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.

41 comments:

Killdumpster said...

If the Wasp could control wasps, I don't remember it. I don't think she could do that even in her mutated state in the Marvel Feature story where Ant-Man was size-trapped. I could be wrong, though. That was a great story and worth a re-read.

Anonymous said...

As super-powers go, being able to speak to Wasps doesn't seem very useful to me - what would you talk to them about?

Hinge and Bracket were odd Steve, but surely the least likely rise of a comedy duo has been that of Michael Gove and Boris Johnson.

-sean

Charlie Horse 47 said...

UK Dudes - by chance, in your weeklies, were you exposed to Gene Colan's green Captain Marvel from the late 60s or Bill Everett's Sub Mariner from the early 70s?

Also, did they not reprint any Timely / Atlas from the 40s or 50s?

Actually, were you able to get your mitts on Marvel's "Collectors Masterpieces, Marvel Tales, Marvel's Greatest, or Marvel Super Heroes" which were the $.25 64-pagers that often had Timely reprint stories, in addition to the silver age stuff?

I am curious to know what level of exposure you would have had to TimelY.

Anonymous said...

Green Mar-Vell appeared here in the mid 70s Charlie, in Titans I think.
Don't recall seeing him on the cover - not saying it never happened, but if it did it wasn't an issue I read - so you might be disappointed to know I wasn't even aware (shock! horror!) his costume was green til a while later thanks to an import Captain Marvel #36, a dreaded deadline doom reprint of his origin.

The only exposure I ever got as a kid to old Timely-era stuff was a short Sub-Mariner reprint in an import Invaders, which seemed distinctly unimpressive (even coming after a story drawn by Fr*nk R*bb*ns).

-sean

Anonymous said...

PS Actually, thats not quite right as I did also somehow end up with a cheap US paperback about old comics called All In Colour For A Dime, which included some artwork from an old 40s Cap.
That was where I first heard about Daredevil, the old Lev Gleason one.

-sean

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Ah yes, I too read "All in Color for a Dime!" One of the authors was Don Thompson.

Don and his wife Maggie had a column in, and ultimately took over a bi-weekly newspaper that started in the early 1970s called "The Buyers Guide for Comic Fandom." It finally came to an end around 2015, I think. Not a bad run... 40 -45 years?

Every other Tuesday I was glued to the mailbox waiting for that thing. It covered ALL things comics related!

Ahhhh the nostlagia... not only youth but pre-internet.

Not sure if you are familiar with that newspaper which morphed into a magazine?

Anonymous said...

I've seen some issues, but being a metropolitan elitist the only thing like that I read much of was the Comic Journal.

And - in the early 80s - the shortlived British A5 size Escape magazine which had so-so Raw style comic strips, but also a lot of useful info (particularly on where you could find weirdo French and Italian comics in the UK).
Of course, eventually SezDez' Comics International mag saved pre-internet comic news in the UK...

-sean

Killdumpster said...

Bill Everett's 70's stint on Sub-Mariner was great. The art had an elegant quality to it. I was so bummed out when I got the issue where they announced his death.

Even though most Timely golden-age stories contained art that seems unpolished by today's standards, they certainly were chock-full of action & suspense.

Anytime an annual or giant-size book included a Timely reprint I considered it a bonus, not a filler.

As I've said before, I loved Marvel's reprint books. When they put out the Human Torch (half the book was a Johnny Storm Strange Tales story, the other golden-age Torch) it was a grab.

In one original Torch story he and Toro fought a giant alien called the Unhuman. It had a thousand heads, poisonous snake tongues, multiple arms, and crab claws for feet.

It floated to earth from it's spaceship using a huge parachute. The Torch's flame was useless against it, but he was able to burn away the parachute, crashing it to the ground.

I don't believe it died, and it was hauled away. Always thought it would've made a great villain, but I don't think they ever brought him back. Probably because he would be a pain to draw.

Steve W. said...

Charlie, green Captain Marvel was reprinted in Marvel UK's Planet of the Apes comic and then, as Sean says, moved to The Titans. Late 1960s/early 1970s Subby tales showed up in The Titans as well.

Marvel UK didn't reprint much from the Atlas/Timely era. What they did reprint were the monster stories, mostly in Planet of the Apes and Star Wars Weekly. However, Alan Class comics reprinted huge piles of Atlas/Timely stuff. Again, those were the monster stories, rather than the super-hero stuff. They did, however, reprint the old Charlton heroes like Captain Atom.

The American reprint mags like Marvel's Greatest Comics were available in Britain. Pretty much anything that was available in America was available in Britain.

Anonymous said...

Charlie, Sean

Captain Marvel started as a back up in Planet Of the Apes before moving to The Titans. The green costume was featured on a few Titans covers, and probably easy to find on this very site. Sub-mariner also started in The Titans (the first The Tales to Astonish story) but can't remember if they made it as far as Everett's later tales.

DW

Anonymous said...

As Steve said...

DW

Timothy Field said...

