Thursday 31 October 2019

October 31st, 1979 - Marvel UK, 40 years ago this week.

Hooray! It's Halloween, that special time of year when we kick-start our broomsticks; and those of us from the miserable North get our chainsaws out, in an attempt to cut a face into a rock-hard turnip.

What ghoulies will we be grabbed by? What ghosties will tweak our toes as we lie in bed?

Only time can tell.

But first, have you ever wanted to go to Mars?

I know I have.

Actually, I haven't, it looks like a terrible place, but, for the sake of this introduction, I'm going to pretend I do.

That's because, forty years ago tonight, someone was going to the Red Planet.

And that someone was none other than Flash Gordon.

It's true. The saviour of the universe was taking a break from liberating Mongo, thanks to a BBC Two hosted episode of his classic serial Flash Gordon's Trip to Mars. I'm one hundred percent certain I've seen it. I'm also one hundred percent certain I don't remember it.

Anyway, I'm assuming Ming the Merciless turned out to be the villain of the piece, regardless of its setting.

Later that evening, the same channel was showing the latest instalment of the legendary music show The Old Grey Whistle Test, introduced by Anne Nightingale.

The main point of interest in that week's edition, for me, is it featured a performance by Bruce Woolley who, I believe, has the distinction of having released a version of Video Killed the Radio Star before the Buggles did.

Sadly, not for for Bruce the honour of having had a Number One single and the first track ever played on MTV, as, despite not being radically different to the Buggles' take, his version failed to chart or get noticed by anyone. It lacks the bit that goes, "Ooh-a, ooh-a," and the keyboard skills of Geoff Downes, and it seems that that, in this life, is the difference between triumph and catastrophe

Star Wars Weekly #88

I have it on good authority that Darth Vader is still causing chaos for our heroes.

Meanwhile, the Guardians of the Galaxy are up against the Reavers of Arcturus who I have a feeling may be old enemies of Star-Lord and that woman he keeps turning into.

Elsewhere, the Watcher's warning us of The Menace From the Purple Planet and there's some sort of story featuring the Destroyer vs Thanos, of which I have no recall. I would assume, though, that the Destroyer's likely to be acting like Mr Grumpy Pants all the way through it.

Hulk Comic #35

The Hulk and Machine Man are still on collision course, thanks to the evil Corporation but still haven't actually reached each other yet.

Ant-Man's still stuck at insect size and still being chased around the countryside by Egghead, thanks to having allied himself with the villain's niece.

That niece is also in the Hulk story. Coincidence is a strange thing.

Meanwhile, we're still being treated to a very prolonged re-telling of Captain Britain's entire history.

Nick Fury's still being pursued by SHIELD who think he's a traitor.

And the Eternals are still battling the Cosmic Hulkbot.

Doctor Who Weekly #3, Tom Baker

Thanks to the evils of the Iron Legion, the Doctor finds himself in a Roman-style arena, having to fight a big blobby monster while armed with nothing more than a dead man's trident.

Someone call for Flash Gordon because, while he's on Mars, its inhabitants are causing nothing but trouble on Earth in Marvel's continuing adaptation of The War of the Worlds.

How great would it be if someone wrote a Flash Gordon/War of the Worlds mash-up?

Elsewhere, we get an adaptation of The Dead Planet, which my Steve-Senses tell me was the opening episode of the show's first-ever Dalek story.

Spectacular Spider-Man Weekly #347, the Spider-Slayer

Peter Parker's trying to get back with MJ but has bigger problems on his hands than that because both J Jonah Jameson and Professor Smythe are out to get him.

The FF are up against evil caricatures of themselves, created by a child. It's a tale I've read elsewhere but have no recollection of ever having encountered in a Marvel UK book. This means I've either never read this issue or I have and have simply forgotten about it.

Meanwhile, Godzilla's captured by alien invaders! I suspect it won't be long before  they learn to regret it.

Also included: Iron Man's up against Firebrand, Thor's battling the gods of Ancient Egypt, and Daredevil's up against the Man-Bull.

Sunday 27 October 2019

2000 AD - September 1981.

If I were to say to you, "Sometimes I feel I've got to... away," I've no doubt at all you'd know exactly what I was referring to.

I'd be referring to the music charts of September 1981 because that month began with those very words at the toppermost of the poppermost, as Soft Cell ruled the UK singles chart with their heavily remodelled version of the Northern Soul classic Tainted Love.

