Thursday, 1 March 2018

March 1st, 1978 - Marvel UK, 40 years ago this week.

This week in 1978 was a terrible time for anyone who was planning to tell someone to get lost - because February the 27th saw the United States launch the world's first global positioning satellite, Navstar 1. No doubt, that technological innovation will be of great use to me as I try to navigate the highways and byways of the dim and distant past, in this very post.

Marvel UK, Star Wars Weekly #4

Clearly, the crew of the Millennium Falcon could do with a sat nav of their own. If the dialogue's to be believed, they've been trying to fly away from the star destroyers but, judging by the picture, they, instead, appear to be flying straight towards them. With smarts like that, you can see why Princess Leia tried to seize control of the rescue mission.

But who cares about that? What matters more is that we can win a Star Wars jigsaw.

I never had a Star Wars jigsaw. I did have a Doctor Who jigsaw that featured Jon Pertwee and his bright yellow car but, sadly, there was a piece missing from it. It is a trauma from which I have never been able to recover.

By the way, am I the only one who's noticed the startling mistake on the cover of this week's issue?

Marvel UK, Savage Sword of Conan #5

In a shocking twist that threatens sanity itself, Marvel UK uses a Savage Sword of Conan cover that's not painted by Boris Vallejo. I do believe this one has the look of Earl Norem's handiwork about it.

As for The People of the Black Circle, I am one hundred percent certain I've read the Robert E Howard original of that tale but I can't actually remember what happens in it. I think it may involve him being paid to deliver a princess to someone or other but I could be completely wrong.

I suspect I may also have read Worms of the Earth somewhere but I don't, for the life of me, know where.

Rampage #20, the Defenders

I think I had this issue.

Or I had the US original.

Or I had both.

I do believe the Headmen are using some foul means to send everyone in the city mad, as a distraction, while they themselves commit a string of robberies.

I've just discovered that the Headmen first appeared in comics in the 1950s, a fact I was previously unaware of. Truly, the internet is a wonderful thing.

I do feel sorry for Nova, though. He never gets a mention on the cover. He may just be a Spider-Man knock-off but, surely, he deserves the occasional mention, to let us know he's still alive.

The Complete Fantastic Four #23, Dr Doom

It looks like Doc Doom is still using the real fake Shalla Bal to cause trouble for the FF and Silver Surfer.

Mighty World of Marvel #283, the Hulk

As predicted last week, the Hulk is about to have his second meeting with the Bi-Beast, aboard SHIELD's Helicarrier.

But, obviously, none of us care about that, because this tale, apparently, features a character called Louie the Lip.

I genuinely have no idea who that is. He sounds like the kind of small-time crook who'd turn up in a John Romita drawn Spider-Man story. This being a Hulk tale, I assume he's not a small-time crook, as the Hulk didn't tend to fight small-time crooks.

Super Spider-Man #264, the White Tiger

That's quite a nice cover by Larry Lieber, although that is quite an undignified pose for Spider-Man.

The man the White Tiger's trying to strangle looks familiar but I don't know why.


Charlie Horse 47 said...

Is White Tiger trying to strangle Catweazle???

Steve W. said...

I was wondering if he was middle-aged Einstein. I hear the White Tiger gets very riled up over the Theory of Relativity.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Could be Donald Sutherland from Animal House or Kelly's Heroes?

Timothy Field said...

I really miss all the speech balloons and text on comic covers, a reminder of a time when the whole point was to get you reading the story.
Yep, Larry Lieber covers were a fun bonus for Marvel UK, a bit workman like in the house style but dynamic.

Anonymous said...

Star Wars Weekly is dated February 29th but it should be March 1st.

