Thursday 29 March 2018

March 29th, 1978 - Marvel UK, 40 years ago this week.

Well, this is all a huge disappointment to me. I went to the official UK charts website, in the expectation that I would see that Brian and Michael had ascended to the Number One spot on the UK singles chart in this week of 1978, only to discover that, like a vengeful ghost, Kate Bush was still clinging on in there, her fingers gripping on to that top slot, like the grim talons of a bird of prey.

And so, in order to flee the disappointment of having to wait yet another week for the flat cap bothering twosome to achieve immortality, I shall instead fling myself into seeing what I can recall of the masterpieces that Marvel UK were giving us in that very week.

Super Spider-Man #268, Medusa

Hold on! What? Would Medusa really attack Spider-Man while he's trying to save the occupants of a roller coaster, from instant death? I can forgive the woman many things but I don't think even I could make excuses for an action like that.

Star Wars Weekly #8, Darth Vader vs Ben Kenobi

Interesting to see that we're told that, this issue, Darth Vader is battling Ben Kenobi. It's a reminder that it was so early in the franchise's history that people still couldn't make up their minds what to call him.

Apparently, Man-Gods From Beyond the Stars and Sword in the Star are still the back-up strips.

I do wonder if the Man-Gods From Beyond the Stars ever bumped into It! The Terror From Beyond Space, which, as we all know, was ripped-off senseless by Ridley Scott's Alien.

Rampage #24, Defenders vs the Sons of the Serpent

Good grief. The Defenders' battle with the Sons of the Serpent is STILL going on!

I mean, seriously, I know I keep going on about it (I've been going on about it for about two months now) but how can it possibly be lasting this long? They're just fighting some blokes.

More importantly, in this issue, the Elf kills Tom and Linda Pritchett. I don't have a clue who Tom and Linda Pritchett are but I suspect they could probably make a better fist of fighting the Sons of the Serpent than the Defenders are.

The Complete Fantastic Four #27, Arkon

Everyone's favourite Conan knock-off turns up in the pages of the Fantastic Four - as does an alternate world version of the Thing.

Is this the alternate Thing from Fantastic Four #118, or is this another one? And, if so, just how many alternate Things are there out there?

Elsewhere, Reed sells his stake in the Fantastic Four to someone called Interlocking Technologies.

Why do I get a feeling that it's a decision that won't turn out to have been a wise one?

Mighty World of Marvel #287, the Incredible Hulk

I do believe that those two gentlemen are part of the Ringmaster's Circus of Crime and they're looking for new recruits.

I always had a liking for the Circus of Crime. They may not have been very good at crime - to a degree that made you wonder why they didn't just try to make a living out of circusing - but they had a certain style and a breezy but bolshie self-confidence that appealed to me.

Sunday 25 March 2018

Get ready to hide behind your settee because, at last, we tackle the best horror films of all time.

NIght of the Demon, the monster
At last, this blog's author shows his true face to the world.
This site's recent talk of what are the greatest science fiction films of all time - and whether the form always benefits from a dose of added horror - inevitably turns the conversation to horror itself and, through that, to just what are the finest films of that genre.

And that's all for the good because I must confess that, even more than sci-fi, I do love a good horror film.

When it comes to the golden oldies, my favourites list will always include Quatermass and the Pit, Night of the Demon and The Innocents, while, from more modern times, I have a serious liking for Let the Right One In and Ginger Snaps.

Leaving Quatermass and the Pit aside, my favourite Hammer productions would have to be The Devil Rides Out, The Plague of the Zombies and Dr Jekyll and Sister Hyde. The latter of  those films clearly should be a right load of old cobblers, a film built around a joke of a title, and yet it does what it does with a style that makes it impossible not to love it.

Talk of Hammer inevitably brings me to a curious subgenre, which is movies that aren't by Hammer but are clearly pretending to be. My favourites from that frequently strange movement have to be Horror Express, a somewhat unhinged look at what happens when Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Telly Savalas and a space alien all find themselves on the same train together, and The Creeping Flesh, in which Peter Cushing experiments with a mysterious skeleton he's uncovered, and then lives to regret it.

