Thursday, 26 April 2018

April 26th, 1978 - Marvel UK, 40 years ago this week.

Well, this is all a bit depressing. I can't think of anything at all interesting to talk about as an introduction to this week's post.

I could report that it's just recently dawned on me that the plot of the first ever Dalek story in Doctor Who was based on George Pal's adaptation of HG Wells' The Time Machine, with its tale of the Eloi and the Morlocks, but that's hardly relevant.

I could also report that, on this evening in 1978, BBC One was showing a film called Earth II, which would appear to have been a pilot for a TV series that never got made. From what I can make out, it seems to have involved an international space station being built, in order to function as a brand new country in orbit around the Earth. Beyond that, I can shed no light, as, amazingly for a sci-fi movie that was on a major channel in my childhood, I'm fairly sure I never saw it.

But you know what I did see?

The output of Marvel UK that week.

And that's why I'm going to take a fresh look at what they were up to.

Star Wars Weekly #12

It's taken us twelve long weeks but we've finally got here, the soul-shattering climax of the year's most sensational movie.

And how fitting, given events that have so far transpired in the tale, that it should climax with the inevitable sword fight between Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker.

Wait. Hold on a minute. Are they sure they're adapting the right film?

Anyway, I grant you that the cover image might not be a literal representation of the action contained within but it does predict the events of the sequel, and it probably deserves some sort of award for that.

I'm assuming that means we're only one week away from the introduction of that space rabbit whose name I've already forgotten, despite only having talked about him around two weeks ago.

Rampage #28, The Defenders and Starhawk

Hooray! Starhawk makes his dynamic debut as he battles to help the Guardians of the Galaxy defeat the Badoon.

To be honest, despite his intriguing gender-swapping ways, I can't say I ever found him that riveting a character. He was far too much of a closed book for that and I also used to get him mixed up with Star-Lord.

But perhaps I'm not the only one. Perhaps this explains how Star-Lord ended up being a member of the Guardians of the Galaxy. Perhaps Marvel writers always got them mixed up too.

Then again, this tale also features Nighthawk. If Star-Lord, Starhawk, and Nighthawk were all in the same tale, I don't think I'd stand a chance of remembering who was who.

The Complete Fantastic Four #31

Now I'm confused. We're well into a run of stories I've never read, so, I'm taking it, from his costume, that the Crusader is some sort of tribute to the earlier Marvel character Marvel Boy who, I believe, was in the habit of defeating criminals by throwing atom bombs at them.

Then again, I always assumed, from his costume, that Adam Warlock's initial post-Kirby stint on Counter-Earth was a partial tribute to Marvel Boy as well.

Anyway, given the seeming tribute to a pre-Silver Age Marvel character, I'm going to assume this tale was written by Revivin' Roy Thomas.

Mighty World of Marvel #291, The Incredible Hulk

If I remember rightly, and I may not, I suspect this Robinson Crusoe style character is actually some sort of scientist who's lost his memory after a traumatic incident involving Captain Barracuda and his machine for turning men into monkeys.

I have no doubt the Hulk befriends him, after an initial misunderstanding.

Super Spider-Man #272, Razorback

Spider-Man and Razorback are still having trouble with Man-Beast-related cult activities.

Sadly, that is all the information I can impart, as details about this issue are nigh impossible to come by on the internet.


TC said...

Maybe Marvel and DC could do a crossover with Star-Lord, Star Hawk, Nighthawk, Warlord, Blackhawk, and Nightwing.

Steve W. said...

Just as long as Hawkeye doesn't join in.

Anonymous said...

I think this week's Complete FF reprints what was Kirby's first Fantastic Four cover in quite a few years. I recall some quite nice George Perez Joe Sinnott art on the story, as well. I was quite sad a few years later when Kirby was interviewed for The Fantastic Four Chronicles and refused to talk about the FF. Realising how poorly Marvel had treated him certainly clouded the nostalgic blue skies.


Anonymous said...

Actually, the "Adam Warlock post-Kirby stint on Counter Earth" was inspired by Jesus Christ Superstar (we used to sing when we were kids, "Drivin' down the road in a stolen car").
Warlock was so wise and sad at the same time. The hippie kids loved him, but the Man-Beast's hordes of genetically altered animal-men were a real bummer. They crucified him, and then the Hulk showed up for some reason. Then Warlock floated into outer space where he continued to encounter injustice.
There is a lesson in here for all of us, but I'm not sure what it is.


Anonymous said...

Pretty sure the Crusader actually was Marvel Boy, Steve - that FF story explains where he's been for years, going back to Uranus and then accidently getting stuck in suspended animation returning to earth.
Not sure what Roy Thomas was thinking, as having killed off Marvel Boy he then bought him back again as one of the SHIELD Super Agents - with the Texas Twister and some geezer on roller skates - in an awful run on Captain America. I think thats the version that became Marvel Man (not that one) and Quasar.

To irritate readers even more, that issue of the Complete FF was also the first with the Invaders as a back-up feature.


Dougie said...

Sean omitted the Vamp who was also the Animus.
Marvel Boy was the Crusader but Marvel Man/ Quasar was a SHIELD agent and much later, Mar-Vell's successor as Protector of the Universe.
He in turn has been succeeded by two women, the first being Mar-Vell's daughter.

Aggy said...

Jaxxoon... the bunnies name is Jaxxoon...

And if Lucas hadn't taken a personal dislike to the character he probably would have been a recurring star in the post New Hope pre Empire universe.

BTW he also reappeared recently in the comics, complete with a kid-friendly version of Amaiza. Although they lost the Kid somewhere along the way (maybe Skywalker sued him for gimmick infringement).

Steve W. said...

Aggy, thanks for the bunny update.

DW, Dougie and Sean, thanks for the Marvel Boy/Crusader/Complete FF info.

MP, I loved all the Adam-Warlock-as-Space-Jesus stuff at the time but, reading those tales now, it does all feel incredibly heavy handed.

Anonymous said...

How come when the Vamp transformed into Animus and then back again, her outfit changed too? How does that happen?
Seems to me they're asking a lot from us readers, to swallow that bull-roar.
It just always concerned me, is all.


Anonymous said...

Women, eh M.P? Always changing outfits - how do they do it?
To be honest, I wonder more about how the transformation into Animus as such happens.
A transformation btw I was not previously aware of - the Vamp was Animus?!?


Unknown said...

I love to watch movies. Especially Marvel movies..story in the Marvel movies are adapted from the Marvel comics. But I never read a single comic from Marvel. Because I don't like to read comics. But I never missed any movie. I watch movie online with my friends and family.