Thursday, 10 January 2019

January 10th, 1979 - Marvel UK, 40 years ago this week.

Spider-Man Comics, January 1979 house ad, Marvel UK, Dez Skinn, marvel revolution
We're well into January 1979. And that means we're just two weeks away from Dez Skinn's Marvel Revolution which'll make our favourite comics company almost unrecognisable.

Already, the ads are appearing for the new mags we'll be getting in our lives. We're enthusiastically told that Spider-Man Comic is coming and that it'll have a whopping six strips in it!

How is this magnificent feat to be achieved? Is it going to have extra pages? Is it going to see a return to the landscape format some of us will forever hold dear to our hearts?

Only time will tell.

But, for now, let's see what treasures Marvel UK has in store for us before these epic changes occur.


Star Wars Weekly #49

As always, as far as I'm concerned, the Star Wars story could be about anything, but I do know this issue also gives us a Tales of the Watcher masterpiece with the magnificent title The Cave of Shaggdorr!

I can't help feeling Sez Dez should have thought better of printing that one.

In another of this issue's back-up stories, an insect-like space creature is captured, in the age of the witch hunts, tried, convicted and sentenced to be burnt at the stake.

From what I can recall, I'm fairly certain the twist is that the, "alien," is actually a human astronaut in a spacesuit which merely resembles an insect and that the planet he's landed on is not Earth at all but one that closely replicates it.

I'm also fairly sure Marvel UK had already published it previously, either in an earlier issue of Star Wars Weekly or in Planet of the Apes.

Mighty World of Marvel #328, the Hulk

Fear for your tractors because the Hulk finds himself up against an insect-like alien.

I'm hoping it's not the poor bloke from that story in Star Wars Weekly. Doesn't he have enough on his plate without having to fight the Hulk as well?

But wait! What madness is this? It's January 1979 and Mighty World of Marvel is giving us a Hulk tale that was cover-dated, "December 1978," when first published in the US.

How is Marvel UK going to get round this problem of having caught up with the American originals? How?

Super Spider-Man #309, the Scorpion

I do believe this is the tale in which the Scorpion becomes convinced he can't get his costume off and decides to kill J Jonah Jameson, in revenge.

Other than that, I know nothing of this issue's contents, which is a bit sad, bearing in mind that the book is rapidly approaching its demise.

I do know, though, that that's not the greatest cover I've ever seen on a comic.

35 comments:

Timothy Field said...

Wait, Scorpion could get his outfit off and only thought he couldn't?
I must have read this at the time and like the man himself, was convinced he couldn't.

dangermash said...

And just four days after I talked about how the Spider-Man pose on the cover of ASM appears all over the place, there it is in the Dez Skinn teaser ad.

dangermash said...

That should say ASM #68

Steve W. said...

Tim, I don't know for sure if Scorpy could get the costume off. The Grand Comics Database page for the issue gives the impression that he could. Therefore, I assume he could.

Dangermash, it was definitely a favourite of Marvel editors and marketers, that's for sure.

Anonymous said...

As it happens Steve, Star Wars reprinted quite a bit of stuff that had already been in Planet of the Apes, like Apeslayer (although they got rid of the ape faces and called it Killraven), stuff from Unknown Worlds of SF like War Toy, and Man-Gods From Beyond the Stars.

Hey, I just looked up your post on Man-Gods to double check that it had actually been in POTA and noticed that even then you were complaining about listening to the Brandon Family.
That would have made for a more appropriate recent featured post - tying-in to the current stuff - than the Rick Jones one.

-sean

Aggy said...

The Star Wars story in the weekly magazine at this point (and for the next few months) reprints the stories published in the US in Pizzazz magazine.

Roughly 2 issues are Roy Thomas/ Howard Chalkin and the rest Archie Goodwin/Various (including some nice Dave Cockrum pages).

This was because the UK weekly had caught up with the monthly Marvel book

Charlie Horse 47 said...

I can't wait for the Revolution!

Anonymous said...

Me too Charlie - power to the people!

-sean

Anonymous said...