But they didn't have it all to themselves because, halfway through that month, they were dethroned by a prince.

That prince was one of the charming variety, one who knew that ridicule was nothing to be scared of. Yes, it was Adam Ant and his band of a similar name.

Well, those young things may have been bossing the singles market but, over on the album chart, the oldies were in charge, as September began with ELO on top, thanks to their LP Time, before they were deposed by Genesis's latest offering Abacab.

I don't have a clue what tracks peace protesters were listening to back then but I do know it was the month the legendary Greenham Common Women's Peace Camp was set up. Clearly, it must have worked, as, thirty eight years later, nuclear Holocaust has yet to break out.

If it was a bad month for those planning Armageddon, it was a great one for comedy actor David Jason who had two massively successful TV shows launch within days of each other.

The first was the long-running and occasionally interminable sitcom Only Fools and Horses, while the second was the much-loved cartoon Danger Mouse.

And Danger Mouse wasn't the only animated legend making his mark that month because we also experienced the very first broadcast of Postman Pat.

Across the pond, Simon & Garfunkel were doing their Concert in Central Park, a free show performed before a crowd of half a million.

I wonder how that figure compares to the number of people who were reading 2000 AD at the time?

However many of them there were, they were being given Judge Dredd, Strontium Dog, Nemesis the Warlock, Tharg's Future Shocks and The Mean Arena.

Among those epics, we got the conclusion to the tale of Judge Death's return, in which Dredd and Anderson travel to Judge Death's homeworld, which I suspect is not a happy place.

But the big news was we got the first appearance of Rogue Trouper, the blue skinned soldier of the future, genetically modified to be able to survive in a vacuum, which is a talent I'm sure will serve him in good stead.

It would seem Prog 229 has a feature about space travel in the 1980s. It'd be interesting to know just what Tharg reckoned we had in store for us.

2000 AD Prog 228, Rogue Trooper

2000 AD Prog 229, Judge Dredd

2000 AD Prog 230, Nemesis the Warlock

2000 AD Prog 231

Thursday 24 October 2019

October 24th, 1979 - Marvel UK, 40 years ago this week.

Winter can be a terrible time; a period of cold, damp and misery, the days growing shorter and the toes growing tinglier.

But it can also be a time of magic.

And the ebb tide of 1979 gave us just that because, following the success of the summer specials, October saw Marvel UK giving us a walloping four specials of the winter variety.

What were they?

And how special were they?

Keep reading to find out.

But first, there's the serious matter of international sport to be dealt with and this night in 1979 saw BBC Two broadcast The State Express World Challenge Cup, as Canada took on Australia at snooker.

To possibly no one's surprise, Canada were led by Cliff "The Grinder" Thorburn. However, Australia were represented by Gary Owen, Paddy Morgan and Ian Anderson, three people I've never heard of. How can this be right? If it's snooker and Australia, surely it has to be  Steady Eddie Charlton? His absence means my whole faith in the sport is shaken to the core.

It would be nice to think the Ian Anderson in question was the lead singer of Jethro Tull, having grabbed a cue and decided to give it a try but I suspect it wasn't.

Speaking of faith, this week in that year saw Lena Martell ascend to the top of the UK singles chart, with her Jesus-pestering gospel anthem One Day at a Time.

Over on the album chart, there was no change at the top, with Regatta de Blanc retaining its crown and doing so by seeing off the challenge of Fleetwood Mac's Tusk which crashed in at Number Two.

Star Wars Weekly #87, Luke Skywalker vs Darth Vader

I can give no reliable information about the contents of this comic but I would assume the Surfer's still battling the Badoon.

The Watcher and Star-Lord's whereabouts are a complete blank to me.

I'm going to make a guess that Luke Skywalker confronts Darth Vader in this issue.

I'm also confident no revelations of a familial nature will be made.

The Corporation are out for revenge on both the Hulk and Machine Man and, thus, trick Hulkie into thinking Machiney's kidnapped Trish Star, so the green grappler will want to kill him.

Captain Britain's origin's still being retold.

And, speaking of Trish Starr, Ant-Man also gets to meet her, this time when she has a public row with her uncle the villainous Egghead, prompting our hero to get involved.

Nick Fury's suspected of being a traitor, in an early Barry Smith tale.

The Eternals are still getting nowhere in their battle with the Hulkbot. Can't they just levitate him into space? That would seem, to me, to be the easiest solution.

