Tuesday, 12 February 2019

The Marvel Lucky Bag - February 1979.

Plunge with me, dear Reader. Plunge into the gaping maw of Yesteryear, as I seek to discover what a selection of Marvel's less celebrated characters were up to in the books that featured the name of this month of forty years ago.

Godzilla #19

Godzilla's now the size of a man and still having trouble with SHIELD.

I can't help but feel it's all getting a little undignified for him.

Human Fly #18

The Human Fly's booked to do a show on a reservation but it's all a scam by the local bar owner.

It's a 1970s Marvel tale involving a section of America's native population, so, as you can imagine, it's filled with angry locals complaining about, "The white man," all delivered with a stereotyped subtlety that only 1970s Marvel could muster.

Fortunately, the Human Fly's a living saint and, therefore, instantly gains the trust of the locals as he seeks to help them overcome the money-grabbing machinations of the bar owner.

Tragically, the mystery stuntman has just one more issue to go before his title is squashed by the fly swatter of history.

Kid Colt #228

The first thing that strikes me about this it that it's issue #228. It thoroughly amazes me how a comic which can rack up that many issues could have so totally flown under my radar in my youth. As far as I can make out, the book ran continuously from 1949 to 1979, which is a remarkable achievement.

Anyway, it seems our gun-toting hero escapes jail, only to hide out on a pirate ship and then have to fight for his life when his presence is discovered.

I do wonder if this is the same Captain Barracuda as the one who used to turn up in the Sub-Mariner's strip. If so, he must have been getting on a bit by that point.

Amazingly, having managed to last for 228 issues, Kid has just one more to go before his book bites the bullet.

Shang-Chi, Master of Kung Fu #73

In a tale so bizarre it's worthy of Killraven, Shang-Chi and Leiko set off to rescue Black Jack Tar from an island filled with what are possibly the most surreal robots ever, including a giant, talking caterpillar.
Micronauts #2

The Micronauts find themselves on Earth and having trouble with a lawnmower.

Thinking about it, I do wonder if the Micronauts' comic was an influence on the movie Small Soldiers? There are clear similarities.

Ms Marvel #22, Death-Bird

She might be a marvel but, like Kid Colt and the Human Fly, Carol Danvers has just one more issue of her comic left.

The book may not have lasted long but it did introduce both Mystique and Death-Bird to the world, so it did at least achieve something.

What If? #13, Conan

In a neat twist, the time-travel related events of Savage Sword of Conan #7 lead to the barbaric brawler ending up in modern day Manhattan and having a fairly routine adventure in which he takes on muggers and looters before finding his way back home by means I can't remember.

Basically, it reads like a non-super-powered Hulk story.

Shogun Warriors #1

I've a feeling I may have had an issue of Shogun Warriors but I don't have a clue which one.

Needless to say, this book's drawn by Herb Trimpe who was, surely, the only man for the job.

Is it any good? I don't know but I am willing to bet it involves giant robots fighting giant monsters.

How much resemblance any of this bears to Pacific Rim is anyone's guess.


Timothy Field said...

I'm calling it now so I can claim royalties, the Human Fly is due for a Hollywood biopic done in the style of The Big Short, a post-modern take on superhero movies. Any casting suggestions for the lead?

Anonymous said...

That is an excellent cover on Human Fly #18, which must be some sort of offence under the trades description act or its US equivalent (the only issues I ever read were drawn by Fr*nk R*bb*ns).
Rudy Nebres was an amazing inker.


Steve W. said...

Tim, given the Human Fly's love of capes, I would suggest Elvis Presley but he's dead. Therefore I shall go for Nicolas Cage. He's already played Ghost Rider, he might as well play Marvel's other stuntman.

Sean, you'll be relieved to hear this issue was pencilled by Lee Elias. Poor old Frank is nowhere in sight this time.

Aggy said...

Shogan Warriors 7 was the only one I owned. From my local shops 10p bin. That was about 9p too much.

dangermash said...

No Daredevil or Doctor Strange this month Steve?

Killdumpster said...

I remember the last Human Fly issue. I believe I sighed, "Yay, F**** R******' is gone." Not that I was a huge fan of the Fly.

I got every issue of Godzilla, tho. Always was hoping the next issue would be better.

Didn't Conan become minor crime-lord in that issue, and fought Capt. America who asked if he wanted to join the Avengers? Or was that the one where he and Wolverine switched places?

Redartz, if you are out there-

When I was a kid we virtually never got anything as far as toys, etc from my parents. They showed up at Christmas, and at a lower level, birthdays.

I would play with my toys, but meticulously put them back in their boxes after I was done. Even though I played with my Strange-Change machine for hours, it was in really good shape.

I traded it to my next-door neighbor for his comic collection, which wasn't bad, but if I still had it now I'd play with it today!!

Killdumpster said...

Hey, Charlie-

Was catching up on Steve's post, and caught what you said about covers.

I loved banners, text, and word balloons on the covers, with action scenes, from the 60's to the early 80's. They seemed to dwindle to almost static poses into the 90's.