Although I love Hammer films, I must confess I'm not so fussed about their predecessors, the old Universal horror movies. They're good fun but I generally don't find them very compelling. My favourite of them would probably have to be Bride of Frankenstein, if only for Elsa Lanchester's hair.

When it comes to science fiction tales with a horror angle, who can beat the first two Alien offerings and the first two versions of The Thing From Another World? Not to mention the first two versions of Invasion of the Body Snatchers? With its monster from the id, Forbidden Planet also makes effective use of its horror dimension.

I must confess I'm not a huge fan of slasher movies, as they all blur into one for me, which is probably why the cliché-mocking Scream is easily my favourite of that genre.

Other than the aforementioned The Plague of the Zombies, zombie movies also mostly leave me cold. I generally find the zombies in them to be poor conversationalists.

Anyway, I'm sure I've missed out a million and one great films and, if I have, you're free to say so in the comments section below. Then again, if I haven't, you are, of course, free to agree with me. Then again, you're also free to disagree with me. That's how liberated the internet is these days.

Thursday 22 March 2018

March 22nd, 1978 - Marvel UK, 40 years ago this week.

Being the great art lover that I am, I remember once asking Pablo Picasso, "Pabs, how do you do so many paintings?"

And he replied, "Easelly."

All of which reminds me that, on this night in 1978, the bizarre mishmash of national politics, tittle tattle and skateboarding ducks that was Nationwide was telling us the story of Luiz Antonio Gasparetto, a youthful South American who couldn't paint - except when he was possessed by the spirits of dead artists. Once under the mental control of such deceased luminaries as Renoir, van Gogh, Leonardo da Vinci and others, he would then bang out twenty paintings an hour, in their style.

I don't know if he was really possessed by the spirits of the great masters but, if he was banging out twenty paintings an hour, it sounds like Marvel should have hired him. They could have doubled their output overnight.

Speaking of Marvel...

Star Wars Weekly #7

It's issue #7 and, already, our heroes are stuck in the legendary waste disposal unit of doom.

Thinking about it, this was probably my favourite scene in the whole film. I'm not sure what that says about me. Probably it says that I'm a horror fan.

Thinking about it, that's probably why Star Wars didn't grab me as much as it did other people. There just wasn't enough horror in it for my liking. If only there'd been a man in it,  killing people with a chainsaw, it would have been much better.

Regardless, probably even more worrying for our heroes than those tentacles is that werewolf that's sneaking up behind them. Now they're in trouble.

Rampage #23, Defenders vs the Sons of the Serpent

Can the Hulk, Power Man, Son of Satan and Daredevil possibly defeat the Sons of the Serpent?

Of course they can. They're the Hulk, Power Man, Son of Satan and Daredevil. They could beat just about anyone.

What's going on with this story? We've now got Dr Strange, Valkyrie, Yellowjacket, Nighthawk, the Hulk, Power Man, Son of Satan and Daredevil up against a handful of delusional morons. How can they be making such a meal of beating them?

Complete Fantastic Four #26, Xemu

The FF are still up against Xemu and his evil plan to make Black Bolt talk.

I am at a loss why whoever was in charge of cover choices at Marvel UK decided to dump Rich Buckler's perfectly good original cover to this tale and replace it with something that looks like Ron Wilson had challenged himself to draw a picture with his feet.

Mighty World of Marvel #286, Hulk vs Bi-Beast

No such problems with this comic. We get the proper, original cover - and the Hulk is still tangling with the Bi-Beast.

I seem to recall that, in this battle, two of the Helicarrier's rotor blades are destroyed and, despite weighing a zillion tons, it still stays up in the air. They knew how to build helicarriers, in those days.

I think that both the monsters may end up dumped into the sea, at the end of the tale. What happens to the Bi-Beast after that, I have no idea. I like to think he returned to cause more mischief in the years ahead.

