Thursday, 7 November 2019

November 7th, 1979 - Marvel UK, 40 years ago this week.

It's two days after Guy Fawkes' Night and that can only mean one thing.

That it's time for me to grab a jungle vine, launch myself from a tree and swing through the forest, yelling, "Ahoohoohoohoohahahahaahaaaahhahh!"

That's right, it's what I do every November the Seventh.

And how lucky I was, therefore, that on this date, forty years ago, I wasn't the only one doing so, because, that evening, BBC One was giving us the Tarzan cartoon that always seemed to be on TV in my younger days. Apparently, in this exciting episode, Ekima is mistaken for a monkey god.

I've no idea who Ekima is but I assume he's a monkey. It's going to be a bit strange if he's mistaken for a monkey god and he's an elephant.

Speaking of elephants, in this week of that year, Fleetwood Mac's Tusk rose two places to claim the Number One slot on the UK album chart, which isn't bad for an LP that's often spoken of as a monumental misfire.

Star Wars Weekly #89

It would seem our heroes are still having trouble with the Tagge family.

Other than this and the knowledge that that's a very striking colour for a dress, I know little of this tale.

I do know, however, that even though the cover blurb announces the presence of The Guardians of the Galaxy and Tales of the Watcher, the real big news is that this issue contains the origin of Deathlok.

I could claim to be excited about that but, as I've lamented in the past, I always found it impossible to get into his strip.

Meanwhile, the Guardians are still battling the Reavers of Arcturus and the Watcher's telling us the terrible tale of a bunch of space explorers who find themselves on a planet surrounded by a deadly mist.

The title of that tale is The Forbidden Planet.

I wonder where Stan got that title from?

Hulk Comic #36, Machine Man

The Hulk and Machine Man finally collide, as the former seeks to rescue Trish Starr from the latter, even though the latter doesn't have her.

Speaking of Trish, in his strip, Ant-Man, still stuck at insect size, finally manages to rescue her from Egghead, despite spending a chunk of the story trapped in the back of the villain's van.

You have to hand it to Ant-Man, there aren't many super-heroes of whom you can announce that they're, "Trapped in the back of a van."

Elsewhere, we're still getting our very very very prolonged potted history of Captain Britain's career so far.

Meanwhile, the Eternals have vanished, without trace, from the book, to be replaced by the Defenders who find themselves battling Solarr and the Rhino.

Nick Fury's still out to clear his name, with all of SHIELD against him.

Rampage Magazine #17, the Hulk

I'm not sure what's happening in the Hulk tale but I suspect terrorism may be involved.

Clearly, the New X-Men are up against the Sentinels, which means we must be approaching issue #100 of the original US mag.

And Dr Strange is up against Lectra, a villain I have no recollection of. I suspect she's not a female version of Electro.

Doctor Who Weekly #4, Tom Baker, attack of the yeti, free transfers

Yet more of the Iron Legion. Yet more of War of the Worlds. Yet more of The Dead Planet. Yet more of the Daleks.

But, this time, we also get a feature on the Yetis, those robot menaces who once took over the London Underground, with their guns that fire cobwebs.

No, I can't see any logic in having yetis in the London Underground and having them carry guns, let alone ones which fire cobwebs. But who cares? That story was great and that's all that matters.

Marvel Superheroes #355, the Avengers vs ants

Ant-Man may have trouble getting out of the back of vans but he has no such difficulty taking on the entire might of the Avengers.

Come to think of it, this may be the Scott Lang version but I'm not certain.

I think this all ties in with Ultron trying to create a bride for himself, though memory lets me down when it comes to knowing just how it all ties in.

But who is the X-Men author who speaks out? Is it Chris Claremont? If so, why's he speaking out in Marvel Superheroes, rather than Rampage which is the mag that reprints Claremont's X-Men tales?

Then again, maybe it's Rascally Roy who's speaking out.

Maybe it's Stan.