Doctor Who Weekly #2, Tom Baker and K9

In our second issue from TV's greatest hero, we get coverage of Brighton's 1979 Seacon convention, more from Chris Claremont's adaptation of War of the Worlds, an adaptation of An Unearthly Child, Cybermen, Daleks, and more from The Iron Legion.

All this in just 28 pages? How is such a thing even possible?

This comic must be bigger on the inside than on the outside!

Spectacular Spider-Man Weekly #346, Man-Wolf

Man-Wolf's kidnapped J Jonah Jameson, thanks to the malevolent machinations of the dying Professor Smythe - and only Spider-Man can stop him!

Actually, probably most Marvel heroes could stop him but it wouldn't have sounded so dramatic if I'd said that.

For a change, I have no idea what else happens in this issue.

Star Heroes Winter Special 1979

This is it. The first of our winter specials arrives, as we get a good dose of both Battlestar Galactica and the Micronauts. No disrespect to either of those franchises but I'm not sure I'd want to spend 40 pence on either of them.

Superhero Fun and Games Winter Special 1979

However, our second winter special's a full 15 pence cheaper, as we get all kinds of Marvel-related fun and games.

Frantic Winter Special 1979

And, if you don't get your fill of Battlestar Galactica from the Star Heroes special, you can get even more of it from our third winter offering.

Amongst, no-doubt, riotous mirth from Howard the Duck, the Waltons and Silver Surfer, this magazine includes material from that well-known master of hilarity Alan Moore.

Spider-Man Winter Special 1979

And, finally, among our winter specials, we discover Spider-Man's, in which the Watcher asks, "What if someone else had become Spider-Man?" a look at how the wall-crawler's British comic's changed over the last six years, and that 1960s tale which revealed how Lee and Ditko concoct a story.

It's the one with Sturdy Steve drawing Spidey on a rocket flying past the Statue of Liberty. I've always had a soft spot for that one.

Sunday 20 October 2019

Wonder Woman #205 - the deadliest domino.

Wonder Woman #205, Target Wonder Woman, tied to a nuclear missile by her own lasso, flying over New York about to blow it up in a nuclear explosion, thanks to Dr Domino
It has occurred to me that, although I've reviewed Wonder Woman in the past, I've only done so for her Emma Peel phase and not her more typical, super-powered, eras.

Well, this is where that changes because right here's where I revisit one of the strangest comics I've ever read. It's a tale I've not encountered since the 1970s, so how will it stand up to modern day scrutiny?

Having regained her powers, last issue, Diana Prince has landed herself a job as some sort of tour guide at the United Nations where her ability to speak every language and dialect on Earth will serve her, and her employers, in good stead.

Sadly, despite her new job, she's not a happy woman. That's because heartthrob diplomat Morgan Tracy's too busy judging the Miss United Nations contest and admiring the charms of its contestants to notice a Plain Jane like Diana hanging around.

Happily, for her, that's when terrorists barge in and kidnap the object of her lustings, fleeing, with him, to a ship harboured outside American waters.

Wonder Woman #205, Morgan Tracy to the rescue

Not deterred by large bodies of water, our heroine swims out to the ship and starts to climb its anchor chain, only to be knocked out by a load of electricity.

Wonder Woman #205, Dr Domino

It turns out the ship belongs to a villain called Dr Domino who wants Tracy to give him the Bacteria Cloudburst Formula the diplomat bought from its now-dead creator. When Tracy refuses to comply, Domino reacts as anyone would in such a circumstance and ties the unconscious Wonder Woman to a nuclear missile and fires it at New York.

Wonder Woman #205, nuclear missile

Fortunately, the amazing amazon regains consciousness in time to divert the missile back towards Domino's ship, summons her own magic plane, grabs Tracy, and the pair fly away from the scene, as Domino and his henchmen are nuked into oblivion.

Wonder Woman #205, Dr Domino dies

Hooray! The day is saved!

Sadly, it doesn't do Diana Prince any good. Tracy still thinks she's deficient in the looks department and still has eyes only for more attractive women, leaving Diana to sob helplessly to herself.

Wonder Woman #205, Nubia triumphantBut that's not all the Amazon goodness we get this time out because we also receive a back-up strip which provides more of the mysterious Nubia than we got last issue.

