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.

Anything.

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.

19 comments:

dangermash said...

All I remember about Stingray was that he was in the first ever Marvel Top Trumps deck. None of the kids in my council estate knew who he was though and the blurb on the card didn’t tell us whether he was a hero or villain. When we wanted to play heroes vs villains and divided up the deck into equal numbers of each we didn’t know which deck he belonged in. We could have worked it out by counting cards if he was the only one with this problem but we had the same issue with the Human Top. And we knew who the Hulk and Submariner were but didn’t know which pile to put them in either.

And re the Beetle in Spectacular Spider-Man. Was this the one where he was dealing heroin and Spidey soaked it all with water and gunked up the Beetle's suckers?

Dougie said...

I think the Colonizers were behind the Growing Man this time. Jack of Hearts is a hanger-on in the pages of Iron Man at this point.
Buscema was replaced by Howard Chaykin ( inked by Ernie Chan) for a tedious Conan trilogy about Alexander the Great and time travel. I gave up Conan at that point for many years.
Interestingly Zula went on to become a morally complex sorcerer in the b/w Conan mags of the 90s. He also underwent a change of gender, becoming Grace Jones onscreen, IIRC.

Steve W. said...

Dangermash, please tell me that Beetle storyline wasn't real. That sounds terrible.

Dougie, thanks for the Growing Man and Zula info. If I'd known he was secretly Grace Jones, I would definitely have granted him the honour of giving him a mention.

dangermash said...

I just checked out PPSSM #16 and I'm afraid I was right. Well, apart from it being one of NYC's finest that gunked the suckers. I was going to say it was a shock to see drugs in as old a comic strip as this but then I remembered ASM #96-98 when Harry Osborn is popping pills like they're bubble wrap.

Some of the panels appear on this link...
http://www.supermegamonkey.net/chronocomic/entries/peter_parker_the_spectacular_s_54.shtml

TC said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TC said...

Daredevil #151 was yet another "hero gets fed up and quits" story. Heather's father had apparently committed a crime, so DD caught him and handed him over to the police. But he realized that Glenn had been framed, so he began working to clear him and expose the real villain. Before he could get the needed evidence, though, Glenn had committed suicide in jail. So Matt gave up his Daredevil identity, and spent the next couple of pages moping around. Then a little boy got injured by armed robbers (or maybe they were terrorists), so Matt became DD again and caught the villains.

IIRC, Heather was in the Frank Miller run, so she must have survived at least a few more years. And she must have returned from wherever she went when she disappeared.

I seem to recall the Growing Man sort of staggering around looking for Kang in that Iron Man story, and a caption saying that Kang had been killed in a previous Avengers issue. Somehow, Iron Man defeated the GM by zapping him with a ray gun or something.

The Thor comic, IIRC, was the beginning of a three-parter that involved Blastaar, but I don't recall the details.

BTW, that was the same month that the Englehart & Rogers classic "Laughing Fish" serial was running in DC's Detective Comics.

Aggy said...

About this time Stingray was a regular character in Marvel Two-In-One. He hired the Thing to work on his base.

A little later he was a reserve Avangee and Landlord(?). I might be misremembering the Landlord bit... The Avengers had a base near the sea in the late 80s early 90s. That one.

When I picked my 1st Avengers book up in Autumn 1990 he was in the storyline as a team member. I assumed he was a regular character. Then he disappeared for 2 years before a random story in Marvel Comic Presents.

My childhood/teenage years were spent thinking all these minor characters were big names and wondering why guys like Captain Marvel and Wolverine got all the press.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Steve,

Just because you have a lock, on witless ignorance, is no reason to feel down and out. I rather admire it!

May I ask a few questions?

1) What is a council estate that DM mentioned?

2) You noticed "Lo" but did you notice Thor said "hath?" Does Thor (Is it still a comic?) say thou, hath, art, etc. anymore or is he a 21st century english speaker now?

3) I use "confirmation bias" a lot b/c I too like to be witless and ignorant. Stiltman fighting Thor just feeds my notion that the Thunder God fought way more than his share of two-bit criminals. I mean, did Stiltman ever last more than 1 issue against DD? Wasn't he always one an done??? Who was so hopped up as to think Stiltie should fight Thor?

4) If our heroes has watched "The Amazing Colossal Man" movie from the 1950s, they would have known to just inject "The Growing Man" with a potion in his big toe. Did Yellow Jacket have a stinger on his back side? That could have done it!

Anonymous said...

Regarding Thor, it's an easy mistake to make. Ulik and Blastarr had the same barber, often went shopping together and shared fashion tips.
They were two peas in a pod.

M.P.

dangermash said...

A council estate is a colllection of houses built, owned and rented out by. a local authority and all in big clump together. In some parts of the country, council estate is synonymous with ghetto. Wasn't like that in Weston, Hertfordshire though. This one had lots of new young parents using using it as.a stepping stone to greater things. Being brought up on a council estate is still a badge of honour, though, for those of us hat experienced it.

Steve W. said...

TC, thanks for Daredevil, Thor, Iron Man and Batman info.

Aggy, thanks for the Stingray info.

Charlie, I believe that Thor no longer talks like he's been reading too much Shakespeare.

MP, I'm glad I'm not the only one who's noticed the Blastaar/Ulik resemblance.

Timothy Field said...

I have oddly fond memories of the Texas Twister, despite only seeing him once. Didn't he try out for the Frightsome Four?

Timothy Field said...

FrightFUL Four. Didn't seem right as I typed it.

Anonymous said...

Steve, the geezer with the 'tache on the cover of Captain America #219 is one of the many dodgy military types in Marvel comics that look like "Thunderbolt" Ross, General - or maybe it was Colonel or Major, I forget - Dekker.
He doesn't really have a lot to do with the movie in the story, which was basically the old Cap serial from the forties used as a setting - and cute Roy Thomas-style "homage" - to retcon Avengers #4 and answer the questions no-one ever asked about how Cap ended up off the coast of Newfoundland.
You're not missing much - its a terrible comic.

Avengers #169 was quite disappointing after the start of the Korvac storyline in the previous two issues, but without it I wouldn't know what the word "sudoriferous" means.

Charlie, I suppose council estates are what you'd call housing projects.
On the ghetto thing, I find living in a council block in London to be as much at odds with that kind of idea as it seems to have been in 70s Hertfordshire...

-sean

Anonymous said...

The Texas Twister also appeared in Captain America in early '78 - after trying out for the Frightfuls, he became a SHIELD super-agent together with some geezer on roller skates and that Marvel Boy/Quasar kid from Uranus.

-sean

Steve W. said...

Timothy, the tale where he auditioned for the Frightful Four is my only experience of the Texas Twister and yet I too remember him with fondness.

Sean, thanks for the Captain America info.

Anonymous said...

Stilt Man was equipped by Blastaar and F.A.U.S.T. with Adamantium armor. He still only lasted about five seconds fighting Thor, but that was long enough for Blastaar to sneak up from behind and clobber Thor. To be continued next issue.

Steve W. said...

Thanks for the Stilt-Man info, Anon.

Timothy Field said...

I really will have to take a look at the Super Spider-Man Weekly issues that reprinted the ASM and PPTSSM issues from this month. Looks like the covers were used 8 weeks apart. I must admit to never noticing that the stories from the two separate comics were getting jumbled together at the time.

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