Who can say?

Not me.

Marvel UK Savage Sword of Conan #25

Conan's having problems beyond the Black River, which, I believe, is a Robert E Howard tale.

I think this may be one of the ones that goes a bit Davy Crockett about things, which always felt a little strange in a Conan tale.

Red Sonja's still up against Balek and I still keep misreading it as, "Dalek."

Starburst Magazine #15, Quatermass

Hooray! We get coverage of Quatermass, Doctor Who, The Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy and more, more, more.

We also get news of something called Gandahar, a thing I can't say I've ever heard of. It would appear to be a French cartoon about a bunch of people fighting a bunch of metal men.

It also would appear that an English language version is available, starring Glenn Close.

Spectacular Spider-Man Weekly #348, chained to J J Jonah Jameson, Professor Smythe

The dying Spence Smythe's decided to get his revenge on Spider-Man and JJ by chaining them to a bomb that's set to go off in twenty four hours from now.

No, I don't know why he's set it to go off in twenty four hours, instead of just blowing them up straight away.

And that's why I'll never be an evil genius.


Killdumpster said...

No, Steve, that was Hank that cleaned the Avengers' clock.

Killdumpster said...

The artwork in that Defenders storyline was a thrill, and it had classic villains to boot. I wouldn't mind re-reading those issues again. When they finally kicked Sal Buscema off that book I was right on it.

If I remember that Ant-Man story correctly, he only had the the strength of a human at that size. Kinda like Land Of The Giants. Since Hank was more-or-less the 4th or 5th smartest guy in the Marvel universe back then, I'm sure he'd have figured a way out of the van. It's all in the writing. It still is one of my favorite Ant-Man sagas.

Hitchhikers is still an excellent example of brilliant sci-fi comedy. I never heard the radio series, but I read all the books. When I can't decide what to pop in the DVD player, that's one of my go-to's. I also have the movie version of the series, but it's a pale imitation.

Red Dwarf was also a fav of mine. Only saw/own a couple dozen episides. I really need a box set. Supposively there's been a film in production for years. If it comes to fruitation, I hope it doesn't suck.

Killdumpster said...

As I've said before, when I got an erector set & low-grade chemical set for Christmas, I thought for sure I'd be at supervillian level.

Oh the dreams of youth. So easily shattered against the rocks of reality.

Anonymous said...

Love that SSOC cover blurb "Britain's Number 1 sword & sorcery action magazine" Steve - getting to number 1 probably wasn't a difficult achievement for Britain's only sword & sorcery action magazine.
I think I detect the marketing genius of Dez Skinn there...

Gandahar was written and directed by the brilliant Rene Laloux of La Planete Sauvage and Les Maitre Du Temps fame, and designed by les bandes dessinnees auteur Philippe Caza.
I must have had that issue of Starburst, as I recall Caza's artwork in the mag.
Probably I got it because... well, it had Stonehenge on the cover, and I was into the John Mills Quatermass series, and Hitch-hikers Guide (although I was very much a radio version person).
Even Sapphire & Steel didn't put me off.

Lectra was the er, empress of Phaseworld (obviously) from the fantastic first US Dr Strange annual, by P. Craig Russell.


Anonymous said...

PS The US version of Gandahar - in English - is on Youtube in its entirety if anyone's interested (although its no Planete Sauvage).


Killdumpster said...

When my Christmas presents of an erector & low-budget chemical set didn't pan out, I started to think my plans of world domination might be in peril.

If only the $3.50 submarine, robot, hovercraft, and UFO plans would've been more menacing, maybe I couldve been at least a Bond villain.

Oh, the dreams of youth. So easily shattered against the rocks of reality.

Killdumpster said...

Sorry for reposting the same over again, oh my brothers.

Had a few pints, and was reminiscing about wanting to be Dr. Doom Jr.

Steve W. said...

KD, thanks for clearing up the Scott Lang/Hank Pym confusion.

