Thursday, 7 December 2017

December 7th, 1977 - Marvel UK, 40 years ago this week.

I'm currently watching a Star Trek episode in which the crew encounter a bunch of aliens who don't know what love is and don't know what kissing is. I'm sure it's only a question of time before Captain Kirk fully enlightens them.

By my reckoning, he's also just twenty five minutes away from destroying their god, causing societal collapse and then flying off into space, abandoning them to their fate, and expecting them to thank him.

But if those aliens don't know what love is, we certainly do.

Love is that thing all sensible people feel for comics.

And that can only mean one thing.

That it's time to look at what the loveliest comics company of them all was giving us almost exactly forty years ago.

Marvel UK, Savage Sword of Conan #2

Judging by the book's first two issues, Marvel UK seem to have had a policy of hitting the market hard, with Boris Vallejo covers, in order to arouse maximum interest from those scanning the news racks for something to read.

They were of course right. Who wouldn't be tempted to buy something that had a Boris Vallejo painting on the front of it?

I had the American original of this one. I remember it involving a sorcerer who had a well in his citadel, via which he could see into the future and the past and had used it to bring a tyrannosaurus into the Hyborian Age.

I think this may be the story that first introduced me to the word, "Citadel." Yet again, comics had proven their educational worth.

As for the dinosaur, with a grim inevitability, it escaped and Conan had to fight it.

With an equally grim inevitability, he beat it. They should have let Conan loose in Jurassic Park. The film would have been over in about five minutes, with him on the loose.

Super Spider-Man and Captain Britain #252, Photon

"Now it's your turn, chum!" Why do I get the feeling this issue's cover copy was written by the same person who used to do the cover copy for Captain Britain's mag?

Regardless, Spider-Man's team-up with Nova continues.

Didn't this tale involve the theft of a top secret prototype of some device or other?

I also remember it involving a speedboat chase, which was nice.

Rampage #8, Attuma

It's Attuma's turn to get his bottom kicked by the world's most overpowered super-team.

I don't like to be harsh but, much as we all love him,  I fail to see just what Hawkeye can bring to the table, given the power levels of his team mates. I mean, getting hit by a stun arrow's not really on a par with being punched in the face by the Hulk, is it?

Mighty World of Marvel #271, Hulk vs Mongu

Despite being on Earth, with the Defenders, fighting Attuma, the Hulk also manages to be on another planet, fighting Mongu II.

By the looks of it, he could do with Hawkeye's help.

Complete Fantastic Four #11, Dr Doom

As predicted by several commenters last week, Dr Doom makes his dastardly return.

I could be wrong but I think this tale may involve Darkoth turning against his creator.


The Artistic Actuary said...

Today's unconnected thoughts:

You were right - that's Mongo in MWOM, not Blastaar.

The Spider-Man pose looks familiar. I reckon it's a swipe from another cover. Probably quite a recent cover if I still remember it.

I know what you mean about Hawkeye not having much to add. I reckon there were times in The Avengers when he was in the same situation, with Thor, Iron Man and Vision in the team.

And that Star Trek episode sounds to me like the one with David Soul in it. If they're worshiping a giant concrete dragon's head, that's the one.

The Artistic Actuary said...

Ah yes, that Spider-Man pose was on the cover only nine weeks about!

Anonymous said...

Barbarian fights wizard and dinosaur - when you put it that way, Steve, SSOC does sound a bit pointless. Except - Boris Vallejo, and John Buscema with Alfredo Alcala on the inside. Crom, that comic was the business in its early months!

Good to see Marvel avoiding the easy formula route and keeping things fresh on that Rampage cover, with Val being held by a set of pincers this week instead of a giant hand.


Charlie Horse 47 said...

Steve-O, It's posh, PIMs drinking, Charlie here! I read AND recall the FF! You are indeed correct that Darkoth the Cyborg makes an appearance!

Alas, I will only be able to say that one more time, with the next issue of FF. Poor Charlie will fade into obscurity trying to wonder what that hell that Scottish guy said on Broadchurch.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Oh, before I forget! Happy Pearl Harbor Day. It was a regular theme during my formative years at the University. Something to do with "getting bombed!"

Steve W. said...

It's OK, Charlie, Picard does indeed have an English accent. I was just making fun of the fact that Patrick Stewart played a French character but made no attempt to do an appropriate accent, meaning you have such weirdnesses as Picard going back to his home village in France, in one episode, and everyone in that village has to be played by an actor with an English accent so that his accent doesn't stick out like a sore thumb.

Dangermash, it was indeed the episode with David Soul, in which Kirk destroys the computer upon which their entire society depends, then flies off into outer space, clearly convinced he's done them a huge favour, despite them now having no means at all to maintain their own survival. It's obvious they'll all be dead within six months.

Sean, I don't know where Marvel cover artists would have been without giant hands and claws.

Timothy Field said...

Maybe Star Trek TNG was a bit more forward thinking than we give it credit for and in an insanely optimistic prediction of the outcome of the Brexit negotiations assumed France ended up under British control in the 21st century?

pete doree said...

Me I loved ol' Clint being in the ( real ) Defenders. For once, he was actually the calm, reasonable one in that line-up!
It also still tickles me that Boris Vallejo's wife's name is Doris. Boris & Doris' art class. There's a childrens puppet animation show right there.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Thank heavens I know my accents after all! You know France did consider and asked about joining your common wealth after the Suez Crisis. What a difference that might have made.,,

Steve W. said...

Not only that but, in 1940, Churchill and De Gaulle agreed to merge Britain and France into one country but the French government rejected it on the grounds that they'd rather be ruled by the Nazis than be in a political union with Britain.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

I did not know that! Didn't know Vichy water tasted so sweet!

Anonymous said...

Steve, I seem to recall reading there was also some opposition in the British cabinet to union with the French in 1940 - apparently the main difficulty was accepting the idea of a single currency! Plus ca change as they say, eh?
(Although having said that, with the falling pound being not far off parity with the euro it looks like the main achievement of the brexiters will soon be a de facto single currency. Well done Nigel.)

Following on from Tim's observation about Star Trek TNG, Picard and Data confirm - in a clip originally censored by the BBC - that the Irish border issue at least was solved by 2024...


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