Thursday, 20 September 2018

September 20th, 1978 - Marvel UK, 40 years ago this week.



All I have to do is utter the immortal words, "I don't like cricket," and, instantly, you'll know what was Number One on the UK singles chart in this week of forty years ago.

That's right. It was Dreadlock Holiday by 10cc, the cod Reggae hit that gave them their third UK Number One and proved beyond all doubt they were indeed one of the biggest bands of the 1970s.

Ironically enough, having done that, they were never again to reach the Top 40, other than with a re-release of I'm Not In Love, in 1995.

Even more excitingly for music lovers, Jilted John was now up to Number Four on that chart. Could nothing stop the man?

More importantly, could anything prevent me getting my hands on that week's Marvel UK mags?

No.

Nothing could.

Star Wars Weekly #33

I've no idea at all what's happening in the main story this week, other than that Luke Skywalker would appear to be back on his home planet, having flashbacks and hanging around with Biggs again.

I do know that, when it comes to the back-up strips, Star-Lord is still in the desert, still being bothered by bugs and now trying to communicate with something that looks like a rock.

But that's not all the excitement we have in store, because The Tales of the Watcher has been replaced with Seeker 3000, the Tom Sutton drawn sci-fi strip.

I do recall that people, in the comments section, have previously explained to me what that strip was all about but I must confess to having forgotten what they said.

I am, however, fairly sure it involves a spaceship.

Mighty World of Marvel #312, the Hulk

I genuinely have not the slightest clue what happens in this one.

I suspect the Hulk tale is the one I've been recently covering in the US equivalent of this feature, the one with Thunderbolt Ross's notorious Death Helmet and Doc Samson's attempts to enter the Hulk's mind. That's how close to catching up with the US originals the Hulk strip now is.

Elsewhere, I'm fairly sure the FF are still in the mag, as it says so on the cover, and that Iron Man's still present.

Beyond that, I can say nothing.



Super Spider-Man #293

Despite what the cover show us, I do suspect that, once we get inside, Spider-Man may be up against the Beetle - but don't quote me on that.

What I can guarantee is that, in the back-up strips, Thor's fighting the Destroyer, which would appear to now be possessed by the mind of a scientist.

Elsewhere, Cap's having yet another identity crisis. I have no doubt this will require him to revisit his origin. While this is going on, the Falcon's abducted by a mysterious person who's clearly Dum Dum Dugan.

Meanwhile, in their strip, some of the Avengers are going back to the days of the Wild West, in order to rescue the missing Hawkeye - and sort out Kang, once and for all.

30 comments:

dangermash said...

Yes it's a Beetle story. Next week, Spidey will defeat him with the help of a copper who gunks up his feelers with heroin. It doesn’t feel that long ago that this one featured in 40 years ago this month. We're catching up fast with the US comics.

Steve W. said...

Ah yes, I do remember the earlier talk of the Beetle's bizarre heroin encounter.

Timothy Field said...

The Marvel UK event horizon of catching up with the US comics was certainly getting close at this point. There was probably under a year to go before they really start trying to do more with less than ever. Luckily the distributors finally got their act together about the same time so I could start to pick up the US editions regularly.

Killdumpster said...

D-mash,

Was the Beetle wearing his original suit with the giant clunky wings, baggy pants & long suction cup fingers?

I loved that costume. He was like a flying tank. I never cared for the "new sporty" Beetle look.

Killdumpster said...

I never knew that his feelers had a function either. Just thought they were part of his motif.

Guess he was lucky he wears a helmet, or he might've turned into a junkie.

Now that I think about it, if his antennas helped in the operation of his suit, why didn't SPosey gumem up with webbing during all those fights?

Killdumpster said...

Meant "Spidey". Damn arthritis.

Killdumpster said...

Or are you guys calling his fingers "feelers"? I gotta look that story up.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

So, if I may ask, is this the about when the dude who became one of the "Pet Shop Boys" is running or taking over Marvel UK?

Sorry for my ignorance!

I can't think of anyone in US comics who became famous outside the world of comics?

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Good ole Kang! If it wasn't for him, Hulk would not have met Phantom Eagle and PE would have had only one appearance (Marvel Super Heroes 16?) instead of 2 in his Marvel career?

I still think he should have fought Enemy Ace at some point. Seems so logical?

Colin Jones said...

Charlie, future Pet Shop Boy Neil Tennant was editor of Marvel UK from 1975-77 so he'd left by this point. He went on to be the editor of "Smash Hits" magazine for a few years before forming the Pet Shop Boys.

A few years ago I heard Neil Tennant being interviewed on the radio and he was a bit snooty about his time at Marvel UK. He clearly thought he was just passing the time till something better came along.

TC said...

I seem to remember "I'm Not In Love" getting a lot of airplay over here in the late 1970s. Can't recall anything else by 10cc. Maybe they were a one-hit wonder in the US.

I think Phantom Eagle appeared in a flashback story in The Invaders, where he was a member of a WWI superhero team that included the original Union Jack. And his ghost appeared in a Ghost Rider story.

Justice League of America #198 and #199 (1981) had a time travel story involving the Lord of Time (sort of DC's Kang). The JLA went back to the Wild West, where they met some of DC's cowboy and gunfighter heroes, including Jonah Hex, Bat Lash, and Scalphunter.

Another of those stranger-than-fiction coincidences (like Man-Thing and Swamp Thing, Doom Patrol and X-Men) so common in comics.

dangermash said...

Yes KD, he was in that kit. It was a costume I'd forgotten about for years about until I saw him again in ASM #21 in one of the Marvel Masterworks in the 90s, One of thiose daft getups (like Electro's!) that wouldn't work in a film but thta should never disappear from the comics.

