Sunday, 6 January 2019

Fifty years ago this month - January 1969.

If there was one set of people who were delighted when January 1969 arrived, it was people who like to sit down and bounce around.

That's because it was the month in which the Space Hopper was introduced to Britain.

I could write now about the hours of fun I had on my Space Hopper but I never had one.

I do remember having a go on someone else's but, to be honest, it was one of those things, like pogo sticking, whose appeal faded very rapidly once you realised it involved far more work than fun.

Elsewhere that month, Pete Best, the man who must himself have felt like a Space Hopper, the way he'd been bounced out of the Beatles, won his defamation suit against the Fab Four. Exactly what they'd said that he hadn't liked, I've no idea but I do know he'd been after an $8 million settlement but ended up having to accept far less.

Speaking of the Fabs; that month, they performed live, for the final time, on the rooftop of Apple Records, before the police showed up to ruin the fun.

Avengers #60, the wedding of the Wasp

It's one of those magnificent Marvel weddings where every super-hero in town shows up - and so do a bunch of super-villains.

You might think you'd need a doctorate in Idiocy to attack the Avengers Mansion when every hero in the Marvel Universe is inside it but the Circus of Crime passed that course with honours, and so it is that the gang who once got their backsides whupped by Daredevil tackle the mightiest super-team of them all and, at last, the not-so-stunning truth about Yellowjacket's true identity is revealed.

Captain America #109

In a sensational development no one could have seen coming, the book decides to break new ground and give us its 95th retelling of Cap's origin.

You know, I'm sure I write this same plot summary every month. It really does feel like Groundhog Day sometimes.

Possibly more intriguingly, this issue's letters page contains a missive from the pen of Don McGregor.

Captain America #109

If that's not one of Gene Colan's greatest DD covers, then I'm a pair of stilts.

It's true. The man who, I suppose, was technically Daredevil's arch-enemy is back, to try and put a stop to Foggy Nelson's attempt to become DA.

As I can see no other reason why Stilty would do it, I'm assuming some meddlesome manipulator like Richard Raleigh or the Masked Marauder must have put him up to it.

Needless to say, our hero puts a stop to such fiendish plans and Foggy is duly elected.

Fantastic Four #82, the Inhumans

The FF are back in the Great Refuge and I've no doubt Maximus is up to no good again.

To be honest, I really don't recall anything about this tale, other than that it existed.

Incredible Hulk #111

On the other hand, I recall plenty about this one.

Abducted by aliens, the Hulk decides to start dismantling their ship around them.

Fortunately for all concerned, it manages to arrive back home before it's too late.

But that only sets up the Hulk for a clash with the Galaxy Master, the most menacing mouth in comics.

Iron Man #9, the Hulk

I think I vaguely remember this one. Isn't, "The Hulk," actually an android creation of the Mandarin?

Beyond that, I've no idea what Mandy's plan is or why it involves a robot Hulk.

Robot Hulks seemed to be popular with super-villains. I recall both Doctor Doom and the Mad Thinker using them at various points.

Amazing Spider-Man #68, crisis on campus

Stan the Man gets radical, as the students of ESU protest about something or other and the Kingpin decides to use the disruption as a smokescreen while he and his men steal a priceless tablet that's being kept on display there.

Thor #160, Galactus

Galactus is causing all kinds of trouble for the colonisers of Rigel, and Thor must go to their aid.

X-Men #52, Erik the Red

After all these years, I still know nothing of Erik the Red. Wasn't he Cyclops in disguise?

If so, I don't have a clue why he was doing it.

30 comments:

dangermash said...

Eric The Red is definitely Cyclops in disguise, yes. I've never read that story though.

The protest in Spider-Man is over student accommodation being converted to accommodation for visiting alumni. Randy's student mate Josh makes his first appearance. One of those people that fifty years later is a vegan and spends all his time putting up Facebook posts raising awareness of causes that nobody cares about. Great artwork from Romita though. Includig the giver, which is regularly swiped onto U.K. comics, wrapping paper, underpants, key rings and T-shirts. Along with the poses on #19 and #100.