Though Marvel UK covered a lot of ground with regard to the US back catalogue, it is interesting to hear how much got missed, dropped or left unfinished in the UK reprints. I think at the time I was under the impression we were seeing all the US stuff reworked in black and white. Looking back now, it's funny how patchy and haphazard Marvel UK was.

Colin Jones said...

I remember reading that the band Queen suffered a big drop in popularity in the USA after they dressed up as women in the video for "I Want To Break Free" (or was it another video? I can't be bothered to check). Just imagine how our American friends would have reacted to Hinge & Bracket, Danny La Rue, Pantomime dames, Les Dawson's Cissy & Ada, Morecambe & Wise in bed together etc, etc...

"Pretty much anything that was available in America was available in Britain" - yes, if you lived in a city like Sheffield, Steve. But if, like me, you lived in a small town you had to be thankful for whatever meagre pickings were available.

Killdumpster said...

That was pretty much the situation I was in, Sean.

If I didn't make it into "town" the only avenue for comics was a general store in a hick village I lived by. Their spinner rack only ever had coverless comics, bagged 4 for 20 cents.

Timothy Field said...

I didn't see US issues with any regularity until 81/82, before that I could only find them during summer holidays at the seaside.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Sean - Funny you write about R*bbins. I rationalized his art in Invaders by saying it was so similar to the comic book art of the 1940s, lol.

B.t.w. do you have a list of favorite French comics? I get there often enough and it would give me something to do as I kill time in the city by going to the book/magazine stores.

KD- Yep, I'm same. WHen I got my hands on some Timely reprint, I considered it bonus and often better than many silver age stories!

Anonymous said...

I lived in a city Kd - other than not recalling the import reprint titles, I was in the same situation as my fellow metropolitan elitist Steve.

-sean

Anonymous said...

Charlie, I expect R*bb*ns got the Invaders job because his work had a (sort of) Canniff look to it. But in the 40s comic books looked quite a bit cruder than the better newspaper strips, no? (Mind you, so did R*bb*ns)

I'm not really up on les bandes desinees so much these days - most of the magazines I used to read don't come out any more (unless Metal Hurlant has been revived again recently).
I get the occasional book - Le Cri du Peuple by Jacques Tardi is worth checking out. Its set in the 1870 Paris Commune, but you don't have to be a dodgy pinko to appreciate it (I guess?)
Celestial Bibendum by Nicolas de Crecy was the last one I got by an unfamiliar name. Best "graphic novel" I'd read in years.

-sean

Anonymous said...

Kirby woulda been the perfect artist for Invaders, but his days of drawing somebody else's ideas were way behind him.
And he might have been sick of W.W.2, having actually fought in it.
Colin, regarding Queen, I've been a fan since the late '70's and I don't remember any talk of that video. The thing is, after the album The Game, which was huge, Queen just didn't sell very many records here in the States.
Now, holy moly, they're bigger than ever.
I saw that happen with the Doors, the Who and Led Zep, where for a long time you didn't hear 'em on the radio or anywhere and then, years later, their music came roaring back. Something to do with the zeitgeist, I figure. A movie doesn't hurt.
I figure it's gonna happen with Bowie or Iggy at some point.

M.P.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Colin -

You left out Barry Humphries and Dame Edna whom I happened to see live in London in 1987, lol.

Actually I, also have not heard of that video / story.

We had The Benny Hill show here, and it was quite popular, and he was no stranger to dressing like a female?

The New York Dolls had some degree of popularity as did plausibly adrogenous folks like Bowie and Don Knotts.

And statistically, the USA is actually a very progressive/liberal populace compared to the rest of the world (not withstanding the racist, sexist, bigoted, friend of Jeffrey Epstein, whose wife is a first class grifter and illegally got her family US citizenship but that is OK because they are white people, running the country at the moment).


Charlie Horse 47 said...

Queen would be dog patch right now, regardless of the movie, were it not for "We will, we will rock you!" which is played ad nauseum at professional, university, and kiddie sporting events and all kinds of other things where we must get "fired up!"

I mean, everyone knows that 5-second burst and hence can indirectly connect to Queen.

Iggy Pop? Roaring back? Cliff Richard has a way better chance, my man!

If the Fratellis could string a few hits together, one could do a movie about them in 2050 b/c of the Chelsea Dagger being played everywhere. Tell me I'm wrong! Double dog dare you!

Anonymous said...

Charlie, apparently you're not familiar with Queen's entire musical catalogue. I am.
As for Iggy, he is a poet! And prescient, and his music will be heard a hundred years from now when radioactive mutants are fighting over fresh water.

M.P.

Anonymous said...

You mean you don't already have mutants fighting over fresh water in the US, M.P.? I knew all that stuff I read about Flint, Michigan had to be fake nooz.

I've heard that Queen story, and I'm not even interested - it appears here in the media regularly. You and Charlie do make me suspect its one of those myths they like to circulate, to explain something way...

-sean

Anonymous said...

*away... (Duh, typo)

-sean

Anonymous said...

What Queen story?
I have no idea what you're talking about.

M.P.

Anonymous said...

What Colin was saying about that video, the one you "don't remember any talk of".
Now I'm thinking if you can forget your own earlier comment maybe it did happen.

