Thursday 29 August 2019

August 29th, 1979 - Marvel UK, 40 years ago this week.

Was there ever a rise to comedy stardom more unlikely than that of Hinge and Bracket; two young men dressed as old women, constructing comedy dialogues around the works of Gilbert and Sullivan for the entertainment of a nation that, by and large, would struggle to name more than one Gilbert and Sullivan song? And that's assuming it didn't think that song was Alone Again (Naturally).

I would suggest not but, on this evening of forty years ago, BBC Two was broadcasting Hinge and Bracket: A Gala Evening from the Opera House, Buxton.

The BBC described it as, "The musical event of the season, as an augmented ensemble and choir assist Dr Hinge and Dame Hilda in a glittering gala of music which includes works by Gilbert and Sullivan, Novello and Elgar."

It's the sort of act you couldn't imagine taking off today. I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing.

Star Wars Weekly #79

To the shock of absolutely no one who reads this blog, I know next to nothing about the contents of this week's issue.

I do know the Tagge family are putting in an awful lot of appearances lately, for a bunch of people I've no recollection of.

What I do know is the Guardians of the Galaxy have had to make a forced landing on a mysterious world.

I believe the, "world," in question may turn out to be the Topographical Man, that enigmatic entity who's so large he dwarfs entire solar systems.

On the strength of that, maybe he should try meeting up with Adam Warlock.

Meanwhile, Vance Astro's fulfilling his function of falling out with everybody he knows.

Specatcular Spider-Man Weekly #338, the Rocket Racer

I've just noticed that, mere weeks after merging with Spider-Man's comic, Marvel Comic has been expunged completely from the book's title. What an inglorious end for the company's flagship publication.

Or is it?

More news on that subject next week, I should venture to guess. But what can it be? What?

As for the contents of this week's book, I'm drawing a near blank.

Obviously, I do know the Rocket Racer's back. I've deduced this from the subtle clues on the cover.

Is this the one where his mother's in the same hospital as Aunt May and it all leads into the Big Wheel going on the rampage? If so, what a treat we all have to look forward to.

Hulk Comic #26

That's a very Steve Ditkoesque pair of monsters on that cover. In fact, I'm all but certain they're a direct swipe from one of his ancient monster mags.

Regardless, in a UK originated tale, Bruce Banner's been kidnapped by aliens who demand he reveals all he knows about the Earth. I think we can all guess what happens next.

Elsewhere, Merlin's trying to bring Captain Britain back from the dead.

The Eternals are still faffing about, getting nowhere in response to the arrival of the Celestials.

Ant-Man and the Wasp are still up against a robot Cyclops in their quest to foil an alien invasion.

In this tale, it's revealed the Wasp can talk to real wasps. I can't remember her ever using this power again in any other tale I've ever read.

Meanwhile, in our second Hulk tale of the issue, the Corporation have made contact with Moonstone, thanks to her current psychiatric role at Gamma Base.

Sunday 25 August 2019

2000 AD - July 1981.

I have to start today's contribution with a public service announcement, as Charlie Horse as requested I post the following image as a buyer's guide for any readers who may wish to learn more about the mysterious phenomenon that is Archie Comics.

But what of July 1981, that magical period when the whole of Britain seemed to be going to hell in a handcart?

The month kicked off with Michael Jackson's One Day in Your Life at Number One on the UK singles chart but it soon lost its perch to the uber-zeitgeistosity of the Specials' Ghost Town which did my sanity a great favour by keeping Stars on 45 Volume 2 away from the top spot.

Sadly, even the Specials couldn't stay at Number One forever and, in the last week of that month, they were deposed by the power and majesty of Shakin' Stevens' Green Door.

Over on the album chart, July began with Disco Daze and Disco Nites hogging the limelight before it was replaced by Cliff Richard's Love Songs which stayed at Number One for the rest of the month.

All around the world, people are raging, "Is there no escape from Cliff on this site?"

Clearly, there isn't.

But, that month, there was also no escaping from riots. Even as the Specials were lamenting the social, industrial and political decay of our towns and cities, civil unrest broke out in Southall, Liverpool, Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Coventry, Leicester, Derby, Manchester, Woolwich, London, Leeds, Ellesmere Port, Luton, Portsmouth, Preston, Newcastle, Southampton, Nottingham, Bedford, Edinburgh, Stockport, Blackburn, Huddersfield, Reading, Chester, Aldershot, Bradford and even High Wycombe. To be honest, it'd be easier to list the places that weren't rioting.

