Thursday, 18 January 2018

January 18th, 1978 - Marvel UK, 40 years ago this week.

On this night in 1978, BBC One was broadcasting the Richard Attenborough produced movie Whistle Down the Wind, starring Hayley Mills. I remember it as being a charming excursion that taught us we could all be Jesus, if we only put our minds to it.

Granted, it did mean that, about five years later, we had to put up with a Nick Heyward song of the same name entering the charts. It's a song which I remember hating. The fact that I could hate such an inoffensive thing proved to me that I couldn't be Jesus if I put my mind to it.

Needless to say, having these two conflicting messages spinning around in my head has left me all of a quandary. A quandary I can only escape by burying my mind in the product that my favourite comics company published in the seven days that led up to that evening.

Rampage #14, Defenders vs the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants

Is this the one in which Magneto tries to get up to some mischief or other at the United Nations and ends up being turned into a baby by some, no doubt unlikely, means?

I do recall that sensational development causing all kinds of trouble for Moira MacTaggert, later down the line.

Complete Fantastic Four #17, the Sub-Mariner

You do wonder just what Namor would get up to without his periodic attempts to conquer the surface world, usually with a vast army of dozens.

Having said that, if the cover's to be believed, this time, he doesn't bother with the army. He just uses Sue Richards instead.

I don't like to be negative but I really don't see how having Sue Richards on his side is going to make a massive difference to his plans to conquer the world. Let's be honest, she generally wasn't that much use in a fight, her main purpose in life being to get held hostage.

But, regardless, please tell me that that big whale-monster thing shows up. The one with the arms and legs. The one that attacked New York in Subby's first appearance in the FF's comic.

Was it called Monstro or something?

I don't know what it was meant to be but I liked the cut of its jib.

Mighty World of Marvel #277, Hulk vs the Quintronic Man

Yes, totally unarmed police-type people, do what atom bombs, gods and galactic tyrants have all failed to do. Destroy the Hulk before he revives. I mean, how difficult can it be?

Having said that, from my dim and distant memories, I'm not convinced that the pictured scene actually happens in the tale. My memory of it is that Hulkie basically just gets mad and tears the Quintronic Man apart, limb by limb.

On other matters, why on Earth does the Quintronic Man have a face? Just what purpose was it supposed to serve? There is so much about this cover that doesn't make sense.

Super Spider-Man #258, Morbius, Paul Gulacy cover

It's that rarity, a Paul Gulacy Spider-Man cover.

Admittedly, when I say it's a rarity, I don't know for sure that it is. For all I know, he may have gone on to draw thousands of Spidey covers. But, still, I'm pretty sure this is the only Spider cover I ever saw from him.

But how could anyone not love Paul Gulacy? He didn't produce a huge amount of work but what he did he always did with style.

I am struggling, though, to work out which are the Avengers and Captain America tales that are promoted on the cover.

The claim that the Scarlet Witch is in, "Mystic combat," does make me wonder if it's the story in which she battles with a chair, after Agatha Harkness agrees to tutor her in witchcraft.

As for the Cap tale, it rings no bells. I have tried Googling, "Captain America, Town of Terror," but, for some reason, that brings up nothing but zillions of photos of Disney's Hollywood Towers - and I fail to see the connection.

27 comments:

The Artistic Actuary said...

You’re right about that Defenders tale Steve. I only know this, though, because it was featured on The Peerless Power Of Comics website recently.

I've had a go at tracking down that Cap story but had no luck. I expect we're somewhere in the Cap 100-130 range but nothing seems to match the description on that Spidey cover.

And my first thought was also that that Avengers story was where the Witch is doing lessons with Agatha Harkness and brings a chair to life. I vaguely remember them being locked in a room and all the other Avengers being freaked out by all the noise the other dude if the door.

Steve W. said...

Being able to remember that Defenders tale has made me realise I must have had next week's issue of Rampage, despite its cover ringing no bells for me.

