Thursday, 13 June 2019

June 13th, 1979 - Marvel UK, 40 years ago this week.

Do you remember that awesome song I Wish I Could Fly by Orville the Duck, which surely ranks up there with Bohemian Rhapsody as the most admired single in British musical history?

I do, and a man who could have understood that song's sentiments better than any was Bryan Allen who, this week in 1979, became the first person to cross the English Channel in a man-powered plane when his vehicle Gossamer Albatross crossed that body of water.

And no wonder he wanted to reach the continental mainland, because it was also the week of the first-ever direct elections to the European Parliament, allowing citizens from all nine European Community states to choose 410 MEPs, making it the first international election in history. Following an epic 32% voter turn-out, the Conservatives picked up 60 seats and Labour got 17, while the SNP, DUP, SDLP and OUP all gained one seat each.

As if that wasn't excitement enough, the UK singles chart got a brand new Number One that week when Anita Ward's Ring My Bell claimed the exalted position.

Admittedly, "excitement," might not be the right word, as it's one of the tamest records ever released. Not having heard it in decades, I shall have to give it a spin on YouTube to see what I think of it now and if it still reminds me of Janet Kay's Silly Games, as it did back then.

No need for a refresher course when it comes to the album chart because, that very week, ELO's Discovery entered the LP Hit Parade at Number One, deposing ABBA's Voulez Vous, with Ian Dury and the Blockheads' Do It Yourself at Number Three. Having heard that very ELO album in the not-too-distant past, I can say I like it more now than I did back then. My resistance to disco has clearly been greatly diminished by the power of nostalgia.

And speaking of nostalgia...

Spider-Man Comic #327, Daredevil

All I know about this issue is that Spidey's still blind and, because it's a Marvel story, decides to take it out on Daredevil.

Given that DD is used to being blind, I'm assuming Spider-Man doesn't fare too well in that clash.

Star Wars Weekly #68, Darth Vader

This issue sees the start of the story in which Warlock finds himself up against the Star Thief, the hospitalised man who somehow manages to pose a massive threat to all of existence - and our hero.

I think it's also the tale in which Warlock returns to our solar system, only to find he's grown gigantic and is now bigger than the Earth!

But, hold on, does that mean everyone he encountered in the Magus storyline was also gigantic? It does seem unlikely, as they've been people-sized in all their other appearances in the Marvel universe.

Elsewhere, the Micronauts are up against the Man-Thing and aren't making a very good job of it.

Hulk Comic #15, Dr Scarabeus

This Hulk gets abducted by someone called Dr Scarabeus, a man with operatives who appear to be animal men of the kind the High Evolutionary likes to inflict upon the world.

Ant-Man finishes off the evil tyrant from another dimension who had him kidnapped by his window cleaner. Thankfully for our hero, the insects of that dimension are more controllable than its window cleaners are.

In New York, the Deviants and Eternals attempt to forge an alliance with mankind, in their quest to find a solution to the problem of the Celestials.

The Black Knight and Captain Britain are still getting nowhere at all in their attempts to do whatever it is they're trying to do.

Down by the dockside, Night-Raven's up against the Tongs.

On his base on the moon, the Watcher's still asking, "What if the Hulk had had Bruce Banner's brain from the start?"

As always, I don't have a clue what Nick Fury's up to.

Marvel Comic #346, Godzilla

Godzilla's still on the rampage, clearly oblivious to the fact that the American book from which his tales are sourced is about to meet its maker.

It's probably a good thing that he doesn't know. If he did, he'd really be angry.

32 comments:

Steve W. said...

I've now played both Silly Games and Ring My Bell and have come to the conclusion that they don't sound anything like each other.

Killdumpster said...

Warlock gradually returned to normal size in an issue of Marvel Team-Up, Steve.

Killdumpster said...

For Christmas I got Strange Tales #178 in a handful of comics, the start of Starlin's run. I enjoyed the Star Thief storyline. Fabric paints were also a gift that year, which I used to make Warlock T-shirts for my friends and I based on Starlin's art. I think I told you folks that story.

Hmmm...ELO. I liked a bunch of songs when I was a kid, and probably appreciate their nostalgic properties on hearing them occasionally as an older adult, but I was never a huge fan. Unlike my former roommate, which I believe I once told THAT story also where he spray painted ELO's logo on our apartments living room wall. Damned idiot.