After a brief meeting with Queen Hippolyta, Nubia returns to her home on The Floating Island, beats up some bloke who fancies his chances with her and then goes off to have a good old sob about not knowing who her parents are.

She fits all this in between handing out lectures about how war must be eliminated from the Earth, even though she and her tribe seem to worship Mars, the god of war.

I'd love to say this book's a masterpiece but it's one of the weirdest things I've ever read - and I've read Supergirl comics. Wonder Woman, who I'm sure is supposed to be a feminist and a battle-hardened warrior, spends all her time blubbing about men not finding her attractive. This doesn't make sense. She's Wonder Woman. She has the beauty of Aphrodite. Also, she's Wonder Woman. Why is she so desperate to please men?

On top of this, does the United Nations really hold its own beauty contests?

And what's going on with Morgan Tracy? He's clearly meant to be a good guy but has bought a menace called the Bacteria Cloudburst Formula off a scientist. It could be argued he did it to prevent the formula falling into the wrong hands except the comic doesn't argue it. It gives us no explanation at all as to why he did it, leaving us to just hope the object of Diana's affections isn't completely psycho.

Then there's the villain. He's a man dressed as a stage magician, with a giant domino where his head should be. I would assume he's merely wearing it over his real head but it's clear, when he turns sideways, that there's no room in there for a head. Therefore, he must literally have a giant domino for a head. Just how does a circumstance like that come about?

I've always assumed he was a revived Golden Age villain and that's why he's so ridiculous but, as far as I can make out, this is his first-ever appearance.

Research tells me it's also his last.

Wonder Woman #205, Diana Prince sobs
That actually quite saddens me. I do feel quite sorry for him now and hope that, one day, Dr Domino makes his return when we all least expect it.

So, Robert Kanigher's script is complete nonsense but what of the art?

Well it's by Don Heck and it's from the 1970s, so it should look terrible but it's actually perfectly acceptable. I don't know if it's the influence of Bob Oksner's inks but you can see hints of the more elegant artist Heck had been in the 1950s and early 1960s and - for once, in the 1970s - his figures don't look like they're falling apart.

It's not a comic I can recommend on the grounds of its merits but it is one that's worth reading just to experience the ludicrousness of it and for a view of how girls' comics used to be done, back in the old days, when breaking down in floods of tears was a super-heroine's main duty to the world.

Thursday 17 October 2019

October 17th, 1979 - Marvel UK, 40 years ago this week.

This is it! After weeks of anticipation, the most momentous moment in the history of human history has happened. We've finally reached the week, forty years ago, when, thanks to Marvel UK, it happened.

But what is it? And will it kill us?

Read on to find out.

But first, let's see what was happening on the pop charts at the time.

The big news on the singles front was that the Buggles' Video Killed the Radio Star hit the Number One spot in Britain by dethroning the Police's Message in a Bottle.

If that was bad news for the reggae-tinged trio, things were going far better for them on the album chart, where their brand new album Regatta De Blanc smashed straight in at Number One and knocked Blondie flying from that perch, in the process.

Over on TV, this afternoon of that week, Birmingham's greatest cultural gift to mankind - Pebble Mill at One - gave us the spectacle of Are You Being Served's Mollie Sugden preparing her favourite dish, in the foyer. There's something about that combination of words which sounds plain bizarre.

Meanwhile, that evening, BBC One was showing the Star Trek episode The Apple which I'm fairly certain is the one in which David Soul and his people are living in happiness, contentment and harmony until Captain Kirk comes along and blows up their god, leaving them with no food, water, social structure, means of governance or even basic survival skills, and then flies off, abandoning them to sort out the total mess he's made of their world, while congratulating himself on another job well done.

Star Wars Weekly #86, Sister Domina steps out of a spaceship as Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, R2D2, C3PO, Chewbacca and Princess Leia watch, cover by Carmine Infantino

I don't have a clue what's happening in the main strip or why everyone's looking so startled but I do know, "Sister Domina," sounds a bit saucy. Has kinkiness finally entered the world of George Lucas?

In The Guardians of the Galaxy strip, the Silver Surfer finds himself tackling the Badoon as they try to conquer modern day New York.

You guessed, it's the story which, confronted by the Dreaded Deadline Doom, recycles an old Surfer tale, with a few panels of the Guardians tacked on at the beginning and end of it.

I have no news of either Star-Lord or the Watcher.

Hulk Comic #33, Ant-Man is trapped at ant size and about to be crushed by a giant foot

Ant-Man's still trapped at ant size.

