Tuesday, 4 December 2018

The Marvel Lucky Bag - December 1968.

December 1968 was a great month for any man who likes to wear a poncho, because a chunk of it saw the Number One slot on the UK singles chart being occupied by Hugo Montenegro's version of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

Why it was his version that was the big hit and not Ennio Morricone's, I couldn't say.

But it wasn't the only UK chart topper that month. It was knocked off the top spot by the Scaffold's Lily the Pink which went on to become that year's Christmas Number One.

One of the members of the Scaffold was, of course, Mike McCartney, brother of Paul. With the Beatles having already had four Christmas Number Ones by this point, it meant that, for five years out of six, the Christmas Number One slot had been claimed by a member of the McCartney clan.

It was even more good news for the McCartney family a couple of weeks later because, on the 1st of January, Lily the Pink was then deposed from its throne by Marmalade's cover of Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da.

Speaking of which, the Beatles' newly released White Album entered the UK album chart at Number One on the first day of December and was still there when Santa was coming down everyone's chimneys.

That was all very lovely for them but what about a bunch of less fortunate people? The less celebrated heroes of the Marvel Comics universe? What were they up to in the books that bore that month's cover date?

Captain Marvel #8

I've no idea what happens in this one. Apparently, some aliens called the Aakons are involved and a robot called Cyberex and some people called The Organization. It all sounds like an overstuffed pudding to me.

Is it just me or did Captain Marvel fight a robot in virtually every issue of his early days?

Doctor Strange #175, the Sons of Satannish

It would seem Clea's been abducted by Asmodeus, leader of the Sons of Satannish. From what I can remember, she did seem to get abducted quite a lot. Clearly, she studied at The Sue Storm School For Super-Heroines.

I'm sure I must have read this tale but I have no recall of it, which tends to be the case for me with Doctor Strange stories.

Agent of SHIELD #7. nick fury, jim steranko cover

Everything's gone Salvador Dali, as Jim Steranko gives us yet another much-celebrated cover.

It would appear Nicholas has been injected with a hallucinogenic drug that'll cause his death within six hours.

That would explain the cover.

But why did the bad guys not inject him with a drug that'd cause his death within six seconds? Wouldn't that have been a better plan?

Silver Surfer #3, Mephisto

Hooray! It's my favourite Silver Surfer tale, as the wind-borne windbag meets Mephisto who gives him something to whine about by abducting Shalla-Bal and then trying to get our hero to submit to his will.

Mephisto does realise that, if he succeeds, he's going to have to put up with the Surfer's complaining for all of eternity?

Sub-Mariner #8, the Thing

And it's one of my Sub-Mariner faves, as Namor takes on the Thing in a battle for the Serpent Crown.

I do believe this tale also sees the return of Betty Dean who, since Subby last saw her, has suffered the tragedy of growing old while Namor has remained young.

Even though, she must only be in her forties.

With all this and John Buscema's magnificent artwork, what is there not to love?


Anonymous said...

That's one hell of a Silver Surfer cover. By God Buscema's work was just the business in that era, was it not?

Anonymous said...

Great SHIELD cover of course - I'd guess the story (such as it is) was written around it. As for why the hallucinogen... maybe the villain might just had it handy - after all, it was 1968. Maybe he was a Deadhead?

I remember the Sons of Satannish - they were a bit evilish - from when that storyline appeared in the old Avengers weekly. The Gene Colan/ Tom Palmer artwork looked particularly good in black & white (not that I have any doubt it was pretty nifty in colour too).


Anonymous said...

Oops - that should have read "maybe the villain just had it handy"
Apologies for the poor edit there Steve.


Killdumpster said...

When the White Album came out, which my childhood Pal's sister had, we played "Bungalow Bill" over & over to eternity.

My family would buy records, but mom would get the latest Cher and K-tel TV compilations. My dad was a Supremes/Dianna Ross junkie. I was told we couldn't have Beatles albums because they were expensive.

I'd only appreciate Fury & Strange when I got a older. Only bought their Strange Tales issues because I only had enough change to buy one book, and there wasn't any Spidey Or FF etc on the magazine stand, w/my mom screeching "HURRY UP!"

Think Mar-Vell suffered from having mostly unmemorable villains in the early days was because his initial existence was for the trademark.

The Subby vs Thing issue, of course, is kick-ass. I can read ANYTHING with John Buscema art. Even would include if he ever illustrated cookbooks.

Killdumpster said...

Think tonight's movie is going to be Good, Bad & Ugly. It's been awhile. Thanks for the inadvertent suggestion, Steve.

Steve W. said...

Your family were right about those Beatles albums, KD. When I was a youth, they were always way more expensive than everyone else's records.

Sean, I was always confused by the Sons of Satannish. I could never work out if Satannish was Satan or just someone who was a bit like him.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Hi All,

Where do Thing and Subby rank relative to each other in the "power rankings?"

I mean, it almost seems like a fair fight? Much more even than, say, Hulk vs. Thing?

Sons of Satannish... see in my youngster mind I would have been confused like "Is Satannish related to Satan?"

Steve W. said...

I think the Thing and Subby are on a par on dry land but, when Subby's wet, he's far stronger than the Thing.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Steve - Good point! Did not / does "ole wing foot" have a limitation of 1 hour out of water?

