Thursday, 21 December 2017

December 21st, 1977 - Marvel UK, 40 years ago this week.

There are mere days to go before Christmas.

And that can only mean one thing.

That it's time for me to rush outside and build a snowman.

But there is no snow.

That can only mean one thing.

That it's time for me to rush outside and build a sludgeman.

But there is no sludge.

That can only mean one thing.

That it's time for me to rush inside and  build an internetman.

An internetman constructed from the comics of my youth, of forty years ago.

See how mighty he is! See!

Admittedly, my internetman won't take me by the hand and help me fly through the sky while singing Walking in the Air but, at least, when he goes, he won't leave a tragic puddle behind.

Rampage #10, the Defenders

Last week, we got the prologue of the Evil Eye Saga. This week, we get its epilogue.

This is clearly wise thinking. Let's face it, when it comes to landmark stories, who needs the bits in between? They're just padding. We only need to know how it started and how it ended. Just imagine how much better the Kree/Skrull War would have been if they'd cut out all those pesky Neal Adams instalments and only bothered printing the first and last parts.

As for this issue, from what I can recall, our heroes go back in time to the Crusades, in an attempt to do something about the fact that the Black Knight's body has turned to stone and his soul is trapped in some limbo somewhere.

This involves fighting giant trolls that even the Hulk can't stop. Needless to say, after much turmoil and confusion, our heroes triumph over adversity.

Complete Fantastic Four #13, Ternak

In a revolutionary blow for Women's Lib, it's the Human Torch's turn to be gripped by a giant hand.

I must confess that I know nothing of Ternak.

I assume he has nothing to do with last week's Doctor Doom storyline but I have no evidence at all to back up my assumption.

I can't help feeling Medusa must be a bit cold in that outfit. Given the local climate, you'd have thought she'd have brought a coat with her.

Mighty World of Marvel #273, Hulk vs Constrictor

The Constrictor is still chancing his luck against the Hulk. I fear it's not going to end well for him.

Super Spider-Man #254, Nova and Spidey vs Photon

Can it be? Has Captain Britain fought his last battle?

It certainly seemed so at the time, as this week saw him unceremoniously dumped from the comic whose title he'd previously shared, only to be replaced by a hero of a not totally dissimilar name.

Unlike his UK counterpart, this captain, however, was not allowed to share the comic's masthead. The man nearly sacrificed his life for us in World War II. Did Marvel UK have no sense of gratitude? Did Bucky die in vain?

I'm going to have a stab at it and guess that these Captain America adventures are sourced from Gene Colan's stint on the strip.

I could, I confess, be wrong.


DrVin said...

Could be John Romitas?

Anonymous said...

Ternak was just a boring man-sized inside the comic, not the giant he appears on the cover. As I recall, the story (part 2 next week) takes place in the Himalayas - the Torch and Medusa have crashed after returning from the Great Refuge. They soon fall into the clutches of Ternak and his followers who have built a dastardly machine which will turn the entire world into a frozen wilderness. The snowy theme of this story felt appropriately Christmassy at the time :)

Anonymous said...

And both parts of this story were drawn by Ross Andru which, for me, was a very welcome break from Rich Buckler.

Anonymous said...

Correct me if I'm mistaken Steve, but isn't Medusa from the Himalayas, what with being an Inhuman? Presumably she's used to the cold, and maybe likes showing off how hard she is making out it doesn't bother her. Like Geordies do (er... no offence intended).

A bit odd to see a giant villain on the cover of Rampage that isn't holding a struggling Valkyrie in one of his hands - is she not in that Defenders story?


Timothy Field said...

Don't know if it's this week's issue of Rampage or last's but it did at least have a page filling in the details of the Evil Eye saga, which seemed to have been published years previously in Spider-Man Weekly, though I guess it was probably only a year or so. Kids these days complain about crossovers being hard to follow.
Merry Christmas all.

The Artistic Actuary said...