Killdumpster said...

Thanks D-Mash.

I always thought the original Beetle looked formidable, in a weird way like Mysterio. Ditko was amazing. What a mad genius.

Killdumpster said...

10cc had another fairly large hit, The Things We Do For Love.

I received a promotional copy of a live album they put out about ten+ years ago. I was pretty good.

Killdumpster said...

"It" was, I mean.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Gents - do I recall a / some cool Colan DD covers with the Beetle?

Also, did Beetle ever fight Thor or the Avengers? Or, perhaps did he join a crime gang like The Enforcers or a circus troupe?

And of course who would win in Beetle vs. Paste Pot Pete???

Colin - THanks for the update on the Pet Shop Boys! I always dug their tunes.

Killdumpster said...

Yeah, Charlie. The Beetle fought the Avengers when he was a prisoner of the Collector. Thor wasn't in the line-up at the time.

I remember the Beetle fighting DD & Black Widow, but the story I'm thinking about I don't think had Colan's art. I really don't know how many times he ran into DD.

Oh, and my bad. Carl Burgos co-created & designed the Beetle, not Ditko. I guess I thought he did because he used very few villains that he didn't create or co-create for Spider-Man. Like Dr. Doom.

I think the Beetle would "paste" Pete.

Steve W. said...

There is a Gene Colan drawn story in which the Beetle captures DD and puts him on display at Expo 67 in Canada, threatening to kill him on live TV.

Killdumpster said...

I've read that that the Beetle was a member of Egghead's Masters of Evil. I don't know which version, but I'm assuming he fought the Avengers again since the Masters were primarily their foes. Maybe someone knows if Thor was involved.

Wow. Talk about "Beetle-mania". Lol!

Dougie said...

Killdumpster is thinking of Bob Brown's DD, I'm sure. That issue introduced me to Moondragon, who made me feel funny.

This was another week where for some reason, in Lanarkshire, distribution had failed again since I never saw the Star Wars or Spidey comics pictured here. "Dude", indeed, Peter; it's not big and it's not clever.

I wonder if Iron Man was in that weird Tuska period with mad Marianne, the Cyborg Sinister, and Princess Python? Or that Trimpe undersea story with White Dragon and Shara-Lee ( Conway, finding his feet).

Killdumpster said...

Dougie-
Your probably right about the DD story being Bob Brown. I seem to recall snow swirling around during the battle.

Another weird element during that period of Iron Man was that damn Black Lama! I kept thinking "C'mon Tony, track him down and just kill him, already!" What an annoying character.

Killdumpster said...

Oh, and the seemingly never-ending boo-hooing about the death of the Guardsman. You'd think he was Gwen Stacy or something.

I almost quit reading Shellhead during that run. It wasn't very enjoyable.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Dougie and KD - Are you referring to Iron Man around issues 45 - 55 (original series)? I was into comics big time then (around 71 - 73ish?) and I too thought: "Just blast the Black Lama dude and get on with it!"

Yowza - I just woke up in Chicago, walked down to the kitchen, internet-ed to a radio station from France (France Bleu Toulouse - french wife) and they are playing 10 CC "Not In Love!" Wife suggested I take singing lessons... Well, now I will go to the TV to watch Liverpool play! Live!

Man - though the internet destroyed the "hunt" for comics it sure has other advantages. If someone told me 25 years ago I'd be watching live sports and listening to radio live from Europe... even while driving in my car...

I do NOT recommend watching streaming video while driving!

Killdumpster said...

Yeah, Charlie-

Probably one of the few issues worth re-reading during that era was the battle with the Super-Adaptoid. Maybe Firebrand, except for his none-stop radical politic prattle.

I also got tired of Midas & Madame Masque too.

I enjoyed Herb Trimpe's short run on Iron Man, tho.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

The weird thing was that as I recall there was a great Super-Adaptoid story and Iron Man was getting the sh*t kicked out him. I mean, it was pretty exciting stuff to a 11 year old. And then suddenly, the next issue, the story line totally changed as if the Super Adaptoid stuff never happened?

I kept thinking "was this continued somewhere else?" And then a few years ago I was reading an interview with Roy Thomas or Gerry Conway and he discussed that very subject and said Stan Lee told him / them to kill the story line for no given reason. Go figure...

Killdumpster said...

No wonder that Iron Man was considered a b-list character back then.

The only time I thought he was a fun read was if he had guest-stars or fought classic villians like Titanium Man, Crimson Dynamo or Mandarin.

Heck, even Unicorn or Blizzard were almost worth my coins.

Most of the villains were either boring or annoying during Tuska's stint.

Steve W. said...

Dougie, Iron Man was indeed in his Tuska period. In the previous week's MWOM, he was up against Demitrius. Whether that fight continued into this week's issue, I do not know.

Killdumpster said...

I remember Demitrius. Barely.

Killdumpster said...

I never cared much for Ultimo either.
Guess I'm "bad-guy picky".

At least Iron Man got to get to face-off against a cool villain in the 70's. Thano's.

Anonymous said...

Beetle was indeed a member of Egghead's Masters of Evil. If memory serves, a captive Hank Pym hacked the computer system in his armor and sent him flying out of control like an unguided missile. Somebody yelled, "Gangway!" and everybody scrambled except Thor, who, unperturbed, just stood there with his hammer out.
The Beetle bounced off that, and that was the last we saw of him for a while.
Of course, he had a good story to tell in prison. "It took Thor to defeat me."

M.P.

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