Sunday, 11 November 2018

Forty years ago today - November 1978.

There's nothing quite like sitting there, as a giant pair of curtains parts to reveal the latest Hollywood epic that's going to change your life.

In fairness, if they'd parted in November 1978, you probably wouldn't have had your life changed, but there were some movies of interest came out that month.

For instance, it saw the release of Magic, Watership Down and the animated version of The Lord of the Rings.

It also saw the release of Caravans, Paradise Alley and Same Time, Next Year.

Clearly, it was all good news for Mike Batt's bank manager because Batt wrote the theme songs to both Caravan and Watership Down, meaning he wasn't going to have worry about affording Christmas presents that year.

Neither was John Hurt who was in both Watership Down and The Lord of the Rings.

Avengers #177

On the other hand, the Avengers might not even live to see Christmas. Things aren't looking good for them as they find themselves up against Michael Korvac.

From what I can make out, this issue seems to guest star just about every character who'd ever previously appeared in a Marvel Comic. Clearly, the tale's author Jim Shooter was determined to give us our money's worth.

Conan the Barbarian #92, the thing in the crypt

Hooray! It's the return of the helmet Conan wore in Zukala's Daughter, all those years earlier.

I know it seems unlikely that a man could become emotionally attached to a barbarian's hat but it featured in the first Conan tale I ever read, so it left a major impression on me.

As for this tale, it seems to involve Conan running into a cave and accidentally bringing a skeleton to life. Frankly, how anyone survived the Hyborian Age is a mystery to me, the sheer ubiquity of occult menaces that were lurking behind every door.

Despite the cover's boast that it's an, "All-new tale," I do believe it's actually adapted from a story by L. Sprague De Camp and Lin Carter and that I read their original version sometime in 1991.

But that was a long time ago and I can, therefore, recall little of it, other than its title.

Daredevil #155, the Black Widow

Hooray! The Black Widow is back in a Daredevil tale, in which Hornhead shows his smarts by attacking the Avengers mansion.

Admittedly, it could be explained by the fact he's been suffering from a headaches lately.

Death-Stalker's also in this tale. Whether he's to blame for our hero's headaches, I cannot say.

Fantastic Four #200, Dr Doom

Marvel's first super-team reach their 200th issue and, of course, do it by fighting Dr Doom.

I do believe this is the one in which Doom loses control of Latveria and democracy breaks out.

Call me sceptic but I suspect it won't last.

Incredible Hulk #229. Doc Samson and Moonstone

I don't have a clue what happens in this tale but I'm assuming, from the cover, that Doc Samson hasn't realised yet that Moonstone's a bad guy.

Spectacular Spider-Man #24, Hypno-Hustler

It's the story that had to happen!

Spidey goes Disco!

Just when I thought Marvel couldn't come up with a naffer attempt to jump on a craze than the Rocket Racer, the book tops even that by giving us the Hypno-Hustler.

You only have to take a single look at him on that cover to know he's going to be one of the most disastrously misconceived creations in the history of humanity.

Amazingly, for a story set in a disco, this tale would appear to feature no sign of the Dazzler.

Then again, perhaps she hadn't been invented yet.

X-Men #115, Sauron

Sauron's causing trouble in the Savage Land.

Or is he?

I seem to remember that, in his human form, he's one of the good guys in this tale and that the real bad guys are Zaladane and Garokk who're up to some misdeeds or other in a big citadel built over lava, and that it threatens the survival of the entire Savage Land.

Or possibly the entire world.

Or something.

Captain America #227, the Red Skulls

I've no idea what happens in this tale, other than that it involves the Red Skull and an inevitable Bucky Barnes flashback.

To be honest, I think I could live without another Bucky flashback. I mean, just imagine if every Spider-Man story featured a Gwen Stacy flashback. It'd start to send you mad.

Thor #277, Hela

This is more like it. Just as Thor and Sif are gearing up for a holiday together, Hela decides to invade Asgard.

I admit it, I'm on her side.

Iron Man #116

I don't know anything about this tale but the Ani-Men and Spymaster are in it.

There's also a Thor advert for Hostess Fruit Pies.

Amazing Spider-Man #186

This is a shock for me.

For some reason, I'd always assumed this cover was created specially for Marvel UK's relaunched Spider-Man Comic in 1979. It just has that sort of look about it.

Therefore, it's a bit of a revelation to discover it was taken from an issue of The Amazing Spider-Man.

And what a landmark issue it is because, in it, everyone's favourite wall-crawler's informed that all charges against him have finally been dropped.

Not that the Chameleon's willing to see it stay that way. He pretends to be Spidey at a press conference, to make him look bad, and it takes Flash Thompson to get everyone to see sense.

Apart from J Jonah Jameson who doesn't see sense and still has it in for Spidey.


dangermash aka The Artistic Actuary said...

Generic cover
Poor artwork
Faded colouring
Horrible writing - Spider-Man doesn’t sound like Spider-Man
Horrible new chameleon costume
Chameleon now able to change disguise by pressing a button on his belt
And he can look like the chameleon to Spider-Man while everyone else sees him in disguise
Three strange panels that look like a woman making a cameo appearance, maybe someone from the bullpen.
And the normally moralistic Peter Parker gets his leg over a married woman

Without doubt, the worst issue of ASM so far. I'm wondering whether Des Skinn did us a big favour by driving us all away after the U.K. reprints got us up tonASM #181.

TC said...

Maybe "The Thing in the Crypt" was "all new" in that it had not been published in a Marvel comic before. Although there may have been an allusion to it in CTB #31, when Conan remembers once having found a magic sword in a warrior's tomb. Or something.

