Sunday, 8 October 2017

Forty years ago today - October 1977.

There's only ten minutes to go before the Horror Channel shows the original version of The Fly. Can I possibly get this post done in ten minutes, so I don't miss a second of that 1950s masterpiece?

I don't know but I do know I wouldn't have wanted to miss a single panel of the Marvel comics that I could still just about find on my local spinner racks forty years ago this month if I looked hard enough.

Avengers #164, the Lethal Legion is back

The Lethal Legion are back, which I think was a group-therapy club for all those people who couldn't get into the Masters of Evil.

But just who do those mysterious hands in the foreground belong to?

Are they the dexterous digits of the Scarlet Witch?

Conan the Barbarian #79

It's all getting a bit strange in the world of Conan. Just why is he so determined to defend a floating eye?

To be honest, I don't get excited by floating eyes. I get excited by floating mouths like the Galaxy Master.

Are floating eyes and mouths all Marvel ever gave us? I don't remember them ever giving us floating hands, feet or ears.

Captain America and the Falcon #214

Cap's still blind. Beyond that, I can say little of this issue.

Fantastic Four #187, Klaw and the Molecule Man

Not only is Klaw back but so is the Molecule Man, a villain I had no memory of when I read this tale originally, even though I must have seen his first appearance when it was published in the Mighty World of Marvel a mere four-or-so years earlier.

Anyway, regardless, I could tell at once that he was a wrong 'un and found him aesthetically displeasing. Needless to say, I was delighted to see him defeated.

Hulk #216, the Bi-Beast is back

Although I'd previously known of his existence, this is the first story I ever read that actually featured the Bi-Beast.

I know nothing of his history after this tale. Was he ever seen again?

I like to think he was, even though, as he had two somewhat one-track minds, I'm not sure just what could have been done with him, story wise.

Iron Man #103, Jack of Hearts

Marvel were clearly determined to get the most out of Jack Of Hearts in this period. Not long after his battle with the Hulk, he's tangling with Iron Man.

Seemingly, the powers-that-be felt he had some potential as a super-doer.

From what I can remember of him, they may have been mistaken.

Amazing Spider-Man #173, the Molten Man is back

The Molten Man is back, which is good news for all fans of his fiery ways and intense personal drama.

Is this the tale where we discover he's the half-brother of Liz Allen, or were we already told that in a prior appearance?

Spectacular Spider-Man #11, Medusa

Try as I might, I can't get excited by the thought of Spidey vs Medusa. I remember their first battle not exactly being thrilling and, as Medusa was an established good guy by this point, I assume their current fight was due to a misunderstanding and was therefore short-lived.

Thor #264, Loki

What on Earth is that thing Thor's fighting? It looks ridiculous.

I can't help feeling readers must have been a bit bored with Loki by this point.

X-Men #107

Hooray! It's the battle everyone with any sense in the 1970s wanted to see. It's Dave Cockrum's X-Men vs Dave Cockrum's Legion of Super-Heroes, even if Marvel couldn't legally admit to it.

As a fan of both strips, it was inevitable that I'd love this story.


Anonymous said...

Help meeeeee!! Help meeeee!!
You mentioned The Fly, and that blood-curdling scene scared the bejeebers outta me as a kid. Still does, actually.
Once again, the Baleful Bi-Beast! He hijacked a Shield Helicarrier (or whatever they're called) to replace the floating sky-kingdom of the race of bird-people he used to serve. I think they were the same bird people that produced the Red Raven, but I'm not sure.
Although the original Bi-Beast had been dispatched by the merciless minions of Modok in a previous issue of the Hulk, he was a true Bi-Beast in that there were two of him, both equally charming.
All in all, a strong month for Marvel Comics. But I never quite understood why Jack of Hearts didn't catch on. They just gave him aa very confusing mini-series where he turned out to be an alien, or somesuch.
What was the deal with that floating eyeball?


Anonymous said...