Killdumpster said...

At least ELO is more tolerable than Boston, Journey, Kansas or Styx.

Killdumpster said...

That Godzilla cover was fragging hellish. He looked like Fin Fang Foom's retarded little brother!

Oops! Excuse me, "special" little brother.

Anonymous said...

Giant-size Warlock - Marvel should really have made the last couple of issues a double and called it that - was a really dumb idea, especially for what was otherwise a very good comic. What was Starlin thinking?
I expect he wanted an excuse to keep his characters away from the regular Marvel universe but he must have known that it would just be explained away at some point. Very soon as it turned out, so he could end the storyline in Avengers and Two-in-One annuals.

Btw, after that MTU Kd mentioned the whole business was explained more fully in a few MTIOs with the Thing alongside Moondragon, Starhawk and Her, the inevitable female version of Him.
Supposedly Warlock never actually changed size in the first place, it was all an illusion created by giant aliens who stole Counter Earth. I forget why exactly, probably because it was a bit of a rubbish story.
Aren't you glad you bought it up now Steve?

-sean

Steve W. said...

Sean, thanks for the giant Warlock explanation. It does sound like it all degenerated into a story-telling car crash.

KD, I now have a serious urge to paint a huge ELO logo on my living room wall.

Colin Jones said...

Probably the reason why the Tories did so well in the 1979 European elections was because Labour voters were demoralised after the recent UK general election. And the Tories were a very pro-European party in those far-off days - what a contrast to the Tories of 2019.

Anita Ward's Ring My Bell is a disco classic - it always reminds me of a neighbour who was getting married to his girlfriend in the summer of '79. I was invited to the wedding but it never took place because the couple split up.

Anonymous said...

Margaret Thatcher was a prominent campaigner for staying in the (then) EEC in the 75 referendum, Colin, and it was Labour that were for Leaving in the '83 election manifesto (under which a new MP called Tony Blair got elected for the first time).
Politics, eh?

-sean

Killdumpster said...

Hokey Smokes, Bullwinkle!

Sean, I had no idea they embellished on the theory of Warlock's size change. It actually seemed plausible (comic book science-wise) that since he flew to the outer reaches of the expanding universe, his molecules would expand as well. Then when he returned to his point of origin, his molecules recondensed eventually, as explained in MTU.

How convoluted that Marvel Two-In-One explanation seems. Glad I mostly gave up on that book. I'd have to be virtually in love with the Thing's co-star to put up with Sal Buscema. He drew a horrible Thing. As well as everything else. John must've sapped all the talent out of the family tree.

Killdumpster said...

Steve, do yourself a favor.

I'm sure there's some sort of projection device where you can shine the ELO logo on your wall.

As you sit in the dark, music in the background, and partaking in your intoxicant of choice, you can gaze upon it and think...

"I AM SOOOO GLAD I DIDN'T MAKE THIS PERMANENT!!"

If youre wanting to do wall art, and looking for interesting ideas, I recommend viewing a film called "Messiah Of Evil".

A woman goes to a small New England (?) town looking for her artist father. The perspective wall paintings are incredible! If I owned a home that's exactly how I would do it.

It's a 70's horror movie for anyone with an artistic bent, one of my faves.

Only one word of caution. It contains an absolutely awful intro song, but don't let that put you off.

Anonymous said...

I remember that that Star Thief story included space sharks.
Yup, sharks that swim through space. That movie Jaws had sharks on everybody's brain back then.
I'm a great fan of Starlin, but I think he was pumpin' a dry well at this point, and figured he might as well go ahead and snuff everybody.
The annuals were classic, don't get me wrong.

M.P.

Killdumpster said...

Hokey Smokes, Bullwinkle!

M.P.- OH MY BROTHER!
I forgot about the space-sharks! Yikes!
Talk about cheese Louise! Ha ha!

Anonymous said...

Huh - I only ever skimmed it that MTU when it appeared with the Starlin stories so don't recall it too well and didn't realize Warlock actually changed size again and his molecules recondensed. Gawd, compared to that, Spidey's trip on Dr Doom's time machine to meet Killraven seems like literary genius.

Er, no Kd, sorry - that wasn't at all scientifically plausible. Starlin had a basic misunderstanding of the expanding universe theory, which applies on a macro scale. Like, galactic clusters and up.
Plus, with the time needed for that expansion, special relativity applies.

