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.


Anonymous said...

Hard to tell who inked the Solo figure on that Star Wars cover, Steve, but to me it looks like the hand of Terry Austin at work on the background at least.


Killdumpster said...

I'm curious, Steve.

The Hulk story in MWOM, is that the story of the first appearance of Doc Sampson? The story where Dr. Sampson siphoned off Banner's gamma radiation, used it to get Betty Ross out of her crystal state (after a blood transfusion with Sandman), then infused himself with it?

I know the covers for your mags are sometimes different, but that was a good issue.

Steve W. said...

Sean, the Grand Comics Database also credits Austin for the inking.

Killdumpster, it's a much later story than that one. It looks to be reprinted from Incredible Hulk #224, cover dated June 1978 and drawn by Sal Buscema.

Anonymous said...

It was the spaceship that gave him away, Steve, assuming the GCD is correct; as it happens though, I believe Austin began his professional career as assistant to Dick Giordano, so you weren't too far off yourself).


Killdumpster said...

Thanks Steve.

I know some of you guys like him, but I never could stand Sal Buscema's so-called "art".

The same stances, grimaces, lack of backgrounds, etc. To call it cartoonist would compliment it.

Repetitive, static with only the hint of movement being "motion lines" with characters in the same pose, over and over again.

Not even a reflection of a shadow of his brother, John.

Anonymous said...

I think I had the American copy of that Star Wars comic when I was a kid.
On the cover, it depicts Han Solo in a laser fight in Outer Space wearing no protection other than a scuba mask.
You can't do that! Not for more than than a minute or so, anyway.
Space is not like a warm hotel pool.


dangermash aka The Artistic Actuary said...

It's been a long time coming but in week 8 of 10in that Green Goblin story we finally find out that the guy tied up in the Goblin's hideout is Harry Osborn. It doesn’t take much tomwork out that his psychiatrist Bart Hamilton is cavorting around as the third Goblin.

But more importantly, Iron Man in MWOM! If it's the Invaders that have made way (please god), then the two proper superhero comics now have a combined lineup of Hulk, FF, Daredevil, Iron Man, Spidey, Avengers, Thor and Captain America. We've finally ended up with a decent lineup with no filler.

Steve W. said...

Killdumpster, I've always liked Sal for the simplicity of his art. I do feel, though, that he was very dependent on his inkers adding detail to his work in order to make it feel less flat.

MP, Han Solo's so bad*ss that he can even survive in a vacuum.

Dangermash, having done more research, I can confirm that it was indeed The Invaders which made way for Iron Man. This makes it doubly strange that his arrival in the mag made no impact upon my memory.

Killdumpster said...

That Avengers story in Super Spider-Man was part of a bittersweet "arc" for me,

I was a big fan of the transformed Beast, but was very disappointed that he became comic relief.

The Amazing Adenture stories had him as a more interesting character, full of turmoil, angst and uncertainty.

The whole "team clown" was awful, then his attracting females because of his scent glands..ugh

I'd cringe when he'd exclaim "OH MY STARS & GARTERS!" Crikey.

Anonymous said...

Not bad*rse, Steve? Or was that bad*ss for MP's benefit?


Anonymous said...

Being an educated man, Sean, and someone who has visited the Emerald Isle, I am well familiar with the term Bad*rse. In fact, I can swear in several languages.
German is my speciality, although i have been picking up some Spanish lately. (neighbors)


Anonymous said...

That does not surprise me in the slightest *rschl*ch (sorry MP, couldn't resist; lucky you have a sense of humour*, right?)
I too am picking up how to swear in another language from my neighbours** - Gujerati is tricky, but I expect that will make it all the more impressive when I can do it properly.
*humor **neighbors


Anonymous said...

In my travels, I thought the Scots surpassed everybody.


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Anonymous said...

Sal Buscema was also an inker.