Super Spider-Man #267, Medusa

I do believe that Spidey and Medusa both need some sort of medicine, in order to deal with an emergency.

Needless to say, like adults, they work together to make sure it's administered in double-quick time and no lives are lost.

Oh, no, that's right, they don't. Instead, they have a fight over it, endangering the people they're supposed to be saving. Those Marvel heroes, they really do know how to turn any crisis into a catastrophe.

Having said that, Medusa was always one of my favourite heroines, so it's nice to see her getting screen time.

Sunday 18 March 2018

2000 AD - February 1980.

Once more, winter has descended upon us and, once more, snow is piling up all around me. Shall I survive this latest bout of climatic hostility?

Aw, who cares? Let's see what 2000 AD was up to, thirty eight years and one month ago.

Looking at the cover of Prog 151 really does rub it in just how much 2000 AD based their version of the Stainless Steel Rat on James Coburn. It's much he didn't demand royalties.

Interesting that Prog 152 would appear to feature the arrival of Fiends of the Eastern Front, oft mentioned in the comments section of this blog but a strip that I still only recall very very vaguely.

Also interesting to see that the issue also launches a feature that will, week by week, list the ten greatest sci-fi movies of all time. It seems that this week's instalment is dedicated to Fritz Lang's Metropolis. Prog 153, meanwhile, concentrates on H.G. Wells' Things to Come. I approve of  the inclusion of those films and do tend to lump both movies in together.

It does raise the question, though, of what I'd put on my own list of the Top Ten sci-fi movies of all time. Needless to say, Quatermass and the Pit, War of the Worlds, Forbidden Planet and Aliens would be on it. I have yet to decide what else would make it. As for you, should you feel so inclined, feel free to list your own Top Ten, in the comments section below.

I see the cover of Prog 153 features a reference to Satanus. Wasn't Satanus related to one of the dinosaurs in Flesh? If so, this officially makes Judge Dredd a sequel to that earlier strip. For some reason, this Marvelesque bout of universe building makes me feel strangely excited, even though I can think of no real reason why it should.

2000 AD Prog 150

2000 AD Prog 151, The Stainless Steel Rat

2000 AD Prog 152

2000 AD Prog 153, Judge Dredd

Thursday 15 March 2018

March 15th, 1978 - Marvel UK, 40 years ago this week.

Once more, the sun has fallen out of the sky and plummeted towards the good people of Australia, leaving the streets beyond my window dark and cold. In my quest for illumination, I have no choice but to turn my back on those streets and, as so often before, focus upon the far corner of my room, and upon what our favourite comics company was up to forty years ago.

Marvel UK, Star Wars #6

Only six issues in and the Marvel UK version of the comic has almost caught up with its US equivalent. What hope is there for its future? What?

Despite such concerns, I do, though, bring exciting news. For once, I happen to know what this issue's back-up strips are.

They are Man-Gods From Beyond the Stars and The Sword in the Star. My razor-sharp intellect tells me that Marvel UK was choosing back-up strips purely because they had the word, "Star," in their titles.

I had previously read the first of those two strips in Marvel UK's Planet of the Apes comic and the other strip never did anything for me. So, despite my love for Man-Gods, I probably wasn't that gripped by the comic at this stage.

Rampage #22, Defenders vs Sons of the Serpent

The Defenders are still having trouble with the Sons of the Serpent.

From what I can remember, they don't fare very well, even with the awesome power of Yellowjacket on their side.

Complete Fantastic Four #25, Xemu

A tale and a villain I know nothing of.

I do spot that Quicksilver is in it. Given that, by this point, he's married to Crystal, this does make me wonder if the Inhumans are involved.

In the back-up tale, the FF are still having their first encounter with the Hulk, which I vaguely recall being down to the machinations of an evil spy of possibly Eastern European origins.

Mighty World of Marvel #285, Hulk vs Bi-Beast

The Hulk's battle with the Bi-Beast - and SHIELD's doors - continues.

