Thursday, 24 August 2017

August 24th, 1977 - Marvel UK, 40 years ago this week.

Hot on the heels of Elvis Presley's death, this week in 1977 saw the demise of yet another icon from an era before my birth, as Groucho Marx passed away at the age of 86.

And he wasn't the only casualty of the week. Somewhat less seriously, we also saw the demise of the previous design for the Pound note, as a brand new one was unleashed upon the public.

No doubt its release was accompanied by TV news vox pops featuring such inspired street corner comments as, "It's like Monopoly money/Mickey Mouse money/that funny foreign money. It's too big/too small/too colourful/too dull. It'll never survive in the washing machine. If you drop it, you'll never find it again. How are blind people supposed to use it?" and all the other such obligatory comments that greet the release of every new item of currency.

Well, the Pound might have been changing but one thing wasn't.

And that was Marvel UK which, bucking the trend of recent years, was still giving us the same mags this week as it had the previous one.

But were they doing sterling work? Or were they just acting like a two bob outfit?

Super Spider-Man and Captain Britain  #237, the Lizard

Spidey's still having trouble with the Lizard, the Fantastic Four are still having trouble with the Frightful Four, and Captain Britain is still having trouble with vampires and werewolves.

There is at least a new adventure erupting in The Avengers, as our heroes fight the Collector during that Vermont Halloween parade that was always turning up in American comics of the era, without me ever knowing it was a real thing.

I remember the tale being drawn by Don Heck in one of his less user-friendly moods.

I also remember the Avengers being thrown into a tizzy by the arrival of bats. I don't know if the Avengers should ever be thrown into a tizzy by the arrival of bats.

Mighty World of Marvel #256, Dracula and the Hulk

I vaguely recall this week's cover tale as being about a woman with a bunch of imaginary friends from her favourite books, who somehow teleports Dracula into her fantasy world, thanks to her believing him to be a fictional character.

It was all a bit strange and I'm not sure it ended happily for her but I could be wrong.

Marvel UK, Fury #24

Just one more issue to go before Fury smashes its last secret Nazi invasion tunnel.

Was the invasion tunnel a tunnel under the Channel?

I'd love to know how you could create a Channel tunnel in secrecy, seeing as it'd involve disposing of twenty five miles' worth of earth. Where exactly would you put twenty five miles of earth without anyone noticing?

For that matter, why is the soldier on the right of the picture shooting at the tunnel wall? Isn't that a rather futile gesture?


Dougie said...

I think it was Bob Brown, not Don Heck. Also an early example of Mantis saving the Avengers with her total bodily control.

Steve W. said...

I've just checked, Dougie and you're right. It is Bob Brown on pencils with Don Heck inking it in his own inimitable style.

Joe S. Walker said...

That Vermont parade was a real event, but it was also an excuse for Roy Thomas and his fellow fans-turned-pros to put themselves into the comics.

dangermash said...

For a cover not taken from the original comic, that Spider-Man cover is rather good!

Steve W. said...

It's true. Marvel UK did occasionally surpass themselves with such things.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Why is Fury topless coming out of the tunnel? Was it just kind of hot in there, due to poor air circulation, and he took his shirt off? Who read this? I'm dying to know the answer!

Anonymous said...

Charlie, some guys just like to take their clothes off in public. We've had a couple of incidents here in my town recently of men who went a bit too far and got a little too comfortable. You don't see that sort of thing that much in the winter months. It gets cold up here.


Charlie Horse 47 said...

MP -where are you living these days? I'm in Chicago and we have lots of men jogging/running bare chested. I think it's a bit vulgar... and anyhow women joggers have not picked up on this.

I've been to the "famous" mine in Chicago Museum of Science and Industry and have yet to see males feeling compelled to remove their shirts. I think the artists just got it wrong...

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