I'm a life-long fan of Conan the Barbarian and I discovered Conan thanks to Marvel UK's Savage Sword Of Conan weekly No.2 in March 1975. The story was called "Lair Of The Beast-Men" (the plot was basically Planet Of The Apes meets Spartacus) and Sal Buscema was the inker of Barry Smith's pencils. Sal did a fine job in my opinion :)

Killdumpster said...

Even a blind squirrel finds a nut now and again.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

I confess that I too suffered Sal fatigue. The poses, grimaces, etc. all sort of looked the same after a while and didn't do much for me. But Marvel apparently needed artists to chew up pages...

I also suffered Gil Kane fatigue too, though I felt Kane was a fine comic artist.

I am proud of myself. I can cuss in English French and German fairly well. English and German have more "slap" to them, being Germanic languages. French with its vowels just doesn't do it for me.

That being said, I think I now understand the etymology of the word "Poon Tang" which was an ubiquitous U.S. military favorite from some decades though virtually unkown in society.

I am 100% certain Poon Tang is derived from the ubiquitous french word "putain." I did not use any * since I don't think either would technically be a swear word (a so-called "big word" in French, lol). But, one would not use the word in front of polite company.

ANd that's my proud contribution to the blog today! Now to go watch EPL on the telly! Can Man U go down in flames again? Fingers crossed!

Killdumpster said...

Maybe Sal should have done more inking.
After tracing the art of better artists he may have been able to incorporate different nuances, breaking away from the mental templates of his "style".

His angry face close-ups, ALL THE SAME!
His JJ Jameson, widen the face, take off the mustache, mess up his hair and turn him green... It's the HULK! Same face, replace flat-top hair, turn him white... It's TOMBSTONE! I could keep this up all day.

Calm hero close-ups were also repetitive. Reed Richards. Darken hair, add mustache & cloak of levitation collar, you have Dr. Strange. Minus cloak, you have Tony Stark. Minus mustache, add Mr. Spock eye-brows & ears, guess what you get. Subract ears & brows, add long blond hair & winged helmet..

I can't be the only one that was tired of this.

I swear, the man didn't draw. He used cookie cutters.

Killdumpster said...

Hokey smoke, Bullwinkle!

Is Steve going to have a poll/contest concerning the most foul foreign language profanity? Wow.

And I thought my head was in the gutter.

Anonymous said...

MP, if swearing was football*, Scotland would win the World Cup regularly. And the French would rarely even qualify.


Anonymous said...

PS Just to be clear, that wasn't intended to be an anti-French comment.
In the current atmosphere of impending war with the current scallop crisis, in the interests of international harmony I should really add something positive about the French.
Generally speaking, they make the best comics.


Killdumpster said...

Ahhh...Sean.. Backtracking on a "possible" anti-French statement.

I'll state That while I don't "hate" French folk, my dozens of conversations & involvement with them here in the states were all less than enjoyable.

That's with a little French in my truly American melting-pot "Heinz 57" ancestral mix.

You guys have to live next door to them. Yikes.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Never understood anti-french sentiment... The Germans have a saying, "Better to be a pauper in France than to be a king in Germany."

And, they have a wonderful history of comics. I loved in when their President Chirac kicked off a comic-book festival! That being said my two favorite French comics, Corto Maltese and Tin Tin are not French strictly speaking, though Pratt did a body of work in France and Herge wrote in French. But that's where I discovered them so...

Scallop war? Sounds like a mission for the INVADERS!

Lastly - there is a series on Netflix called "Escape to the Continent" about UK folks looking to move to the Continent The episodes where the UK couples want to move to Perigord and Provence are fun to watch.

Well Vive la France and Vive M'Bappe, Pogba, Kante, Giroud...!

Killdumpster said...

Amazing. They were the ones that coined the term "ugly Americans."

They helped us out during the revolutionary war, but they also added fuel to the fire in our civil war, by supporting the South.

Our army was the primary force that ejected the Nazi occupation out of their country. That's after their government rolled over and played dead then handed the keys to Hitler.

There were French prostitutes in tents all around the US encampments. Those tired, home-sick, hornie guys went into Paris thinking all French women were like that.

