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!


Anonymous said...

Its a baffling Marvel Lucky Bag this month Steve; apart from that Alice Cooper the first reaction to the comics here is - what they were they thinking?

Meteor? Seriously?!?
But its actually surprisingly good, because - like their Jaws 2 - Gene Colan and Tom Palmer were great together, even adapting rubbish films.
The splash of the World Trade Centre being hit is particularly impressive (and has more resonance these days of course).

By all accounts Marvel were saved from bankruptcy by their Star Wars sales, so I suppose they were adapting as many films as they could in the late 70s on the off chance it might be huge too.
But what was the logic behind turning two of the few new Marvel comics of the 70s that seemed to have reasonable staying power into black & white magazines, when that format was well passed its heyday? Especially as an earlier b&w Drac mag had already failed?
And why bother with Tarzan and John Carter when DC had tried them a few years earlier and not found much of an audience?


Steve W. said...

It's noticeable that both the Dracula and Meteor magazines have the Dez Skinn cover format. I wonder if the success of Marvel UK's monthlies had convinced Marvel US to give the magazines another try in America?

Steve W. said...


The new female World Conkers champion is Jasmine Tetley of Long Eaton. The new male World Conkers champion is Andy Moore of Birmingham.

Steve W. said...

It does seem surprising that there are separate competitions for men and women. I would have thought conkers is one of those sports in which gender doesn't really matter.

Steve W. said...

So far, no videos of the epic contest have been uploaded to YouTube.

Steve W. said...

Nor is there any news of the event on the championship's own website.

Killdumpster said...

The film Meteor was only mildly entertain. It's few saving graces was Sean Connery.

When my gang and I saw 10 at the drive-inn it was a topic of conversation for weeks. It made our girlfriends mad. A few years ago I picked up a double-bill DVD at a discount shop featuring 10 & Bo DereK's truly awful Tarzan movie. Incredibly, a beautiful naked woman couldn't even save that dud.

Speaking of Tarzan, I didn't get either his or John Carter's annuals. That was one of the problems of subscribing to comics. You'd miss the annuals & double sized issues.

I searched every bookstore, grocer, & drugstore that sold comics in search of the Marvel Premier Alice Cooper book, to no avail. It was based on his "From The Inside" album, which was pretty good.

Killdumpster said...

Steve, I see you're doing a premptive strike on conkers news in anticipation of Charlie.

I just care about the quality of meat pies that were available.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Steve! My Man! Thanks for that news flash on the Conkers! T too am surprised they separated the championships by gender!

I am much obliged!

I haven't found any youtube yet, either! Please, let's all of us keep searching and when it becomes available alert SDC!!!

You rock buddy!

KD - I think there is a www site that you can reach out to, to get pie info? FWIW the whole concept of eating gravy-laden meat pies with the fingers seems way to messy for sporting events! I mean, what if you got gravy all over your conker? That could be helpful in the defence but surely a liability in the offence!

IT's worth noting, though, that you do not bring your own conker; they give you one randomly. This prevents the obvious match fixing.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

UK buddies of mine say they used to soak their conkers overnight to harden them up!

Anonymous said...

In vinegar I think Charlie. And thats all you're getting from me on conkers.

Anyway, here you go Kd -
You can finally read it.
Haven't seen 10, but it must be bad - its one of the few films Marvel didn't adapt in the late 70s. And they did Xanadu!

Steve, Stan Lee just liked the UK cover format according to Sez Dez (admittedly not the most reliable source on his own influence).
I think Marvel were still interested in the magazines, but next to the revamped Hulk, the various Super Specials, and Epic (we can't be far off from the first issue) new black & whites seem more like a half-arsed attempt to cut costs on a couple of titles in a period of declining sales.


Anonymous said...

Steve, this may be the most eclectic collection of characters you've presented us with so far.
Hmmm. John Carter, Dracula, Howard the Duck, Tarzan, and Alice Cooper.
It seems to me they oughtta have a round table, joint interview, cage fight or maybe form a band or something.
Maybe get a couple chicks in there, like Elvira, Mistress of the Dark and Grace Jones.


Killdumpster said...

