Tuesday, 9 January 2018

The Marvel Lucky Bag - January 1978.

Most people don't know that there is, in every house, a secret but very slim room hidden between two of the rooms whose existence you do know of. All you have to do to find it is to demolish all the rooms that you are aware of, until the mystery room is the only thing left standing.

Likewise, there is, ofttimes, in this blog, between the Sunday and Thursday posts, a hidden feature that looks at what titles Marvel were publishing forty years ago which didn't quite manage to achieve legendary status.

Reader, this is that post.

The Champions #17, the Sentinels

The Sentinels are attacking! Could it be the end for the Marvel team who never quite made it big and are therefore, no doubt, candidates to have their own Netflix show?

As it turns out, it can indeed be the end, because this was the last issue of their comic before the fickle finger of cancellation struck it. Let's face it, if the Sentinels can't save your mag, the chances are that nothing can.

Howard the Duck #20

I had the issue after this one. I didn't have this one. There is, therefore, little I can say of it, other than that I'm sure it was a potent satire of both commercialisation and washing powder.

John Carter, Warlord of Mars #8

His movie might have flopped but that's not stopping John Carter from taking care of business on Mars.

I wonder if he ever bumped into Gullivar Jones and if they ever teamed up?

More immediately, I am intrigued by the cover's claim that, "The Marvel Explosion begins here!" Did it? And what was this explosion? Was it inspired by the DC Explosion? And did Marvel's Explosion discover a happier fate than DC's?

Master of Kung Fu #60, Dr Doom

Up until I saw this cover, I was totally unaware that Shang-Chi had ever encountered Dr Doom.

I know all Marvel characters have to meet him at some point but, somehow, it just doesn't feel right that Shang-Chi would. Despite his occasional encounters with other Marvel heroes, such as Spider-Man, he somehow always felt like he existed outside the Marvel universe.

On other matters, I see the bloke with the swords for arms is back. I don't like to be indelicate but, seriously, how does he go to the toilet? How does he get dressed? How does he do anything?

Marvel Preview #13, the UFO Connection

I got this issue in Blackpool, in the summer of 1978.

Needless to say, with its tales of aliens and pyramids, I was suitably enthralled.

I was also gripped by its reports of famous people's encounters with UFOs.

Marvel Team-Up #65, Spider-Man vs Captain Britain

Britain's greatest super-hero who's not called Billy the Cat meets America's greatest super-hero who's not called Superman, as transatlantic derring-doings break out in New York City.

It may have technically been a Spider-Man tale but it was also the best Captain Britain tale until the Alan Moore era came along.

Spidey Super Stories #30, Kang

For a man from the far future, Kang does seem remarkably obsessed with 20th Century America.

I never saw an issue of this particular comic but my Steve Sense tells me it was aimed at the younger reader and was partially designed as a literacy aid.

Marvel Comics, Dynomutt #1

Yet another reminder that Marvel in the 1970s didn't only give us super-heroes.

Admittedly, I suppose that, as he clearly has super-powers, Dynomutt is technically a super-hero. I know nothing of him, never having seen his cartoon but he would appear to be some sort of canine equivalent of Machine Man.

Crazy #33

My familiarity with Crazy is next to non-existent. I would assume that it bore strong resemblances to Mad Magazine but I couldn't guarantee that.

Despite my lack of knowledge, I do believe that this issue includes a send-up of The Deep.


Killdumpster said...

Crazy was a very pale imitation of Mad. You did not miss anything. Cracked magazine was just as good as Mad and had a lot of very sexily drawn women.

Aggy said...

I always quite like The Champions. It was an odd mix of characters which probably turned most people away. But when 3/5ths of the original X-Men can't be X-Men you have to find somewhere to put them. Beast got lucky the othrr 2 had to slum it.

And yes that Captain Britain story was pretty good. Probably the best use of Arcade to.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

I have to admit to a really deep interest in any comics featuring the Sentinels.

I can't recall where I first saw them on the spinner racks... I think it was an Avengers issue in the early 1970s, probably like around issue 92 or so?

Or am I just getting them mixed up with the Sentry (#90)?

Or perhaps it was an issue of XMen around that time, though they may have gone into reprint by then.

Help from any historians?

This is ridiculous that I cannot remember these things! I am so angry!

Steve W. said...

Charlie, the Sentinels showed up in Avengers #103, in which they were up to something involving solar flares.

Killdumpster, thanks for the Crazy info. I think the only issue of Mad that I ever read was one that sent up both Alien and CHIPS, though not, sadly, in the same story. Alien vs CHIPS would have been an awesome movie.

Aggy, it's nice to know that the Champions weren't totally unloved.

Timothy Field said...

I recall having one issue of the Marvel take on John Carter, can't remember anything about it but it was enough to get me excited about the recent movie.

On an unrelated note, the 1978 MWOM annual I ordered off eBay after reading this blog while drunk on New Year's Eve arrived today. A nostalgic joy but I shall try to refrain from visiting this site while under the influence in the future.

pete doree said...

I love that Champions cover. Take out everybody but Warren & Natasha, then look at it again.
Superhero porn or what?
And if John Carter & Gulliver Jones haven't teamed up over at Dynamite, surely it's only a matter of time.

Killdumpster said...

The best depiction of the Sentinels was the first. Early X-Men. Had a big impact on me , cuz I liked robots in the 60s & that was my 1st X-Men mag. Got it for Xmas. Lol.

Killdumpster said...

Yikes! And I thought I had a Randy mind. Lol

Anonymous said...

On that subject, I recall reading an interview with El Topo director Alejandro Jodorowsky where he discussed the possibilities of a Fantastic Four film, speculating about Reed and Sue and their powers...

Er, anyway, that last Champions issue featured the rather odd art combo of George Tuska and John Byrne. Don't know if that's the only time Byrne did inks over someone else's pencils, but its got to be fairly unusual, right?

Charlies - fwiw, I got the Avengers and X-Men mixed up generally back then.
I put it down to both being teams drawn by Neal Adams; even when you're too young to have really developed much of a take on the different art styles, his work had a distinctive quality that stood out. With both having continued storylines at a time when I never had consecutive issues, the Sentinels, Mandroids and whatever all sort of blurred together...


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