Thursday, 19 April 2018

April 19th, 1978 - Marvel UK, 40 years ago this week.

Forty years ago this week, the World Snooker Championship was well underway at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield. I do believe this was the first snooker world championship I ever watched on TV, with Ray Reardon ultimately winning the title, possibly by beating Perrie Mans in the final.

I've only just found out that, in order to build the Crucible, they knocked down the hotel in which Sheffield Wednesday FC was founded, Yorkshire County Cricket Club was founded and the first ever rules of football were drawn up. Suddenly, I'm starting to see why the venue wasn't initially liked by the locals. Fortunately, the popularity of snooker transformed it into the revered cultural institution it is today.

Of course, there were those who said it was madness to watch such a thing on a black and white TV but I was used to seeing monochrome things that had been meant to be seen in colour, thanks to having spent the previous six years reading the output of Marvel UK.

And that subtle link can only mean one thing.

That it's time for me to take my cue and look at what was sitting on the newsagents' racks in the week leading up to this date in 1978.

In the face of insurmountable odds, will our favourite heroes go to pot?

Or will they merely chalk it up to experience?

Mighty World of Marvel #290, Incredible Hulk.

In fairness, that blurb's right. I haven't forgotten it. Unless I miss my ever-loving guess, the Hulk is about to encounter Captain Barracuda, a man I know only from having read this tale. I remember that he had a submarine that was shaped like a fish. This suggests, to me, a certain degree of idiocy.

Meanwhile, Daredevil is still having trouble with people putting things in the water supply, in order to turn everyone into copies of the Man-Bull. Whoever's to blame, I can't help feeling that's rather irresponsible of them.

Elsewhere, Captain Marvel's returned to Earth, only to discover that Rick Jones has been captured by Dr Minerva who, I think, despite all early signs, ended up turning out to be a good guy. I could, however, be wrong.

Nick Fury is up against Baron Strucker. Baron Strucker is definitely a bad guy.

Star Wars Weekly #11, Darth Vader

I genuinely don't understand what's going on on that cover. Darth Vader seems to be watching Luke Skywalker's plane on a monitor but, despite only being on a monitor, the plane is somehow shooting people who are in the room.

How is that possible?

It reminds me of the time in my childhood when I was worried the Ice Warriors might climb out of the TV and attack me. Fortunately, thanks to TVs nowadays being too flat for monsters to hide in, such a thing is no longer possible.

Rampage #27, the Defenders

The Defenders have travelled to another world, in an attempt to assist the Guardians of the Galaxy in their quest to rid the Earth of the despotic rule of the Badoon.

I do believe that, in this one, the Valkyrie does herself a mischief by stabbing a swamp monster, unaware that it's a female swamp monster and, therefore, thanks to the Enchantress's magic, she herself instantly suffers a matching stab wound.

The Complete Fantastic Four #30, Gaard

The FF are having trouble with Gaard.

I have little to add to that, because I've never read the story. I am aware, though, that Gaard turns out to be an alternate version of Johnny Storm.

Did any other Marvel characters have more problems with alternate versions of themselves than the FF did?

Super Spider-Man #271, Razorback

Razorback makes his senses-shattering debut in the pages of Marvel UK. I do believe the malevolent Man-Beast is involved, in his guise as the Hatemonger.

I'm going to guess, based purely on memory and instinct, that this issue also features part of the Celestial Madonna storyline and that Thor may be up against those giant planets that literally hoover up normal-sized planets. I say this without any evidence to back it up and, so, could be completely wrong.


Timothy Field said...

This is another of those weeks where I remember buying all these issues (bar the ever elusive TCFF) as I was getting no pocket money and this predates my paper round I can only assume I was handing in a lot of deposit bottles at the local off-licence or I was stealing the cash from my parents.

Steve W. said...

I didn't have The Complete Fantastic Four or Rampage this week. The others, I had.

Anonymous said...

Surely the Marvel character who had the most problems with alternate versions was Captain Britain.
For the interested, Captain Airstrip One's doubleplus good solo outing can be found at A fair bit of its appeal will be lost on those who don't recall the finer(!) detail of life in the mid-80s UK though...


Charlie Horse 47 said...

To get a man-bull would a man-beast need to procreate with a cow? I don't know... just askin...

Steve W. said...

Sean, I'd forgotten about the various Captain Britain variations.

Charlie, I think some things are best not imagined.

Dougie said...

I remember Razorback, principally because I was really keen on the Mantis/Cotati story, which ran right through til June IIRC. Byrne revived Razorback in his first She-Hulk run in early 1990, I think.
My brother was bananas about Gaard

Steve W. said...

Razorback has proven to be strangely memorable for me, despite him not exactly being one of Marvel's classic heroes.