You have to admire Dez's confidence when he claims the new Spiderman will feature 16 amazing heroes. Assuming the FF had four (d'err) that means the Avengers had to have exactly eight members. That's pretty prescriptive for a group constantly evolving.

DW

Steve W. said...

Aggy, thanks for the Star Wars info.

Sean, what can I say? I am engaged in a one-man war against The Family Brandon. And war is hell.

DW, I admire Dez's confidence that we're going to be bowled over by the new weeklies.

dangermash said...

Actually, the Avengers would need nine members unless you want to double count Thor. Dez Skinn is a fraud.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Reasoning by only the advert and DW and Dangermash's remarks... does this mean that there are really only 16 heroes in one comic (The Spider Man Comic) in different stories?

And since I do not see pix of DD, Luck Cage, Iron Fist, la da da, that these heroes are not part of the Rev? (Rev is short for REvolution, natch!)

I am a little worried just by the title... I mean, you guys have a glorious tradition of titles like The Beano or The Beano Book or The Dandy but The Spider Man Comic sounds odd to my ears(or am I just being odd)? Though I could indeed see a comic with just the title: The Spider Man.

Why is Dez a fraud...? My very limited research of a single google search a year ago found his www page and he says he saved Marvel UK single-handedly!


Charlie Horse 47 said...

THe suspense of the Rev is killing me! Steve you knew this day would come years and years ago!

Admit it! You knew it was coming and we know you knew it was coming!

Have you made extensive preparations or are we kind of winging it as the moment grabs you?

Anonymous said...

Dangermash is correct (and I take my numbers very serious). As Stan might have said 'Disaster of a hexidecimal nature!'.

DW

Timothy Field said...

Dez did boost sales, by a quite large margin and one of the mags he was responsible for launching is still going today
But...
The changes made the Marvel's weeklies and the inevitable drop off of sales along with increasingly childish or gimmicky relaunches was pretty much the deathknell for Marvel UK as we knew it.
He definitely succeeded in turning around Marvel's fortunes temporarily but the industry was in decline and it was a trick that could only ever have diminishing returns.

Anonymous said...

Tim, I don't disagree with a lot of that
But... comic publishing in the UK was - is - a short-term business, so if things were turned round "temporarily" that was a result. That was Skinn's job.

Its not hard to see why long term readers of Super Spidey and MWOM might not have been happy with what he did, but the thing is, he got that job because the deathknell had already sounded.
Apparently the only reason Marvel hadn't already sold off the UK division to IPC was because they hadn't offered enough money - they only wanted the Star Wars licence, and would have shut everything else down.

Dez Skinn seems like an unusual mix of cynic and idealist. On the one hand, he comes across like a publishing biz type mainly concerned with getting the numbers up, but also he genuinely had a commitment to the form so you start to see Marvel UK commission new work for the first time, and a whole generation of artists - John Bolton, Steve Dillon etc really got their start thanks to Skinn.

-sean




Timothy Field said...

Absolutely, he was responsible for some good stuff, but I think he knew he was smart enough to know it wasn't something that could continue to be repeated or maintained, getting out on a high point was a smart move.

Killdumpster said...

Boy. That Super Spider-Man cover sure makes Spidey & Scorps looked cramped in. Bet Scorps was getting a "Charlie Horse". Lol.

Scorpion was a favorite Spidey villains of mine. He also teamed-up with Mr. Hyde against Cap & Falc in the early 70s.

In the original late 60s Spidey cartoons, Scorps grew to Giant-Man size. I can't remember what caused it, or if it happened in the comics.

Killdumpster said...

Even when I was a kid, I wondered why Scorpion didn't have a sting appendage, a blade, venom needle ,or whatever. Guess it might've been because of the Comics Code?

Last time I saw him in comics he has blades and a laser cannon at the end of the tail.

Killdumpster said...

Gonna pop in the Spidey cartoons tonight, to solve the gigantism mystery.

Anonymous said...