And talking about artwork, look at those Avengers and Daredevil overs. Stilt Man and the Circus Of Crime are definite D-listers (Enforcers areas least D+) but Colan and Buscema make you really want to buy those comics.

US 50 years ago >>>>>>> Marvel UK 39.94 years ago.

dangermash said...

Eric The Red is definitely Cyclops in disguise, yes. I've never read that story though.

The protest in Spider-Man is over student accommodation being converted to accommodation for visiting alumni. Randy's student mate Josh makes his first appearance. One of those people that fifty years later is a vegan and spends all his time putting up Facebook posts raising awareness of causes that nobody cares about. Great artwork from Romita though. Includig the cover, which is regularly swiped onto U.K. comics, wrapping paper, underpants, key rings and T-shirts. Along with the poses on #19 and #100.

And talking about artwork, look at those Avengers and Daredevil overs. Stilt Man and the Circus Of Crime are definite D-listers (Enforcers areas least D+) but Colan and Buscema make you really want to buy those comics.

US 50 years ago >>>>>>> Marvel UK 39.94 years ago.

Steve W. said...

They are indeed great covers. Was Josh the angry balding one?

dangermash said...

Not sure who you're thinking about, a Steve, but Josh is bald and wears glasses. Does have a chip on his shoulder though.

dangermash said...

Just took a look at ASM #68 and it's Randy Robertson's first appearance too!

Steve W. said...

I've just spotted Josh on the cover, I think. He's just to the right of Spidey's right foot.

I do, of course, mean that in the physical sense. I suspect that, politically, he's strongly to the left of Spidey's right foot.

Then again, it's technically Spidey's left foot but it's on our right.

Steve W. said...

He is, therefore, to the right of Spidey's left foot.

Steve W. said...

Physically.

dangermash said...

Yes, that’s him on the cover. Spotter's badge Steve. And I meant to say he was black, not bald.

Anonymous said...

Cyclops wore that Erik the Red costume so Mesmero and the rest of the Brotherhood would be paralysed with laughter when they saw him in it Steve.

A bit of a cursory account of Thor 160 there; what a tremendous issue that was, probably Jack Kirby's peak at Marvel, which gives it a strong claim to be the best single comic they ever published.

Endlessly retelling Cap's origin was more of a 70s thing, and it hadn't been done to death at this point; and anyway it was retold by Kirby, and it was his last issue (not counting a fill-in for Steranko a few months later) so fair enough I reckon.

-sean

Charlie Horse 47 said...

First off, thanks for posting the covers alphabetically!

Second, can anyone confirm that the Circus of Crime popped out of the wedding cake to attack the Avengers?

You know... after seeing the FF cover, I had a sudden flashback (not drug induced KD!) that I got the Avengers and the FF and something else in one of those 3-packs. My stars, what else could have been in the 3-pack worthy of co-mingling with those two comics?

The DD cover IS indeed superlative! Gene Colan = DD. THat's Charlie's world he grew up in. Don Heck, Syd Shores, et al. just never filled the vacuum created by Gene's departure from the strip.

Anonymous said...

Don Heck wasn't replace Gene Colan - how could anyone have forseen that, eh?

-sean

Steve W. said...

I do feel that early 1960s Don Heck would have done a decent job on Daredevil but late 1960s/early 1970s Don was definitely not able to do a pleasing job on him.

Charlie, from what I remember, it was just their python that erupted from the cake. The rest of them simply barged in through the door from the kitchen.

Sean, I agree. That is a great Thor story, although I was never happy that Thor managed to beat Galactus. Even Thor shouldn't be able to do that.

Colin Bray said...

Not just the cover art - what a classic collection of title mastheads.

Agree on Thor #160. Stan was at his peak during this run too.

Space Hopper - a brand flying in the slipstream of the Apollo programme. Forget space, hopping three inches was hard enough.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Well I had to google space hopper! We had something same in the USA but I'll be doggoned if I can recall what it was named. Help???

Anonymous said...

