Thursday, 16 May 2019

May 16th, 1979 - Marvel UK, 40 years ago this week.

Have you ever wanted to own a garden in space and have it tended by three robots while Joan Baez warbles the same song over and over and over again until you get sick of it?

If so, this night of exactly forty years ago was your lucky night because it was the evening BBC One was showing Douglas Trumbull's Silent Running, that slightly barking tale of conservation, and murder by shovel.

It is very much a film that is of its time and its plot doesn't stand up to any kind of logical scrutiny but I enjoyed it at the time and still get upset whenever the robots are hurt.

Joan Baez may have been in that film but, in the real world, we were all listening to ABBA because their album Voulez-Vous was reigning supreme at the top of the UK album chart. Chiquitita is my favourite of its five singles, especially for that magnificent bit of pub piano at the end. It positively makes me want to clink my steinkrug to it.

Come to think of it, after all these years, I still don't know what voulez-vous actually means.

There's only one thing for it. I'm going to have to Google it.

....

....

....

That's it. I have now Googled it. It would appear that it means, "Do you want?"

But do I want what?

Why can ABBA not be more specific in their questions to me? Why?

Star Wars Weekly #64

Han Solo and Chewie are on some planet or other, in a cave, being fired at by Jabba the Hut and his men.

As this is long before The Return of the Jedi, I wonder if we get to see Jabba in this issue and whether he bears any resemblance to the character who ended up on film.

Hold on. Is the scaly man on the cover meant to be him?

I cannot say.

Elsewhere, at Thano's insistence, Warlock's using his soul gem to destroy the Magus' army, even though such an act is part of the process which'll turn him into the Magus in the first place. Oh, the nightmarish paradoxes.

Somewhat less cosmically, the Micronauts are up against a man who only has a half a face. I don't have a clue who he is.

Hulk Comic #11

This is it! The big one! The Hulk beats up a bear!

To be honest, when you've grown up watching him take on the Galaxy Master, Klaatu and an island full of giant space-monsters, a punch-up in the woods, with a bear, seems somewhat less than thrilling.

Ant-Man has to deal with a hijacker who turns out to be exactly who you thought he'd be. In fact, I have noticed that the trend with early Ant-Man tales seems to be that whoever asked for his help in the first place is, later, going to be revealed as the villain.

High in the Andes, the Eternals are still mithering about the return of the Celestials.

Night-Raven finally gets round to bumping off the assassin who's been hired to kill him.

Nick Fury's up to something but I don't know what and, based on previous form, I doubt it'll be anything that interests me.

The Black Knight and Captain Britain are still battling the forces of evil in a Britain that bears no resemblance to any Britain I've ever been to.

Marvel Comic #342, Ms Marvel

Hooray! Ms Marvel makes her Kreetastic debut!

To be honest, I don't recall much about her adventures but I do recall that I always hated her costume. The bare stomach and legs just didn't go with an outfit that also had gloves. And no battler of evil should ever wear a scarf.

As usual, the rest of this issue's contents are a mystery to me.

Spider-Man Comic #323

Hooray! Spider-Man's up against the Masked Marauder!

For such a duff villain, he does seem to be getting a lot of use, of late, in Spidey's strip.

38 comments:

Timothy Field said...

Well this must have been the evening I first saw Silent Running. Hmmmm, an odd sensation to know exactly what mundane activity I was doing 40 years ago. Brilliant film though.

Steve W. said...

I think I first saw it one Christmas in the mid 1970s, on BBC2.

Timothy Field said...

I don't remember it being on often, not like Kelly's Heroes that seemed to be on twice a year in the 70s

Steve W. said...

Looking at the BBC Genome site, it looks like I first saw it on Tuesday, December 27th, 1977, on BBC1.

Killdumpster said...

Starlin's run on Warlock here in the states was appreciated by my pals and myself. I made us all Adam Warlock T-shirts. Had a kid at a shopping mall ask me, "Where did you get that Warlock shirt?!!"

The Hulk threw a bear in The TV pilot. Even too cheesy for ME.

Bought the first issue of Ms Mmarvel out of curiosity. Later I got an issue where she fought the Super-Skrull (a fav villain). Never had any interest in the character, just knowledge, and so it goes to how hard Marvel is trying to pump her up now.

Silent Running gets a big thumbs-up from me.

The only good Joan Baez song is Diamonds & Rust, but only performed by Judas Priest. Live. Their album Unleashed In The East features an insanely incredible version. It's my second favorite from that album, after Victim Of Changes.

Anonymous said...

No battler of evil should ever wear a scarf, Steve? But I thought you were into Dr Who...
I wonder if Ms Marvel's appearance is going to trigger many comments.

-sean

Anonymous said...

Funny you should have mentioned Abba, Steve, as I just put the tv on, and... its the Eurovision Song Contest? Huh? What...?!?
Don't the government know that leave means leave?!?
No wonder theres such a fuss about it all at the moment. Nul point, Theresa.