I've got an e-book collection of all the R.E.H. Conan stories (except "Hour Of The Dragon" - that was sold separately) and I've read "People Of The Black Circle" quite recently so here is a very, very brief rundown of the plot:
Conan is the chief of a mountain-tribe in Afguhlistan (is there anything he DIDN'T do???) and he kidnaps the Devi, Queen of Vendhya, intending to exchange her for several of his captured men. It all gets rather complicated but the Devi ends up in the hands of the Black Seers, a bunch of evil wizards, and Conan has to rescue her (which he does, obviously).
For some unknown and unremembered reason, I missed the first seven (!) issues of Savage Sword Of Conan monthly, despite being a Conan fan. My first issue of SSoC, No.8, featured the final part of People Of The Black Circle.

But Steve - how are you coping with "The Beast From The East" (or The Bi-Beast From The East)? Are you trapped in your house by giant snowdrifts? Is your hoard of tinned food running dangerously low? This morning there was a big "snow dune" outside my front door. Luckily there was a gap between the dune and my door so I could squeeze past (that's why I said "dune" rather than "drift").

Charlie Horse 47 said...

I figured it out!!! White Tiger is strangling Max von Sydow from 3 Days of the Condor!!! Charlie woke up st 2 AM in Chicago with this epiphany. Now Charlie is tired from lack of sleep lol.

Steve W. said...

Charlie, just as long as he's not trying to strangle Max von Sydow from Flash Gordon. Trying to rough up Ming the Merciless can lead to no end of trouble.

Colin, thanks for the Conan info.

You are also correct about the Star Wars issue. It is dated February 29th, even though no such date could have existed, as it wasn't a leap year.

As for the Beast from the East, it really hasn't been that bad round here. It's just been the sort of snowfall you tend to get every other winter in these hilly and windswept parts.

Timothy, I miss the front-cover thought and speech balloons too. They helped to make the characters feel more alive.

Timothy Field said...

It's pretty grim here at the soft southern neither regions of the country. 4" of snow has brought us to our collective knees.

Steve W. said...

It makes me feel nostalgic. I'm sure that, when I was a kid, we were knee-deep in snow, non-stop, from the end of every November to the start of every April.

Dougie said...

The first two chapters of SSOC's "People of the Black Circle" are terrific! The second chapter in which Khemsa has his battle of wills with the other adepts, was my second-ever US SSOC. The back-up was the spectacular and grisly Worms of the Earth. Sadly, for me, Black Circle goes west in the second and third acts.

I never got that issue of Spidey. Final days of terrible Scottish distribution? It's the one where Kang electrocutes the Swordsman via his sword. It was business as usual the following week.

Up here, we have been relatively untouched by snowfall.Very cold however.

Anonymous said...

Got to agree with Dougie - the first part of People of the Black Circle featured some of the best artwork of the brilliant Buscema/Alcala team, but the mighty Alfredo adopted a faster, and somewhat disappointing, charcoal technique to get the second part finished on time, and still seemed a bit rushed when he returned to the cross-hatching for part three.

Its a reasonable assumption that if you'd read Worms of the Earth you'd remember Steve, what with it being graced by the pencils of Barry (soon to be Winsor-)Smith. At least for the first half dozen or so pages.


Steve W. said...

Dougie, thanks for the REH and Avengers info.

Sean, thanks for that link. I've definitely never read that version of the tale before, so I suspect that I was merely imagining that I'd read the tale somewhere.

Killdumpster said...

Steve W.

Sorry to be off topic, but the question I have for you involves werewolves. Not that I'm currently inflicted (lol),

Just found a British series called "Love and Curses" on DVD in a move out sale for $5. Think it's worth it? Always agreed with your WEREWOLF BY NIGHT observations

Steve W. said...

Killdumpster, I have to confess I've never heard of the show. So total is my ignorance that I've had to look on Wikipedia.

Apparently, it was originally called She-Wolf of London but was retitled Love and Curses for its final episodes. It was an American show that was initially set in Britain but, when the budget ran out, relocated to Los Angeles. I don't get the impression that it was exactly a success. Having said that, it has mostly positive reviews on IMDB.

From this, I conclude that I don't know if it's any good or not. However, it looks like every episode is currently available on YouTube.

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