Thursday, 18 October 2018

October 18th, 1978 - Marvel UK, 40 years ago this week.

When it came to news, music and TV, this week of 1978 offered little that was of any interest to me. I shall, therefore, fling myself, head first, into my look at the then-current activities of our favourite comics company.

Star Wars Weekly #37

I've no idea at all as to what happens in this issue but I suspect the depicted space station isn't really going to be in the shape of a human skull and wearing a big hat, and that the way it's portrayed on the cover is mere artistic license by Carmine Infantino.

Regardless, all those floating heads look highly concerned by it, whatever it really looks like.

Mighty World of Marvel #316, Hulk vs Avengers

He might be the star of, "The No.1 T.V. show," but I can only assume the pressure of fame is getting to the Hulk because he's still receiving psycho-therapy from Doc Samson.

Meanwhile, having been trapped there by the Brute, a powerless Reed Richards finds himself in the Negative Zone and facing the senses-shattering terror of Annihilus.

Elsewhere, it would appear that, while defacing American landmarks, the Black Spectre's attempting to recruit Daredevil and the Black Widow.

Recruit them for what purpose, I do not know. For the purpose of defacing American landmarks? If so, it seems a little OTT to be recruiting super-heroes for a job as trivial and petty as landmark defacement.

Not that it makes much odds to me because I don't have a clue who the Black Spectre is.

I do know, though, that Nekra's involved in it all somehow.

And, speaking of Daredevil, this issue also contains a special feature that explains how his cane works.

Elsewhere, Iron Man's battling Mikas and the malevolent machinations of Mr Kline.

And, if all that wasn't enough, it seems we also get the first appearance of the Guardsman, as well.

Super Spider-Man #297, Dracula

It's another issue that's primarily a mystery to me.

However, based on the events of recent weeks, I would assume the Avengers are now in full-blown battle with Kang and his giant mutant coyote creature, in the Wild West and that, in Thor's strip, the thunder god and Hercules are up against Galactus.

Spider-Man and Dracula, meanwhile, are still failing to spot each other, despite being on the same ship at the same time.

32 comments:

Anonymous said...

Haven't read that issue of MWOM Steve, but I do recall the Daredevil story from the US monthly, and the Black Spectre turned out to be - spoiler alert! - the Mandrill.
That was a particularly dumb story even by Marvel standards, with the Mandrill taking over the White House. A villain in the White House - like that could happen, eh?

-sean

Steve W. said...

I did wonder if the Black Spectre might be the Mandrill, what with Nekra being involved but I struggled to see why he'd be using a secret identity.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Wait... Is Hulk on the same cover twice? That is to promote two different stories?

I can only imagine being a little kid trying to figure that one out. I mean, I had trouble understanding how a band could play their song at two different radio stations, at the same time, while growing up.

Hey - are there any world-wide competitions in the UK this weekend? I'm still smarting after missing the conkers champs, figuring it would likely have been broadcast on internet?

Killdumpster said...

Oh, DD's billyclub....

I remember seeing an extra feature where, of course with the retractable hook-line, there were all kinds of gadgets in it also. A tape recorder, even.

When he fought Dr. Doom with a powerless FF he had a little umbrella in it!

That thing must've weighed 50 pounds! Lol!

Anonymous said...

Imagine the disappointment experienced by 70s housewives, across the country, when they realised MWOM wasn't adapting Sale of the Century...

DW

Killdumpster said...

Sean-

Sorry I didn't get back to you concerning Marvel's adaptation of The Land That Time Forgot.

I did see it on a newsstand at a drugstore. They only had a meager comics section (Casper, Hot Stuff, ect.), but it was there and I thumbed through it.

The cover price was $1, and I only had 50 cents. I bought a Mad magazine.


Anonymous said...

Steve, theres not a lot of point in wondering why the Mandrill might used a secret identity as that Daredevil story wasn't really concerned with anything as complicated as character motivation. That whole run of DD is a prime example of why Steve Gerber is often overrated as a writer.
There you go - a bit of controversy for the comments.

Charlie, the UK government is currently competing regularly and doing well in the world idiocy championship with the brexit negotiations.

-sean

Anonymous said...

kd, I'd be very surprised if an issue of Mad wasn't a lot better than a Marvel adaptation of the Land That Time Forgot.