While the behavior was abhorrent, these men (& KIDs!) Had their "average hometown upbringing" along with manners, unhinged by the face of war.

War does more than maim, kill & Destroy.

It ruins many aspects of good in man.

While some recover, some don't.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Yes - The INVADERS should fight the Scallop war and it should be drawn by none other than Fr*nk R!

Killdumpster said...


Thks for that,man.

I was getting a little too grim & philosophical.

Cheers, brother!

Dave S said...

I think Sal's work suffered in the 70s because of the sheer volume of stuff he was drawing. When he slowed down to 1or 2 books a month in the 80s, he was much better. Also, around 87ish, he seemed to change his inking style (I'm far from an expert, but it looked to me like he was inking more with a pen than a brush) and produced some really good work on Spectacular Spider-Man.

Even when he wasn't great though, he was still a really good storyteller, in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

I wasn't backtracking on anything Kd - I still agree with Charlie that the French aren't that good at swearing.
And I don't understand anti-French sentiment either. Asterix the Gaul, strikes, cigarettes, Moebius and Druillet, jazz - whats not to like?

Naturally I support them on the scallops, partly because I'm Irish and historically Britain's difficulty is to our advantage but mainly because a fair few English fisherman seem to go for that eejit Farage.


Anonymous said...

PS Charlie - don't agree with you on Fr*nk R*bb*ns though. For the comic book adaptation of the scallop war the mighty Jaques Tardi is your man.


Killdumpster said...

Noted, acknowledged, and understood.

No one truly knows what someone goes through in life on the other side of our mudball.

The whole "walk a mile in another man's shoes" thing.

Killdumpster said...

Dave S-

I subscribed to virtually every Marvel title at one time. For about 3 years STRAIGHT. When Sal was doing more , I didn't renew. Not completely his fault, but maybe 30%.

Now I think 50%. Defenders was so much better after he left.

Killdumpster said...

Just because one bag of garbage doesn't stink like another bag doesn't make it "not garbage".

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Ah yes, Jaques Tardi! I had to google to recall his works and they are powerful stuff indeed. I recall reading the one "War of the Trenches."

I would put this to our UK gents: Which do you prefer Tardi's WW 1 books of "Charlie's War?"

They are both powerful works so I would be curious to see how you may differentiate?

Charlie Horse 47 said...

KD - I think you may be confused on the expression "Ugly American?" It comes from a book written by a couple of americans in the late 50s. I read it about 20 years ago. And if I recall it has a lot to do with Americans behavior in South Vietnam.

Perhaps you are overlapping that South Vietnam used to be "French Indochina" with the notion that the French introduced the term?

Anyhow let's not pollute Steve's fine blog on UK Comics, and his merciful tolerance of tangential spill overs into French comics, LOL, with such subjects. I admit to straying, lol.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Sean - Tardi has a new one out, hot off the presses, about his father's life as tank commander and being imprisoned in Stalag II. Thanks for bringing up his name!

Killdumpster said...

I absolutely agree with that.

I was way off-Mark, and I apologize if I may have insulted anyone's senseablites.

Guess I just had a tough week, and went on a "rampage" lol

Sorry again, all. I dig all you guys.

And you Charlie, thanks for straight-checking me.

Anonymous said...

Charlies War or War of the Trenches?
Thats a tough one Charlie, as they're both really great but quite different. The Tardi book doesn't have the editorial limitations of 70s British boys comics which is a definite plus, but on the other hand I did read quite a bit of Charlies War as a kid, so that gives it a whole different kind of appeal thats hard to compete with.

Haven't read Tardi's new book yet but as I really like his work and always enjoy a good war comic about tanks you can be sure I'll grab a copy soon.
On the subject of war comics about tanks, it was sad to read the other day that Russ Heath died recently...


Charlie Horse 47 said...

Sean - I did manage to shake hands with Russ, once, at Chicago Comicon probably 15 - 20 years ago. I got an autograph of a cover of Our Fighting Forces or something similar from DC.

Really liked his stuff!

These comic "heroes" are aging fast.