A very nice set of covers this week. That Daredevil cover, I used to have that one hung on the wall with some other covers I liked. Then I moved... The coloring is what gets me. I dig looking at it.
As far as Eric the Red goes, another guy later showed up wearing that outfit. I think he was an alien agent, Shi'ar or Kree or something like that. He turned Magneto into an adult again, after some mutant turned him into a baby.
This Eric came to Earth primarily to audition for the Village People, but they were broken up at that point.

M.P.

dangermash said...

FF #82 is a famous cover and probably also appears on key rings, underpants, etc. But it doesn’t make me want to buy the comic. Maybe I just don’t like inhumans. In fact, maybe FF and Inhumans are like a different social class and only belong in the FF comic. I lived on a council estate and read Spider-Man. Playing tennis and reading stories about the FF and the Inhumans was something for people on the posh side of the village. The ones who could quite happily cause damage to cars and property and be able to say "Don't worry, Daddy will pay for it." Just like the FF trashing NewYork.

Better stop now. I'm starting to sound like Josh when in reality I'm JJJ.

Aggy said...

Erik the Red, from the sex shops do the most hard wearing leather clothing branch of villianery

Redartz said...

Some great books out that month! At the time, though, I only had the FF and Amazing Spider-man. But that Spidey book was a winner; starting off the lengthy 'stone tablet' arc with the Kingpin. I recall anxiously haunting the pharmacy spinner racks awaiting the next installment of that tale...

Steve W. said...

Thanks to all of you for your comments so far. I would say The Avengers, Hulk, Spider-Man and Thor tales this month are classics. The Daredevil and FF tales are OK. I couldn't comment on the X-Men story because I've never read it. Of the comics I have read, I'd say only the Iron Man tale is genuinely forgettable.

It is interesting to me that Kirby's Thor still seems to be at its peak but, for me, his FF is already strongly in decline. I'm not sure why he seemed to be putting more ambition into Thor than into the FF at this point.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Should Male Superheroes be allowed to show their thighs?

I mean besides Eric the Red, who else did it? The Original Atom is all I can think of. It really, imho, is a non-starter.

I mean Eric The Red would indeed fit in with the Village People.

Killdumpster said...

If I remember correctly, the marquee on the Daredevil cover proclaimed the sediments of how the "bullpen" felt about Stan Lee.

Killdumpster said...

Sorry, meant "sentiments" of how they felt.

We had a toy here in the states called "hoppity hops". A big ball with a handle that you'd bounce on & ride. Guess it was the same thing as space hopper.

Anonymous said...

Charlie, early on Killraven used rock the Zardoz look flashing a bit of upper leg thanks to a pretty nifty hot pants and thighboot combo.
www.ilovecomiccovers.blogspot.com/2012/04/homage-amazing-adventures-18-killraven.html

Steve, that is an interesting point about the relative quality of Thor and the FF after Kirby started holding stuff back.

My theory fwiw is that the FF required a constant flow of new ideas to really work.
Because they're are so familiar its easy to forget that the FF are quite unusual for superheroes (eg no secret identities) and have a lot in common with earlier pulp characters, being as much like, say, Challengers of the Unknown as the Avengers.

Thor on the other hand is closer to Superman, Captain Marvel (the big red cheese) etc, with the added advantage of ready made source material that can be adapted for use.
This also explains why the FF was rarely any good under later creative teams.

-sean

Anonymous said...

Oops, bit of a typo there - that should be "used to rock the Zardoz look"

-sean

Charlie Horse 47 said...

AM I the only one who did not know that the marquee on the DD cover said "asspain" until KD enlightened me? Is this like common knowledge? Where have I been the last 50 years? I feel soooo disconnected from the MCU.

Hey - I keep seeing the ads for the new Cpt Marvel but it's a woman? Since when did that happen?

Anonymous said...

Good Lord, that does say "asspain".
I had that comic displayed on my wall for years and never noticed that.
Some secret agent I woulda made.

M.P.

Steve W. said...

I too had never noticed the, "Asspain," until now.

Colin Jones said...

Charlie, Captain Marvel has been a woman for several years. Carol Danvers was originally Ms. Marvel but now she's Captain Marvel.

Killdumpster said...

Yeah, I guess Stan was riding the guys in the bullpen kinda hard around that time period.

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