Super Spider-Man #266, White Tiger

Spidey's still up against the White Tiger, for what seems like the five millionth week running.

Meanwhile, Captain America is startled by the return of Bucky.

Why do I get the feeling there's going to be a flashback to the War in it? Did any character ever flashback as much as Cap did?

But, apparently, it's not the real Bucky. It's all a plot by Baron Zemo, using an amnesiac boy he's found in a gym.

I'm not sure if Zemo himself found him in the gym. Somehow, Zemo never struck me as the kind to hang around in gyms.

I am not aware if we ever learn the boy's true identity or if it's left mysterious so that we - and Cap - might ponder forever over the possibility that he really is Bucky.

Although I have no doubt that I must have read it, I genuinely have no memory of ever having encountered this tale at all.

Elsewhere, more memorably, the Avengers are taking on the Titanic Three, in Vietnam, and Thor is tangling with Mercurio and a giant space crystal that's holding Sif and Karnilla captive.

"Karnilla," is such a great name. If I ever have a pet rabbit, I'm going to call it Karnilla.

Tuesday 13 March 2018

The Marvel Lucky Bag - March 1978.

Mere days after I looked at what Marvel's major characters were up to forty years ago, it's time to investigate what their less high-profile colleagues were doing. With Marvel publishing around forty titles a month in that era, I can't look at all of them but I can at least peruse a selection of the more promising ones.

Howard the Duck #22, Man-Thing

I have a copy of this issue. From what I can remember, Howard gets attacked by a pickled vegetable and this somehow leads to him being stranded in another dimension, with various misfits and a threat to all of existence, or something.

But don't take my word for it, you can read my review of the comic by clicking on this here link, right here.

Invaders #26

I don't know much about Agent Axis but he clearly visits the same gentlemen's outfitters as the Shadow and Death-Stalker.

I do believe this tale is drawn by Frank Robbins, as was the first issue of The Shadow I ever read. No doubt, this means that, when I first encountered this tale in the pages of Marvel UK, it would have made it even harder for me not to see the wrong-doer as a Shadow knock-off.

Ms Marvel #15, Tiger Shark

I've always liked Tiger Shark, possibly because the Sub-Mariner had such a mediocre villain's gallery, that any ne'er-do-well who wasn't totally forgettable was likely to seem ten times more memorable than he actually was.

On the other hand, I suspect it was really down to the fin. Not enough villains have fins
Marvel Two-In-One #37, the Thing and Matt Murdock

I have a copy of this one too. Pestered by a buzzing in his ear, the Thing takes to demolishing chunks of New York. Fortunately for him, the world's greatest lawyer is on the case.

Granted, the fact that, if the cover is to be believed, our hero is the first man ever to be sentenced to twenty years in jail for vandalism, suggests Murdock may not be quite as good a lawyer as we're always told he is.

Either way, you can read my blink-and-you'll-miss-it look at this issue, by clicking on this link.

Red Sonja #8

I haven't read this one - but I feel like I have. I'm pretty sure Red Sonja came up against a giant snake in every single tale I ever read that featured her.

I assume that's not Conan in the background because, presumably, the blurb would have mentioned him, if it was.

Tomb of Dracula #63, Janus

Clearly, it's a bad day for Dracula when it comes to father/son relations.

I have no idea what's going on with all the tentacles in the background, though.

Human Fly #7

I think I've read this one.

Sadly, you won't find a review of it anywhere on this site because I haven't encountered it since I was at school and, strangely enough, nothing about it has lodged in my memory.

You can, however, discover my general thoughts about the Human Fly, by clicking on this particular link.

Marvel Comics, Star Wars #9

It's all getting exciting - because Marvel's adaptation of the original movie is over and we're now getting the adventures of a talking space-rabbit.

While I vaguely remember the existence of the talking space-rabbit, I can remember nothing about him or what he got up to. He does feel more like a 2000 AD character than a Marvel one.