Sean, thanks for the Gandahar and Lectra info.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Hi Sean - could you expand on Planete Sauvage? I just looked at you tube and it's full of the soundtrack only? Thanks mate!

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Somewhere I read he was stuck in a van because of "van Dyne?"

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Ever since I saw it, I could not stomach that Avengers cover... it just looks childish?

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Presumably Baltimora was watching the same Tarzan cartoons as you Steve?

With "Tarzan Boy" they bridged the Anglo-Italian divide in a far better way than, say, Chicago's "Big Al" Capone?

I still dig Tarzan Boy and will q it up every now and then!

Though if the natives were worshiping Tarzan's monkey as a God, you have to wonder if the writers were inspired by Tin Tin in the Congo where the natives worshiped Snowy?

I don't picture natives worshiping Baltimora though, do you folks?

Anonymous said...

Theres a trailer for Planete Sauvage at Charlie.

Its a strange, trippy early 70s French/Czech sf/fantasy cartoon, which I saw for the first time on tv around '79/'80, without any idea of what to expect. So it was a real mind bender...
Haven't seen it for a while, so not sure how it would hold up now, but - like anything thats one of a kind - probably ok.
(I recall being really disappointed by the Heavy Metal film when it came out a year or two later because I was expecting something in a similar vein)


Anonymous said...

Hulk Comic says "275 Great Superhero Prizes To Be Won" but Spectacular Spider-Man Weekly offers only 225 - what were these prizes and why did Spidey readers get 50 fewer?

Anonymous said...

Killdumpster, if you're interested, here are three more recent horror recommendations that I didn't mention the other day, I hadn't watched them yet.

MA - set in Ohio, a woman befriends a group of teens but she turns out to be a creepy weirdo.

BRIGHTBURN - basically a horror version of Superman's origin or "What If Superboy Was a Murdering Psychopath?"

MIDSOMMAR - four Americans visit Sweden and end up in a Wicker Man-ish folk-horror. MA and Brightburn were enjoyable but MidSommar is outstanding in my humble opinion.

And so ends my brief stint as a film reviewer :)

Killdumpster said...

Colinoh my brother, Thanks for the recommends.

Some places in Ohio can be creepy.

A psycho-Superman sounds like a gas.

I love horror films based on folklore & primitive cultures.

Charlie, When I saw that Avengers cover, it was a first grab. I love it when Ant-Man gets to kick butt.

Killdumpster said...

A huge swarm of ants are very able to cause massive death & destruction. Watch Naked Jungle with Charlton Heston to get a taste of their potential carnage.

If Ant-Man would've enlarged his ants like he did in the movie, his formidable level definitely would've risen.

A human-controlled swarm straight out of "THEM!" would be nasty.

Steve W. said...

Colin, after much research, I have discovered that the prizes were:

Marvel hero flexi-figures.
Marvel hero stickers.
Badges featuring our favourite Marvel heroes and villains.

Anonymous said...

I hear Sheffield has gone a bit JG Ballard Steve, with flooded shopping centres and what
not. Good luck keeping your head above water.


Killdumpster said...

Colin, my local Red Box rental machine has The Curse Of La Llorona DVD available. I will be viewing that tomorrow.

It also it had a couple Annabelle sequels I hadn't seen. I own the first one, but had no idea that they were cranking out so many Conjuring films in the series. Do you know if they are any good?

Saturday night is usually double/triple bill horror night for me, and it'd be a plus to see new stuff.

Though I'm not as stringent as our brother Charlie, I'd like to watch the sequels in order.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Invaders -

After nearly zonking out in episode 2, I skipped to episode 3. Susan Pleshette was the lead female Invader.

Was she a Charlie's Angle? I remember her as Bob Newhart's wife?

Interestingly, we didn't get any tell-tale stuck-pinky-finger "hints," lol.

Killdumpster said...

