Thursday 30 August 2018

August 30th, 1978 - Marvel UK, 40 years ago this week.

After a few weeks of nothing very important happening in 1978, at last, that year gave us one of the pivotal moments in human history because, on the 25th of August, U.S. Army Sergeant Walter Robinson walked across the English Channel, in 11 hours and 30 minutes, using just a pair of home-made water shoes. Sadly, I have no information on whether he then went on to attempt a stroll across the Atlantic or whether anyone has since replicated his feat.

Next to that, I'm sure the contents of that week's Marvel UK offerings could only pale into insignificance.

And here's where we find out if they do.

Star Wars Weekly #30

Frankly, I don't have a clue if they do in this comic because I know next to nothing of its contents, other than that Chris Claremont and Carmine Infantino's Star-Lord strip is still present, as is the Tales of the Watcher.

Sadly, I can shed no light on what this week's Watchery tale is about but have no doubt it provides a valuable lesson for us all.

I do have to say that I like that cover, which is, it seems, by Carmine Infantino, although I can't shake the suspicion that other hands may have been involved as well. Is it just me or do Han Solo's legs have a Dick Giordano feel to them?

Mighty World of Marvel #309, Doc Samson

Here's a mystery. Only two weeks after declaring that Iron Man would be returning to the pages of Super Spider-Man, Marvel UK launch him, instead, in The Mighty World of Marvel.

I have to admit to having no recollection at all of Iron Man ever having been in The Mighty World of Marvel. How can such a thing have completely slipped my memory, and which strip made way for him? Was it The Invaders? Was it Daredevil? Was it The Fantastic Four?

I genuinely cannot say.

Super Spider-Man #290, the Green Goblin and Silvermane

Spidey's still having trouble with the fake Green Goblin - and now the rejuvenated Silvermane's getting in on the act as well. Sometimes, Peter Parker's right about his luck being rotten.

When it comes to the back-up strips, I do know the Thor tale sees Hercules doing what he does best - showing off his muscles in a restaurant.

Sadly and inevitably, his fun comes to an end when there's a kerfuffle outside, which may possibly be caused by the Destroyer.

A strange thing is that the art on this strip's partially rendered with blue ink. I don't remember any Marvel UK mag, other than Captain Britain, using even partial colour since the early days of Mighty World of Marvel when we were often treated to the sight of our favourite heroes coming at us in glorious green.

In the noticeably more monochrome Avengers tale, we're getting that one where an ever-growing Yellowjacket is unconscious on the streets of New York, causing the Vision to have to enter his body in a nifty reversal of the plot line from Avengers #93.

Sunday 26 August 2018

The greatest Punk song of all time!

Punk! What is it? Where is it? Why is it?

Clearly, the answer to that question isn't as simple as it might sound. To some, the word, "Punk," may conjure up instant images of spitting, fighting and vomiting but my incredibly extensive research for this post tells me that, at one point, in the 1970s, even the Bay City Rollers were labelled a Punk act.

This would at least explain why every BBC documentary I've ever seen about Punk claims that Eddie and the Hot Rods were the first British band to be labelled a Punk outfit, even though, to me, they always seemed far closer to the Rollers in visual style than they were to the Pistols.

From this, we can conclude that - as one would expect of a genre with a DIY aesthetic - Punk is a broad church, encompassing pretty much any act that thinks it's in it, including Iggy Pop who never thought he was in it but found himself put in it anyway.

Thus, within its many aisles, we find acts as diverse as the Stooges, Patti Smith, Blondie, the Stranglers, the Sex Pistols. the Damned, X-Ray Spex, the Slits, Siouxsie and the Banshees, the Ramones, the Clash, Jonathan Richman, Devo, the Buzzcocks, the Boomtown Rats, the Undertones, Toyah(!), Sigue Sigue Sputnik(!), the Doors(!) and a million others.

Where does Garage end and Pub start? Where does Pub end and Punk start? Where does Punk end and New Wave begin? Where does New Wave end and Grunge begin? Where does Grunge end and Lo-fi start?

I have no idea.

You, on the other hand, may know the answer to all of these vital questions.