Sunday 11 March 2018

Forty years ago today - March 1978.

As yet another evening descends, it's time for me to once more ring the doorbell of History.

And, this time, I won't even run away before History can open the door.

I do that a lot.

No wonder History hates me.

Conan the Barbarian #84

It's the same old stuff as always from Conan. I do wish he'd have a different kind of adventure for once. I don't know what kind. Maybe he could go water skiing or something.

Speaking of all things familiar, it would appear that John Buscema is back. Not that I'd been aware that he'd left.

Daredevil #151

According to the Grand Comics Database, Heather Glenn discovers that Matt Murdock is Daredevil and, therefore, blames him for her father's death.

She then disappears.

I think we can all guess what happened to her.

Daredevil will do anything to protect his secret identity.


Such is my keen eye that I assumed this cover was by Al Milgrom but it was, it seems, by Dave Cockrum. I must confess it's not my favourite cover that Dave ever did.
Fantastic Four #192

The moment I saw that wind, I jumped to the conclusion that this issue's, "Surprising super-villain," is the Texas Twister.

And, Reader, it turns out I was right.

Bearing in mind that I have only once before encountered the Texas Twister - and that was only for a few panels - I am very impressed with my powers of deduction.

On other matters, it's heartening to see a relatively late use of the word, "Lo," in the blurb. I'd sort of assumed Marvel had phased it out by this stage of the 1970s.

That does make me wonder, though, just when was the last time it appeared on a Marvel cover?

Incredible Hulk #221, Stingray

Rich Buckler gives us a very dramatic image, as the Hulk tackles a foe who I remember basically nothing about.

Apparently, the tale was primarily drawn by Alfredo Alcala, which, given my love for his art, is an intriguing prospect.

Iron Man #108, the Growing Man

What always impressed me about stories featuring the Growing Man was that, even when the heroes knew that hitting him only made him bigger and stronger, they still carried on hitting him. Seriously, did it not occur to them to stop?

I'm assuming Kang was in some way behind all this, as the Growing Man wasn't exactly the most motivated of characters the world of comics had ever seen, and never seemed to have a plan beyond obeying Kang. Seeing as Kang always lost, that probably wasn't the best plan ever.

Amazing Spider-Man #178, the Green Goblin

Spider-Man's still up against the fake Green Goblin, and Mary Jane's still calling Aunt May, "Aunt May," even though she's not her aunt.

Spectacular Spider-Man #16, the Beetle

This story rings no bells for me at all. But, then, Spider-Man stories featuring the Beetle always tend to ring few bells for me.

For that matter, Spectacular Spider-Man stories tend to ring few bells for me. It's amazing how much less interest this comic held for me than did The Amazing Spider-Man.

Thor #269, the Stilt-Man

It's the story we've all been waiting for, as Thor comes up against the Stilt-Man.

Yes, the foe that got beat up, on a regular basis, by Daredevil has now decided to take on arguably Marvel's most powerful hero.

You have to admire his optimism.

Apparently, Blastaar is in this issue too.

But I don't fancy his chances either.

I wonder how long it took for Thor to realise Blastaar wasn't Ulik?
Captain America and the Falcon #219

I really don't know what this story is about.

I assume that that floating head doesn't belong to the Stranger, as, idiosyncratic as he could be, I can't imagine he'd care whether a movie gets made or not.

Avengers #169

This would appear to be one of those Dreaded Deadline Doom issues. Other than that, I don't have a clue what this story's about.

I can't help feeling this post has fizzled out into a sea of ignorance.

That is a good thing. Witless ignorance is what makes this site so unique.

Thursday 8 March 2018

March 8th, 1978 - Marvel UK, 40 years ago this week.

It's time to get your white dress on, wave your arms around like a fool and put on your best banshee voice because, in this week of 1978, Kate Bush finally hit the UK Number One slot with her debut single Wuthering Heights. Not only was it one of those tracks that was impossible to ignore but it was also, by repute, the first female-written song ever to top the UK charts, which does seem a remarkable thing, bearing in mind just how many women had had hits, over the previous decades.