Aggy said...

Paul Gulacy did very few Spidey covers. Most of this period he was doing Masters of Kung Fu. Although my favourite is Six from Sirius

Quick look at a fan website has publication to 2016 (which was when the site was last updated).

TC said...

It's true that Sue Storm was often no help in a fight, at least in the early years. The same could be said about the Wasp and Scarlet Witch. In Sue's case, it got a little better when she gained the power to project a force field.

But they all often seemed more like helpless damsels in distress than helpful teammates, and their main purpose seemed to be getting kidnapped or taken hostage and having to be rescued.

Wonder Woman could have mopped the floor with all of them.

pete doree said...

I always kind of thought that the denizens of Atlantis were always breathing a resigned sigh every time Namor ordered an invasion of the surface world.
That, or he felt he had to keep doing that to keep his army occupied. Either way, it can't have been much fun being, say, a common citizen in Atlantis. 'What, we're invading AGAIN??'
Re: Paul Gulacy. Absolutely and definitely. If he couldn't stay on MOKF, he should've done Morbius or even better, Black Widow, forever.

Anonymous said...

But this time, Namor's "invasion" of the surface-world is, in fact, a crafty scheme to get Reed and Sue Richards back together which seems a bit drastic - couldn't he have suggested some marriage-guidance counselling instead ?

I don't know that Nick Heyward song but wasn't Boyzone's "No Matter What" from a musical version of Whistle Down The Wind ?

Anyway, never mind Whistle Down The Wind as I've just been watching "Frankenstein: The True Story" on YouTube, all 3 hours of it, which I last saw circa 1983 :)

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Gents - can you help me out? I'm afraid I'm going wacko?

The cover of the Brotherhood of Evil v. Defenders... I truly think I know a near-identical cover wherein the Brotherhood has the same position / poses but the "good guys" are different, perhaps the X-Men? I kind of punched out of comics around 1974 so if there is such a cover, it's earlier bronze age?

Thanks in advance to this stalwart gang of comic aficionados!

Anonymous said...

Why does the Quintronic Man have a face?
Come on, Steve. The first thing I would do if I were building a robot is give it a real scary face. Otherwise, why build a robot at all?
It's the other stuff, like the circuitry, electronics, gears and mechanics, that I would have a problem with.

M.P.

Steve W. said...

Charlie, I'm afraid I can be of no use to you when it comes to the Defenders cover. Nothing leaps to mind but that's probably just a sign of my ignorance.

MP, it all makes sense when you put it like that.

Colin, Boyzone having done a song from a musical version of Whistle Down the Wind does ring a bell.

Pete, I do get the feeling that the denizens of Atlantis just got bored. Was there actually anything to do in Atlantis? They didn't seem to have theatres, cinemas, theme parks, television, any kind of entertainments at all. For that matter, none of them even seemed to have jobs. I suspect they just launched invasions so they'd actually have something to do.

TC, the feebleness of 1960s Marvel heroines was indeed vexing.

Aggy and Pete, Paul Gulacy was indeed great. I know he modelled his style on Jim Steranko but, somehow, his work always appealed to me more.

The Artistic Actuary said...

I'm pretty sure Antlanteans had television, Steve. Isn't there an early issipue of FF with Namor sat in front of the box underwater?

Anonymous said...

Never read that particular issue of Super Spider-man Steve, but a few weeks earlier the Avengers were in the old west up against Kang so I expect the Scarlet Witch reference on the cover means they've got to the fight with the Squadron Supreme over the Serpent Crown.

-sean

The Artistic Actuary said...

Sorry Sean, I have to call you out on that one. We're not that far through Avengers history yet - the cover of SSM refers to the Swordsman. He was dead long before the Seppent Crown and Wild West stories.

TC said...

I seem to recall a story reprinted in Marvel Collector's Item Classics #6 that began with Namor sitting in front of a TV and watching a news report about the FF.