Clearly, in the face of such confusion, there's no rational response but to bow to recent public pressure in this site's comments section and launch a poll to decide just what is the greatest Punk song of all time. Therefore, if you have any nominations, feel free to make them in the comments section below and I shall collate them into a poll which I shall launch on Tuesday and then leave in place for a week, in order to give the whole world a chance to vote.

What are my nominations? I must confess I'm not an expert on Punk, having been more of a New Wave fan but the tracks that leap quickest to my mind are Anarchy in the UK, London Calling, No More Heroes, Jilted John and Looking Through Gary Gilmore's Eyes.

But those are only my suggestions. So, get your safety pin in your nose, get that super-glue in your hair, get your tartan scarves out, get ready to sing that great Punk anthem Shang-a-Lang and give us your nominations.

Thursday 23 August 2018

August 23rd, 1978 - Marvel UK, 40 years ago this week.

August 23rd, 1978, was proving to be an intriguing night for all lovers of the BBC.

BBC Two was showing The Bloxham Tapes, in which Magnus Magnusson investigated the work of Arnall Bloxham who, over a 20 year period, hypnotised 400 people and recorded them talking about their previous lives.

Was this proof of reincarnation?

I don't know but I do remember watching it.

On BBC One, we got a less astral offering, with Taste for Adventure: The Game of Genghis Khan, a documentary which followed Raheem Mohammed as he travelled to a buzkashi game in the foothills of the Hindu Kush. There, he joined battle with another 130 horsemen in a game more like war than sport. As we all know, buzkashi is a game brought to Afghanistan by Genghis Khan and his Mongol hordes. You don't see many games that were brought to Afghanistan by Genghis Khan and his Mongol hordes, on BBC One, at peak-viewing time, these days.

When it came to music, surely the highlight of the week had to be that Jilted John by Jilted John was at number 10 on the UK singles chart. How could anyone dispute that it was indeed the greatest Punk song of them all?

Star Wars Weekly #29

The Star Wars regulars are still having trouble with Crimson Jack. At least they're not having trouble with Fiery Jack.

Meanwhile, Star-Lord is stuck on a desert planet, with an alien who wants to kill him. Fortunately, our hero has an unlikely ally, in a desert bug who likes to suck every drop of moisture from its victims.

What the Watcher is up to this issue, I could not say but I do know that epic Steve Does Comics football icon Fatty Foulke is once more on the back cover and still advertising crisps.

Mighty World of Marvel #308, the Leader's humanoids

Hooray! The Leader's humanoids are back!

I always had a soft spot for the Leader's humanoids, even if they never seemed to prove more than a minor annoyance to the Hulk.

But I do love how grumpy they look on this cover.

Then again, I suppose that, if your life consisted entirely of fighting the Hulk, you probably would look grumpy.

But why, exactly, did the Leader cover them in polka dots?

Super Spider-Man #289, the Green Goblin

I'm no expert on military equipment but I do suspect that if one was hit by a bazooka, from a distance of a few feet away, one wouldn't be shouting, "No! Nooo!" One would be too busy going splat. Clearly, the Green Goblin's made of strong stuff.

Sunday 19 August 2018

2000 AD - July 1980.

Do you know what you were up to in July of 1980?

I do.

I was watching the Moscow Olympics.

Granted, not everyone in the world was doing likewise, as the games managed the feat of being boycotted by 65 countries - a serious achievement, even by Olympic standards.

Still, that meant there were more medals to go round for the rest of us, and the people of Britain got to cheer as the likes of Daley Thompson and Alan Wells claimed gold.

Top of the bill for the Brits, though, were the two epic clashes between Seb Coe and Steve Ovett to decide who was the world's best middle-distance runner.

Needless to say, we got no answer to that question, as they each proceeded to win the wrong event.

I could claim that such excitement was being matched by the contents of the galaxy's greatest comic but, in all honesty, I can't describe what was happening in it, in any more than the fuzziest of ways.

I do, however, know that that month's issues were giving us Nemesis the Warlock, the Stainless Steel Rat, Wolfie Smith and Robo Hunter, while Judge Dredd was still on the lookout for the Judge Child. It never struck me at the time just how long his story arcs used to go on for.

From Prog 168 onwards, the comic was also giving us The VCs, a strip I have no memory of, not even when I Google images from it. I had been assuming it was some sort of spin-off of Ro-Busters but it, instead, seems to have been an Outer Space war series.