Much as I love it, I have always found it odd that, at one point, the lyrics seem to make reference to the 1960s TV drama Cathy Come Home, which is a strange thing to allude to in a song about Wuthering Heights. That's what happens when you let teenagers write songs. They get too clever for their own good.

Meanwhile, on this very evening of forty years ago, BBC Radio 4 was broadcasting the first episode of  Douglas Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. I do remember being highly impressed by it.

And, not to be outdone on the sci-fi front, BBC Two was, that evening, broadcasting an Arena special filmed on the set of Close Encounters of the Third Kind. I do remember just how mysterious the movie seemed at the time and I was definitely more excited by the prospect of going to see it than I had been by the thought of going to see Star Wars.

Star Wars Weekly #5, the Death Star

Speaking of Star Wars...

Maybe it's just me but I do find great amusement in the fact that Luke And Han are in the same pose on the cover.

Not that that matters because, this issue, we have the chance to win the entire cast of Star Wars!

Blimey, that's a prize and a half. Whoever would have thought that publishing a Star Wars comic would be so lucrative that Marvel UK could afford to purchase a film's entire cast and then give them away? I'd love to know who the lucky winner was, and if he still has them.

Super Spider-Man #265, the White Tiger

Oh no! Spider-Man is falling! How will he ever survive such a thing? It's not like he has any means at all for dealing with a plunge from a great height.

But it's interesting to see that Spidey's been redrawn for this cover, to make him far more prominent than he was on the front of the US original. It's a rare case of a Marvel UK cover being an improvement on the American version. Larry Lieber is definitely earning his pay lately.

In other news, it seems the White Tiger wasn't the one who stole whatever it was that was stolen during the campus riot. It was some foul and villainous wrong-doer who'd been dressed as him.

Rampage #21, the Sons of the Serpent vs the Defenders

The Sons of the Serpent are up to no good again.

It does seem remarkable that just a bunch of socially challenged people in masks would ever be able to give a group of people as powerful as the Defenders any trouble. But that's the nature of super-teams. They always, somehow, collectively struggle to defeat foes that any one of them on his or her own could probably flatten within seconds.

It is, though, pleasing to see Nova finally get a mention on the cover. It's nice to know he's still with us, even if he's trapped in a funhouse of terror. I suppose that at least it's more dramatic than being trapped in a terrorhouse of fun.

The Complete Fantastic Four #24, Dr Doom

The FF and Silver Surfer are having all kinds of problems with Dr Doom and his giant yellow man.  All of which means Medusa is back to fulfilling her traditional duty of being gripped by a giant hand.

Marvellous as that all is, in all honesty, I'm more excited by the fact that this issue would appear to be reprinting the team's first ever encounter with the Hulk, from back in the days when it was still possible to argue about who was stronger, the Thing or the Hulk.

I do feel that a lot of the charm of early Marvel was down to the fact that their heroes weren't all that powerful. Back then, the Hulk had to put some effort into it to even bend a steel bar. Now, he can probably bend the universe in half if he wants to.
Mighty World of Marvel #284, Hulk vs the Bi-Beast

Having said that, it would seem that, in the late 1970s, he couldn't even bash his way through a plate glass window.

I genuinely can't remember what the Bi-Beast's plan was. Once he had control of SHIELD's Helicarrier, what, exactly was he planning on doing with it?

Sunday 4 March 2018

Fifty years ago this month - March 1968.

Did readers who eagerly bought the Marvel comics cover-dated, "March 1968," realise, as they handed over their money, that it would prove to be a date of epic import - because it was to start a process that would soon see the former minnow become the biggest comics company in America?

Suddenly freed from its cramped distribution deal with DC, the company was now in a position to launch as many titles as it wanted to.

Needless to say, it wasn't going to turn down a chance like that and, thanks to it, the venerable titles Tales of Suspense and Tales to Astonish were about to breathe their last, in order to be replaced by a brand new group of books.