This issue of the Avengers was the start of a great three-part story featuring Count Nefaria. I think Nefaria was behind the scenes in the first part, but it was my favourite Avengers story when I still had such notions. Nice John Byrne artwork, just prior to his transition to the X-men.


Anonymous said...

Little else to say about Captain America 214, Steve?
Why, it was Jack Kirby's last issue! The end of an era. Hail and farewell to the king.
Marvelites could now stop complaining and safely enjoy the work of George Tuska and Roy Thomas revisiting Cap's origin (groan) with ish 215...

Its ironic that the appeal of that X-Men story should be down to the Imperial Guard resembling the Legion of Superheroes because of course it was the second part which introduced John Byrne as regular series artist.


Steve W. said...

MP, from what I can remember, the Bi-Beast was the product of the same bird people who were responsible for Red Raven but he lived in a different floating city from Red Raven. Then again, I could be wrong.

I've always suspected that Jack of Hearts didn't catch on because his costume was too fussy. It hurt your eyes to look at it.

DW, I vaguely remember the Nefaria thing but can't quite remember what he actually got up to in it. I think I always got the story mixed up with the first Graviton tale.

Sean, I have no memory at all of the George Tuska Captain America tales. I'm not sure if I've ever read any of them.

Anonymous said...

Actually, Steve, Tuska only did the one issue and Roy Thomas was only around long enough to start messing with the continuity; it was the start of an unsettled period of changing Cap teams producing rubbish until the Byrne/Stern run.
Just pointing out that the quality of Kirby's late 70s work is easy to take for granted, and that haters should be careful what they wish for.


Anonymous said...


Count Nefaria's scientist increases the power level of the Living Laser, Power Man (not Luke Cage) and Whirlwind. These increases are short term, but allows the scientist to combined these powers and transfer them, multiplied by a factor of one hundred, to Count Nefaria. What is unusual about the story is that Nefaria kicks the !@#$ out of the Avengers for two issues. It resolves in a typically comic book way (which I won't spoil) but its a great three parter. It was the first time I recall a villain so totally owning the heroes.


Steve W. said...

Thanks for the Nefaria info, DW. :)

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Question: Was the Imperial Guard a deliberate knock-off of the Legion? Someone was just trying to get under DC's skin, or...?

Steve W. said...

They were a deliberate knock-off of the Legion. Directly before he took over the artistic reins at the X-Men, Dave Cockrum was the artist on the Legion. On that strip, he spearheaded a major revival, revamping them, redesigning them and transforming them from a back-up strip in Superboy's comic into a main feature in their own right.

He left that strip in some bitterness, after DC refused to return artwork to him, so a degree of mischief-making may have been involved when he and Chris Claremont introduced the Guard to the X-Men.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Fascinating! Who'd a thunk the world of comicbooks was so "devious(?)."

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Steve - How could you leave of Tarzan Boy of your fav October 1985 hits???

Steve W. said...

I must confess I was seriously tempted to mention it as my least favourite song on the chart.

I then decided it wouldn't be fair, as Jennifer Rush's Power of Love was on the chart and that is a record I dislike far far more than Tarzan Boy.

Rachel Petro said...

What? You really did not like Tarzan Boy? I thoroughly enjoyed it! Well, no accounting for taste...

Steve W. said...

What used to happen in the 1970s and 80s was that, each Autumn, the UK chart would face an invasion by European club hits, thanks to people having heard them on their holidays in places like Spain and then buying them when they got back to Britain, to remind them of their summer holidays.

Over the years, we had the likes of The Tweets, Baccara, Ottawan, the Goombay Dance Band and a million and one other acts suddenly descending on the chart from September onwards. Tragically, most of them were terrible. No words can ever capture the true horror of The Birdie Song. As a result, I have an unreasonable prejudice against anything that hit the charts via that method.

Having just listened to Tarzan Boy for the first time since it dropped off the chart, it is clearly a lot better than most of those records but it's still a bit too Euro-Club to grab me.

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