Apparently, the enemies in it were referred to as, "The Geeks," which does ring a bell. I'm wondering if the whole thing had a Starship Troopers vibe to it. I could imagine that a 2000 AD Outer Space war strip would possess such a thing.

2000 AD Prog 167

2000 AD Prog 168, Judge Dredd

2000 AD Prog 169, Judge Dredd

2000 AD Prog 170, Judge Dredd

Thursday 16 August 2018

August 16th, 1978 - Marvel UK, 40 years ago this week.

This week of 1978 was a quiet one when it came to the matters of global significance that most concern this blog, such as who was at Number One, who was getting up to pointless publicity stunts and what was on the telly.

Therefore, I shall leap straight into my, no doubt highly-informed, look at what our favourite comics company was giving us in this very week, and hope it shall prove to be greatly more intriguing than real life was.

Star Wars Weekly #29

Luke Skywalker's clearly a big advocate of the Spider-Man method of shielding yourself with your groin the moment bullets start flying.

Why this method of self-defence has never caught on in real-world warfare, I cannot imagine.

Inside, Star-Lord's involved in a Carmine Infantino drawn tale called Sandsong, and the Watcher's giving us Part 2 of a tale called The Unsuspecting.

In my experience, all Tales of the Watcher should be given that title, as they all seem to feature someone who doesn't suspect the horrifying truth until it's far too late.

Mostly, that truth is that an inanimate object is actually alive and is going to eat you.

This is why I always assume that every inanimate object I encounter is going to eat me.

So far, it has worked a treat and I have been eaten by nothing.

Mighty World of Marvel #307, Hulk vs Leader

It's August 1978 and The Mighty World of Marvel is reprinting the Incredible Hulk issue that was cover-dated June 1978. How long can it be now before the UK reprints catch up with the US originals?

Then what are Marvel UK going to do?


Other than that, I can say nothing about what happens in this issue, apart from the fact that the Leader's clearly decided to give the Murder Module another go, even though using an inherently unstable three-legged vehicle, with a high centre of gravity, against an awesomely strong monster doesn't strike me as being the sign of vast intellect.

Super Spider-Man #288, the Green Goblin

This week's issue's clearly a great one for fans of hospital dramas.

In Spider-Man's tale, Aunt May's at death's door and the surgeon needs Peter Parker's signature, in order to operate on her but Peter's too busy battling the fake Green Goblin.

In the Avengers tale, Janet Pym is in hospital, her husband's losing his rag with everyone, and the Whirlwind shows up at her bedside, looking for a fight.

I can say nothing else of this issue but I do know that Iron Man's strip is a mere two weeks away from returning.

Tuesday 14 August 2018

The Marvel Lucky Bag - August 1978.

A mere two days ago, the comments section of this very site was abuzz with talk of whether Marvel's major comics were running out of steam by the late 1970s.

Fortunately, by that point, the company was so huge that we didn't only have to rely on its major titles, because it was now publishing just under fifty books a month.

So, that in mind, let's take a look at what some of the more attention-grabbing of its less high-profile titles were up to and see which, if any, were displaying the sort of vitality that would get us snatching them from the spinner racks.

The Hulk #10

With one mighty bound, The Rampaging Hulk becomes simply The Hulk! compete with exclamation mark!

Sadly, this means that no more will we get to see the machinations of the Krylorians, and a whole new direction will unfurl before us.

Not only do we get the arrival of colour but I do believe the switch means that, from now on, the stories will more closely resemble the formula of the TV show, with the Hulk showing up in random places and assisting random people, via the power of his helpful Hulkiness.

Marvel Comics, the Beatles Story

If there's a storytelling form that's not suited to telling tales about music, it's comics, thanks to their total lack of sound.

Needless to say, that didn't stop Marvel from giving us its take on the Beatles' career, as drawn by George Perez.

This is a comic I'd genuinely love to have read, if only to see how it dealt with the Yoko era, which we all secretly know may be infuriating but is easily the most fascinating of the Fab Four's career.

Marvel Premiere #43, Paladin

I don't know if Paladin was popular in his appearances in Daredevil but Marvel clearly thought he had potential, because it gave him an issue of Marvel Premiere to fool around in.

