaur and human fossils had not been previously found together. That assumption became "settled science," and when the contradictory evidence was found, the scientists ignored it or tried to explain it away.

I tend to believe that myths and legends about dragons are based on large reptiles like crocodiles and snakes, but I'm willing to keep an open mind.

Animal Planet did a documentary about an Australian monitor lizard called Megalania that became extinct around 50,000 years ago. It was about 20-25 feet long, and may have been able to stand or squat upright. It was a carnivore, maybe venomous, and may have attacked humans. I wonder if aborigines have a legend about fighting it that is their version of St. George and the Dragon or Hercules vs. the Hydra.

I know Raquel Welch was never the brightest bulb in the chandelier, but I would have thought even she could tell the difference between a Tyrannosaurus Rex and a Japanese dog.

When I was eight, I thought of One Million Years B.C. as that movie with all those cool dinosaurs. When I was twelve, I thought of When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth the same way.

When I was fifteen, I thought of the former as that movie with Raquel and Martine, and of the latter as that movie with Victoria Vetri and Imogen Hassall.

Now that I am old and indifferent, I will probably go back to thinking of them as those movies with cool dinosaurs.

Anonymous said...

I heard one interesting theory about the mythical fire-breathing dragons that guarded treasure hoards in northern Europe.
Back then, chieftains or kings were buried not only with treasure but often horses and slaves. Well, those corpses would rot down there, creating a methane pocket or somesuch, and if you dug a hole and crawled down there with a torch to raid the barrow you might be blown to kingdom come. Or it could be a coal or a natural gas deposit. Either way, it meant a fiery end for the tomb robber.
One might well conclude there was a fire-breathing dragon down there, guarding the treasure and belching flame.
Anyway, it's just a theory. I am a font of useless knowledge.


Steve W. said...

Dangermash, I remember it taking place in an office too.

Colin, thanks for the Apes info.

TC and MP, thanks for the additional dinosaur/dragon info.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Be grateful you are able to live in the UK and have a rational discussion on dinosaurs. In the USA we still have a healthy contingent arguing (even building them parks in Kentucky and such) that the earth is 5,000 years old, dinosaurs and humans walked the earth together... I know several such thinkers that I work with, socialize with.

Ummm... the Hulk falling forward and hitting his head... I can say w/out a doubt that is the most off-the-wall, goofiest cover I've ever seen in my life!

cerebus660 said...

@ Charlie Horse 47
Unfortunately, the UK may not be exempt from those non-rational science-deniers much longer. Our current Conservative Party looks like it will form a new coalition government with Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party, whose members have all kinds of lunatic creationist, anti-abortion and racist ideas. I can hear those clocks winding backwards...

Charlie Horse 47 said...

They can't be that stoopid in the UK???

America is quite uneducated so I kind of, sort of, expect people who don't believe in global warming, believe the earth is 5,000 years old, and Hillary Clinton and her chief of staff are running a child sex ring out of a pizzeria in Washington D.C.

pete doree said...

Charlie, Bill Hicks did a routine about trying to explain evolution to one of your 5,000 year-ers, and getting the answer "God put dinosaur bones here to test our faith".
Yeah, that makes sense, boy, God must have a lot of free time on His hands to run around playing practical jokes...

Charlie Horse 47 said...

And if the planet get too hot and uninhabitable, God will fix it. And God wants billions of people living in abject poverty, o/wise he'd fix it. ANd GOd wanted 100,000 Indonesians to die from a Tsunami.... and on and on...

And I'm actively a religious Christian. But... that line of belief I'll never be able to understand.

Colin Jones said...

Charlie, the UK must be one of the most secular countries in the world. Nobody mentions God, definitely not politicians. I was never baptized and when I was a kid I didn't know anybody who went to church - there was nothing unusual about that. Anybody over here who believes in creationism would be regarded as a total nutcase. By the way, I've seen the Kentucky Creationist museum on YouTube.

Anonymous said...

Is there no safe haven left on the planet where a person can come and escape politics? As you are possibly the most apolitical person on the face of the planet (I am not even sure you know what political parties exist in the UK, let alone know what they stand for)this thread is highly amusing.....xx

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Hey - did they show Batman and / or Green Hornet in the UK? One of my first memories as a kid was around 1967 and us kids arguing about which show was better.

I don't think any of had seen either, but we all agreed Batman was best.

I've subsequently gone back and watched Green Hornet and he does have a cooler theme song and side kick (Kato). But at the end of the day the stories were thin and the only cool thing was the way the Green Hornet car came out of the garage (I think upside down and then rotated or something).

The Batman episode where he fights and then unites with Green Hornet is good stuff!

Steve W. said...

"Batman," has been shown in Britain on a regular basis ever since the 1960s. "The Green Hornet," has been shown but not very often. I remember having a toy Green Hornet car when I was a kid but knowing nothing at all about the character or what sort of things he got up to.

I must admit that, when I was younger, I thought that, "Batman," was a straight drama series and got very tense watching it. Admittedly, I was only about four at the time, so I like to feel I have an excuse for missing the show's sense of irony.

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