The Scorpion never quite made the cut of the top tier of classic Spidey villains. I'm talkin' Doc Ock, Vulture, Kraven, Green Goblin etc.
Personally, my favorite was always the Shocker, who was also second-tier, (or possibly third) who was basically just a smash and grab safe-cracker with a couple pneumatic drills strapped to his forearms.
Not a nut, not somebody who had a horrific scientific accident of some kind, he was just a thief with fancy hardware.
Not a revenge-oriented guy, he just wanted to make a dishonest buck. But I'm guessing he had nerve damage issues or possibly repetitive motion injuries from those shock gauntlets of his.

M.P.

Dougie said...

I wondered the other day whether the Shocker was meant to be Vibro, or Vibro-Man or some such because of the big V on his belt.

A few days ago, I read his defence in court by Ms.Marvel, where he's been appearing lately. He's also a cast member in Superior Foes of Spider-Man. I recommend it as a very funny companion to Nick Spencer's Ant-Man series ( from whence cometh Paul Rudd's Ant-Man characterisation, I'd say).

Charlie Horse 47 said...

KD - Funny you mention that 1960s Spidey with Scorpion. I bought the DVD set and watched it a few years back and was also struck by the Scorpion being so large.


The Shocker... Charlie Horse was 10 when the Spidey King Size Special #8 was released for $.25. 64 big pages of serious stuff with the Shocker on the cover, reprinting his first appearance in ASM 46. Bought it off the spinner in beautiful Gary, Indiana. The cover alone drew me in... Shockey's costume is pretty cool, no?

Though with a name like Shocker it seemed he'd be more like Electro?

Killdumpster said...

Hah! The Shocker! With his diamond-tuck & roll padding on his suit!

Well, his power was the vibro-blasts, so they could be considered a type of "shock-wave".

If you ever noticed in his early appearances, he had a big "V" for a belt-buckle.

I'm led to believe he was originally going to be named "The VIBRATOR"!! LMAO!!!

That actually would have been appropriate, seeing as he could be a complete dildo sometimes! Lol!

Killdumpster said...

If he ever lost his vibro-cuffs, but kept the padded costume, he could be Captain Couch!! Lol!!!

Anonymous said...

M.P., you think someone going around with a couple of pneumatic drills strapped to his forearms isn't a nut?

-sean

Killdumpster said...

The Shocker/ potential Vibrator was probably a in-joke for "the Bullpen".

They were probably softly chuckling away every time he was utilized.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Well KD, ever since you enlightened several of us to the "@sspain" marquee in the Daredevil - Stiltman cover last week, I'm inclined to believe anything.

I mean, when you think about it...

Wally Wood and others used to draw a bit of risque stuff for Playboy, etc.

Stan the Man and Romita (?) were pitching a x-rated line of comics in the late 60s?

I was at a comic show and Dick Ayers was selling prints of Sue Storm, et al. in negligee and such.

So, I certainly think you have a good argument to make.

Anonymous said...

Sean, I believe the Shocker was just as sane and rational as you or I.

M.P.

Anonymous said...

Charlie, I think the Lee/Romita thing was a mid 70s pitch to Playboy which turned out to be too coy for the Hef (Stan was obviously no Harvey Kurtzman).
In the late 60s Marvel put together the Adventures of Pussycat - it came up (fnar fnar) here in one of Steve's Lucky Bags posts - for Martin Goodman's line of publications for gentlemen, but it doesn't really seem that x-rated, even for the time.

-sean

Anonymous said...

M.P., so... erm, ok, lets say not a nut then.

-sean

Anonymous said...

Actually it's Charlie I'm worried about, to be honest.
He's starting to refer to himself in the third person, which is never a good sign.
I think maybe that's what cost Bob Dole the election.

M.P.

Anonymous said...

I reckon its that Dick Ayers print of Sue Storm, M.P. - I recall Charlie going on about it here before - its warping his mind.

-sean

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Charlie appreciates talent don't you Charlie?

Yep!

dangermash said...

I mean, I'm afraid to talk about Charlie in the third person in case anybody thinks I'm a Vibrator short of an Insidious Six.

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