Charlie, it's been awhile since I got gravy on my conker.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

All these books could be gathered up by a bunch of southern fundamentalists and burned with their Beatles records as far as my buddy Charlie is concerned.

The only decent concept of the bunch is Tarzan and we're waiting to scrape together some funds to get the 2nd Volume by Hogarth who is the definitive Tarzan creative team. (Sean recommended it b.t.w. so it's going on our Christmas Wish List!)

K.D. - Charlie don't get gravy on his conkers anymore either since he started chewing with his mouth closed and using a napkin!

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Queen of Conkers Jasmine Tetley is very photogenic!

By the way, perhaps the most important rule in Conkers is this:

There must be at least 20cm (8in) of lace between your knuckles and your nut!

Charlie Horse 47 said...

You know... I been trolling restaurants on Yelp in Southwick, Northamptonshire where the Conkers were held and none of them have "Pies." What gives? Is it really just stadium food or something?

Anonymous said...

Charlie, the current Dark Horse edition of Tarzan collects both Hogarth books; its a nice 250+ page hardcover, but if you're only after the second one maybe its worth looking around?
Seems you can get an old paperback for around $15 on Amazon in the US...

Heres some footage of the man himself on early 70s French tv, with John Buscema and Phillipe Druillet, to take your mind off the conkers for a bit -


Redartz said...

Okay, I finally had to look up "Conkers". Had no idea. Fascinating, a game using what we used to call "Buckeyes". A person can learn so much following this blog!

As for the magazines this week, I had several. None were memorable, although the Alice Cooper comic was rather cool. But Howard the Duck was a pale ghost of Steve Gerber's oddball title. Kind of sad. And the Dracula magazine? I bought it, but can recall absolutely nothing about it. Must not have made a big impression...

Anonymous said...

I looked it up too.
You guys are completely nuts! The whole pack of ya!
...Now I can understand talking about pie, that's a whole different animal.
That's something that affects all of us.


Anonymous said...

On the plus side though M.P., as Steve appears to have started informing us on sporting events in the comments I'm hoping its a precedent, and that he'll keep us up to date on the World Scrabble Championship in Goa.

First round results should be in by the time Tuesday's post goes live Steve...


Anonymous said...

Actually, now I think about it, this must be a no Tuesday post week coming up ):


Anonymous said...

Sean, you're as whimsical as I am.
Maybe more so...


Killdumpster said...

Isn't there a competitive event involving Lego?

I'll bet meat-pie gravy would be an obstacle that would hinder performance.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Now this is interesting.

What surprised was Beano # 4006 out last week. It shows kids still playing Conkers. (See the "Triky Dicky" feature!)

I kind of thought kids didn't play conkers anymore in the UK for all the well-trod reasons?

I just hope Tricky Dicky kept 8" of lace between his knuckle and nut, observing that most fundamental rule!

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Also, regarding great and famous UK sporting events aren't we soon due for the "Bog Snorkle Racing" championships? That was on US TV perhaps with Rick Steves not so long ago?

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Truth be told, I discovered Conkers through the UK DC Thomson Annuals (Beano, Dandy). Oddly I don't recall Oor Wullie ever playing Conkers.

I guess the sport has died off with kids. One of my UK buddies told me you'd never see chestnuts laying by the road side b/c kids would want them for Conkers. Now the nuts lay there by the road side, abandoned to "Progress."

Kind of sad...

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Charlie has been doing me research on UK Pies. He found the most best resto in the UK!

Goddards at Greenwich

"If you're keen to try that archetypal English dish, pie and mash (minced beef, steak and kidney or even chicken in pastry, served with mashed potatoes and gravy), do so at this Greenwich institution, which always attracts a motley crowd. Jellied eels, mushy peas and 'liquor' (a green sauce made from parsley and vinegar) are optional extras."

Charlie admits to being perplexed with eating pies with the hands outdoors. He is more perplexed how he would handle a side of jellied eels, mushy peas, and/or green liqour?

Killdumpster said...

I just might have to fly over the pond in a year or 2, go to Goddard's, and get me some meat-pies!!

How far is Picadilly Circus from Greenwich? Figured I'd check that out while going to music clubs, Abbey Road, Marc Bolan's tree, and Stonehenge.

