Thursday, 8 November 2018

November 8th, 1978 - Marvel UK, 40 years ago this week.

Once more it's a Thursday and once more it's time for me to smash down the doors of History, charge into the hallways of Nostalgia and seek to discover what magical gems our favourite comics company was offering us in this week of forty years ago.

Star Wars Weekly #40

As so often with Star Wars Weekly, I recall nothing of this issue's contents.

Admittedly, that's not strictly true. I do recall the phrase, "Cosmic kill creature."

Exactly what the cosmic kill creature is and why it's in such a bad mood is something I can, however, shed no light upon

I can, though, announce that this week's back cover features an ad for a sonic-controlled Mercedes.

Not a real one, obviously - such things as that only exist in James Bond movies. This was a toy version and it could be yours for £12.99 which works out at a whopping £71 in today's money. Frankly, I wouldn't pay £71 for anything that's being advertised on the back of a comic.

In contrast, this comic's price tag of 10p works out at 55p in current prices.

Mighty World of Marvel #319, the Hulk vs the Sentinels

In a stunning move guaranteed to rock the world of comics, Marvel UK has stopped obscuring the cover of its flagship title with that banner which used to declare the Hulk to be TV's Number One TV star. Did this mean he was no longer TV's Number One TV star? Did it mean Marvel had had complaints about it ruining the covers? Did it mean that someone had just forgotten to do it?

I have no idea.

When it comes to the contents, I am slightly more clued up. The Hulk, Angel and Iceman have been captured by the Sentinels - but not for long, as it takes the Hulk about three seconds to escape from his escape-proof jam jar.

Elsewhere, the Thing is helping Daredevil fight a mysterious female foe with the ability to control men's minds.

When I say, "helping," he basically spends a chunk of the tale in the thrall of the bad guy and DD has to rescue him by instantly teaching himself how to fly the Fantasticar.

Super Spider-Man #300

Hooray! Many Marvel UK comics may have fallen by the wayside, over the years, but the company's second title hits the 300 issue mark and does so with the tale that involves Spider-Man visiting Uncle Ben's graveside and looking back on his career as a crime fighter.

It's a chain of events which leads to a cemetery nightwatchman stealing our hero's microscope in what's meant to be a heart-warming manner but, let's face it, stealing things from gravesides is a dubious practice at best.

I'm also not convinced that the cover's claim that this is the most requested Marvel story of all time is completely true. I'm sure more people requested to see the Hulk vs Thor than demanded to see Spider-Man hanging around a grave and having flashbacks.

21 comments:

dangermash said...

The last time that the UK Spider-Man comic would feature a story from WSM before the Des Skinn era.

But here’s a question. I know it appeared in the US a couple of months before it appeared in the UK, but was it originally written for the 300th issue of the U.K. comic and Teprinted in a deadline doom month in the US, or was it written as a US filler issue, used in June 1978 and then reprinted in the U.K.?

Steve W. said...

Sadly, Dangermash, I can shed no light on the matter. Perhaps other readers can?

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Isn't that cover to super Spider-Man a page from ASM #100? SUre looks familiar!

Anonymous said...

dangermash, Steve - Bill Mantlo was the regular writer on Marvel dreaded deadline doom fill-ins in the second half of the 70s (Jim Shooter set up a systematic monthly schedule for producing them when he became EIC) so I expect thats how Spider-Man #181 came about, before it was reprinted here like any other Spidey story.
Fwiw, I read somewhere that some of Dave Gibbons' Dr Who was the first material originally produced specifically for Marvel UK to appear in print from the US parent company)

Being green with four arms and tusks, that "cosmic kill creature" on the Star Wars cover looks suspiciously like a Barsoom martian from the John Carter books.

-sean


dangermash said...

Cheers Sean.

And Charlie, I just took a look through ASM #100 and there's no graveside pics in there. Wouldn't be surprised if the pose on that cover has been replicated in a few places though.

Timothy Field said...

I'm curious about the disembodied heads of Spider-Man's rogue's gallery on that cover.
Dr Doom over the Green Goblin?

dangermash said...

I thought about that too Tim. In fact, replacing Doom with Oct and adding the vulture would get us to the five villains in the dream in ASM #100.

