Thursday, 7 June 2018

June 7th, 1978 - Marvel UK, 40 years ago this week.

It's time to spin your rattle, knock back a mug of Bovril and chant, "Up the Blades!" because, in the real world of 2018, the planet Earth is gearing up for the festival of football that is the Russian World Cup.

And it was no different forty years ago, except it was in Argentina and it wasn't 2018.

That's right. This week of that year saw the start of the 1978 tournament and, on this very night, BBC One was giving us the twin delights of Brazil vs Spain and Scotland vs Iran, both of which ended in draws.

But if those games were indecisive, there's one group of people who are guaranteed never to be indecisive.

They know that the moment evil shows its face, they have to punch it in the gob, with a force that could knock a man's block off.

And those people are the heroes of our favourite UK Marvel reprint mags.

Star Wars Weekly #18

It's another Star Wars tale that means nothing to me, as the ruthless and deadly Space Savages cause what is, no doubt, no end of mischief.

Far more memorably for me, Star-Lord is having a Flight to Cinnibar, which may be Part 2 of his first ever adventure, while the Watcher is telling us about The Coming of the Krills.

I suspect that latter epic is one of those old Silver Age monster stories repackaged as a Watcher tale.

You have to hand it to Stan Lee. Only he'd think it a good idea to name a terrifying alien foe after seafood.

Marvel UK, Savage Sword of Conan #8

I'm not sure if I like this cover or hate it. It's by Kenneth Morris, an artist I must confess to never having heard of.

Regardless, it's another of those instances of a cover that's been dramatically lightened for the UK market, compared to the US original, and has, in the process, lost a large percentage of its sense of drama.

Rampage #34, the Defenders vs Nebulon

Hooray! Nebulon returns to Earth, in an attempt to convert us all to the ways of peacefulness. No doubt, his method of bringing peace to the world will involve the use of wholesale violence.

Meanwhile, Jack Norriss is in the body of Nighthawk, and Chondu is in the body of a fawn.

In retrospect, it could have been worse. It could have been Chuck Norris in the body of Nighthawk. Then we'd all be in trouble.

Mighty World of marvel #297, Hulk vs Stingray

The Hulk's still fighting Sting-Ray. I'm not sure what for. As far as I can make out, this is one of those tales where a hero attacks the Hulk in an effort to try and calm him down before he can cause any trouble.

What kind of insane plan is that?

Super Spider-Man #278, Namor vs Tiger Shark

Spider-Man and Namor are still fighting the menace of Dr Dorcas and Tiger Shark, and I still have no recollection at all of either the story or the cover. Could it be that I never read it? What dread nightmare is this?

Complete Fantastic Four #37, Power-Man vs the Thing

Judging by his somewhat aggressive attitude, I suspect Luke Cage may still be under the influence of the Puppet Master.

More significantly, judging by who he's fighting, I assume this to be the issue in which Benjy takes to wearing the Thing-shaped exo-skeleton that's designed to enable him to do super-hero stuff again.


Anonymous said...

Change was in the air yet again as The Complete Fantastic Four and Rampage came to an end with this week's issues and Sgt. Fury made his last appearance in MWOM. The following week the FF joined (re-joined) MWOM, replacing Sgt. Fury, while Rampage was transformed into Marvel UK's second monthly.

I bought this month's issue of Savage Sword of Conan on the very day that I saw Star Wars (May 30th 1978). It was my first issue of SSoC - I'm at a loss to explain why I didn't buy any of the previous seven issues considering...a) I was a Conan fan...and b) I obviously knew they existed because I'd seen them advertised in the weeklies. Anyway, from this issue onwards I became a regular reader of the UK Conan monthly until Spring 1981 when I stopped buying it again for an equally inexplicable reason!

dangermash said...

Those Sub Mariner covers still don't ring any bells for me Steve but next week we get the return of the HitMan and I definitely remember that.

Maybe I was distracted by Scotland's soon to be over World Cup run. I don't think that warrants a spoiler warning. Anybody that thinks Scotland have a hope against Holland after losing to Peru and drawing with Iran (thanks to an own goal by the opposition) is a gem short of an infinity gauntlet.

Steve W. said...

Colin, I'd totally failed to realise those were the last issues of Complete FF and the weekly version of Rampage. Thanks for pointing it out.

Dangermash, I definitely remember the Hitman stuff. Sadly,I fear you're right about Scotland/Holland. There's no way I could see Scotland winning it or that there's any chance that one of the Scottish players might score a wonder goal.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

UK Gents! Whatever you may think of Scotland or England soccer, you were not eliminated by the powerhouse of Trinidad and Tobago like the USA!

Second, and none of the UK guys I know who live here can answer this. Why does the UK compete with Wales, England, Scotland, NI in the World Cup and Euro League?

I mean France does not compete with it's Regions like Paris, Normandy, Brittany, Provence...

German does not compete with Bavaria, Baden Wurtenburg, Hessen, etc.

The USA does not compete with Idaho, Arkansas...

Though the Faroe Islands compete and they belong to Denmark?