Still, it wasn't all fighting. It did stop for long enough for Prince Charles to marry Diana Spencer in front of a domestic audience of 30 million people, the UK's second-highest TV audience of all time. This is possibly because everyone had a record number of TVs at the time, thanks to all the looting they'd been doing.

Elsewhere, Donkey Kong was released.

But what of 2000 AD; the reason we're all here?

It was still giving us Strontium Dog, Judge Dredd, Mean Arena, Tharg's Future Shocks and Meltdown Man. All except for Prog 222 which gave us the return of Nemesis the Warlock which took the place of Strontium Dog.

I must confess that, in all the years I spent reading it, I never once managed to work out what Nemesis the Warlock was actually about and was generally baffled by the whole thing. What was he even supposed to be? Was he a space horse?

I do have to say the cover of Prog 220 seems a little political but perhaps I'm reading too much into it.

2000 AD Prog 219, Judge Dredd

2000 AD Prog 220, Strontium Dog, Johnny Alpha

2000 AD Prog 221, Judge Dredd

2000 AD Prog 222

Thursday 22 August 2019

August 22nd, 1979 - Marvel UK, 40 years ago this week.

Who can explain the phenomenal appeal of Cliff Richard, the most successful chart artist in British history; more than 100 hit records, 67 Top Ten singles, 14 Number Ones, and the only singer to have scored a UK Number One in five consecutive decades?

Who can explain it?

Not me, that's for sure.

But I must at least acknowledge it because, in this week of 1979, the top of the UK singles chart was claimed by Cliff's We Don't Talk Anymore, giving him his tenth Number One, a mere 21 years after his chart debut. To do this, he had to knock the Boomtown Rats off the top spot and expose the oft-repeated lie of Punk having blown away the older generation.

Granted, I Don't Like Mondays was hardly Punk and Cliff was only eleven years older than Bob Geldof at the time.

And the weird thing is he's still only eleven years older than Bob Geldof.

Star Wars Weekly #78

At last, we get the showdown on Tatooine, even if I do keep reading that blurb as, "Slowdown on Tatooine." I like the idea of a slowdown on Tatooine. It's not good to have too much excitement in your life.

Elsewhere, the Guardians of the Galaxy are still on the planet that resembles New York, and are now arousing the wrath of the locals.

I don't have a clue what's going on in the Star-Lord strip but I do know that, in this issue's Tales of the Watcher, astronaut Derek Wolfington finds himself up against Kraggoom the cloud monster who bears a remarkable resemblance to Diablo the smoke monster, recently seen battling the Hulk.

Hulk Comic #25, Xemnu

Speaking of the Hulk, that behemoth finds himself up against Xemnu the Titan, who was the one who set Diablo on him in the first place.

It's a good job our hero didn't have to face Kraggoom as well. If Derek Wolfington couldn't stop the thing, what chance would the Hulk have?

This exciting climax features the US military happily depth-charging the dam which contains Xemnu's base.

Isn't depth-charging a dam somewhat irresponsible? Wouldn't huge numbers of people be killed by its destruction?

Elsewhere, in another dimension. Merlin disposes of a dark god, as the Black Knight tries to return Captain Britain from the dead.

High on a hilltop, we get to meet the Russian-based Eternals. Needless to say, they're as smug and glib as all the others of their species.

We also get the conclusion of the tale about what would have happened if Rick Jones had become the Hulk. For once, there's an actual happy ending.

And I still don't have a clue what Nick Fury's up to.

Spectacular Spider-Man Weekly #337

This is it! Spidey's climactic battle with Carrion and his homicidal amoeba!

Meanwhile, the Watcher asks, "What if someone else had become Nova?" Daredevil meets the Torpedo, Odin's still on Earth, in mortal form, and the Thing teams up with Skull the Slayer, in order to fight a bunch of dinosaurs and try to convince us we should be interested in Skull the Slayer.

I, personally, feel the attempt fails.

Sunday 18 August 2019

Black Goliath #1.

Black Goliath #1
The world of comics has never been short of larger than life characters, and few of them have come larger than Goliath.