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Hey UK gents - quick one. I was watching Man U v Arsenal and they mentioned the "Mersey side Derby" (Man U v Man City).

So for me, living in Chicago land most of my unnatural life, "Mersey" invokes a form of 1960s nostalgia, notably the Beatles and "Ferry cross the Mersey" by Gerry and the Pace Makers. I mean I just saw an interview with Ringo and he must of mentioned the Mersey 100 times cause his school or hospital was on the other side of it.

Does that happen to UK folk? DO you automatically think of Beatles and such when you hear references to "Mersey?"

Killdumpster said...


I believe at one time it was explained that Namor can utilize moisture in the air, much like Iceman. So I guess if he was on land on a humid day, he'd be remotely charged up. Remember reading a few stories where a very light rain would bring him up to full power. Also fountains, sprinkler systems etc.

Apparently he can stay on dry land indefinitely, unlike Aquaman, who gets "air-aches". Lol! "Air-aches"!!

I remember me and a buddy reading his little brother's DC comics, while drunk one summer, around 1982.

It became the running gag. Anytime somebody at a party hiccuped beer through their nose, puked, etc we'd yell " They must have AIR-ACHES!" Then we'd choke on our drinks laughing so hard, each other screaming "I got the AIR-ACHES!"

I guess you'd have to be there.

Anonymous said...

Com 'ed, Charlie (bit of scouse for you there) - you must have misheard, thats a Manchester derby; Merseyside would be Liverpool v Everton. Or maybe at a push (a pretty big shove in fact) Tranmere Rovers..?

Can't speak for anyone else, but "Mersey" just makes me think of the place. Maybe thats because I don't like the Beatles much, but I suppose most people in the UK have an idea of Liverpool even if they haven't been there (theres definitely a scouse stereotype in the Brit collective consciousness).

Somewhat surprised you didn't rave about green Mar-vell. What gives?


Killdumpster said...

I was kinda anticipating that also.

Anonymous said...

Maybe its the Jude Law effect...?
That would put me off too.


Charlie Horse 47 said...

HI KD - I hate to say it but I think your Air Ache is probably a geographical joke in that "you had to be there" LOL.

Hi Sean - they said Mersey side for sure but maybe I just misunderstood who would be playing b/c Arsenal was playing at Man U and anyhow...

Hi Green Marvell - Truth is that Gene Colan's rendering of GM is disproportionately responsible for my affection. If D*n H*ck had started at #1 I would not have been a fan. I mean, the stories are not exactly great nor cogent though the potential was there. And then once Heck (or Roth or Adkins? or whoever started drawing them... it just doesn't feel the same.)

Speaking of Colan, I was just reading a Gil Kane interview from 1999 and he is saying how didn't think Gene was really much good at drawing superheroes or westerns. Love stories and such was his skill! What???

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Sean - you are in Ireland or of Irish descent living in the UK (England? Scotland? Wales?) Just curious...

Anonymous said...

Charlie, I am immigrant scum- my family moved to England when I was a kid; as an adult I've lived all over the place, but in London for a while now (aren't you glad you asked?)

Anyhow - I don't agree with Kane either; although it is fair to say superheroes weren't his strong point. His Daredevil, Black Panther and Batman were very good of course, but he was more suited to, say, Howard the Duck, Dracula and Detectives Inc, which were even better.

Don't think I've seen any of his westerns apart from a few Kid Colt covers, which looked pretty good to me. The westerns would have been old stuff though - I think he drew Hopalong Cassidy in the 50s - so... maybe it makes sense they weren't great?


Anonymous said...

Charlie, just googled "Gene Colan western" and found this at random -
It ain't Blueberry, but it looks alright to me; the backgrounds could do with a bit more work, but hey - it was 1963.


Charlie Horse 47 said...

Hi Sean, That's actually a neat bit of work by Gene; thanks for the link! It ain't Blueberry... or Lucky Luke, lol!

I should scan and email the interview with GK regarding what he said about GC. It all doesn't quite make sense to me... IT's from Comic Book Marketplace 74, December 1999.

Gil says he took over Hopalong Cassidy from Gene. He said Gene "used to rent 16 mm versions of the movies (westerns?) and then trace off the screen images. Finally Gene's approach became impossible; he couldn't find enough different attitudes for the scripts. So, he gave it up." He then goes on to say, "with westerns you had to be able to create context for the figures with design and composition and Gene had trouble with that at that time."

I guess he doesn't have so much background in the link you sent, but I don't know how much that bothers me.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Sean - my mom is Hungarian (not many of them around!) and my wife is French. I grew up in Gary which was the ethnic melting pot of the USA. Made for interesting experiences! I liked it. Only thing scared me was one day going to see some kids play soccer in a match. No one spoke English and they were all yelling and screaming, lol We went b/c my dad's best buddy was from Germany and he was reffing.

The soccer pitch was where the old ethnic rivalries flared up and still do, around here, lol.

Anonymous said...

Charlie, ah well - I think the key words there might be "at that time".
It makes sense that starting out Colan used a lot of visual reference - you can see that filmic quality in his work; I guess the more he did it he internalized the perspectives, lighting and whatnot so that as he got better he could just put it on the page straight off.

That link was just the first Colan western I found, so theres probably better ones; I didn't think the backgrounds were really a major problem.
Funnily enough, now I think about it, Blueberry started in 1963. And I wouldn't say the first book was near Giraud's best work either.