Steve - I do apologize for going adrift of comics but since you and DM opened the door, LOL!

dangermash said...

The first international games were between England and Scotland, Wales & Northern Ireland joining after that. By the time the rest of the world started playing international football, the four home countries were so used to havng separate teams that we'd never have accepted the dea of a combined UK team. It alsonheled thta the home Nations at the time had a disproportionately big voting share within FIFA.
That doesn't answer why other countries always had just the one team. The USA in particular - with only Mexico to play for years, I,m amazed they didn’t want separate teams for each state.
Yugoslavia managed to eventually split up into seven teams but at a great cost.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Thanks DM! I never knew that and I will inform yours and my country men here in Chicago at every chance!!! Imagine how soccer would look if Spain Germany Brazil were competing With regional teams instead of national. Wales with Bales could pull off a World Cup instead of perennial superpowers.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

In for a penny... ok Steve?

DM why are there no divisions in the EPL or other Europe countries like the USA has in its professional sports? I mean Man City had the EPL wrapped up in March??? If they only had their division clinched and still had to play another division at least EPLbwould have had a "final game" to play for all the world to watch! I mean the big 4 leagues were all decided by March as I recall.

dangermash said...

We have 20 teams in the premiership and they all play each other twice. It has a nice symmetry to it. Over 38 games, luck evens out and the best team wins. With playoffs, it's about which team is the better in the one final match rather than which is better over 39 games. And if playing Man Utd gets you going, you know that you'll play them twice. You don't have to hope you qualify for a playoff and that you get drawn against them. It's similar to this all over Europe as far as I know.

If you'd phrased the question differently and asked why the US doesn’t copy the UK, I'd be pointing to the different sizes of the two countries. Newcastle fans can come down to London for the day to watch Arsenal but day trips from San Francisco to New York won't work. I'm assuming these US divisions are regionalised or, at least, that they started that way.

And in terms of doing well in the Premiership and going on to better things, Seven English teams qualify each year to play in midweek European competitions against teams from other countries.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

DM - Good thoughts! I need to some research. Though I suspect, as with most things here, it involves $$$, LOL.

I've never thought about why the US has playoffs for all it's sports. Pro sports started here with baseball 150 years ago... before planes, trains (almost), and automobiles...

Back to comics before Steve hunts me down!

Paul Mcscotty said...

One of the reasons that Scotland , England, Wales and NI compete as individual nations at the world cup was that it is set up (originally at least) for Football Associations of which the 4 aforementioned countries are the oldest associations ( as noted previously there was no single UK association). The first national football event was the UK Home championships (a massive event back in the day) which was the template for the Olympic WC where the UK did participate as one nation (and won) but that was an amateur event in the early 20th century. Up until around 1962 the UK only automatically sent the winners of the Home Championships to the WC but on many occasions FIFA asked usually Scotland and England both to attend as they had massive support. They tried to get a UK team for the London Olympics but Scotland refused to participate under the UK banner (rightly imho).

A pedantic but important point Scotland, England etc are not regions we are officially nation countries only the UK is sovereign, as noted above the WC is for national associations (not specifically sovereign nations) . In addition the 4 UK nation along with FIFA make up the International Football Association Board (IFAB) the body that determines the Laws of the Game of association football (we invented it , its ours so tough lol) so its not going to change.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Thanks Paul! That's a great explanation! Much obliged!

Anonymous said...

I hate bloody football and I hate the World Cup!!

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Hi Colin! Let's get together over a Pims and you tell Charlie what ails you about Football? And I'll spill my guts on US football!

Anonymous said...

Steve, it would have been some comic if Chuck Norris had shown up! Imagine a showdown between him and the Hulk. Chuck Norris power vs. Gamma Ray power. Would it have been the Walker Texas Ranger Norris or the Lone Wolf Mcquade Chuck Norris? Maybe the Octagon Chuck Norris. Or even more terrifying, Chuck Norris the Republican. Anyway you slice it, he spells trouble. Nebulon would've jumped in his spaceship and got outta the galaxy, pronto.


Anonymous said...

I'd really enjoyed the Complete FF and was pretty miffed when it was cancelled. I deliberately didn't follow the storyline to MWOM, as a kind of silent protest over the merge. I bet the sales figures on those cancelled titles would seem like a dream now.


Dougie said...

I'm not interested in football either but I'm glad it's been clarified that Scotland isn't a region. We have our own languages, bank notes, education and legal systems and parliament- a fact that even some of my work colleagues don't realise ( or accept), in a Scottish school.

Steve, that Spidey story is an early 70s MTU, probably an attempt to boost sales for the newly-minted Savage Sub-Mariner.

I don't know why I gave up on Conan too, also roughly around 1981. Maybe I thought I'd grown out of sword and sorcery.I just bought the Dark Horse SSOC vol. 4 a fortnight ago,

Timothy Field said...

I was sad to see Rampage weekly get cancelled, it was the first Marvel UK title I had been able to get from #1. As usual there wasn't much in the way of warning but the switch to a monthly schedule softened the blow.

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