Or, at least, a whole bunch of Goliaths, as the Marvel editors of my youth seemed to feel it vital to have at least one giant human walking the Earth in those days.

And so it was that, in 1975, we got the launch of Black Goliath starring Bill Foster, a character who'd made his debut in the pages of The Avengers in the 1960s. Back then, he was just a friend and colleague of Hank Pym but now he's perfected Pym's growth formula and has used it on himself.

Obviously, unlike previous Marvel Goliaths, he has to have his colour in his name because that's how Marvel did things back then and he has to walk around bare-chested because that's what all black super-heroes of the 1970s did.

So, now that he has a super-hero name aimed at the visually impaired, and a bare chest, just how does he fare in the debut issue his very own comic?

Well, quite badly really.

Black Goliath #1, mugging
It all begins with Bill doing the Captain America thing and revisiting his childhood neighbourhood, in order to complain that it isn't the same as it used to be - and also to complain that it is the same as it used to be. Clearly, he's a man who's difficult to please. He also gets to complain about having super-powers.

But, of course, it's not long before he gets to use them when he's stopped by would-be muggers, leading to a bout of street lamp bending and more existential angst about whether he wants to be a super-hero or not.

Happily a hospitalised Hank Pym soon points out that he can be both a scientist and a super-hero, and he decides to use his gigantism to thwart a series of radium thefts that have been happening around the city. As he has a bucketful of radium lying around in his lab, Bill has the sense to know it's likely to be next on the hit list and so he waits for the thieves to arrive.

Black Goliath #1, Atom-Smasher
And arrive they do, in the form of Atom-Smasher and his henchmen. Atom-Smasher's henchmen are generic nobodies - although they do seem more erudite than most lackeys - but Atom-Smasher is a man with a difference. He's a man with tiny stars whizzing in circles around his head, which must get quite distracting.

Admittedly, they're obviously not meant to be stars. They're meant to be protons or electrons or neutrons or whatever bit of an atom it is that's supposed to whizz around in circles.

Needless to say, faced with such a foe, it's not long before Black Goliath's making mincemeat of...

...oh. Hold on. Our hero proves to be singularly useless at dealing with Atom-Smasher and by the final panel, having put up no fight whatsoever, he's on the brink of doom.

Clearly, this is going to be the shortest run of any comic book ever.

Black Goliath #1, morons
What strikes you about this book is just how gloomy it is. Bill really is a sad sack, having an almost Surferian gift for being depressed by every single development in his life. He's depressed by being a super-hero. He's depressed by being a scientist. He's depressed by change. He's depressed by a lack of change. He's depressed about, seemingly, every person he's ever known in his entire life.

Bizarrely, the one moment in the comic when he's not depressed is in the scene which introduces his lab assistants who are the sort of morons whose antics would push anyone normal into a suicidal state.

Black Goliath #1, oops
Anyway, it's a competent but unexceptional tale, solidly drawn by George Tuska and written by Tony Isabella. It's perfectly readable and there's nothing actively bad about it but, with its gloomy hero, terrible supporting cast and workmanlike plot, there's nothing that would particularly grip you either. In that sense, it's an almost perfect representation of the majority of books Marvel was churning out in the 1970s.

The one exception to that claim is the villain Atom-Smasher who, presented here, has no noticeable personality or charisma but his powers, whatever they actually are, are at least intriguing and give him some potential. Granted, he's basically a knock-off of Radion but he is a villain that things could be done with.

Thursday 15 August 2019

August 15th, 1979 - Marvel UK, 40 years ago this week.

This day in 1979 was not a special day for television.

But the day after was - because, at 8:30 pm that evening, BBC One gave us a show called The Persuaders.

No, it wasn't that thing which starred Roger Moore and Tony Curtis and featured the greatest theme tune in television history.

Instead, it was a documentary which looked at the world of advertising and marketing. It featured a segment devoted to Disney's plans to launch a $20 million space epic called The Black Hole, at the time, Disney's most expensive movie ever.

However, the real news that mattered was the show also featured a segment about the launch of Marvel UK's Hulk Comic and included an interview with the man himself, as Dez Skinn talked about the venture.

And he had ITV's technicians doing their best to help him in his quest for publicity because this week of that year saw the start of their legendary strike which shut that whole network down for over two months and famously led to Doctor Who getting the biggest viewing figures in its history.