Proof for Charlie that I really did check out ASM #100.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

DM - Bingo! Well, I knew I wasn't dreaming! I was gogn to take a look again at ASM 100 and you save me the trip!

dangermash said...

no - you were dreaming Charlie. There’s no graveside scene in ASM 100.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Ok.. i"ll have to dig it out again and figure out what I was looking at, LOL!

Anonymous said...

Unless I'm mistaken, Doom only tangled with Spider-Man once before then, didn't he? Back in the Ditko days.
Aw, they were just tryin' to sell the doggone thing so they stuck him on the cover, probably.

M.P.

Anonymous said...

Oh come on M.P. - surely you've read enough comics to know how unlikely it is that Dr. Doom would only have tangled with Spider-Man once? Everyone in the Marvel universe has met everyone else several times.

I'm not much into Spider-Man but even I can remember that he mixed it up with Doom in a Marvel Team-Up story with the Scarlet Witch; pretty sure it was the set up for those issues where Spidey met Killraven and Deathlok - didn't he use Dr Doom's time machine, or am I imagining that?
(Don't know why I'm asking you - you didn't even know they'd met since the Ditko days)

-sean

Anonymous said...

Well, to be honest, I kinda wondered if they didn't run into each other in the pages of Marvel Team-Up, Sean. Everybody met everybody there. It was like a bar with no security.
Still, why is Doom's head floating over Spider-Man whilst he's kneeling in a graveyard? It might as well be Deathlok or the Frankenstein Monster or the Grey Gargoyle. It could be Howard the Duck's head.
Sean, it just don't make no sense. They coulda put the Vulture's head up there, for cryin' out loud. I just don't get you at all sometimes.

M.P.

Anonymous said...

Me, M.P.? I didn't put Dr Doom's head on that cover!

A Deathlok head would actually make more sense, because if you'd been to the future and saw that the city you lived in would become an urban wasteland populated by cannibals and urban guerillas in the near future you'd probably worry.
Unless you're Steve, in which case you'd look forward to the better days coming for Sheffield, but either way it would be on your mind a fair bit.

-sean

Charlie Horse 47 said...

I have it on good authority that Steve is waiting for free bus fares again in SHeffield so as to usher in a new "new wave" of music, lol.

Good grief... what in the hell was I thinking about A-S-M 100? Somehow in my mind's eye, I recalled Pete commencing the dream sequence with the floating heads of his enemies (this is right after he took the drug to get rid of his Spider-man powers because he loved Gwenn so much.) I am so ashamed... I may just have to stop blogging :(

dangermash said...

Charlie - floating heeads of enemies while on drugs could be

- Green Goblin story in SSM #2 the SSM series that lasted only two,issues, and that featured on Steve Does Comics very recently, not PP the SSM

- something with Dr Faustus, somwhere in ASM 150-200

- something with Mysterio Mark II, somewhere in ASM 126-150

Anonymous said...

Charlie, surely all sensible northerners yearn for the return of the true Peoples Republic of South Yorkshire?
www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/People's_Republic_of_South_Yorkshire

-sean

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Sean... based on your suggestion I researched the People's Republic of South Yorkshire! It seems rather idyllic! A nuclear free, demilitarized zone sounds really refreshing!

In the meantime, our good friend "Redartz" from BitBA lives in a smaller town along the Ohio River which (how we know I have no idea but it is well known) is ground zero for some number of Russian ballistic missiles due to some energy infrastructure. Maybe they need to form a People's Republic as well? I mean, it's worked for South Yorkshire thus far?

Anonymous said...

I've been to Yorkshire and it's Peoples Republic sounds like a good place to spend my golden years as an addled yet cheerful geezer. Maybe when I make my nut...
Things are gettin' outta hand over here.

M.P.

Anonymous said...

Charlie, it wasn't just up north - London was a nuclear-free cheap public transport zone back then too.
In fact, I believe it was Hackney (east London) that won the Sun (awful tabloid "news"paper) award for looniest left-wing council - take that South Yorks!

-sean

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Hey - it's SUnday! That means a new post from Steve!!

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