But it's not all disaster because, while he's running around with his dog, achieving very little, Spider-Man's sorting out the bad guys, elsewhere and then provides Hank with a cure for his current rabies problem.

However, that doesn't solve his problem of being ant-sized.

The Eternals are still fighting the Hulkbot.

We get more of Captain Britain's origin.

The real Hulk is being reunited with Egghead's niece Trish Starr.

And we get the epic Nick Fury moment where the Hate-Monger accidentally steps out of an airlock and into space.

Well, they do say hate is blind.

Doctor Who Weekly, Tom Baker and a dalek in front of a backdrop of stars

Hold on to your TARDIS, time and space lovers because we've finally reached it - this week's big announcement, as Doctor Who Weekly hits the racks for the first time and a whole planet celebrates!

I say that but I don't remember ever seeing a single issue of it for sale anywhere. But it's still going strong, as Doctor Who Magazine, forty years later, so someone must have been able to buy it.

As for the contents, we get all the stuff you'd expect from such a comic, including Doctor Who strips, photos and features but we also get a Chris Claremont written adaptation of War of the Worlds.

War of the Worlds? If this had been the mid 1970s, Marvel UK would have redrawn the Martians as Daleks, the human villains as Sea-Devils, the tripods as Drashigs and renamed the protagonist, "Monstermurderer."

Personally, I would have paid good money to read the adventures of Derek Monstermurderer.

Among the Doctor Who stuff is a Dave Gibbons drawn tale of what seem to be robots from space, in Roman armour, invading modern day Britain.

Spectacular Spider-Man Weekly #345, John Jameson, wrapped in bandages, carries J Jonah Jameson out of a window, as Spider-Man watches, ready to fight him

I do believe that's the resuscitated John Jameson who's kidnapping Jonah, thanks to the machinations of some evil scientist or other.

And when John Jameson's around, we all know that can only lead to trouble of the furry kind.

What else happens in this book?

I have no idea.

Sunday 13 October 2019

The Marvel Lucky Bag - October 1979.

It's time, once more, for me to fling open the doors and stride purposefully into my local cinema, striding down the aisle, down those steps, demanding a seat near the screen, and an ice lolly because I mean business.

That's because it's October 1979 and I've no doubt my local flea pit's filled with celluloid treasures the like of which we've never seen before.

Well, not really. To be honest, there were only two films released in that month that I've ever heard of. One of them was 10 and the other was Meteor. I have, to this day, never seen 10 but I did see Meteor in the ABC 2 cinema, an auditorium smaller than our living room. I must confess I remember the cinema better than I recall the movie.

But I'll tell you what I do remember...

...not one of the comics I'm about to take a glancing look at.

Howard the Duck #1

It's the news the world's been desperate to hear. Howard the Duck has a brand new comic - or even yet a magazine!

With a sizzling new book out, surely it can only be a matter of time before he too, like Meteor, conquers our cinemas.

I can offer few insights into the book's contents but I do know it only lasted for nine issues, so it possibly wasn't as great a success as Marvel might have hoped it'd be.

Marvel Comics Super Special #14, Meteor

But hold on a minute! Not only can I see Meteor in the cinema but I can read it as well? Up until now, I'd been genuinely unaware Marvel had done an adaptation of it.

Apparently, Frank Miller provided the cover, while Gene Colan and Tom Palmer gave us the interior, so we can safely say it was guaranteed to not let us down when it came to visuals.

Marvel Premiere #50, Alice Cooper

It turns out it wasn't just Kiss who got the Marvel treatment in the 1970s because the man who some of us suspect they owed almost everything to got one as well, as Alice Cooper found himself immortalised in print.

It would seem the art was provided by Charlton horror-meister Tom Sutton, which sounds like a good choice for such a book.

Apparently, Dr Octopus and the Hulk put in cameo appearances.

Tarzan #29

That ship may be sinking but so is Tarzan's Marvel career, as this is the last issue of his book. He can at least console himself that he did better than Howard the Duck's about to. The rivalry between Tarzan and Howard the Duck is, as we know, as old as the hills.

From what I can make out, Tarzan, Jane and their animal friends are on their way back to Africa, from New York, when a terrorist decides to blow up the ship they're on and they find themselves stranded in the middle of the ocean, in a lifeboat.

So, basically, it's like a more overcrowded version of Life of Pi.