Looking at the cover, I am getting a strong Punisher vibe.

What If Jane Foster Had Found the Hammer of Thor?

This is it! Surely this month's most celebrated tale, as we get the debut of Thordis!

I have read this tale but it was so long ago that I can't recall how it ends.

But this is What If, so I'm assuming she dies at the climax because every issue of What If I've ever read seems to have had an unhappy ending and the implication that we're lucky that things turned out the way they did in the real Marvel Universe because it would all have gone badly if they hadn't.

Then again, I could be misremembering and they could all have had happy endings.

Marvel Classics Comics #34, Robin Hood

There's long been a battle between Sheffield and Nottingham over ownership of Britain's most popular ever criminal. Was he from Loxley in Sheffield? Was he from Nottingham in Nottingham? Was he from both? Was he from somewhere else?

Frankly, we'll probably never know because he probably never existed. However, Robin Hood is so epic that even not existing doesn't stop him getting his own Marvel Comics adaptation.

I would assume this is another comic with a less than happy outcome for the protagonist.

Man From Atlantis #7

Speaking of doomed protagonists, this is the last ever issue of Marvel's Man From Atlantis. I don't remember if the TV show was a commercial success but the comic clearly wasn't, folding after just seven issues.

Still, at least he got a nice dramatic cover for his final appearance. You do have to suspect that the impossibility for Marvel to connect him to their wider universe - like they did with Conan, the Micronauts and others - can't have helped his cause.

Then again, maybe people just didn't like the TV show.

Invaders #31, Frankenstein's Monster

The Invaders tangle with Frankenstein's Monster in a tale drawn by Chic Stone. I'm not sure if I've ever read a comic pencilled by Chic Stone. I'm more used to him as an inker.

But is this the same Frankenstein's Monster as the one who had his own Marvel strip in the 1970s? Is it the robot one who showed up in that 1960s Silver Age issue of The X-Men? Is it a totally different Frankenstein's Monster? And just how many Frankenstein's Monsters are there in the Marvel Universe?

Sunday 12 August 2018

Forty years ago today - August 1978.

The recent heatwave has died an instant death and been replaced by the tapping of rain upon window sills, and the grip of an autumnal chill.

All I can do is seek refuge in the days of four decades past, when every summer was scorching and every winter produced ten foot of snow.

Avengers #174, the Collector

The Collector's back.

Other than that, I can say nothing of the contents of this comic.

I do, however, suspect the acquisitive alien's out to capture the Avengers and add them to his collection, seeing as that's what he does every time he shows up. You do wonder if he ever thinks of getting another hobby.

Conan the Barbarian, Thoth Amon

Apparently, Conan, Belit and Zula have to battle deadly snake creatures, in order to escape from catacombs.

You would have thought Conan would have learned to avoid catacombs by now. It never goes well when he enters any.

I'm reliably informed that, in this issue, Thoth Amon becomes Neftha's adviser.

Frankly, I don't have a clue what that last sentence means as I don't have a clue who Neftha is.

That aside, I was under the impression that Thoth Amon is long dead by Conan's time and is a character from the far earlier Kull stories.

Or is that Thulsa Doom I'm thinking of? I always get them mixed up.

Captain America #224

Someone called Argyle Fist puts in an appearance in this issue.

I don't have a clue who that is but he sounds like someone you wouldn't want to meet.

The Tarantula also puts in an appearance. You wouldn't want to meet him either but, given that he's basically just a man with pointy shoes, I suspect the good Captain won't have much difficulty in putting a stop to him.

Fantastic Four #197, the Red Ghost

Hooray! Reed Richards finally gets his super-powers back!

I do believe this is thanks to him making a journey into space.

For some reason, the Red Ghost is also on board. I don't think his apes show up - which is a source of great disappointment to me, as they were always the interesting ones in that partnership.

Incredible Hulk #226

I genuinely have no idea what happens in this issue. It is nice, though, to see the Hulk frequenting a place of learning.

Iron Man #113, the Unicorn

I'm pretty sure I've never read this one but the Unicorn's back and, no doubt, that means we're in for all kinds of excitement.

Amazing Spider-Man #183, the Rocket Racer and the Big Wheel

This is it! The story we all demanded! It's the Rocket Racer vs the Big Wheel!