Killdumpster said...

Might have to come up with a strategic travel plan to see all that.

Steve W. said...

I need to make a vital correction. It turns out men and women do compete against each other in the World Conkers Championship and that Jasmine Tetley is the overall winner and Andy Moore was runner-up to her. Twitter misled me.

Killdumpster said...

Jane, since she was British, probably made Tarzan meat-pies.

It would have been a waste of all those crocodiles, etc he killed if she didn't.

Come to think of it, Tarzan was probably vegetarian while he was raised by apes.

I imagine his first meat-pie was when he got shipped to civilization. He would kick-ass in conkers also, I imagine.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Steve - Thanks for that!

Also I listened to Hawksbee and Jacobs this morning on UK's Talk Sport and they had a right proper interview with the organizer.

He said it rained so bad that they had to tow cars out of the parking!

And they did indeed discuss the all-gender championship! The pictures in the link below show some wild Conker action and rain!

I did notice there was at least 8" of lace between knuckle and nut! So rules were being followed!

THe video below sums it up all very nicely! I recommend it.

Call me crazy but does the one old chap in the red coat (the first one in the video) look like McCarntney's Grampa from "A Hard Day's Night?

Charlie Horse 47 said...

KD - I don't know if the UK is ready for you yet, you ball of fire, you!!!

Killdumpster said...

You may be right. I might hit a few pubs on the way to Stonehenge, stumble into it, and knock the thing down like dominoes.

I wouldn't want to reverse US/UK relations back to Revolutionary. War levels. That seems to be the job of our big orange buffoon.

Gonna be home for the better part of the day tomorrow. I believe, inspired by Steve, I'll have a personal Tarzan/John Carter/Dracula film festival.

I used to have the METEOR dvd, but got rid of it.

Saw the Howard The Duck movie in a theater, and once was definitely enough. Man, I PAID to be tortured!

Now maybe if the concession stand sold meat-pies, my pain would have been diminished.

Killdumpster said...

I've seen movies that featured rugby, cricket, and "soccer", but I can't remember seeing a film that had even just one scene involving conkers.

Anonymous said...

If you haven't been to the U.K., go! And get a rail pass and spend some time.
Somewhere there's a picture of me walking across Abbey Road.
I don't know why I didn't think to take my shoes off.
And Scotland. Wow. Some pretty girls up there. I rode in a boat on Loch Ness!
I didn't see any monster, though. I think Sting was lying to me again.


Killdumpster said...

There was a story in the news that a scientist analyzed the DNA floating in the water of Loch Ness.

His conclusion was that "Nessie" might just be a giant eel.

Sounds like a lot of meat-pies to me!!

Killdumpster said...

I think Steve had noted that story in a previous post.

I believe making the monster into pies wasn't mentioned, though. Nor the creature's potential ability at conkers.

Anonymous said...

From what I saw of the Scots, if there was a monster they cooked and ate him along time ago.
And washed it down with ale.

...Maybe they didn't even bother to cook him.


Dougie said...

We'd have deep-fried Nessie in batter long ago, M.P. or coated him/her with tooth-rotting toffee.
And women who look like Karen Gillan are pretty commonplace up here. No teeth or functioning liver, of course.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

My great great Grandfather from Dundee, Scotland crossed the ocean 5 times to work as a gardener in summers for wealthy folk in Chicago. (No mention of bringing the great great grandmother.)

Anyhow, he was famous for sculpting hedges into a lizard/ lochness kind of thing. But the reason he kept going back to Scotland was for steak and kidney pies with a side of pickled eels!

Charlie told me.

I'm really pissed at Charlie now, b.t.w. He smacked the holy smoke out of my knuckles with his conker. Man did that hurt...

Charlie Horse 47 said...

KD - I can easily see you, Steve, Sean, Dougie, and Dangermash doing it up big time at Lochness.

Ale, meat pies, pickled eel... what a fantasy come true!!!

It's quite easy to envision y'all screaming at the Loch for Nessie to come out and party!

(Kind of like Caligula screaming at the English Channel for Neptune to come out I would imagine?)