Tomb of Dracula #1

Howard the Duck's not the only one getting a revival because the man who just won't lie down is also back.

I know little of the magazine's contents but I do know Gene Colan is once more let loose on the pencils.

Sadly, this book is doomed to survive for just six issues.

John Carter Annual #3

Hooray! John Carter gets his third annual. We can only assume this means Marvel have great plans for him.

Well, not really, as his regular mag's cancelled this month and this is his last annual.

In fairness, three annuals and twenty eight normal issues is a fair bit more than I would have expected him to have managed.

Anyway, our hero's in serious trouble when a bunch of female priests abduct him to sacrifice to their goddess.

Tarzan Annual #3

Not to be outdone by his Edgar Rice Burroughs stablemate, Tarzan also gets a third annual coinciding with his final monthly appearance. His monthly mag has managed to last one issue longer than John Carter's, so that's something.

More to the point, "Ant-Men and She-Devils!" Wait! What! He's up against Ant-Man and Red Sonja? Now there's a storyline that would have made his book worth reading!

Thursday 10 October 2019

October 10th, 1979 - Marvel UK, 40 years ago this week.

One of the great mysteries of life is why the Star Trek episode Who Mourns for Adonais is called that, bearing in mind Apollo's the bloke who appears in it and Adonis is nowhere in sight.

Therefore, I've no doubt that question was being asked on this night of exactly forty years ago because that very tale was being shown right there and then, on BBC One.

Actually, I know why it's called Who Mourns for Adonais. I just like to feign ignorance of 19th Century poetry, in order to maintain my image as a steel-fisted man of the streets.

Then again, for those who took their pleasure from music, rather than TV or poetry, the big news was that Britain's brand new Number One LP was Eat to the Beat by Blondie. Personally, I preferred the singles from the preceding year's album Parallel Lines but, regardless, the album went on to be certified platinum in both Britain and the United States, so it must have been doing something right.

But first, in a shock development, nothing has happened!

I did report, seven days ago, that, this week, a major event would occur in the history of humanity. Subsequent investigation has revealed I read the date of that event wrong and, consequently, I can't make the relevant announcement until next week. But that's the problem with time. It's such a ball of wibbly-wobbliness.

Star Wars Weekly #85, Darth Vader

I have spectacularly limited knowledge of the contents of this comic.

I am, though, willing to bet Darth Vader shows up in it.

I'm also willing to bet he doesn't kill Luke Skywalker.

I'm also willing to bet he makes no mention of being Luke's father.

When it comes to the Guardians of the Galaxy, I'm pretty sure Vance and Nikki are still getting up to transcendent hi-jinks together.

Star-Lord is, likely, still in an ark in space.

The Watcher is, no doubt, giving us a morality tale we should all bear in mind if we value our souls.

Hulk Comic #32, Ikaris vs the Cosmic Powered Hulk

In the main strip, the Hulk's finally finished off beating-up on The Corporation.

Elsewhere, a robot Hulk's busy beating-up on Ikaris and friends.

Ant-Man's been injected with rabies and is now stuck at ant-size because of it. I was going to say, "Just imagine all the damage a rabid Ant-Man could do," but he really couldn't do any, could he.

I think Nick Fury's still having trouble with the Hate-Monger who's drafted an unwitting pop group to be his spreaders of discord.

Captain Britain's origin continues unabated.

Spectacular Spider-Man Weekly #344, Jigsaw

Peter Parker's struggling to come to terms with Aunt May's mortality and Jigsaw's struggling to come to terms with his fear of Spider-Man.

Meanwhile, someone's stolen John Jameson's cryonically frozen body. I've no doubt this can only lead to trouble.

This is all I can say of the contents of this week's issue because this is all I know.

Tuesday 8 October 2019

Forty years ago today - October 1979.

Here is a hole.

It is the Pit of Clueless Darkness which leads to the very Past itself.

I am about to jump down it.

I have no parachute.

The Past will simply have to try and survive the full force of my impact.

Avengers #188

The Avengers find themselves up against Marvel's equivalent of the Metal Men, as trouble breaks out in a Russian nuclear power plant.

A team of American based super-heroes blundering into a Russian nuclear facility, at the height of the Cold War, what could possibly go wrong?

Incredible Hulk #240

The Hulk's still in that hidden City in the Andes and meeting its three rulers and their magic flame.