-sean

Anonymous said...

PS Ah, seems its the semi-final. So... its the Eurovision vote next week?

-sean

Aggy said...

I remember that showing of Silent Running. Actually I don't remember seeing it since.

Ms Marvel was a firmly average seller for Marvel. Picking up a bit with her later costume (wonder why...). But never a superstar. Then of course she fell into Chris Claremont purgatory. Stuck out in space with the Starjammers while Rogue used her powers.

And yes the yellow scaley character on the front of Star Wars is what Jabba looked like before RotJ in all his appearance. Remember his scenes in Star Wars had not been put back in so no one knew what he was supposed to look like (including Lucas).

Aggy said...

Saturday

Anonymous said...

Jabba the Hut was in the Marvel adaptation of the original film though, no?

-sean

Steve W. said...

KD, I remember Lou Ferrigno also fighting a bear in Hercules. He must have been sick of the sight of them by then.

Aggy, thanks for the Jabba confirmation.

Sean, I have done a quick Google and he was indeed in Marvel's adaptation of the original film, looking and talking nothing like the Jabba we have grown to love.

I can forgive Tom Baker wearing a scarf because he didn't bare his navel while he was at it.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Voulez Vous couchez avec moi... ce soir... was by Abba???

W.t.h... I learn something new here every time!

Also, why didn't Marvel just stick with Chili and Millie and milk that? I mean, they likely sold waaaay more than Cpt Marvel (esp. in a sucky red/blue/ skin costume.) Or I guess I mean to ask, why didn't Dez / Marvel UK put out at least one weekly with Chili Manillie on the cover?

Anonymous said...

Being fair, Han Solo on that cover doesn't look like the Han we grew to love.

DW

Aggy said...

Yes he was as the same yellow guy.

Looking him up on Wookiepedia apparently he has been retconned as Jabba's accountant who called himself Jabba when working for Jabba. And everyone else went along with it, calling him Jabba even though it wasn't his name.

Steve W. said...

Charlie, the song you're thinking of is a totally different one from ABBA's Voulez Vous. The one you're thinking of is called Lady Marmalade.


DW, Come to think of it, he looks more like Jim Shooter on that cover.

Steve W. said...

Aggy, you have to love comic book logic.

Aggy said...

The song you are thinking of is Lady Marmalade by Patti Lebelle. Abbas song was less sexual.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Thanks! In retrospect Lady Marmalade does not sound like Abba, lol

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Well, as I ride off into the sunrise to go to work I told my French wife of my Voulez Vous error. Somehow she was able to just start belting out Abba's song, while I never heard of it.

I'm not sure which I prefer: Lady Marmalade's or Abba's? Any opinions out there?

Colin Jones said...

I've got an A Level in French so it would be a disgrace if I didn't know what Voulez Vous aha, aha, aha meant. And ABBA GOLD is back in the albums Top 40 - it's been in the UK album chart on and off for over 1,200 weeks!!

The little robots on Silent Running were called Huey, Dewey and Louie :D

Anonymous said...

Can't say I have a strong preference either way Charlie, but if forced to choose Labelle singer Nona Hendryx scored points with me recently by putting out an album of Captain Beefheart covers, together with one of his old Magic Band guitarists.
So unless Agnetha makes a comeback doing Frank Zappa tunes, or Benny and Bjorn start a band with the surviving Mothers of Invention...

-sean

Steve W. said...

I must say I've always viewed Voulez-Vous as being one of ABBA's weaker singles. It's OK but it always feels like the low ebb of their disco period. While Lady Marmalade doesn't hugely grab me either, it is a lot more memorable and definitely cooler.

dangermash said...

I just remember driving home with a big family takeaway with the radio on, listening to Dean Saunders talking about his teenage fantasy on TalkSport. For whatever reason they were talking about Abba and he chips in with:

"I remember Abba. I used to really have the hots for the blonde one."

"Agnatha?"

"Benny."

I did laugh. Sorry.

Killdumpster said...

Labelle did Lady Marmalade on tv, but I can't remember if it was on American Bandstand or Soul Train. Not sure if either of those were ever broadcast in the UK, as you folks already had plenty of cool music shows.

Killdumpster said...

Also curious if you fellows ever got to see Don Kirschner's Rock Concert or the Midnight Special. I believe on Kirschner's Rock Concert UFO performed. Those guys would've been a bigger hit here in the States if Michael Schekner hadn't disappeared during their tour.

Also great music shows were Blue Jean Network & Night Flight. Blue Jean Network played complete concerts. First time I saw BOC live, and they had Alice Cooper, I believe the "From The Inside" tour.

Night Flight was a bunch of music videos, before MTV. Also short films & cartoons. I was introduced to Motorhead and Adam & The Ants by them. They played Frank Zappa's film "Baby Snakes" in it's entirety!

