Tuesday, 15 August 2017

The Marvel Lucky Bag - August 1977.

At last! It had to happen!

Because you The Reader demanded it, it's arrived - a brand new feature where I look at what the Marvel non-big hitters were up to in the mags cover-dated exactly forty years ago.

Needless to say, thanks to Marvel publishing nearly four dozen titles a month at the time, there's no way I can cover their whole output without going mad. Therefore, I've decided to revive the tradition of the Lucky Bag, that grand old childhood delight, where you'd buy a bag of sweets without knowing just what was going to be in it.

Admittedly, in my experience, there was always a pair of plastic lips in it. I, however, promise that the posts in this feature will never contain a pair of plastic lips.

Nova #12, Spider-Man

Just as Nova is guesting in Spider-Man's mag this month, so Spidey is guesting in Nova's, as they slug it out and then team up to solve a murder mystery that only a man with a love of calendars could ever hope to fathom.

Rampaging Hulk #4, Jim Starlin cover

Jim Starlin gives us what this mag informs us is his first ever painted cover.

And what a great cover it is.

Inside, if my memory serves me well, the green goliath teams up with a bald sorcerer to battle an evil witch who looks exactly like you expect an evil witch to look.

Tomb of Dracula #59

Dracula doesn't seem to be getting on too well with his own followers.

2001 #9, Machine Man

Machine Man makes what I believe is only his second ever appearance.

Marvellous as Machine Man may be, I do wonder what Stanley Kubrick would have made of it all.

Defenders #50

The Defenders defy the odds and hit their fiftieth issue.

I'm pretty sure I've read this one, but my memories of it are fuzzy.

It's good to see Hellcat still in there. You don't get enough super-doers wearing bright yellow.

Godzilla #1

It's the comic the whole world's been screaming out for, as Godzilla makes his mighty Marvel debut.

My memory of the strip is that it wasn't exactly compulsive reading but it did at least give Herb Trimpe something to do in his post-Hulk days. So, I suppose it served some kind of purpose.

Iron Fist #14, Sabre-Tooth

It always seems surprising that a villain so strongly associated with the X-Men - and with Wolverine in particular - should make his debut in the distinctly non-mutanty Iron Fist.

Then again, I seem to recall Deathbird making her debut in Miss Marvel of all places.

It only goes to prove the 1970s were an an unpredictable place.

Eternals #14, the Hulk

It was never totally clear whether The Eternals took place in the same universe as the other Marvel strips - and things got no clearer when the Hulk showed up, only for him to turn out to be a robot.

Just what was going on?

I have no doubt it would all have been too much for my tiny little mind to cope with, had I read this issue at the time.


TC said...

My impression (and, as usual, I could be wrong) is that The Eternals was originally conceived as a stand-alone series, not connected to the Marvel Universe as such. Atlantis was not Namor's kingdom, and the Olympian gods and heroes (Hercules, Zeus) were not the same characters who had appeared in Thor and The Avengers.

Then S.H.I.E.L.D. got involved in Eternals #7, and that seemed to place the series in the MU.

The Eternals and Celestials were involved in that serial sometime around 1980, in Thor #290-300 or something like that, and they met (and fought) the "real" Greek mythological gods. At that time, IIRC, there was an editorial saying that Marvel's policy was that all of their comics had to be able to tie in with each other.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Hi, I am confused.

A few weeks ago we had decided that bad guys are in green and purple e.g., green goblin.

Yet, I notice that Godzilla (?) is all green but he seems to be a baddy. Should Marvel not have put him in purple trunks or something to be consistent? All green are goody guys e.g., Arrow, Lantern, Lama...

Please someones reply quickly! It is 17:00 in Chicago and I go to bed in about 5 hours and won't be able to sleep without clarification!

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Ummm, I had punched out of comics around 1974 - 75. Which is Machine Man... the purple dude or the guy in the flying egg? If it is purple dude, then I guess all-green and all-purple are signs of good guys? Just checking!

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Ummm... doesn't Valkyrie look knock-kneed on the cover? Not a very dramatic, forceful pose?

Steve W. said...

Charlie, the purple man is Machine Man. I don't have a clue who the man in the flying egg is.

I believe that Godzilla had to stop wearing his purple underpants when people kept mistaking him for Fin Fang Foom.

To be honest, I was more struck by how bad Valkyrie's outfit was at that time. An off-the-shoulder suit of armour. It'll never catch on.

TC, I'm sure you're right about The Eternals being conceived by Kirby as being outside of Marvel continuity and it being the people higher up who forced that to change.

Anonymous said...

The Hulk robot was a college prank gone awry. Imbued with cosmic energy from the Eternals' Uni-Mind, he and his purple pants went on a rampage and battled Ikaris.
Let's be honest, wouldn't any of us build a Hulk robot if we could? I certainly would.
Speaking of rampaging robots, that Defenders issue is a classic. Scorpio's LMD Zodiac take on the Defenders and a non-robot Hulk.
Except for Aquarius and Libra, who kick back with some beers and watch the fight. Sounds like sensible thinking.


TC said...

As I recall, Marvel's Godzilla was not a bad guy. More of a misunderstood anti-hero, like the Hulk. Mostly, he just wanted to be let alone, but puny humans were always dropping atom bombs on him, or firing 155mm howitzers at him. Then he would get annoyed, and smash puny humans.

Steve W. said...

MP, thanks for the Robo-Hulk clarification.

TC, I wish I could remember more about the Godzilla comic than I do. I think the only bit from it I can remember is him stomping around Las Vegas, battling giant space monsters while Nick Fury and Dum Dum Dugan got into a lather about it all.

Anonymous said...

What a senses-shattering new feature Steve - how do you come up with these ideas?

Gawd, that Eternals robo-Hulk encounter went on for what, three issues? It really derailed the series, all the more a shame as cancellation wasn't far off anyway.
Kirby did have a tendency - perhaps understandable given the circumstances - to drag his stories out a little longer than necessary during his second coming at Marvel. Its still all cracking stuff of course, but it doesn't quite reach the heights of his peak at DC.
I absolutely loved Kirby's 2001 - why Marvel never got the rights for him to do Clockwork Orange too is surely a baffling failure of corporate judgement.

Iron Fist was the original Claremont/Byrne joint, no? Perhaps its not so surprising a villain associated with the X-Men appeared there first after all...


Steve W. said...

Sean, all I can say is I'm positively overflowing with inspiration.

Timothy Field said...

When you say 'Lucky Bag' do you mean a 'Jamboree Bag' or some kind of mystery pick & mix.
Just wondering if we will be getting some sort of novelty you too.

Steve W. said...

Hi, Timothy. I've just Googled it and it looks like Lucky Bags and Jamboree Bags were basically the same thing. Whether they went by different names in different areas or were made by different companies, doesn't seem to be clear. They did, however, both come with a free plastic gift. Tragically, Steve Does Comics doesn't come with a free plastic gift.

Obviously I could claim this is for the same reason that Kinder Eggs were banned in America because of the fear of choking but, sadly, I must confess it's because I'm a cheapskate.

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