Sunday 10 December 2017

Forty years ago today - December 1977.

As I sit here, typing this deathless prose, snow is falling from the skies, and the streets are being increasingly buried beneath a pure-white blanket. Faced with such nightmare horror, there's only one thing I can do.

And that's to rush straight out into it, leap onto my Time Toboggan and hurtle, full speed, down the Hill Of Nostalgia until I crash, face first, into the massive great snow bank that is 1977!

Avengers #166, Count Nefaria

The Avengers are still battling against the nefarious schemes of Nefaria - which is a shame, as I always get this incarnation of him mixed up with Graviton and can't remember which tale it is in which what happens.

I think I may have just reinvented the English language in that last paragraph. That's how powerful Nefaria is. He even has the power to warp English into something unrecognisable.

Conan the Barbarian #81

It's another day at the office for Conan.

Captain America #216, the Human Torch

I'm slightly confused. At first I assumed the Human Torch in this issue was the revived Original Torch, destined, no doubt, to disappointingly pop his clogs at the end of the tale, as he seemed to whenever he was revived.

However, the character on the cover does look much more like the modern version and I therefore assume it is he instead.

I suppose that makes more sense, as it's hard to see how the original could be in a 1970s tale when his body was, at the time, being used by the Vision.

Fantastic Four #189, the Original Human Torch

And speak of the devil...

Yes, no sooner have I finished crafting that earlier paragraph than the Original Human Torch does indeed put in an appearance.

My razor-sharp senses tell me this is a reprint of the 1960s tale in which the flaming fighter of fiendishness was resurrected by the Mad Thinker, only to turn against his resurrector in a tale that then led to the Silver Surfer meeting Quasimodo whose untrustworthy activities were enough to convince him that humanity needed to be taught a lesson.

Given that Quasimodo was blatantly not human, this seems like a strange conclusion for the Surfer to have drawn. But, then, you always got the feeling the Surfer was always looking for any excuse he could find to turn against humanity.

Regardless, I'm pretty sure the Original Torch pops his clogs at the end of this tale, just for a change.

Incredible Hulk #218, Doc Samson vs the Rhino

It's good to see Doc Samson being as positive as ever.

To be honest, I find it very hard to believe the Rhino has just beaten the Hulk, seeing as the Hulk mostly swatted him like a fly in every encounter between the pair of them that I ever read.

Iron Man #105, Jack of Hearts

Marvel's attempts to make a major character out of Jack of Hearts continues as he comes up against Iron Man. I wonder at what point they realised it was never going to happen?

Amazing Spider-Man #175, the Punisher and the Hitman

In retrospect, it was quite tiresome how gun-toting psychopaths kept showing up in 1970s Spider-Man comics but it seemed exciting and modern at the time.

Spectacular Spider-Man #13, Razorback

Hooray, it's the debut of one of the few super-heroes named after a pig.

Come to think of it, was he the only super-hero named after a pig?

Admittedly, when I say, "Hooray," I don't remember him being particularly sensational. My main memory of him is that he drove a big lorry and was constantly saying things like, "Ten-Ten," for no good reason.

Come to think of it, it's making me miss the gun-toting psychopaths now.

Still, if I recall correctly, he did help Spidey defeat Brother Power and Sister Sun, so he must had had something going for him.

I do believe this tale leads to a clash with the Man-Beast/Hatemonger, which is no bad thing.

Thor #266, Loki and the Destroyer

I do believe that, in this tale, the Destroyer is being powered by the consciousness of Balder and is giving Thor a good slapping. Other than that, I can say little of what happens.

X-Men #108

I do believe this is John Byrne's first issue on the strip, even though Dave Cockrum drew the cover.

At the time, of course, we had no way of knowing it'd be a permanent switch, nor have any idea of just how important it'd prove to be.

The change was a disappointment to me at the time, as it meant we didn't get to see Cockrum finish the story arc he'd done so much work on but it was always a pleasure to see the work of Byrne who was one of my favourite artists even before he took over the strip.


dangermash aka The Artistic Actuary said...

You know, now might be a good time to bump off one of those gun-toting psychopaths. "You promsed me a life for a life; I didn't say it had to be mine!"

I'm with the Allman Brothers at Filmore East at the moment and my headphones aren't wireless so unfortunately I can't go check which Torch Cap is up against.

Anonymous said...

Your assumption about that being Johnny Storm in Captain America 216 is correct Steve, but your razor-sharp senses appear to have failed you in identifying the story as another reprint.
Kirby has barely stopped work on Cap, and within a month they've had to resort to running his old stuff. In this case, its an old Torch story from Strange Tales - #113 I think - the one with a fake Cap in it.

BTW, Gilbert Shelton's Wonder Wart-hog was named after a pig.


Anonymous said...

PS And Peter Porker the Spectacular Spider-ham.

Steve W. said...

Thanks for the Cap and super-pig info, Sean.

Dangermash, I think I only know one track by the Allman Brothers.

Steve W. said...

Ah. I've just checked and it turns out the track I had in mind was by the Doobie Brothers, which means I don't know any tracks by the Allman Brothers. Yet again I have failed my readers.

dangermash aka The Artistic Actuary said...

You probably do know one track, Steve, not that it was on last night's album. The theme music to Top Gear is a variant of Jessica by the Allan Brothers.

And Anon is 100% correct about that Cap issue being a reprint if an old (Jnny Storm) Human Torch tale. Did The Acrobat mess up his Cap outfit in that comic by wearing red pants rather than blue?

Steve W. said...

Thanks for the Allman Brothers info, Dangermash. I do indeed know that theme tune. I also believe you're correct about Cap getting his colour scheme wrong in that Human Torch tale.

Anonymous said...

Steve, Cap didn't get his colour scheme wrong as it wasn't him at all.

While engaged in pedantry, I should really correct my previous comment - the story was actually from Strange Tales #114. Apologies - that'll teach me to look stuff up before commenting in future (yeah, right...)


Steve W. said...

I bet readers were delighted to pick up that month's Captain America and find it was a Human Torch story about the Torch fighting someone who's not even Captain America.

dangermash aka The Artistic Actuary said...

Now that I've made it to the end of what was a long album, I have more info on that Cap issue.

The story is 19 pages long, including a new "framing" splash that includes the real Cap. So he does appear in the story. Nobody's getting a refund today! And the Torch story in Strange Tales must have been 18 pages long, which I'm surprised by. I'd always imagined they were 10 page throwaways.

And the old Strange Tales pages have been "recoloured". I'm guessing that means The Acrobat was wearing blue pants as Cap rather than red.

Nathan Irwin said...

Just thinking about that Captain America issue..

Kack Kirby's run ended with issue 214. Issue 215 was a re-telling of Cap's origin, wirtten by Roy Thomas. Then this one (216) was a reprint.

Makes me wonder if Marvel didn't have a new writer lined up to take over the book -- or maybe the new writer got behind on deadlines?

Steve W. said...

It's possible. I'm not sure how much warning Kirby gave Marvel before he quit.

Christopher Nevell said...

Kack Kirby? Where’s your Christmas spirit, Nathan.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Will you post something new already! I've never read these nor know anything about them!

Steve W. said...

I like to think Nathan merely hit the "K" key by mistake when he meant to hit the "J" key.

Of course, I could be completely wrong....

Don't worry, Charlie. There'll be a brand new post tomorrow. Granted, it'll be full of comics that I'm fairly certain you've not read...

Charlie Horse 47 said...

That's OK! I just need to be sure I have not read them nor know anything about them! It brings peace of mind during the holiday season!