Not that I knew that as a kid of course; but the Marvel universe works on different scientific principles to ours, and I had a good grasp of the Stan Lee theory of special bullsh*t. Clearly there was something ridiculous about Warlock being the same basic size as all the other humanoids in the Magus' empire, like he'd been on Earth and Counter Earth not long before, and then a little later being much bigger than the sun.

A shame really, as the idea of someone mentally powerful enough to destroy stars but killed by his own nurse made for a pretty good story (well, apart from the giant space shark - that was a bit iffy too).

-sean

Anonymous said...

Ha, I didn't see those two comments - M.P. remembered the space shark too! (Why am I not surprised?)
Maybe Judo Jim or more likely his editor had just seen Jaws? (It was 76 wasn't it?)
"Hey Starlin, your comic's selling like sh*t - put a shark in it, thats what the kids are into these days!"

-sean

Killdumpster said...

Sean, oh my brother, like I stated , "comic book science". Let's face it, 50-99% of what we read as youngsters was physically impossible.

Killdumpster said...

Ha! That was good.

Anonymous said...

Greetings, K.D.!
Sean, I pay attention to these things because somebody's got to, doggone it.

M.P. (just doin' his job)

Anonymous said...

Its a dirty job M.P...

Thats right about comic book science Kd, but it has to allow for some suspension of disbelief for it to work (I really like Kirby's stuff, so I don't think I'm setting the bar particularly high)
Btw, just watching a tv doc about "yacht rock" - from Laurel Canyon singer-songwriters like James Taylor to Toto. I'm sure you'd enjoy it;).

-sean

Killdumpster said...

Hmmm..James Taylor to Toto... I think I'd pass on that.

The only thing interesting about James Taylor is Carly Simon. That gal had a mouth a mile wide.

If her music career didn't pan-out, her possible gigs in other avenues assurably would, if she had to pursue that route to fame.

Anonymous said...

Can you imagine if Carly Simon had had a kid with Mick Jagger or Steven Tyler?
That kid woulda had a yapper on him like a Jack Kirby villain. He'd be able to swallow a basketball.

M.P.

Anonymous said...

Never heard them before - I suppose the 70s LA sound didn't translate so well to a rainy island - but I have to say the Doobie Brothers were terrible.

-sean

Anonymous said...

But Elvis and the Beach Boys did translate very well to some people on that rainy island, as did Mississippi Delta blues.

M.P.

Dougie said...

I love the Doobie Brothers and I like Sal Buscema. Each to their own. I've been into Yacht Rock since Late Night Tales Music For Pleasure and the Too Slow to Disco series.

I also like Silly Games!

Killdumpster said...

Lmao.

Killdumpster said...

Early Doobie Brothers are great.

Fond memories of riding dirtbikes with my best friend, then taking breaks to toast some doobies.

We'd sit on our "party rock" toking away with Black Water, China Grove, etc, playing on our portable 8-track. Good times.

Steve W. said...

I think the only Doobie Brothers song I've ever heard is What A Fool Believes, which I've always liked.

I tend to find with most of the "Yacht Rock" acts that I like one track by each of them and hate all their others.

dangermash said...

If yacht rock had been around in Samuel Johnson's day, Steve, I think he'd have used that as its definition in his dictionary.

Anonymous said...

I could probably sing about ten different Doobie Brothers songs by heart, whether I want to or not. That stuff got pounded into our brains for well over a decade.
Some of it wasn't that bad, I guess.

M.P.

dangermash said...

I should confess at this point that I do have four Doobie Brothers albums in my collection as they just about qualify as Southern Rock, at least in their early days.

Long Train Runnin' is a track that even Steve would recognise and probably like, meaning that they don't qualify as yacht rock according to Johnson.

Anonymous said...

Seems round these parts I'm in in the minority on the Doobie Brothers then.
Sal Buscema too I expect.

-sean

Steve W. said...

Dagermash, I've just listened to Long Train Runnin' on YouTube. I do indeed recognise it, although I'd never previously known it was by the Doobie Brothers and hadn't known what it was called. I think I'd always assumed it was by the Allman Brothers.

When it comes to art, I'm a Sal supporter, though I'll happily acknowledge he was dependent on his inkers to add weight, detail and depth to his work.

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