Killdumpster said...

Kinda recall ABBA being on Midnight Special.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Inspired by the blogging I had to look at Abba's discography.

Though well known they never really penetrated the US charts "Top 10" so much. I would have thought SOS or Chicuitita would have hit #1? They clearly did much, much better on the UK /Euro charts.

How does Money Money Money do top 3 worldwide but only 59 in the US? I had to listen as I don't think I've ever heard it (from 1976). Is this a song you Euro cats know?

Anonymous said...

Seen ABBA on American Bandstand?
Holy shmolies.
I will say no more.

M.P.

Steve W. said...

KD, I remember the final ever edition of American Bandstand being shown on British TV. Possibly on Channel 4. I don't remember it ever being on British TV apart from that. The only thing I recall from that final show was ABBA being on it, doing Dancing Queen, which was a shock to me, as I, at that time, was under the impression that ABBA were virtually unknown over there.

Charlie, Money Money Money is very very well known in Britain, as are all their singles. In the 1970s, they were as big in Britain as the Beatles had been in the 1960s.

Colin Jones said...

In the '80s I had a book listing all the hits on the U.S. Billboard Top 40 since 1955 so I know that DANCING QUEEN reached #1 in America and TAKE A CHANCE ON ME reached #3 - both sold over a million copies in the U.S. and were Abba's biggest American hits.

A NEW ENTRY in this week's UK album chart is BROTHERHOOD OF MAN GOLD. It can't be a coincidence that today is the Eurovision Song Contest. SAVE YOUR KISSES FOR ME is corny Eurovision tripe but ANGELO and FIGARO are still fab in my opinion :D

Steve W. said...

Personally, I always preferred Bucks Fizz to the Brotherhood of Man. Of course, nowadays, I'd settle for anyone at all who could win Eurovision for us.

Anonymous said...

You could always demand a second vote Steve.

Winning Eurovision is a bit of a pain in the arse, as you have to hold the next year's contest - having to cover the cost regularly became almost a financial crisis for the Irish republic at one point.
Not to mention a national embarrassment, second only to giving the world U2. (Mind you, compared to the British and Americans at the moment, neither seem so bad in retrospect...)

-sean

Anonymous said...

I love ABBA, I've got their greatest hits, but it's funny how their songs are burned into our brains. I could probably sing "Fernando" word for word, but the other day I had trouble remembering my phone number, when I had to leave a message to somebody.
It was rather embarrassing, and it bodes ill for the future. One of these days I'm going to wake up and forget my own name. It may be ten or twenty years from now, but it's a'comin'. But I'll probably still remember the lyrics from "Super Trouper."
Even unto the grave.

M.P.

Anonymous said...

Seems your complaint uncannily anticipated the Eurovision results Steve, as the UK came last. Perhaps no-one understood what they were voting for?

Although personally, having just watched a Beeb video clip of "highlights" from last night, I reckon theres a lot to be said for doing badly. Seriously, what have the Dutch ever done for music? (Not counting Focus, obviously)

-sean

Charlie Horse 47 said...

You gents inspired me to google Eurovision. There, I discovered BuckFizz from 1981. Do I listen now or do you recommend o/wise?

Also, I arrived in Germany in the summer of 1985 to hold off the commie hordes. (It worked!)

A few months later A-Ha won some really big (dare I say "huge?" euro contest that sent them on the road to fame and fortune.

But it does not seem that it was Eurovision though it looks like Scandinavia was on a terror winning in 84,85,86. SO what did the A-Ha win?

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Steve, Euro Gents - you talk a lot about music but I can't recall references to "Now that's What I Call Music" ?

I have to think that is one of the UK's greatest contributions to man and woman kind? I bought several of them living overseas and thought they were the bomb! You too?

Steve W. said...

Charlie, I don't have a clue what A-Ha won. It certainly wasn't Eurovision. As far as I'm aware, the only acts whose international careers have been launched by winning Eurovision have been ABBA and Celine Dion. Bucks Fizz and the Brotherhood of Man were also launched onto the path of stardom in Britain by Eurovision but made far less impact internationally than ABBA and Celine did.

When it come to Bucks Fizz, I'd personally recommend the songs Now Those Days Are Gone and The Land of Make Believe before their Eurovision winner Making Your Mind Up. That song might have launched them to stardom but it's pretty cheesy. They also did the original version of Heart of Stone, which Cher later had a hit with. Their version is also decent.

I have never owned any of the NOW albums and, therefore, cannot comment on them.

Sean, I could claim we were robbed last night but the truth is I must have heard our entry at least five times now and I still can't remember a note of it or what it's even called.

Having said that, I am still not over us failing miserably in 2017 with Lucie Jones' entry. That should have won by a mile. I remain convinced foul deeds were afoot.

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