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.


TC said...

The original Destroyer (that is, published during WWII) was an American journalist. He had a series in Mystic Comics and also appeared in All-Winners Comics. I don't know offhand whether the latter was in a solo series, or as a member of the All-Winners team (Timely/Marvel's imitation of DC's Justice Society of America, and the precursor to The Invaders).

The Invaders retconned the character, making him British and a relative of Spitfire and Union Jack.

I do remember reading one reprinted Golden Age Destroyer story. I think it was in Marvel Super Heroes #12, the same issue that introduced Captain Mar-Vell.

And, yes, Shadows in Zamboula was the one where Conan stays in the inn and it turns out that cannibals roam the village at night. I think the innkeeper had made a deal with the cannibals so they were allowed to eat the victims, and the innkeeper kept their money and other valuables. Or something.

It was published in Weird Tales in the 1930s, and was reprinted by Lancer ca. 1970 in their Conan paperback book series. Undoubtedly, it's been reprinted several times since then.

Steve W. said...

Thanks for the Destroyer info and Conan confirmation, TC.

The Artistic Actuary said...

Spider-Man features the second half of the second issue of the ongoing Green Goblin issue. I've just taken a look at the pdf version and can tell you that Silvermane pops up in this half. It's not his first appearance since the tablet saga in ASM #68-75 though. He's been in Cap or Daredevil or something in between, which presumably tells us how he came back after sobbing away into a zygote in ASM #75

Steve W. said...

I have always been baffled as to how Silvermane came back from non-existence. I've always assumed they must have cloned him because I can't see any other way of doing it, not even with Marvel Science.

The Artistic Actuary said...

Found some more info on Silvermane.

After ASM #75, he next appears at the end of Daredevil #122 when he's revealed as Supreme Hydra. In Daredevil #123 it's explained that the serum in ASM #75 took him right back to age zero, then forwards to his late 30s peak. Still with the white head of hair but now looking as botoxed as the cling film over a tub of beans.

Personally I'd have left him dead. Any future botxed/cyborg appearances detract from Romita's brilliant work in ASM #73-75.

Colin Jones said...

Those blurbs about the Hulk TV show got a lot worse - in October/November '78 there were several issues of MWOM which displayed a huge banner across the middle of the cover saying: "Britain's No.1 TV Show", completely ruining the cover in the process.
And it wasn't even true - Britain's No.1 TV show was Corrie.

TC has perfectly explained the plot of "Shadows In Zamboula" but I'll add that the innkeeper gets his comeuppance in the end - he himself becomes a victim of the cannibals. And TC is right to assume that the story has been reprinted several times - I own "The Complete Chronicles Of Conan - Centenary Edition" published by Gollancz in 2006 (the centenary of Robert E. Howard's birth).

Timothy Field said...

Colin, I remember the large banner (not Bruce) across the MWOM covers, really did look slapdash, even covering some text boxes as I recall.
Was the Hulk tv show even in the top 10 for UK ratings? Seems unlikely.

Steve W. said...

Dangermash, thanks for the Silvermane info. It does raise the question of whether he retained his original memories when he reappeared and, if so, how.

Colin, thanks for the Conan info. It's nice to know my memory wasn't playing tricks on me.

Timothy, I do have the feeling the Hulk show was indeed a bit of a ratings smash in Britain but I'm saying that from memory, so I could be wrong.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

I want to thank Danger Mash for reintroducing me to the word zygote which I don't think I've heard in a good 40 years. This blog is awesome sauce!

Anonymous said...

Catching up on your blog having not kept up with it recently Steve - I know, I know, what else could possibly be a better use of my time? - so coming to this a bit late, but Shadows in Zamboula was the one that was supposed to be drawn by Neal Adams but ended up being partly - largely - finished off by Tony DeZuniga and his mates from the layouts.
So it was a bit of a disappointing mishmash after a promising first few pages.
The dodgy racism of the cannibals didn't do much for the story either...


Steve W. said...

Welcome back, Sean. It's nice to know you're still there.