That strike meant there were suddenly only two TV channels available to the British public - and Dez was on one of them! And the other one was BBC Two, which no one ever watches! With a break like that, it could, surely, only be a matter of time before Dez was as big a household name as Stan himself!

Star Wars Weekly #77

Hooray! We get the return of Star-Lord, in a tale entitled Less Than Human, drawn by Bill Sienkiewicz. I suspect this must be my earliest introduction to that man's talents.

We also get a Tales of the Watcher treat about an astronaut who finds himself on a planet filled with giant bugs. But, when his rocket returns to Earth, where, exactly, is its pilot?

We also get that Guardians of the Galaxy tale in which our heroes find themselves on a world that resembles New York - only for it to turn out to be a lunatic asylum. It might seem like clumsy satire now but it seemed clever when I was fifteen.

Tragically, as far as I can make out, the return of the Guardians means it's curtains for Adam Warlock who seems to have been given the push to make way for the Lord of Star.

Hulk Comic #24

The Hulk no sooner disposes of Groot than he finds himself up against the Blip who he, understandably, mistakes for Zzzax. That foe dispatched, he finally learns the identity of his true foe.

Ant-Man and the Wasp come up against Egghead's deadliest weapon yet - an anteater!

Merlin's tackling the evil king of somewhere or other.

The Eternals are still faffing about, getting nowhere in particular.

Rick Jones is in a life or death battle with Annihilus and becomes separated from his Hulk alter-ego, thanks to Mr Fantastic.

And I don't have a clue what Nick Fury's up to.

Spectacular Spider-Man Weekly and Marvel Comic #336, Carrion

Reed Richards is still invading Latveria, as Doc Doom gets Alicia to carve his statue.

Thor's going on a subterranean journey with Ulik, while Odin's on Earth, having taken on mortal form for reasons I can't remember.

Whatever his reasons, I think we can guarantee this development will end up endangering the whole planet because it's a scheme cooked up by Odin and we all know how they always go.

Tuesday 13 August 2019

The Marvel Lucky Bag - August 1979.

Where would you want to be in August 1979?

You'd want to be at the cinema.

For a start, we got the release of the epic masterpiece that is The Concorde ... Airport '79 in which various people seem to be determined to blow the plane out of the sky!

Elsewhere, we had the film the world knows as More American Graffiti, a movie I've never heard of but it would appear to feature most of the original cast and be set a few years after the first film.

The original was, of course, a George Lucas offering and there was another Lucas movie popping up at your local picture house because, that month, Star Wars was re-released. I don't know if any changes had been made to it for this re-release, or if it predated Lucas' tendency to keep fiddling about with things until they're broken.

That month also saw the release of Apocalypse Now and Monty Python's Life of Brian, two films which bear no noticeable resemblance to each other.

Machine Man #10

After an absence of several months, Machine Man's book is back.

But will its star be back for long, as some politician or other wants him destroyed as a threat to all humanity?

Marvel Team-Up #84, Spider-Man and Shang-Chi

Spidey, Shang-Chi, Nick Fury and an amnesiac Black Widow set out to recapture SHIELD's Helicarrier from the clutches of Viper, the Boomerang and Silver Samurai. Personally, my money's on the day being saved by the Widow suddenly regaining her memory, just as the others are about to be killed.

Shang-Chi's in three books this month. Hes also in his own comic and What If? It seems someone at Marvel's determined to give him a boost.

Sensational Spider-Man Marvel Treasury Edition #22

It's one of those Treasury Editions we all used to love but that weren't always the easiest thing in the world to get your hands on.

Spidey and Strangey take on Xandu. Apparently, in this tale, the two heroes swap powers. I'm not sure I like the sound of that. Do I really want to see Dr Strange doing Spider-Man things? It seems a little undignified.

After that, we get the first appearance of Stegron, with guest slots for both Ka-Zar and the Black Panther. Come to think of it, I don't think I've ever read a comic in which Spider-Man and the Panther both appear.

Next, the web-slinger teams up with Captain America to tackle the Grey Gargoyle.

Power Man and Iron Fist #58, the Eagle

At first, looking at this cover, I assumed the Foolkiller had got himself a new costume and we were going to get our heroes fighting Marvel's most annoying psychopath. But it turns out he's actually a Zorro knock-off who's determined to sort out the pair's current, crooked, employer.