Daredevil #38, Dr Doom

Doctor Doom's brilliant plan to gain entry to the Baxter Building, by pretending to be Daredevil, gathers pace.

Meanwhile, Daredevil's plan to have Latveria declare war on every single one of its neighbours and be destroyed in a nuclear holocaust, if Doom doesn't come rushing back and reverse their body swaps, also gathers pace.

I can't help thinking Doom didn't think this one through properly.

Avengers #50, Typhon

The Avengers come up against Typhon.

I do believe this was the last issue of Hercules' original run in the strip.

I wish I could say he'd made a huge impact while he was there but I can barely recall what he did in any of the stories. My main recollection of him is him fighting an imaginary Hydra for an entire issue while all the real action was going on elsewhere.

Regardless, thanks to his departure, the group is about to be reduced to just three members, only one of whom has super-powers - and that one is the Wasp who isn't exactly in the Galactus category when it comes to abilities.

How will the world's mightiest super-team survive this? How?

Fantastic Four #72, the Silver Surfer

Isn't this the one in which the Silver Surfer decides that the only way to stop human beings fighting each other is to go on the rampage and become a threat to all mankind, in order to force it to unite against him?

And there was me thinking Doctor Doom came up with stupid plans.

I do believe the whole point of this tale is to reintroduce him to readers and rob him of a large chunk of his power, in readiness for the launch of his own strip, a few months after this. Yet again, the end of that distribution deal is making its presence felt.

I also believe this cover was re-used for issue #1 of Marvel UK's The Super-Heroes, seven years later.

Amazing Spider-Man #58, the Spider-Slayer

Hooray! The Spider-Slayer's back!

In fairness, I must declare this to be my favourite incarnation of the robot. I especially like the scene in which it crushes a phone box, with its bare arms, while Spider-Man is trying to use it.

Tales of Suspense #99, Iron Man vs the Maggia

It's the final issue of Tales of Suspense and, judging by that cover, it could be the final adventure of Iron Man.

I do believe he's trapped on a Maggia gambling ship that's under attack by SHIELD, just as it's in the process of sinking.

Can Shellhead survive?

More importantly, can Jasper Sitwell and Madame Masque find true love and happiness among the waves?

Tales to Astonish #101, the Hulk vs Asgard

Not to be outdone in the defunctory stakes, Tales to Astonish also arrives at its final issue.

But that clearly isn't getting the Hulk down. He's too busy invading Asgard.

I don't recall the exact reasons he ends up there but I suspect Loki may have a hand in it all. Possibly, he wants the Hulk to beat up Odin or to beat up Thor or possibly both of them.

Sadly, beating up Odin is a bit beyond even the Hulk, and Thor is nowhere to be seen but that doesn't stop Hulkie getting up to his usual mayhem and mischief.

Thor #150, Hela

No wonder Thor's not in Asgard. He's too busy trying to stave off death.


The Wrecker's given our hero a good whacking with his crowbar and now Hela's showed up to take him on the journey for which there's no return ticket.

Except she doesn't, because Thor asks her to give him another chance to fight the Wrecker...

...and, like a mug, she agrees.

What kind of death deity is that woman? Does she have no sense of duty?

X-Men #42, the death of Professor X

"The Death of Professor X! Not a hoax! This is for real!"

Didn't it turn out to be a hoax?

Didn't it turn out he'd been hiding in the cellar for about two years, pretending to be dead, for no good reason, and getting Jean to play along with it all? I have a good mind to sue for false advertising.

Then again, I don't suppose the X-Men were exactly in a good mood either, when they found out what he'd been up to.

Strange Tales #166, Dr Strange vs Voltorg

I don't have a clue who Voltorg is but I do feel the master of the mystic arts shouldn't be battling robots.

I genuinely don't have a clue what that giant lettuce thing is that's coming between our hero and his foe. If Strange shouldn't be fighting robots, he definitely shouldn't be fighting lettuce.