Pleshette wasn't an angel, just a shade too old. She held up for along time though. She always has a place in my heart.

She certainly had the hotnest going on
In that Invaders episode, and a good actress.

Anonymous said...

Steve, as those who know me can attest, I have never required a swinging jungle vine and a spotted jockstrap to yowl incoherently like Tarzan.


Killdumpster said...

Then you missed out of a lot of fun. As I lived out in the "sticks" we had 3 or 4 vines that we constantly swung on.

None of them were close to each other, though that would've been great.

We did enjoy those more than our stationary tire-swing. Come to think of it, did any of you folks in the UK actually have a tire-swing, or was that continentally exclusive?

I'm sure they are global by now.

Killdumpster said...

Where I grew up, people would have tires in there front yard, with flowers planted in them. I guess that was "hillbilly landscaping picturesque".

What's really bad is some people still do it. Yeee-Haase!

Killdumpster said...

That brings up another question:

Were you, in the UK, ever exposed to the incredibly moronic, brain-numbing onslaught of America's television hell-show, HEE-HAW?!!

My father's favorite show. It made me start to believe that there is no God.

Anonymous said...

We had a tire swing.
But if you swung on it too soon after it rained the slimy water collected at the bottom would hit your ass.
Alas, there were no "vines" in northern Iowa, however.

My father loved Hee-Haw.
Despite that, he was a pretty intelligent man.


Killdumpster said...


I can understand the amount of non-vine activity in the state of your childhood.

Nontheless, though I loved my father, and I'm sure you loved yours, HEE-HAW was a thoroughly crappy show.

"I'm a pickin', & I'm grinnin'?" Forced laughter in the rip-off "Laugh-in" cornfield? The gospel sing-alongs? The comedy-is-repetition gig ("Doom,dispair & agony on me.."). Etc,etc.

Granted they featured a few iconic legends, like Johnny Cash & Conway Twitty, but a lot of us kids only cared about Grandpa Jones, Minnie Pearl, Junior Samples.

There can't be anyone that expierenced it in the late 60's into the 70's (and early 80's reruns) that could stand it now.

Never made any inclination against your father's IQ, M.P, oh my brother.

My opinion though, it was just a damn awful show.

Anonymous said...

I would agree with that, K.D.
That show was goddam awful. I took no insult at all, I was merely sympathizing with you.
I loved my dad, he was a tough bastard, but he could be a whimsical son of a bitch sometimes.
He even loved the Beverly Hillbillies! Personally I don't get it.
Part of his charm, I guess.
We used to watch Loony Tunes together on Saturday morning if he was home.


Killdumpster said...

Actually I find the b&w early episodes of the Beverilly Hillbillies pretty entertaining. Lol.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I guess we're all kinda funny that way. We all like weird stuff nobody else gets.
I used to be in the DEVO fan club.


Dougie said...

I think Beyond the Black River is one of the best Conan prose stories even if it owes a lot to Last of the Mohicans and Hawkeye the Pathfinder.
I bought Fantastic Planet from an ebay seller a couple of years ago because I saw it on Channel 4 or somewhere in the 90s, maybe. I just like the trailer on Youtube; the voiceover reminds me of the computer in Logan's Run.

Anonymous said...

Steve, I appreciate your research into the superhero prizes but I'm still mystified why the two comics offer different amounts of prizes.

KD, I haven't seen any previous Conjuring films so I can't say how good they are.

Hee-Haw was never broadcast in the UK but we did get the Beverly Hillbillies.

And I'm sure somebody in this country made a tyre-swing but I can't recall ever seeing one.

Steve W. said...

Colin, I think it will forever be a mystery as to why Hulk fans were given more opportunity to win prizes than Spider-Man fans.

KD and Colin, I have seen the odd tyre swing in Britain but, oddly, I've never seen anyone actually using them.

Dougie, my memories of Beyond the Black River are fairly fuzzy. I must admit that, outside of one or two tales, the plots of REH Conan stories never tend to linger long in my memory.