Anonymous said...

The Swordsman! Duh...
No need to apologize dangermash - should have figured that out anyway.
Still, its a bit puzzling, because I distinctly recall reading part of that western Avengers storyline in short black and white episodes and can't think where that would be now.
I am going off to put my dunce's hat on now, and hope my SteveDoesComics no-prize doesn't get withdrawn.

-sean

Timothy Field said...

I can't even get the WiFi to reach my bedroom.

Killdumpster said...

That was one of my favorite Spider-Man covers. Would've liked to have a poster of it. Don't undersell Sue Storm. If you were going to conquer the world covertly, she would be excellent for spying & espionage. Just like your other favorite Ant-Man.(lol) I don't think Namor was a covert kinda guy, though.

Killdumpster said...

That was one of my favorite Spider-Man covers. Would've liked to have a poster of it. Don't undersell Sue Storm. If you were going to conquer the world covertly, she would be excellent for spying & espionage. Just like your other favorite Ant-Man.(lol) I don't think Namor was a covert kinda guy, though.

Killdumpster said...

Sorry for the repeat guys.

The Artistic Actuary said...

Saturday morning and kids' football training is rained off. Which means I have time to check out my Marvel Masterworks.

And I can tell you that it's the splash page of FF #9 that has Namor watching the TV in an "underwater cavern". It's the one where he builds his own film studio just get the FF to star in a film, just so he can beat them all up. ASM #14 did a better job with that storyline.

And, if that's not enough, I reckon the first half of FF #9 should appear in The Complete FF #17, which is the one featured this week on Steve Dies Comics!

Anonymous said...

Does, dangermash, Does:)
Funnily enough, the two stories in the Complete FF frequently seemed to match up with each other; another example that springs to mind is the reprint of FF #3 appearing as back up while the (then) modern FF faced the Miracle Man.
Coincidence? Synchronicity? Serendipity?
Or an indication that during the Roy Thomas/Gerry Conway era the comic had run out of ideas and was feeding off its past?

-sean

Anonymous said...

Steve Dies Comics ? An ominous title for a blog!

Dougie said...

Sean, the reprint of the Western segment of the Englehart Avengers era is probably about a year away. This Spidey comic and the Necrodamus story just precedes the first Kang Macrobots story where Swordsman I dies.
It's then followed by the Legion of the Unliving/Cotati/Kree/Mantis epic. Then the Beast and the Stranger, Hellcat,the Squadron Supreme and the cowboys.

Steve, although it's a bit simplistic compared to Englehart, Wein's Alpha the Ultimate Mutant story is a favourite for Nighthawk's new look and for the mutate Lorelei, previously seen in the Beast-Brood story I was mad about.

Dougie said...

Wonder if Town of Terror is Cap 125? Cap in Viet Nam, fighting the Mandarin? It's around the time Colan was drawing the series but before the Falcon/Diamondhead 1 story, I think.

The Artistic Actuary said...

The spellchecker on this iPad does come up with some strange corrections at times.

Steve W. said...

That's nothing. For some reason this site's spellchecker refuses to accept that the word, "Blog," exists. You'd have thought that if any spellchecker would accept that such a word exists, it would be one belonging to a blog.

Dougie, Sean, Dangermash, Killdumpster, Timothy, TC, Colin, Pete, Charlie, Aggy, MP, thanks for your contributions. You have made efforts above and beyond the call of duty.

The Artistic Actuary said...

Found it! Dougie was close but I reckon we're talking Captain America #128. Cap bikes into the town of Coits Neck and ends up arrested and behind bars.

I admit I cheated. I looked for other SSM issues with mentions of Cap on the cover. In four weeks' time there's mention of the Red Skull, so I could narrow down my search to US comics that were two months before Red Skull appearances.

This post has been carefully checked for typos.

Steve W. said...

Dangermash, you definitely deserve some sort of award from the World Wide Web for that level of dedication.