I guess #92 must have been a flashback (a "tale of Conan's youth"). It may take place between CTB #3 and #4. The Lancer/Ace paperback series placed it just before "The Tower of the Elephant."

I *think* it was originally planned for Lin Carter's Thongor series, but Carter and de Camp adapted it to Conan.

Killdumpster said...

During that time period I had subscriptions to a dozen Marvel titles. It still burns me that Marvel didn't send me FF #200, because it was "double-size" and not a regular priced issue. That's why I 'scribed, so I wouldn't miss any books!

The penny-pinching cheap buggers...

Charlie Horse 47 said...

KD - It sounds silly but it breaks my heart to hear that. What a bunch of cheap-assed buggers...

Anonymous said...

You didn't miss much with FF #200, Kd - worst Doom story ever.

Steve, I don't recall who was to blame for Daredevil's headaches in that issue, but Frank Robbins was responsible for mine when I read it.

There might have been a Bucky flashback in Cap #227, but to be fair at least there wasn't a retelling of Cap's origin.
Fyi SHIELD were attacked by beams that turned agents into clones of the Red Skull. Why the Red Skull would want to do that, I don't recall; it doesn't really make sense as a plan for world domination, not like putting Hitler's brain in a robot.

I read a lot of rubbish comics this month in '78, but Avengers #177 was pretty good. Seems to me the Avengers Infinity War film draws on the Korvac story as well as the Thanos stuff.


Anonymous said...

Steve, you mentioned '78 as year in which the film Magic came out.
Lessee, Magic. What was that one about again?
Oh wait, that one was about YAAAAHHHHHHHHH


Charlie Horse 47 said...

Good grief! Say it isn't so! They used Fr&nk R&bbins on Daredevil too? Someone should have been court martialed.

Hey KD - I am cleaning out my Shadow comics and, given they are drawn by FR, and I know how much you love FR, and I have your address... expect another care package! "Who loves you baby???" LOL

Anonymous said...

Isn't that cruel and unusual punishment Charlie? Surely Kd has constitutional rights...

In the late 70s that was what you might call Daredevil roulette - buy an issue and it might well be drawn by Gene Colan or Gil Kane; on the other hand though, you could end up with one by Carmine Infantino or Frank Robbins.
Although to be fair to Marvel, I think Robbins only drew the one issue.


Charlie Horse 47 said...

Sean - In retrospect you are correct. FR'ing KD is perhaps cruel, lol.

I almost have a perverse curiosity to see FR's work on DD, though.

For my part I am stuck as Gene the Dean doing DD. My sweet spot reading DD was like issues 85 - 120. His work in the DD # 90s was simply superlative. I even was just reading #93 (?)copy I bought off the spinner a few days ago where Widow is under the influence of something or another and she is trying to kill DD. I mean the art is just out of this world.

Anonymous said...

It goes without saying that John Buscema's Conan is iconic but his Conan always looked at least 35 even when he was meant to be a teenager as in this story.

Redartz said...

Nice survey Steve!

That Avengers issue was mammoth. Although one minor compailt- I found Dave Wenzel's art to be a bit less appealing.

Daredevil did have a load of revolving artists then, but the book was only a few months away from Miller's debut.

Colin J- your observation about the apparent age of Buscema's Conan is spot on! I was thinking the same thing; he looks buff but certainly not youthful...

Anonymous said...

Thats hard barbarian living for you Colin.

Charlie, those issues were great - Gene Colan and Tom Palmer were a brilliant team (very disappointing when Bob Brown or Don Heck drew DD instead).


Steve W. said...

MP, have you seen Dead of Night? That also has an evil ventriloquist's dummy in it. I'm convinced it was the inspiration for Magic.

Colin and Redartz, I agree. Buscema's Conan does seem to have been born as a fully grown man.

Dangermash, TC, KD, Charlie and Sean, thanks for your comments as well.

Killdumpster said...

LMAO!! Thanks, Charlie.

Ill savem for a cold winter's night read.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Stan the Man has passed.

Anonymous said...

Usually when a famous person dies, I just kinda shrug, but when certain people, like Jack Kirby, Lou Reed, Paul Newman, or Bowie pass away, I'm honestly grieved about it. The world lost something irreplaceable. I'm honestly grieved today.


Charlie Horse 47 said...

MP - likewise. The Man brought a lot of joy to my life.

TC said...

The bad news is, Stan is gone.

The good news is, he had a long life and a successful career, and he left a huge body of work that will be reprinted and enjoyed for years to come.

And he lived long enough to find himself a celebrity, and not just among comic book fans. Even people who are not into comics now recognize characters (Iron Man, Hulk, Spider-Man) that Stan created or co-created. And they even recognized Stan himself, as that old guy making funny cameo appearances in superhero movies.

Anonymous said...

Well, I don't care if anyone thinks I'm a miserable git; obviously its a sad day when anyone dies but I was struck by the contrast between hearing all about "the creator of the Marvel comic characters" on the news this morning and the near silence - outside of specialist media - on the passing of Steve Ditko earlier this year, let alone Jack Kirby back in the day.


dangermash aka The Artistic Actuary said...


Anonymous said...

Sean, Steve Ditko's death was included in BBC Radio 4's 'Last Word' programme (Last Word is broadcast every Friday and it's about notable people who have recently died).

But Ditko's extreme right-wing views were a big problem for me.

Killdumpster said...

A fond farewell to Stan. Comics wouldn't have been the same without him.

Here's hoping he gets something better than a No-Prize.

Nuff said.