Tomb of Dracula #70, final last issue

After seventy issues, Marvel's most successful horror star finally bows out when Quincy Harker blows himself and Dracula up with his exploding wheelchair.

This month sees both both Dracula and the 1950s Captain America blown to smithereens, making it a great one for people who are into that kind of thing.

Marvel Premiere #49, the Falcon

The Falcon gets a starring role as he tries to capture the murderer of an overseas writer who took the trouble to lay down a remarkably convoluted cryptic clue as to the identity of his killer.

It's all reminiscent of that Spider-Man/Nova tale where the victim makes sure to arrange the pages of a calendar in the right order, in order to give a clue as to who his murderer is.

Defenders #74, the Foolkiller

Holy smoke. Having previously thought the Foolkiller was up against Power Man and Iron Fist, I discover he can't be because he's too busy battling the Defenders.

You would've thought that dealing with a man who's basically just a moron with a gun would be quick work for one of the world's mightiest super-teams but, then again, it took them about twenty issues to polish off Lunatik - and he was just a moron with a stick.

Marvel-Two-In-One, the Thing and Deathlok

The Thing has to try and stop Deathlok, in a tale which seems to involve the return of Nuklo.

Sunday 11 August 2019

Forty years ago today - August 1979.

The past.

Where is it?

What is it?

Does it reside in the hearts, the minds and the souls of all who have ever lived?

No. It resides on this page, right below this sentence I'm typing.

Incredible Hulk #238

I think the only thing I know about this issue is that Betty and Glenn get their divorce sorted out - just in time for Betty to discover her dad's had some sort of breakdown and is now in a wheelchair.

Oh, and Glenn may be getting more and more unhinged, by the second.

Spectacular Spider-Man #33

Despite all his experiments always ending in disaster, Curt Connors has been at it again - and accidentally created a new reptilian menace to threaten all mankind.

What's Connors' response to this?

Does he swear never to experiment ever again?

No. He turns himself into the Lizard, so he can fight the new menace, thus doubling the number of menaces on the loose.

And they say Hank Pym's unstable.

Thor #286, the Eternals

Thor's hanging around with the Deviants and, by the looks of things, it's not going well.

Luckily, it seems that Kro is worthy of lifting the hammer.

Erm, what?

X-Men #124

Arcade's captured the X-Men and brainwashed Colossus into turning against them.

Needless to say, it'll take more than mere brainwashing to make the Soviet scrapper murder his closest friends.

Captain America #236, Dr Faustus

Unless I'm very much mistaken, this issue sees the 1950s Captain America blow himself up, having already shot dead the 1950s Bucky. Blimey, that's all a bit grim.

In other news, both Cap and Daredevil survive last issue's bi-plane flight and succeed in thwarting Dr Faustus' plan to drop mind-control gas all over New York.

Fantastic Four #209

Hooray! It's the moment we've all been waiting for, as HERBIE the robot makes his debut for the team.

Needless to say, it's not long before unexplained deaths start happening whenever he's around.

Ben spots that this is suspicious.

Reed doesn't.

Invincible Iron Man #125

Iron Man's killed some politician or other, thanks to his repulsor rays going out of control - and the increasingly boozetastic Tony Stark's out to find the people responsible.

But not until after Captain America's given him a three minute crash-course in how to be a human fighting-machine.

Amazing Spider-Man #195

The Black Cat meets a watery grave.

Or does she?

But she's not the only one popping her clogs, because Aunt May joins her in the afterlife.

Or does she?

Who is the mysterious manager of her nursing home and what does the burglar who killed Uncle Ben want with the Parker residence?

This issue answers neither of those questions.

Conan the Barbarian #101

Conan gets over the death of Bêlit by murdering some bloke and killing a giant spider.

So, business as usual, really.

Avengers #186, the Scarlet Witch

Some evil force has taken over the Scarlet Witch and turned her into a hyper-powerful menace, in a John Byrne drawn storyline which bears no resemblance at all to the Dark Phoenix saga.

Thursday 8 August 2019

August 8th, 1979 - Marvel UK, 40 years ago this week.

