Thursday 21 March 2019

March 21st, 1979 - Marvel UK, 40 years ago this week.

As I write these words, it's the Spring Equinox, that magical time of year when winter's officially over and night and day are of equal length - approximately three foot seven.

It's also, the internet informs me, the night of a supermoon. Whether this means our satellite gains incredible powers and starts becoming desperate to protect its true identity from its girlfriend, I have no idea but I certainly won't be getting into a fight with it any time soon, just to be on the safe side.

But, of course, the moon isn't the only thing in our lives that's super.

So is a certain kind of star.

The kind of star who has three pages dedicated to him or her every week in the comics produced by Marvel UK exactly forty years ago, back when supermoons seemingly never happened. If they did, I don't remember ever hearing about them. In fact, I don't remember ever hearing about supermoons at all before the World Wide Web became a big thing.

No wonder YouTube keeps recommending those videos to me that claim the moon doesn't exist and is merely being projected onto the sky by NASA.

Star Wars Weekly #56

As so often, I don't have a clue what happens in this issue but I do know that's a very Wally Woodesque villain from Carmine Infantino.

Admittedly, I'm only guessing that he's a villain but, from his stance, that seems a fair guess to make.

I'm wondering if this cover was created specially for Marvel UK, as I can find no trace of it on the front of the original US mags.

Also, judging by last week's cover, Marvel UK now seems to be printing Star Wars stories several months in advance of the US division.

If so, I assume that that, technically, makes the US comics reprints of the British ones.

Hulk Comic #3

In order to rescue a girl from imminent death, the Hulk has to fight an alligator - and struggles horribly to beat it. In fact, it nearly kills him and he's lucky to escape with his life.

Yes, it's the all-new British version of the Hulk, the rubbish one who owes far more to his TV portrayal than he does to his Marvel Comics incarnation.

We also get Ant-Man trying to clear his lab of communists, the Black Knight and Captain Britain bumping into each other in a cave and coming to blows, more of the Real Hulk and the Beast in Canada and some Night-Raven action involving a protection racket.

SHIELD are up to something too but I don't know what.

Marvel Comics #334, Godzilla

Gasp as Godzilla starts his American rampage.

He's turned up in Alaska and SHIELD are out to stop him.

This is all I know of the contents of this issue.

Spider-Man Comic #315, Moon Knight

I know Spidey's up against Moon Knight who's the subject of a Maggia assassination attempt.

That is all I know.

I can't help feeling this feature's a bit rubbish this week.

I hope it's better next week. Even I'll be sending emails of complaint if it's not.


Anonymous said...

That Star Wars cover looks to me like it was inked by Klaus Janson, Steve; he often had that double lighting thing going on, which would explain the Wood feel.
I suppose its hard to tell, but are you sure it was by Carmine Infantino?

That Hulk story with the alligator was drawn by John Bolton. Still fairly young, but even at that stage it seems strange that anyone would prefer, say, Sal Buscema or Herb Trimpe.
(Ok, I'll get my coat...)


Steve W. said...

The Grand Comics Database credits the pencils for the Star Wars cover to Carmine Infantino, with, as you guessed, Klaus Janson on inks. Admittedly, I can't see an awful lot of Infantino in it.

Anonymous said...

I think my twelve year old self was already nostalgic for 1974 when seeing these covers upon release. Was Dez trying to capture 2000AD's Flesh fans with Godzilla? Surely it was more than simply replacing one green monster with another.


Timothy Field said...

In news tangential news to this post, I achieved a personal goal last week partly inspired by this blog. After two years (well 44 technically) I completed my collection of every single Marvel UK comic from MWOM #1 in 1972 to February 1979.

This week's batch of comics have not convinced me to extend that cut off date.

Steve W. said...

Timothy, that is a seriously remarkable feat.

I do wonder if I should end this feature when we get to 1980, as this is supposed to be a blog dedicated to comics from the 1960s and '70s and I'm not sure how much interest there really is in Marvel UK after the end of the 1970s.

DW, I suspect it was indeed just that both were big, green monsters who liked to go on the rampage.

Anonymous said...

Wow - Tim is now in a position to leave a comment at the end of every Marvel UK post definitively answering all the questions about what was in each issue.
Its for future generations, Tim.

These weekly posts are a remarkable feat too, Steve. Don't take this the wrong way, but I was initially a bit sceptical about how long you'd keep it up (obviously judging you by my own standards of commitment was a mistake).
I suppose at the appropriate point, you could always go back to MWOM #1 and rename it Marvel UK - 47 Years Ago This Week or whatever, and fill in the period not covered yet.