Yes. Not perfect for Rampage magazine to go straight from Avengers/Defenders War prologue to epilogue in a week with the war itself being in a different comic.


This isn't just a Marvel UK thing. When they had the first Secret War in the mid 80s, Amazing Spider-Man went from one month with Soidey walking into a spaceship that had appeared in Central Park to the next month with a magical black costume. And didn't the switchover happen around the start of the Secret War series, rather than at the end? So the black costume was a complete mystery to every body.

Steve W. said...

DrVin, it may be the Jazzy One. My memory is fuzzy on the matter.

Colin, thanks for the FF info. It was always intriguing to see Ross Andru draw Marvel strips that weren't Spider-Man.

Sean, I'm pretty sure that Valkyrie's in the Defenders story - and possibly finds herself strangely attracted to the Black Knight, despite never having met him.

I do always find it odd that, in the Inhumans' first appearance, the Great Refuge was in the Andes but, in subsequent appearances, it was in the Himalayas, with not a word of explanation.

Timothy and Dangermash, I like to think that reading Marvel UK greatly expanded our intellects, thanks to the amount of brainwork we had to put into keeping track of continuity in the face of the sheer randomness of the order in which stories were reprinted.

Timothy Field said...

I have searched the internet in hopes of finding a definitive spreadsheet for Marvel UK continuity/reading order. Sadly nobody was bored enough to make one.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Steve- You been hitting the egg nog a little early? Internet Man? Well, as long as Internet man didn't also impregnate Gwen Stacy prior to her death and she delivered his twins too (like the Green Goblin's) I guess I'm cool with it.

Wait - didn't the inhumans live in the Andes? Not withstanding where they used to hang out I did buy the Inhuman run about 2 years ago and they had relocated themselves outside NYC. Also some gas had been spread over the whole (!) world and now everyone who has any Inhuman DNA has morphed into their Inhuman-ness. Good lord... maybe Marvel needs Internet Man to cure them of this madness?

Steve W. said...

Charlie, I believe that Lee and Kirby had great difficulty remembering exactly where the Inhumans were supposed to live and their homeland tended to drift around the globe fairly randomly.

As for their recent status. Basically, because Marvel didn't have the film rights to the X-Men, they decided to replace them in their movies and TV shows with the Inhumans, hence having them live amongst ordinary people and be the product of genetic mutation. To accommodate this, Marvel also implemented this plan in the comics as well. Presumably, now that Disney own most of Fox, Marvel films can use the X-Men, so the Inhuman strategy has proven to be unnecessary.

Steve W. said...

Timothy, the gaps in human knowledge are genuinely terrifying.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Steve - didn't know that.

Anyhow, the whole Inhumans living next to NYC, with a little draw bridge to get to their fortress, is really implausible. Who would want to see something that silly in a movie?

Help with a point of clarification: Are Inhumans considered muties like the X-Men?

Steve W. said...

I think they're now viewed as being a kind of mutant, but ones whose powers are only activated when they're exposed to Terrigen gas.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Ahhh... that explains a bunch. Some event happened in the Marbel Universe to release Terrigen gas the world over. Hmmm... wonder if only a one-time release was necessary for the every inhuman present and future to appear as an inhuman?

I.e., no more latent inhumans in humanity waiting to morph or be exposed to gas?

Maybe I'll ask Santa if I see him, lol. He's got all the answers!

Anonymous said...

Don't know about Santa, Charlie - I thought it was long established that the terrigen mists and Inhumans were a Kree experiment. Although the precise details seem to change as the demands of retro-continuity means the story gets more complicated each time its revisited.
Last I read, the Celestials (inevitably) were involved somehow.

Forgot about the Andes, Steve - sorry about; although to be fair, they're cold too so the point about Medusa holds.


Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas, Steve, and to everyone who reads Steve Does Comics :)

Steve W. said...

Merry Christmas to you too, Colin.