Obviously, someone at Marvel decided readers might not be happy with a story that features a terrible super-villain, so they decided to make up for it by making it feature two terrible super-villains.

I can't even remember why the Big Wheel's so desperate to kill the Rocket Racer. Maybe he just has good taste when it comes to Fashion.

Spectacular Spider-Man #21, the Scorpion

The Scorpion's back and convinced he can't remove his costume anymore. Apparently, this leads him to try and kill J Jonah Jameson.

I've always had a soft spot for the Scorpion. He's always seemed nastier than the average villain.

Thor #274, Ragnarok

I do believe that, in this one, Harris Hobbs manages to take a TV crew to Asgard and they get there just in time to see Loki initiate the start of Ragnarok by getting Balder killed.

Isn't this the story that leads to an alternative version of Thor showing up?

X-Men #112, Magneto

Magneto's back, and giving the X-Men a good kicking.

The main thing I remember from this story is that it reveals that Magneto has a weird, robotic housekeeper.

I can only assume staff are difficult to find when you're a megalomaniac super-villain, hell-bent on humanity's destruction.

Thursday 9 August 2018

August 9th, 1978 - Marvel UK, 40 years ago this week.

If you're a fan of vigorous physical activity that's not quite as good as the Olympics, you were in luck in this week of forty years ago because, thanks to BBC One, we were getting a healthy dose of the Commonwealth Games from Edmonton, Canada. This was back in the days when we were so bad at the Olympics that the Commonwealth Games was the only chance we ever got to see British sportspeople not come in last.

Among those British athletes coming so not last that they actually won gold were Daley Thompson, Alan Wells, Brendan Foster, Geoff Capes, Tessa Sanderson, Sonia Lannaman and David Moorcroft.

Possibly moving at a more leisurely pace than any of those people was ex Blue Peter host Valerie Singleton. She was in the process of travelling the entire length of Offa's Dyke, for Nationwide. I can think of nothing interesting to say about this event but I just like the thought of Valerie Singleton travelling the length of Offa's Dyke, which is the sort of feat you'd more normally associate with John Noakes and Shep.

Anyway, Marvel UK, what was it up to in that self-same week?

Star Wars Weekly #27

What's this? Waterworld? Are we about to read the greatest movie sci-fi crossover since Starcrash Meets Death Race 2000? Does Kevin Costner finally get to team up with Harrison Ford?

Call me a wet blanket but I suspect he doesn't.

As for the cover's question of whether Chewbacca is dead, I'm guessing he's not.

I can say absolutely nothing about the contents of this issue but I do know the back cover is a full-page cartoon feature about Fatty Foulke, the legendarily huge Sheffield United goalkeeper whose playing weight ended up peaking at 26 stones and who once stopped a game by breaking the crossbar. It's always good to see a Sheffield sporting legend getting national coverage.

Mighty World of Marvel #306, Hulk vs the Leader

This is an odd cover. If you'd never read a Hulk story before, you might think the Leader is this tale's protagonist and the Hulk is its villain.

That aside, by an incredible coincidence, this issue's back cover also features the Fatty Foulke back-page piece. Clearly, you can never get too much Fatty Foulke in your life.

As for the insides, I do believe Daredevil is still up against Kraven the Hunter, while, in The Fantastic Four, the High Evolutionary's literally walking on air and is all set to take on Galactus to decide the fate of Counter-Earth.

Super Spider-Man #287

Unless I miss my guess, Spidey's still up against Bart Hamilton's Green Goblin.

Other than that, I can say nothing of this issue's contents.

Nor can I confirm nor deny the presence of Fatty Foulke on the back cover. That information is currently unavailable to me.

Tuesday 7 August 2018

The Marvel Lucky Bag - August 1968.

Once more a first Tuesday of the month has imposed itself upon us and thus must I inspect what the less high-profile comics published by Marvel in the late 1960s were up to.

Dr Strange #171

I do believe that, in this tale, Strange and Victoria Bentley are in a deadly dimension, on the hunt for Clea but have to contend with Dormammu if they want her back again.

