Thursday, 28 December 2017

December 28th, 1977 - Marvel UK, 40 years ago this week.

Help! Help! I don't know what day of the week it is!

That can only mean one thing. That it's that mysterious period, between Christmas and the New Year, when time becomes strangely scrambled in our minds.

In light of such psychological trauma, I can only take one course of action.

And that's to settle down in a comfy chair and find out what's on the TV.

In Britain, it's been a bit of a Ray Harryhausen fest today - but what of this date, way back in 1977?

On BBC One, Flash Gordon was still conquering the universe. He was taking his time about it. He'd been trying to do it for weeks. He clearly needed to shake himself.

Later that day, Out Of This World was investigating UFOs. We also had the Golden Great Hits of the Monkees, Christmas With The Osmonds and Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines.

Later still that day, we got the political drama of Washington: Behind Closed Doors with its tale of skulduggery, power-grabbing and corruption in the White House.

Later than even that, we got A Christmas Ghost Story, starring Kate Binchy and Peter Bowles. I have no idea what that was about but have no doubt that Peter Bowles played a charming bounder with a moustache.

I know, it's hard to understand how I could have guessed that. I can only conclude that I must be psychic.

Marvel UK, Rampage #11, Defenders vs Xemnu

That cheeky ball of fur - Xemnu - is back.

From what I can make out, it would appear that he's taken control of a small town and it's up to our disparate dynamos to stop him.

Exactly what he wants with a small town, I cannot say but I have no doubt it's not good news for the local inhabitants.

Mighty World of Marvel #274, Hulk vs the Constrictor

The Constrictor's still being a nuisance. Given his lack of awesomeness, it's very difficult to see how he managed to last more than three panels against the Hulk. I can only conclude that the jade one was distracted by weightier concerns.

Super Spider-Man #255, Morbius

From what I can make out, Morbius has been possessed by the Empathoid and compelled to kidnap Glory Grant, in order to force Spider-Man to show up.

As if that wasn't bad enough news for the wall-crawler, the UK reprints are now just six months behind the US originals. Surely this can only mean impending crisis for our plucky company.

Marvel UK, Complete Fantastic Four #14

Apparently, the FF are still fighting Ternak. I can shed no more light on the subject than that.

I also have no idea what the back-up tale is.

I do feel that today's post isn't the most illuminating I've ever done. Needless to say, I blame Marvel UK for not putting detailed plot summaries on the front of all their comics.

Regardless, I do believe this is another Ross Andru pencilled tale, which does make it a thing of interest, in that regard.


Dougie said...

The original US edition of that Defenders story was my very first. Also, my introduction to Valkyrie,Xemnu and in an advert, Morbius.

Timothy Field said...

Oddly I've just been watching Peter Bowles in an episode of The Persuaders. The bloke from To The Manor Born cuts an incongruous figure while in the same scenes as Tony Curtis.

Aggy said...

A Christmas Ghost Story was a 70s tradition and was even brought back 15ish years ago fronted by Christopher Lee. BFI released a cracking DVD collection that they really need to reissue.

I suspect you would have enjoyed the 1977 edition:

"Stigma (1977)

A young couple move into a remote country house in the middle of a stone circle. They employ workmen who disturb an ancient menhir, unleashing a supernatural force."

Stones circles. The UK equivilant of an Indian burial ground

Steve W. said...

BBC 4 showed a couple of Christmas ghost stories a few days ago, plus a couple of the Christopher Lee ones. Sadly, I missed them. I shall have to catch up with them on the iplayer before too long.

dangermash said...

Tim mentioned the Persuaders. I have a cracking fact about that series.

Everybody already knows that when Eric Thompson was given the task of translating the Magic Roundabout script from French into English, he decided the original script was too boring, so made up his own script that was much funnier and a bit of a pisstake, yeah?
Well, it turns out that The Persuaders was popular in Germany and Austria as a result of someone in Germany applying the same trick. The German version is apparently full of 007 jokes, fourth wall breaking, street slang and "a greater degree of sexual explicitness". Someone needs to translate the German version back to English.

Steve W. said...

I've just checked and the German version is on YouTube. I wonder if I can get Google Translate to tell me what they're saying?

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Because I've never read any of these I find my fun in the Comment Section.

1) Is the UK full of Stone Circles?

2) How could I have never heard of The Persuaders? Roger Moore and Tony Curtis are big deals.

3) On a comics note was Xemnu (The Defenders cover) part of a bigger bad-guy team? The "Titans" are referenced on the cover and I have a foggy recall of him being part of something bigger than himself. Who were the Titans?

Steve W. said...

Charlie, there are over a thousand stone circles in the UK, and there are probably thousands more individual standing stones. You can find them pretty much everywhere that's sparsely populated. Most of them aren't very impressive and you might not notice them if you didn't know what they were. Apart from Stonehenge, probably the most celebrated ones are Brodgar, Callanish, Castlerigg, and Avebury, the last of which is so large it has an entire village built in the middle of it.

Sadly, The Persuaders wasn't great and was a bit of a flop at the time. Arguably, the only real reason it's remembered is because its theme tune - written by John Barry - is possibly the greatest TV theme tune of all time.

I don't remember Xemnu being in a team but my knowledge of him is limited, so it's perfectly possible he was in one.

Timothy Field said...

Oh god yes, The Persuaders theme tune, there maybe no finer piece of music in the universe.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

You got me curious to hear the theme, lol. YouTube here I come!

Charlie Horse 47 said...

OK, I checked out the Persuaders theme song, and along the way revisited the Saint, The Avengers, Danger Man, etc.

Mission Impossible is still my fav with Secret Agent / Danger Man as 2nd. (No hard feelings, I hope?)

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