But one of those three rulers - the really old one - looks awfully familiar to the Hulk. Just who could he be?

Iron man #127

Iron Man takes on a whole bunch of Marvel's lesser tech-based villains, on Peter Cushing's floating secret headquarters of evil.

Needless to say, it doesn't take long for our hero to make mincemeat of the lot of them. Poor old Porcupine, how will his rep ever recover after this?

Amazing Spider-Man #197, the Kingpin

The Kingpin's promised his wife Vanessa that he'll give up his life of crime, at midnight. That means he's set himself the challenge of killing Spider-Man before then.

Can the rotund ruler of robbery succeed?

Spectacular Spider-Man #35

It's the return of the villain we never dreamt would return, as the Mind-Worm reappears from seemingly nowhere.

This time, Spidey finds himself trapped in the cranial criminal's dreams and has to help him overcome his psychological issues, so his opponent can become a reformed man.

Captain America #238

Captain America decides to attack a hidden fortress in some mountains or other. I don't have a clue why.

X-Men #126

We're all on Muir Island, trying to stop Mutant X as he rampages around, bumping people off, left, right and centre.

Meanwhile, the man we still know purely as Jason Wyngarde is busy messing with Jean Grey's mind.

I can see no harm at all that could come from an activity like that.

Conan the Barbarian #103

Conan's up against a vampire who's clearly got the beating of him.

Fortunately, the battling barbarian can always rely on the locals to come to his rescue.

Thor #288

Thor's on the Celestials' mothership and up against the Eternals' forgotten hero who's been taken on by the Celestials as their enforcer.

Fantastic Four #211, Terrax

Hooray! The FF sentence who-knows-how-many worlds to death, by recruiting Terrax as Galactus' new herald. Not that Terrax is given any say in the matter.

There are times when you can't help feeling Reed Richards is a menace to the whole universe.

Sunday 6 October 2019

The Marvel Lucky Bag - October 1969.

Things were getting a bit saucy, this month in 1969 because barely had the month started than Creedence Clearwater Revival's Bad Moon Rising was dethroned from atop the UK singles chart and replaced by Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg's Je T'Aime... Moi Non Plus.

However, the pair had clearly peaked too quickly because, just one week later, they were deposed by Bobby Gentry's I'll Never Fall in Love Again, possibly the earliest Number One I can remember seeing on Top of the Pops.

But that too was soon dislodged, this time by the Archies' Sugar Sugar. It does seem odd that Britain should grant a Number One to a non-existent band from a comic the vast majority of the public must have never even heard of.

Clearly, there was no shortage of churn on the singles chart but things were nothing like that volatile on the album chart because the whole month was totally dominated by just one LP, the Beatles' Abbey Road, a platter so dominant that it's still at Number One on the UK album chart, even as I type these words.

Hold on, it's been at Number One for fifty years? What madness is this?

Captain Marvel #17, it's his exciting new costume, powers and sidekick

This is it! The big one! The one where Captain Marvel has to endure the fate reserved for all Marvel heroes and is compelled to adopt Rick Jones as a sidekick!

And, weirdly, he does it willingly.

It's a tale of caves, glowing figures on wind-swept moors and alien technology in abandoned caves.

Actually, it sounds quite good when I put it like that.

Chamber of Darkness #1

Hot on the heels of the launch of last month's Tower of Shadows, Marvel produces a remarkably similar comic that's also designed to chill our bones and tingle our spines.

Silver Surfer #9, the Ghost

A somewhat odd tale in which Mephisto hires a villain to do his fighting for him - and then spends the entire fight attempting to join in while trying to pretend he's not there.

I don't have a clue why Mephisto bothered recruiting the Ghost in the first place, nor why he tries to keep his presence a secret from the Surfer.

Anyway, needless to say, the Diabolical troublemaker doesn't get what he wants.

But why on Earth is the Surfer shooting the platform, on that cover and just how is the Ghost managing to miss his target, from all of two feet away?

Sub-Mariner #18, Triton

Aliens try to steal the Earth's water but they haven't counted on the power of Namor and Triton to mess things up for them.

Still, the bad guys get their revenge when they remove Subby's ability to breathe in water.

Our Love Story #1

Hot on the heels of the launch of last month's My Love, Marvel produces a virtually identical comic in which young women who look like Mary Jane Watson and Gwen Stacy get to sob their way through yet more tales of self-inflicted woe and heartbreak.