There may be nothing unique about Dormammu showing up in a Clea-related tale, or in Strange having to venture to another realm to rescue a damsel but I've a suspicion this may be the only comic I've ever read that was pencilled by Tom Palmer.

Captain Marvel #4, the Sub-Mariner

I'm fairly certain this is the last Gene Colan issue before Don Heck takes over the reins.

But can it be true? Can Captain Marvel really hope to take on the Sub-Mariner and live?

I wouldn't have thought so. You'd expect Subby to totally flatten him. I can only assume Namor is having an off-day if his foe survives this encounter.

My memories of this tale are vague but I suspect that, as always, Marvy has to fight to protect the Earthmen while making it look like he's trying to get them all killed, while Yon-Rogg and the ever-maudlin Una watch on from their home in orbit.

Nick Fury Agent of SHIELD #3

It's a legendary Steranko cover to a comic whose interior I've never seen.

I gather, from other sources, that the tale within is a tribute to The Hound of the Baskervilles.

Admittedly, the cover does somewhat give that away but it's nice to have it confirmed.

Not Brand Echh #9

I've never read an issue of Not Brand Echh but do recall pages from it frequently showing up as filler in Marvel UK comics. From that, I'm aware that Marie Severin's skills as a cartoonist are put to good use in the book.

Silver Surfer #1

It's the comic that had to happen! After two years of turning up in other people's comics and complaining about each and everything he's encountered, the Silver Surfer finally gets the chance to turn up in his own comic and complain about each and everything he encounters.

You can't get round it, Norrin Radd's a major buzzkill but at least we have a load of great John Buscema art to make up for it.

And that's not the only thing we have - because this issue also features a Gene Colan drawn origin for the Watcher which gives us a valuable warning about the dangers of interfering in other people's planets.

This is why I have never interfered in the affairs of another planet and probably never will.

Sub-Mariner #4, Attuma

I don't know what's going on in this tale but Attuma is clearly up to no good.

What matters is it's yet another comic in which John Buscema gets to work his magic. I'm not sure if I've mentioned it before but Buscema's run on this strip is my favourite work by him.

Sunday 5 August 2018

Fifty years ago this month - August 1968.

August 1968 was a sad month for all those who love to see smoke belching from chimneys and steam flying in all directions, because it was the month in which the last steam-powered passenger train service in Britain came to an end.

And it wasn't the only thing threatening to hit the buffers because that was also the month in which Ringo Starr quit the Beatles, thanks to frustrations with recording Back in the USSR and arguments with Paul McCartney.

Still, it wasn't all bad news because, during his absence, Ringo was inspired to write Octopus's Garden before returning, which is surely his greatest songwriting contribution to the group.

Proving that nothing could derail the Beatles, even when they were taking it in turns to quit the band, in that same month, Hey Jude came out. It became the Beatles' best-selling 45 and, reportedly,  the world's 10th best-selling single of all time.

Avengers #55, the New Masters of Evil

It's another classic tale from my personal favourite Avengers era, as our heroes take on the New Masters of Evil and their mystery employer the Crimson Cowl, AKA Jarvis the Butler, AKA Ultron.

I have always thought there's something odd about the Panther on that cover. It always looks to me like his head's been redrawn by a totally different artist.

As it's hard to see why anyone would ever feel the need to redraw anything created by Big John Buscema, I wonder if he originally drew T'Challa with his face completely covered and then someone hastily decided to redraw him with his mouth and nose showing. Marvel never seemed to be able to decide how his mask should look, back in those days.

Captain America #104, the Exiles

Captain America finds himself up against the world's deadliest geriatrics, as he battles the Exiles on their island of doom.

Daredevil #43, Captain America

At some point in our childhood we'd all asked the question, "Who'd win a fight between Daredevil and Captain America?"

Well, admittedly, I'd never asked it. It always seemed obvious to me that Cap might have been a super-soldier but DD could do everything he could and had the advantage of super-senses, meaning he'd, surely, have the edge necessary to triumph.

As it transpires, in this tale, those senses turn out to be more of a liability because, thanks to them, Hornhead gets turned evil by radiation and decides to beat up Cap in a boxing ring, for no noticeable reason.

As was Stan Lee's normal procedure, by the end of the scrap, we still don't know who'd win a fight between two Marvel heroes.