America. It has to be the most discovered continent in the history of the world. If it's not Columbus claiming to have discovered it, it's the Vikings. If it's not them, it's the Chinese. If it's not them, it's the Welsh. Then again, there are claims that the Romans, Egyptians, Phoenicians, Indians, Indonesians, and just about everyone else who ever built a boat, discovered it.

I'm amazed to discover that I didn't discover it too.

And then, of course, there are the ancestors of the people who were living in the Americas when Columbus arrived. They definitely discovered it, or their descendants wouldn't have been there when Columbus showed up.

Thus it is that, on this night of exactly forty years ago, a BBC documentary called Adventure: The Brendan Voyage was looking into the long-standing claims that the first European to set foot in America was actually the medieval Irish monk Saint Brendan, purported to have made the trip nearly a thousand years before Columbus.

Could such a man have possibly crossed the Atlantic, in just a small leather boat?

Commonsense would say no.

Fortunately, not everyone has common sense. Some have the far more valuable trait of get up and go - and a leather boat. Therefore, in the late 1970s, three men set out to cross that  sea, in a replica of the vessel that, legend says, Brendan used to make the voyage.

Did they make it?

Yes they did.

And BBC Two was telling us how.

Star Wars Weekly #76

I have even less idea what happens in this week's issue than I do normally. Clearly, the Guardians of the Galaxy are in it and so is Adam Warlock. Beyond that, I can say nothing.

No doubt, Luke and his droids are in the deadliest of peril, though.
Hulk Comic #23, Groot

Fortunately, when it comes to this comic, I have far more idea.

Having washed Taboo down the plug hole, the Hulk's up against Groot the talking tree, with not a trace of Rocket Raccoon in sight.

Egghead's out to avenge himself upon Ant-Man by capturing the Wasp. He aims to do this by using an exhibition about wasps as bait. As Egghead himself argues, how could a woman called the Wasp possibly turn down the chance to see an exhibition about wasps?

Clearly, he doesn't know much about Janet van Dyne.

Or perhaps he does, because she does indeed go to the exhibition!

The Black Knight's still in another dimension, trying to do something or other to help bring Captain Britain back to life.

Nick Fury's still tripping.

Rick Jones is in the Negative Zone, being attacked by Annihilus and trying to turn into the Hulk, in order to fight him, in the latest instalment of What If?

The Reject is still on the loose in the Deviants' underwater city.

Spectacular Spider-Man Weekly and Marvel Comic, Carrion

And we're back to near-total ignorance because I don't know what's in this week's issue of Marvel's newest venture.

But I do know what's not in it.

And that's Conan and Dracula, who've been dropped in the great merger. Within week's, the Avengers will also be leaving, to claim a home in a new magazine.

There's no doubt about it, Marvel UK's centre of gravity's now tilting very heavily towards monthly mags, rather than weekly comics.

Tuesday 6 August 2019

The Marvel Lucky Bag - August 1969.

August 1969 began with the Rolling Stones' Honky Tonk Women at Number One on the UK singles chart. That was soon dislodged from the top spot by the unique oddity that was In the Year 2525 by Zager and Evans, a dire prediction of what lay in store for mankind. The record itself had quite a good future, spending several weeks at Number One and holding off the challenge from Creedence Clearwater Revival's Bad Moon Rising, along the way.

Sadly, the duo's future wasn't equally good. After topping the chart in both the US and UK, they've never made the Top 100 in either country since. A feat no other act has ever replicated.

No sign of them at the summit of the British album chart either. That month started with According to My Heart by Jim Reeves at Number One, which was soon deposed by Jethro Tull's Stand Up. The Tull were then removed from the throne by From Elvis in Memphis before fighting back to reclaim their crown and finish the month at Number One again.

It is surprising to look back and see how big Jethro Tull actually were. I always think of them as a two-hit wonder novelty act. I, clearly, think wrongly.

When it came to the cinema, that month saw the release of The Learning Tree, a film I've never seen nor even heard of but I refuse to believe a learning tree can be as awesome as a Singing Ringing Tree.

That month also saw the release of Alice's Restaurant and Whatever Happened to Aunt Alice? The latter being from the same producer who gave us Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? It would appear the two Alices were not related.

Captain Marvel #15, That Zo might live

Inter-galactic dimwit Captain Marvel finally starts asking questions of the all-powerful Zo, having previously vowed to do anything he wants, without first asking just what it is he actually wants.

It turns out that what he wants is to destroy the Kree homeworld, so that's OK then.

