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.


Charlie Horse 47 said...

Finally we can confirm that it is Medusa by a full frontal of her face! We we only surmising that from the last cover.

The Ringmaster's Circus of Crime. One of the first comics I ever read was around Avenger's 76 around 1970 at the wedding of Wasp and Yellow Jacket. Though every super hero was at the wedding and their thinking to take on the collected universe of super heroes seemed dumb, to this 10 year old, I felt that they could actually be a good match for the non-superhuman (i.e. weaker) Avenger's line up of Black Panther, Cap, Yellow Jacket, Wasp, Goliath...

Steve - when are you and the two Colins doing another UK comic installment at BitBA??? It's been too long!!!

Steve W. said...

Charlie, I think that depends on the good people at BitBA and also the two Colins. I must confess that, off the top of my head, I'm not sure what we'd write about. Maybe Alan Class comics, or something? But I do feel it's up the two Colins and Redartz and Martinex, as the previous venture was all their idea in the first place.

Killdumpster said...

Did ANYBODY see the Inhumans tv show? No one if talked to can tell me how Medusa was portrayed.

Killdumpster said...

Let's face it. The Circus of Crime's most formidable asset was the coordination between their "acts", and of coarse Ringmaster's hypo-hat. If they went legit they could hire Sons of the Serpent to battle in a pro-wrestling style center ring attraction. The Circus would whip their butts easily, like the Harlem Globetrotters ace their travelling team. The Circus would make cash & so would the Serpents, who then would be able to purchase weapons that MIGHT make them worthy to fight the foes they did. After the first book I bought with those guys in it, I never bought one again. My dimes had to get me SUPER VILLIANS.

Killdumpster said...

I'd buy any book with Princess Python on the cover.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Well, it was a great idea! I'm sure lightening can strike twice!

There is an Inhuman TV show?

The whole comic book series, which I started buying about 3 years ago then stopped after a dozen issues, was interesting. Medusa (quite the comely lass) was in charge. Black Bolt missing. Karnak had committed suicide. Their city was perched about 100 yards off new York City (now that was a bit of a stretch for me to accept, LOL).

Killdumpster said...

Yeah Charlie, there was, either on ABC or some inter net broadcast. From what I heard it got panned, for bad effects. It got an imax release.

Anonymous said...

That is the same alternate Thing as FF #118, Steve, the Reed Richards of Earth-A.
As opposed to the Brute, who was the Reed Richards of Counter-Earth; perhaps the question you should be asking is how many Reed Richards are there out there?

With regard to the Sons of the Serpent continuing to bother the Defenders, I suppose it could be argued that they represent a social force that can't be stamped out as straightforwardly as one might wish.
Although given that there don't seem to have been instances of black people actually being behind racist groups like the Ku Klux Klan in the US, the twist reveal at the end really confuses any point the storyline might have been trying to make.


Anonymous said...

There are an infinite amount of Reed Richards, because quantum mechanics tells us there are a potentially infinite amount of universes. Therefore, there are an infinite amount of M.P.s, so logically there is one universe where M.P. is dating Marisa Tomei.
Unfortunately, this one ain't it.


Steve W. said...

Killdumpster, I've seen a few bits of the Inhumans TV show. I'm afraid to report that Maximus had Medusa's hair cut off in the first episode. Presumably, this was to save money on CGI. It was genius production decisions like that that made the show the flop it was.

Sean, thanks for the alternate Thing/Reed Richards clarification.

MP, but that must mean there are also an infinite number of universes where Marisa Tomei is evil and trying to kill you. Just think of the lucky escape you've had.

Anonymous said...

I'll take my chances, Steve.


dangermash said...

Like Killdumster says the Circus Of Crime's most formidable asset is the coordination between the acts. Just like with The Enforcers, it means they're only really a threat when Steve Ditko is holding the pencil.

And before anybody says something, no, dangermash's secret identity is not Big Al Sjoerdsma from

Anonymous said...

Charlie and Steve, I couldn't be involved in any more BitBA topics about UK comics because I'm just not qualified to say anything further - I read DC Thompson's The Beezer and The Topper from about 1971 till I discovered Marvel in November '74 and from that moment onwards I was a 100% Marvel fan, ignoring everything else. I've never even read a single issue of the legendary 2000AD.

I've always liked the Brian & Michael song but why is it matchSTALK men rather than matchSTICK? I've always said matchstick.

And happy Easter to one and all :)

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Colin, Steve - You could do a multi-part series on DC Thompson? I would read it! You could opine on the velocity of the slipper cracking Dennis the Menace, from a boa constrictor, ostrich, or fan LOL?

Happy Easter to everyone as well.

Can I ask two brief question, since I m 4,0000 miles away from you folks in the UK? Is that boxing match on Saturday night, that Talk Sport keeps talking about, a big deal to the UK? Or is it just a big deal to Talk Sport?

Also, is the Aussie team cheating in world cricket that big a deal as well or just a story to fill up time on talk Sport? I guess because I grew up with baseball and I live near Chicago (the USA's 2nd most corrupt city after New Orleans) where cheating is a badge of honor it doesn't really surprise me or warrant a manager resigning for something his players did.

Help clear up these cross cultural questions!!!

Steve W. said...

Colin and Charlie, I'm afraid my knowledge of DC Thompson is almost zero. I am therefore definitely not the man to write such a piece.

Colin, I've always had a conspiracy theory that the reason the song is called Matchstalk Men and Matchstalk Cats and Dogs is to avoid confusion with Status Quo's hit Pictures of Matchstick Men. I too have never heard anyone use the word, "Matchstalk," in real life.

Charlie, I don't have a clue if that boxing match is a genuine big deal or not. Talksport seems to cover about fifty world title bouts a week, all of which are treated as the biggest thing ever. The truth is that most boxing matches are pay-to-view in Britain and therefore watched by relatively few people. Boxing used to be major news in Britain twenty or thirty years ago, when fights were free to watch, with people like Frank Bruno, Chris Eubank and Nigel Benn being household names. Whether any modern British boxers have the same high public profile is highly questionable.

The cricket thing is odd. I'm not a cricket fan but I've always been of the impression that ball tampering is something that goes on all the time and that every team has done it at some point. It's frowned upon because it's against the rules - and the guilty cricketer gets suspended - but the fuss usually dies down after a few days. Why this one has caused so much more scandal than normal, I have no idea.

Anonymous said...

The ball tampering is a big deal in Oz because besides cricket still being popular there, a commitment to "fair play" is considered to be the defining quality of the Australian way of life; the scandal strikes at the heart of their national self-image.


Anonymous said...

I can't name a single modern British boxer so boxing definitely has a lower profile nowadays and not just British boxing - Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson etc were household names but who is the current world heavyweight champion? I haven't a clue.

A few years ago I read an article which said Australia was obsessed by sport to such a degree that it was indicative of that country's immaturity. I don't know if that's true but they are making a monumental fuss about this ball-tampering incident.

Killdumpster said...

If Maximus cut off Medusa's hair, I wonder if she could utilize her power in another form. Don't know if female in humans shave their arm-pits (or anywhere else). Guess only Black Bolt knows for sure.

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