-sean

Killdumpster said...

Heh heh. You're probably right, lol.

dangermash said...

The FF disappeared frm the MWOM masthead last week and we all missed it! That's all I have to contribute this week.

Steve W. said...

Dangermash, the good news is the FF's billing is back next week.

Colin Jones said...

Which means this week's MWOM cover was the end of an era - the final time the Hulk had the masthead to himself before MWOM ended in January '79.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Hello UK gentlemen, I have a question. Should I assume that Steve’s Thursday column will come to an end because MWOM will soon come to an end? I confess to not having any experience with UK marvel comics. But my sense of things from your comments today is that MWOM is coming to an end in the nearer future?

By no means do I hope Steve’s Thursday column comes to an end nor do I hope that any of steve’s regular columns come to an end! Rather, I find them extremely enjoyable as well as your comments! I am just getting a sense that I should be getting worried…?

Anonymous said...

Relax Charlie - Colin was just referring to MWOM as a specific comic coming to an end in '79, not Marvel UK in general.

Actually, MWOM itself didn't end but became the imaginatively titled Marvel Comic (while the Hulk was spun off into er... Hulk Comic) and then the monthly Marvel Superheroes before it finally came to an end, when it was replaced by a new comic (or maybe it was a continuation of Daredevils?) called MWOM.
I think thats more or less right, but I've got it wrong before.

-sean

Charlie Horse 47 said...

That wind blowing over the UK at this moment is Charlie’s huge “sigh of relief!” LOL.

Hey if I may ask... I listen to H&J on Talk Sport on my drive in to work. There are often advertisements for UK persons who got screwed over with condominiums or time shares in Spain? Is this a “huge” problem?

Colin Jones said...

Charlie, there was a big change to the Marvel weeklies in January 1979. MWOM was re-named "Marvel Comic" and Super Spider-Man was re-named "Spider-Man Comic" in an attempt to make the Marvel weeklies seem more like other British comics and less American. The new-look weeklies ditched their glossy covers, the corner-boxes and everything that made them look like American Marvel comics - and inside there were seven different stories so each story had about 3 pages each. To me the new look was extremely unappealing and made me lose all interest in the UK weeklies. For some unexplained reason Star Wars Weekly was completely unaffected and continued unaltered but I was never much of a fan of that particular comic.

Whether Steve's Thursday posts continue after the "Marvel Revolution" (as it was called at the time) is up to him. I assume they will but my own interest in the UK Marvel weeklies is nearing its' end.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

My gosh! Chopping the stories into 3 pages would have been maddening to me! What with distribution being so erratic... Not sure which would have been worse... a slow bleeding flesh wound every few weeks or a shot to the head every few months??!

dangermash said...

Des Skinn (I think that was his name) was absolutely clueless about what the U.K. Marvel readers wanted and killed U.K. Marvel stone dead. One week of Spider-Man comic and I cancelled, never to buy a U.K. Marvel ever again.

As well as that Spider-Man comic reducing us down to three page stories, I have this recollection that the Spider-Man story in that first new issue was an old reprint - maybe ASM #90, death of Captain Stacy?

Steve W. said...

It is something I've been pondering. Like others, I hated the changes Dez Skinn made to the weekly comics (although he did a much better job with the monthlies) and, looking at the covers for those weeklies, they not only don't inspire me but I really don't remember anything much about their contents. I'm also not sure how much interest in them there is from the site's visitors. I have, therefore, been considering ending the feature with the start of the Skinn relaunch.

There's also the problem that, by 1979, my reading of the US originals had come to a halt, meaning that, when it comes to the feature in which I look at what the American branch of Marvel was up to 40 years ago, I'm rapidly reaching an era when I know nothing at all about what was going on in those comics. I might, therefore, have to drop that feature as well.

The feature in which I look at what US Marvel was up to 50 years ago still has four years of life left in it before I reach 1972, at which point, it'll overlap with my very first posts about what US Marvel was up to 40 years ago and will, therefore, have come to a natural end.

If I drop the, "40 years ago," features, I don't have a clue what I'll replace them with, as I only launched them in the first place because I couldn't think of anything else to write about.

Steve W. said...