-sean

Anonymous said...

It did happen, but I don't recall any reaction to it.
Maybe I wasn't paying attention to anybody who would have a reaction to it.
What's the big deal? We're all adults here.

M.P.

Colin Jones said...

My apologies to all Americans if you didn't really boycott Queen because they did drag.
I also heard a radio documentary about disco which claimed Americans turned against disco because it was too gay and too black.

Charlie, I didn't include Barry Humphries/Dame Edna because he/she is Australian and therefore nothing to do with us Brits :)

Charlie Horse 47 said...

What follows is the sacred truth per Charlie.

1) Every person Charlie met, who saw the Queen movie (and there weren't that many), prefaced it by saying, "I never really listened to their music but the movie was great." But "we will we will rock you" is heard across the land so they indirectly live on.

2) Obviously there are bigots/ racists in the USA as demonstrated by our President Bone Spur and the 40,000,000 troglodytes that stay with him. But it would be a mistake to put Micheal Jackson next to Diana Ross next to James Brown and have James Brown say he didn't sell as many records b/c Americans are racist.

3) Colin - No apologies are necessary. With 330,000,000 inhabitants, and declining, it's possible what you heard was true for some segment of our population.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Hey - who was more popular in the UK: Barry Humphries or Benny Hill?

Was Benny Hill more popular in the USA or the UK? Was Benny even popular in the UK? I haven't a clue!

Charlie Horse 47 said...

I think Kirby actually did a few covers for the Invaders? Or was it Kirbyesque by someone like Rich Buckler?

I am quite sure, though, that Kirby may have done a cover/story for "Marvel Premiere" which featured a WW2 team of the second-stringers like Wizard or Miss America? Maybe around issue 29 or so around 1975-75? Eventually these characters were worked into some Invaders' stories?

dangermash said...

Tim - Your point about how much got missed, dropped or left unfinished in the UK reprints. I share your fascination with this. We tore through Spider-Man and the Hulk in the U.K., with Avengers and FF some way behind them and maybe Iron Man, Thor And DD not far behind those two. With Doctor Strange, Ant Man and original X-Men, the US comics were cancelled at some point, so it was easy for the U.K. to plug them in where convenient. But what sticks out like a sore thumb is that Marvel UK were so loathe to reprint Captain America stories. He was the last taxi off the rank. I guess the Human Torch stories from Strange Tales were never reprinted but nobody was too bothered about that.

Killdumpster said...

As far as the "death of disco" in America, it was partially caused by the horrid Urban Cowboy craze. New wave and punk was sweeping the world, but a large percentage of mainstream americans were listening pop-style C&W.
Cowboy hats, boots, and giant belt-buckles were fraggin everywhere. It felt like being trapped in a Gene Autry film.

The Queen boycott is totally unknown to me.

Iggy Pop has had a few minor hits, and many legendary songs, but he'll always be a cult-statis artist. I'm just glad he never gave up.

Colin Jones said...

Charlie, Benny Hill was very popular in the UK in the '70s but his comedy became regarded as rather sexist and out-of-date and so dropped out of fashion.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Colin - I kind of figured as much. But he was in syndication here at least until the early 1990s and I knew folks who still watched. But yes, society does change its views on things to create these massive dichotomies.

Now... did Kirby do an Invaders or no? I am sooo positive at least a cover or two?

Steve W. said...

Charlie, Kirby did plenty of Invaders covers. I don't recall if he ever drew the insides of one.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, the covers were great. Then you'd open the comic and go "WHHHYYYYYYYYYYY"

I know this is a horrible thing to say, but I actually liked some Disco. Some.
Now before you guys start gasping in horror, I think it's natural to have some attachment to the stuff that was around when you were a kid.
And apparently I'm the only guy on Earth that gets Oingo Boingo.
Some might find that disturbing.

M.P.

Killdumpster said...

MP, I dig Oingo Boingo. My favorite song from them is "This Is The Life". I recommend the film "Forbidden Zone". It's a sci-fi/comedy/musical and the band did the whole soundtrack.

Geez, you guys really are on an Invaders/Fr*nk R*bb*ns kick. Thanks.

Now I have to take a pain killer.

Anonymous said...

"Winning Side" might be my favorite. Or "Private Life". Listen to the "Boingo Alive" versions (they are superior) on the U-Tubes! I command you all!
I have spoken.

M.P.

Killdumpster said...

At one time I had all the Boingo albums on vinyl. The live album is a good listen.

During that time period I was also into Wall Of Voodoo. Such an underappreciated band. Most folks know their only hit "Mexican Radio", but my favorite song from those guys is "Back In Flesh".

Killdumpster said...

As I said before, for Boingo fans or the uninitiated, FORBIDDEN ZONE is a must-see. It was made before the band got a record deal, when they were still going by their original name "The Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo"

It is a complete laugh-riot. It may be the funniest movie I've ever seen. Nonstop gags, Python-esque animation, and Danny Elfman as the Devil.

It's funnier than the Rocky Horror Picture Show.