Fantastic Four #77, Psycho-Man

The FF are still trying to get the Silver Surfer to hand himself into Galactus. And that means they have to defy the will of Psycho-Man who, if I remember correctly, decides to stop fighting them when he realises that if he vanquishes them it'll mean Galactus destroys the world.

He might be called Psycho-Man but it's heartening to know he can be reasonable when he needs to.
Incredible Hulk #106, the Missing Link

The Hulk's still having trouble with the Missing Link and his rather unfortunate tendency to explode without warning.

I love the Missing Link. He should definitely have his own comic.

Iron Man #4, the Unicorn

I'm pretty sure I've read this tale but I can recall nothing of what happens in it.

Amazing Spider-Man #63, the two Vultures

Because one Vulture's never enough, we get two of them, as the mighty Blackie Drago makes his feather flapping debut.

Admittedly, he's a mere imitator and not a patch on the real thing.

Which is ironic because he promptly defeats Spidey, leaving the original Vulture looking like a chump for having always failed to manage that feat.

Thor #155, Mangog

Hooray! My favourite marauding monster's on the loose, as Mangog decides to give Asgard the good flattening he thinks it deserves.

But where is Odin while all this is going on?

Why, he's fast asleep, of course. And no one dares alert him because he gets angry with you if you wake him.

Personally, bearing in mind there's an unstoppable monster rampaging around and slaughtering everyone in sight, I'd risk it.

Thursday 2 August 2018

August 2nd, 1978 - Marvel UK, 40 years ago this week.

Little of any interest was happening in the world in this week of forty years ago. Therefore, I shall cut to the chase, climb atop the the cliff of Now and gracefully leap from it, into the swimming pool of History.

Star Wars Weekly #26

As always, I have no memory at all of the main story.

However, I do know that, in the back-up strips, Star-Lord's involved in the tale of a, "Hollow Crown," and, amazingly, the Tales of the Watcher story Run, Roco, Run is still going. Marvel UK have now managed to make a ten page story last for three issues.

Will they be able to make it last for four?

Tune in at the same time next week to find out.

The tale itself would appear to involve a convict trying to escape in a spaceship that has no provision for the presence of a pilot. Just how will this dramatic tale end?

I don't have a clue but, given that he's a criminal and these things are always morality tales, I suspect it won't end happily for him.

Mighty World of Marvel #305, the Hulk

The dreaded blurb, "Star of the TV series," makes its Hulktastic debut.

I understand that it was a valuable marketing tool at a time when Marvel UK was under some pressure, sales-wise but I could never help feeling that its presence seriously damaged the comic's credibility as a work of art.

As for the activities within, I would assume the FF are still out to prevent Galactus eating Counter-Earth.

I do know for certain that this issue features a Don Heck drawn Daredevil tale in which Kraven's hired by a mystery man to get rid of the man without fear.

Meanwhile, in The Invaders, we get the origin of the Destroyer.

No, not that one - or the other one. This is the Golden Age one, with the stripey tights, and the skull drawn on his stomach, who likes to give the Nazis a hard time.

It turns out he's an Englishman who got his powers by drinking yet another version of the super-soldier serum. What with Master Man and Warrior Woman getting their powers by the same method in the Invaders' last adventure, I'm starting to wonder if there was anyone involved in World War II who didn't manage to get their hands on that serum.

Marvel UK, Savage Sword of Conan #10

Wasn't Shadows in Zamboula a Robert E Howard tale? If it was, was it the one with the dodgy innkeeper and the cannibals?

If it is, I can't say I remember much about it beyond that but I do recall the title, so it must have been at least to some degree memorable.

Super Spider-Man #286, the Green Goblin

I genuinely can reveal nothing of the contents of this issue, other than that it clearly features Bart Hamilton's fake Green Goblin.

Rampage #2, the Incredible Hulk

You wouldn't know it from the cover but this issue features a clash between the Hulk and the original X-Men in a tale drawn by Walt Simonson and Alfredo Alcala, which sounds like a quite remarkable combination of artistic talents. Does Alcala's infamously heavy inking totally drown out Simonson's distinctive pencilling, or does the team-up prove to be an epic combination?

I have no idea.

If you have, feel free to say so.

As for the plot, needless to say, the Krylorians are behind it all.