Charlie, I don't have a clue whether Spanish time-shares are a major problem. I know there've been difficulties with them over the years but just how many people have been affected, I don't know.

Anonymous said...

I didn't like those new look Marvel weeklies either, but then I'd already lost interest in them in favour of the monthlies before Dez Skinn turned up.
To be fair to Skinn, part of the idea behind his changes was to focus the weeklies on a young, new audience while the monthly titles catered to the older readers, which was happening anyway. And while he mashed up the reprints he did also commission new work, from people like Dave Gibbons, John Bolton, David Lloyd and Steve Dillon.

He goes into details of the relaunch and his time at Marvel UK on his website at
www.dezskinn.com/marvel-uk/
Worth a read - he does have a case of the Stans (a tendency to talk up everything as a great idea of his) but all the same, its an interesting look into comic publishing in the UK in the late 70s.

-sean

dangermash said...

Thirteen weeks to go until that happens Steve. If it's to be the end, I'll be toasting your good health. You’ve left. A great gift for the world.

My fingers are crossed that these thirteen weeks are not going to be one big long Debbie Downer like Ditko's painful last few issues of ASM.

Anonymous said...

Steve, when you started this feature I thought, what - you're going to look at all the Marvel UK comics in a post EVERY week?!?
I was impressed you kept it up for more than a month, let alone this long. (Erm... don't take that the wrong way).

-sean

Anonymous said...

PS One other thing Steve - why would not knowing anything about the Skinn era or the US Marvels after '79 stop you posting about them?

-sean

Steve W. said...

Thanks, Dangermash. I shall do my best to keep humanity's spirits up.

Sean, while I pride myself on my ignorance of the contents of most of the comics I feature on here, I feel there's a level of ignorance that even I can't get away with, and I fear that the Dez Skinn Revolution might push me through that awesome barrier.

Anonymous said...

I forgot what happened in that story, so I don't know why Dracula was throwing a hippie off a ship.
Was he a Republican?
As far as the Hulk goes, having a psychologist with long green hair who dresses like Captain Marvel usually sends up a red flag. No wonder there was trouble.
I've had some strange therapists, God knows, and between them and my craziness the room was so full of weirdness you could cut it with a knife.

M.P.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Steve - I see no reason not to start over with a "60 years ago" and "50 years ago" and so on.

Yes, it is going to be a repeat but that is the nature of your blog and BitBa and numerous others in the first place, no? We are getting a repeat of what we lived through 40 - 50 years ago?

Truth of the matter is all of us are on "the back 9" of life we just don't know which hole.
Further, I find myself starting to forget things I once knew or remembered.

Point being that you do a nice job of recalling the glory days of comics in the 60s and 70s. And, you've got a solid group that contribute. If we go into repeat mode every 10 years is it "bad" that I get to recall what I've forgotten or will forget?

ALso, from a USA perspective, I would thrill to read your UK version of the BitBA equivalent where once a month they recount what was on the telly and the radio and in the theatres 45 years ago or so. You UK guys (at least the ones who blog here) always provide insight / perspectives into a lot of stuff that "I know nothing about!"

And hey, if you want to review DC Thomson Annuals I am right with you! lOl!

Anonymous said...

I dunno, Charlie.
My memories of the '60's are pretty hazy. I was strung out on baby formula at the time.

M.P.

Anonymous said...

Thats always the way M.P. - they get you hooked on that stuff when you're young.

-sean

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Well everyone is at least 50ish who is here? I mean, if the avg. life expectancy is 80 (unless you live in the USA which has a declining life expectancy) then.. well...

Baby formula or kool aid and captain crunch or whatever from the 1960s, we are "on the back 9."

ON that pleasant note, I think I'll turn in! Want to get up bright and early to see Chelsea v Man U which starts at 6:30 AM in Chicago.

Colin Jones said...

Steve, you stopped reading the U.S. Marvel comics just as I was starting. I bought my first U.S. Marvel comics in 1976 but by 1979 they were becoming much easier to find, appearing regularly in my local WH Smith's.

Timothy Field said...

We were not lucky enough to have a WH Smith in our little backwater so it was 81/82 before we saw US editions. Before that it was picking up the odd copy in Cornwall/Devon seaside towns on holiday.

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