Timothy Field said...

Keep going through the 80s Steve, your unique take on the horrors Marvel UK were putting out then should make entertaining reading.

Anonymous said...

Tim deserves all those titles Marvel used to give to dedicated readers - RFO, KOF, JFK, BBC etc...

Steve, you began "Marvel UK 40 Years Ago This Week" in October 2014, looking back at the week in 1974 when Dracula Lives and Planet Of The Apes No.1 came out. So you could fill in the previous two years and call it "Marvel UK - The Early Years" (as Sean sort of suggested).

Timothy Field said...

The electorate have spoken Steve, dare you risk defying 'The Will of The People' in the current political climate?

Steve W. said...

Tim and Sean, it seems like I have no choice but to continue.

Colin, have I really only been doing this for five years? It feels like thousands.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Steve - Please clarify... are you talking about ending this blog entirely or just the Marvel UK portion?

And out of curiosity, what generates more action here? The Marvel discussions or the Marvel UK discussions?

Lastly, I do have a few issues of MWOM or whatever it was called... How in the world did you know which issues of the original Marvel was being reprinted. I'm reading one now that has a portion of, I'm guessing Avengers 3 in it.. but there is no way to know. Help???

Anonymous said...

It's interesting that Dracula Lives and Planet of the Apes were popular at the same time.
I'm not sure what this said about us as a culture.
Also, I wonder what Dracula would have done had he been stranded on the Planet of the Apes.
Would he have paused, thinking, "Okay, this wasn't covered in the vampire manual. Just apes. A few humans in pens, but...mostly a whole lotta apes. Welp, I'm not gonna enjoy this any more than they are."


Steve W. said...

Charlie, I'm just talking about ending the Marvel UK summaries. The blog will continue, unless I'm subject to unforeseen circumstances.

I don't think there's any great difference between the amount of discussion generated by the US or UK posts.

I use the Grand Comics Database to tell me which issues the stories originally appeared in.

MP, thinking about it, Dracula has the power to control animals by sheer force of will. I wonder if that means he'd be able to control the apes and gain control of the world?

Anonymous said...

Charlie, there was no way of to know which Marvel UK titles reprinted which specific issues; in fact, surely you can tell from Steve posts that we still don't.
Except Tim maybe, seeing as he now has all the issues in the era of the internet. If knowledge is power, he owns us all.

Basically, knowing which eras were covered was like all comic book knowledge back then and accumulated in bits over time.
Like, Captain Brexit featured SHIELD by Jim Steranko and the FF by John Buscema and Roy Thomas - you know roughly when those runs appeared originally right?


Anonymous said...

Oops, apologies for the bad edit there - "no way to know"


Timothy Field said...

After spending much time and cash getting all the issues, I'm about to start the task of reading the entire collection in release order. I imagine that with the advantage of the internet, the task of working out where the stories should have occurred in their original continuity will be much easier than it was for my 8 year old self.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

If I knew that SDC had been telling me for two years that there was no way to figure out the original marvel issue being reprinted in MWOM and then asked, did I know?

I mean, until you finally read one of those, like I did a few nights ago... you just don't get it. But then again my momma always said the only school that really worked for me was the school of "hard knocks."

Reading SDC and y'alls commentary is a bit like reading a manual to fly an airplane and then being expected to fly it. (No, not really...)

Alas, these are the imponderables of life! But now I do know that there is no way to know and that is what is important because we call that progress!

I am truly impressed that Timothy has all the issues and will sort them out!!! And I hope they are bagged or something because if your MWOMs have the "old paper" smell like mine...

dangermash said...

Charlie - if you post up here a brief description and quote from a speech bubble in that issue, I can tell you whether it's from Avengers #3.

Timothy Field said...

Due to the lack of collectibility of Marvel UK comics, probably less than 5% of all the issues I have were ever bagged. Interestingly, they have held up surprisingly well, maybe they used better paper stock than similar vintage US editions?

Charlie Horse 47 said...

You dudes rock! I'll get back to you DM on the Saturday blog!

Tim - I really don't know about the paperstock comparisons. Based on some discussions with someone from the UK they seem to feel that the MWOM and DC Thomson and such seemed to use more of your "newspaper" type of paper. And I really can't say what the quality of paper was that was used in US comics.

My impressions is that your paper did seem a bit thicker?

Steve W. said...

From what I can remember, the paper initially used on Marvel UK comics was similar to newspaper stock but a little thicker. After about a year and a half, the company switched to a smoother paper stock for the interior pages, and glossy paper for the covers.