Needless to say, it's at this point Mar-Vell starts to suspect that mindlessly obeying Zo might not be a good thing after all.

But can Marvy thwart Zo's terrible plan?

Only time - and the next issue - will tell.

Silver Surfer #7, Frankenstein

Inter-galactic dimwit the Silver Surfer allows Frankenstein's latest descendant to make an evil copy of him, so he can rule humanity.

Needless to say, this leads to a bucketful of whingeing from the Surfer, a big fight and an increase in the distrust between himself and humanity.

Sub-Mariner #16

The Sub-Mariner enters the deadly Sargasso Sea, in order to prevent Tiger-Shark doing whatever it is he's doing, and then has to deal with a bunch of hostile sailors, from various points in humanity's past, who've been rendered immortal by the sea's strange mists and now want to take over the world, with the aid of an old U-Boat packed solid with germ warfareness.

Anyone who's ever seen She knows exactly how this story's going to end.

Sunday 4 August 2019

Fifty years ago this month - August 1969.

Mud. It's not just a band that wasn't as good as the Rubettes. It's also a concept. A concept they can fill entire fields with. And August 1969 was a great month for lovers of that substance  - and possibly others -  because it saw not one but two epic outdoor music festivals.

They were Woodstock and the second Isle of Wight Festival. Needless to say, both have gone down in the annals of legend.

And they're not the only musical things from that month to have done so, because the Abbey Road zebra crossing began its journey to greatness right then as well, thanks to the Beatles having their photograph taken on it, with the camera of Iain Macmillan.

Things, however, were were not so rosy for the the coin known as the halfpenny, which ceased to be legal tender that month, as the nation hurtled towards decimalisation.

It was madness. At this rate, even the mighty shilling would be scrapped. And, without the shilling, how were we ever going to pay for our comics?

Avengers #67, Ultron

Barry Smith bows out as Avengers artist - for now - as Ultron gives the team a good hiding then formulates his plot to kill the scientist who created the Adamantium from which he's currently constructed.

I believe this is officially Sal Buscema's first ever Avengers cover, although I suspect he may have had some involvement in brother John's cover for the previous issue.

Captain America #116, the body swap one

Unless I miss my guess, Captain America and the Red Skull have swapped bodies, leading Cap to call on the Avengers for help.

Needless to say, they take one look at him, in the Red Skull's body and decide to beat the living daylights out of him.

For some reason, it didn't occur to him to take off his Red Skull mask before knocking on the front door.

Daredevil #55, Coward

I didn't only have a copy of this tale in The Mighty World of Marvel. I also had an Alan Class comic that reprinted it.

I do believe Mr Fear is back and causing our hero all kinds of problems.

I also think the phobic fiend has a flying disc similar in style to those used by the Trapster and Wizard. I'm not sure where he got that from.

Fantastic Four #89, the Mole Man

Speaking of problems, the FF's new house causes nothing but trouble, as it turns out it's not a house at all. It's a machine for turning everyone in the world blind, so the Mole Man can invade it.

Even robbed of their sight, the FF prove too much for the subterranean schemer.

Incredible Hulk #118, the Sub-Mariner

It's that tale which showed up in Origins of Marvel Comics. Lady Dorma rescues Bruce Banner from drowning and it all leads to a misunderstanding that can only be resolved by Subby and the Hulk bashing each other in the face.

Iron Man #16, the Unicorn

Iron Man and the Unicorn team up to give the Red Ghost the punch in the gob, he so deserves.

I do believe the Ghost has a brand new army of super-apes who turn out to be too good for him. That does pose the question of whatever happened to the originals.

Maybe they were too good for him, as well.

Amazing Spider-Man #75

The saga of the mysterious tablet finally comes to an end with the death of Silvermane.

And, of course, it all leads to the return of the Lizard.

Thor #167, Loki

I'm really not too sure what happens in this one.

Is it the story in which Don Blake needs to perform surgery on Sif but then has to run off to fight Loki, halfway through the operation, causing the other surgeons to think him a little irresponsible?

Then again, the last I heard, Don Blake was just a bog-standard GP. How on Earth is he allowed to do major surgery?

X-Men #59, the Sentinels

The X-Men are up against the Sentinels again.

I do believe this is the one in which the robots end up flying into the sun.