And as far as great Marvel cover artists, don't forget my man Gil Kane!
I can hear those Mega-bands clanging even as I type this!!

Killdumpster said...

"Nega-Bands" excuse the spell-check.

Come to think of it, "MEGA-BANDS" might be cool to have, if I knew what they do.

Anonymous said...

Kd, Conan as a crime-lord definitely rings a bell, but I'm not sure where from; its not that issue of What If though.
Basically he wanders around New York, cops off with a redhead cabbie and stops rioters from looting during a blackout. That last bit seems somewhat out of character to me - why would Conan be bothered about some stores getting robbed?


Anonymous said...

Long-time lurker etc etc...

Weren't there TWO ""Conan Goes to the 20th Century" stories in WHAT IF? I remember seeing another one (which I didn't buy for some reason) with a Bill Sienkewicz painted cover, a close-up of Conan firing a revolver at the camera -- maybe that one is the "Conan as a crime-lord" story...?

BTW, love your blog.

- b.t.

Anonymous said...

You're right b.t. - just had a quick look online and What If #43, "What If Conan were Stranded in the Twentieth Century" is a sequel to #13 where instead of returning to the Hyborian Age he's, er... stranded in the twentieth century (sort of obvious from the title really, isn't it?)
A wholesome tale in which Conan learns to speak English, discovers coke dealing and nearly chops Captain America's arm off.


Charlie Horse 47 said...

Hear Ye, Hear Ye! (That's UK English for "Listen Up!")

This month, Marvel has reprinted a ton of Conan's for a mere $1 each as part of it's "True Believers" project.

This is exciting b.c.
1) It's no longer just Jack Kirby stuff that is being reprinted.
2) If they are reprinting Conan can other great artists / tiles be far away? (Invaders???)
3) One of the Conan reprints is the "What if" above! I mean, for $1, what the heck! (No, not Don...)

I am soooo excited! The only thing better would be for Steve to advise that Sheffield mass transit fares are eliminated and another "New Wave" may be just around the forkin corner baby!!!

Steve W. said...

Dangermash, Daredevil was on a bi-monthly schedule by this point and this was one of his rest months. Doctor Strange only makes the 1970s posts if he looks to be up to something noteworthy. This month, he didn't.

Hi, b.t, welcome to the comments section.

Sean, b.t, KD, thanks for the Crimelord Conan news.

Aggy, I wish I remembered which issue I owned, assuming that I did and I'm not imagining it.

Charlie, I shall nag South Yorkshire Transport at the earliest possible opportunity.

dangermash said...

Ah Ok. Cheers Steve.

I tend to think of Strange and DD as two of the big ten along with ASM, Cap, Thor, Iron Man, Avengers, FF, Hulk and X-Men. And that Conan, Captain Marvel, MTU and SSM are just pretenders. It probably just means I'm still living 50 years in the past rather than 40.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Dangermash - I feel you buddy! I distinctly recall seeing MTU 1 on the spinner and buying it.

I was like 10 - 11 years old back in 1972 and thought, "Well it looks like they are creating 2 Spider Man's to profit from us! I won't be sucked in!"

But I did buy it b/c the story seemed sufficiently stand-alone and the cover didn't remind me of Gil Kane. Though, within a few issues, the covers were clearly Kane, and I stopped buying. LOL

Killdumpster said...

My first MTU was issue #3, with the Human Torch teamed with Spidey against Morbius. The story was so good I re-read it till it was almost falling apart. My dad even read it, and said "that was pretty good".

It had a GREAT Gil Kane cover, Charlie oh my brother. Lol!

Killdumpster said...

I believe the crime-lord Conan story was when he switched places with Wolverine, who hooked-up with Red Sonja.

We all know he has a soft spot for red-heads (like myself). Lol.

Killdumpster said...

The first Conan story I ever purchased was something like issue 3 to 5, when he & another thief raided a tower that held a elephant-headed "God" that his wings chopped off.

The story, and Barry Windsor-Smith's artwork, left quite an impact on me.

It had a excellent cover with Conan fending off a large spider, defending a damsel who I don't think was in the story.

There was another What-If that Conan met Thor in. I recommend that one also.

The later What-It's seemed to try to exploit minor storylines/nuances that really weren't pivitoble.

I was half-expecting to see "What-If Dr. Octopus' Arms Came From His Hemmoriods!" Lmao!

Killdumpster said...

Each holding Sten guns! Lol!

Tentacles coming out of his butt, dripping with dingleberries!

Man, I've either had too many beers or not enuff. Lol!

Killdumpster said...

Oh, and I agree with you, Sean.

If people were looting, my bet would be him joining in!

Redartz said...

Killdumpster- thanks for the story of your Strange change machine, sounds like it went for a good cause, if it got you comics!

charlie- a hearty ,"I second that emotion" to your call for another 'new wave'. We over here are grievously overdue for another British Invasion.
And cool to hear about those Conan reprints. Good stuff, and I'd recommend the Smith issues if only to ogle the artwork (but fear not, the stories are solid too).

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