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.


Anonymous said...

Its probably more accurate to say the Avengers were up against Marvel's equivalent of ITV's Sapphire and Steel in that issue, Steve.
Turns out, a living periodic table was a dumb idea in comics too. And the less said about the tedious Falcon sub-plot - making him an Avenger was obviously political correctness gone mad! - the better. A pity really, because John Byrne was the best artist for a team book and did good work.

I wouldn't have thought it a particularly good idea to give an evil alien warlord cosmic powers either, but to be fair to Reed I seem to recall Terrax was Galactus' choice, and the FF just had to fetch him.
Mind you, as excuses go thats a bit of a cop out, and you can't really blame Terrax for holding it against them.


Killdumpster said...


A couple years ago I picked up the Sapphire & Steel box set, because I had enjoyed their previous work (Lumley in New Avengers, McCullen in U.N.C.L.E. and the 70's Invisible Man series).

Though the basic premise was a bit bizzare, it had an "X-File-esque" enjoyability to it.

While I probably had all the books in this post, the only one I have a solid remembrance of is the Iron Man issue.

Villians a-go-go!! Always a tipping point for me!!!

Even though those bad boys were "low tech", most of those guys gave Shellhead a run for his money solo back in the day.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Steve - I always excelled at those kids games in magazines in the doctor's office. You know.. the one where you have to spot the differences between the two nearly-identical pictures?

So right away I noticed that you clustered the comics by the pricing "icon" of rectangulars vs. diamonds!

Charlie was pretty PO'd I noticed before he did.

KD - Charlie wants me to tell you that in the world of Marvel any villain gave any hero a run for his money in every issue... until the hero had to beat the villain to conclude the story. Baldini took down Cap with a long scarf, for crying out loud!

Wow! Baldini vs. Stiltman. That could be a thriller!

Anonymous said...

Arrangement by price icon? Makes you wonder about other patterns you hadn't noticed before that Steve might have used to order the posts when they weren't alphabetical, Charlies.
(But only if you were some sort of obsessive compulsive weirdo...)


Steve W. said...

I can assure all readers that the covers appear in purely random order. Any pattern is purely coincidental.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

I sense the presence of evil spirits! Do not mistype the name of this blog into the URL!!!

Killdumpster said...

The old ruler was Tyrannus. He had some issue with his rejuvenation formula after a battle with the FF or Nova. I can't remember which.

Killdumpster said...

Concerning the villains I recognize in Iron Man #127:

The Melter was a longtime foe, and usually formidable. Plus not a bad team player. I have no idea why he wasn't in the Masters of Evil in the later issues of the early Avengers' books.

Blizzard, who I believe was originally Jack Frost, took two issues to be taken out when he debuted.

Can't recall if Whiplash was calling himself Backlash in that book. Never understood the name change. While never one of my favs, they really screwed up the character in the MCU.

The Water Wizard had potential. I believe his first battle was in GHOST RIDER.

The Constricter had to be one of the lamest guys to take on the Hulk, and I think it took a couple issues for Greenskin to finish him when he was introduced.

Unfortunately the Porcupine's rep was already in the toilet, and had quite a flushes, before he appeared in this book. So sad.

Was that Spymaster getting repulsed on the cover? I'm vague on him being in that issue. Not a big fan, but he did have a cool costume.

Anonymous said...

Coincidental, Steve? Thats what they all say...


Charlie Horse 47 said...

Charlie wanted me to tell you Kool Kats, just in case you might now know, that collectors are paying big $$$ for price "icon" variations between the same issues of comics.

Supposedly (according to Charlie) numerous same issues of comics were printed with the same price but different icons like squares and diamonds and whatever... IN some cases they may even have different prices.

Personally I would not give a nit for that and would always just opt for the square vs. a diamond b/c it seems more in keeping with the symmetry of a comic book.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Wow. Fantastic Four #169 is for sale with both $.25 and $.30 price variants in addition to different looking price icons.

If that doesn't make you sit up and say "Make Mine Marvel" and then rest your head on your plastic Thor pillow nothing will while reading FOOM, nothing will!

Anonymous said...

The diamond price icon of the late 70s was for direct sales copies, so not returnable. Thats why they have a slash through the Mark of the Beast box on the lower left.
Which makes that Cap #283 a bit of an odd one, a non-returnable newstand issue... maybe from one of those triple packs they used to do?

Variations before '77 relate to different distributors - with that FF#169 you probably have a price increase being trialed in a particular area.

They were all part of the same print run, but I suppose some are rarer than others - I recall reading somewhere that pence covers made up about 5% of the run from the mid-70s, less earlier on, which should really make them very collectable for those who care about such things (of course, they're not hard to find in the UK though).

-sean (sorry, Charlie bought out the boring git in me)

Anonymous said...

That should be Cap #238. Duh.


Charlie Horse 47 said...

Sean - I am amazed at your depth of knowledge! I've only recently become aware of the variants.

Steve - "Coincident?" Yet again? I'm gobsmacked!

Anonymous said...

You weren't reading Marvels in the late 70s Charlie, right? Jim Shooter wrote an explanation of the cover differences in the Bullpen Bulletins around this time, emphasizing the common print run.

Plus, the pence covers made us over here more aware of variations early on. Before collected editions became common place - back when you often had no alternative to buying old comics if you really wanted to read them - I seem to recall cents covers could command a higher price.
Which is why I mentioned pence variations were actually rarer. Ironic, eh?


Charlie Horse 47 said...

Hi Sean,

In all fairness, I stopped reading, for the most part, around 1974ish, like around FF 150. I was hurt by the death of Gwen Stacey, and then the divorcing of Reed and Sue. (As hurt as you can be at 12 years old over comics, lol.)

I "hung on" with Invaders or WW II or Pulp stuff for another 2-3 years. So these "runs" by various writers and artists from the mid70s onward really have no meaning to me.

It's funny... Gwen has been "dead" 46 years now. But I really think only someone really into Spidey prior to that really was bothered by her death. Given Sunday's blog we talked a bit about how Spidey was a Gwen-Peter soap opera 50 years ago... Usually a good 25% of the pages seemed to involve this relationship. I mean, it really drew you in.

And for Lee and Conway to kill her off was really, really lazy and dumb on their part.