Sean, I can announce that I came through the floods totally unscathed.

MP, there is still time for you to get into the ancient art of vine swinging.

Charlie, I don't know if you're aware that the band Stiff Little Fingers were named in honour of The Invaders?

Killdumpster said...

The old "cut-out" record bins at shops was a great place to pick up albums by obscure bands.

That's where I discovered Stiff Little Fingers, as well as Lucifer's Friend, Be-Bop Deluxe, Strawbs, etc.

M.P., there's nothing wrong with liking Devo. I can listen to just about anything from those guys. Except "Whip It". That kinda got played into the ground.

How can you not love a song called "My Girlfriend Is A Mongoliod"? Lol.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Charlie says:

1) I have had a tire swing in our front yard for the kids for 15 years now. I want to take it down but my adult kids won't let me. Neighborhood little kids do play on it. But once they get to around 10 years old, the novelty wears off.

2) Growing up among the sand dunes of Lake Michigan there were several hills / valleys of woods and sand. Nearby was a bonafide rope swing across a small valley. I guess you'd be about 10' off the ground. That was almost as much fun as riding our bikes along the beach over all the dead ale wives during the summer die offs.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Charlie says:

WHilst watching the INvaders episode 3, with Susan Pleshette, I noticed she did not have ultra blinding white teeth like today's screen stars. Indeed, they were a dinge of coffee yellow (nicotine?) (not as bad as mine) but not so yellow, given she was only around 33 in 1970.

Stiff Little Fingers... never heard of them. But I was never to adventurous buying LPs. Charlie didn't have extra $ laying around the house to experiment with anything but homegrown.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

UK Chaps:

What is the difference between whilst and while? I can't believe I used whilst assuming it was the same as while. But like I didn't say, I like to experiment.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Sean - thanks for the tip of the franco-czecko cartoon! You seriously know your way around french stuff! I'm impressed!

B.t.w. assuming you do Netflix, they have a French crime series on now. Just 3 episodes. I guess NF is experimenting showing foreign language series all under the genre of crime.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Sean and Steve - what's with the floods in Sheffield? Please tell me bus traffic was not halted? I would hate to think the epicenter of the UK synth sound (thanks again for that tip Sean) has become silent!

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Willie Mosconi, Minnesota Fats, Paul Newman, and Jackie Gleason in The Hustler...

Sheffield Steve - would the movie, in your opinion, be more exciting than watching the snookers championships? I only have so many free hours so I have to be judicious.

I thank you in advance for your valued opinion!

Charlie Horse 47 said...

I just got back from Trader Joe's. They played Bananarama, chased it with Human League, Level 42, and ABC... man they sure know who the hell is shopping.

I was so overcome with rapture I bought their clam chowder! (Boston not New England. I don't know how folks eat New England clam chowder.)

If you are so inclined, there is a podcast on Freakonomics Radio entitled "What if Trader Joe's ran America." Well worth a listen...

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Charlie says:

I did try drilling holes in the tire swing, b/c it does fill up with water. But the steel belting really did a number on my electric drill and bit... got stuck.

Whilst a kid, growing up among the swamps and sand dunes of Lake Michigan, in Gary, Indiana, there were lots of old tires, car batteries, etc. in the swamp. We would get the tires out because of all the worms, to go fishing.

Steve W. said...

Charlie, I don't have a clue what the difference is between whilst and while. Personally, I just use whilst when I'm trying to sound posh, and while when I'm not. I suspect this is not the real way they're supposed to be used.

I've never seen The Hustler but I believe it has a positive reputation.

As for the floods, Sheffield has a very large shopping mall called Meadowhall which is in a great location when it comes to transport links but a terrible one when it comes to water. Sheffield has hills on three sides of it and a valley on the fourth. When it rains on or near the city, all the water ends up in that valley and Meadowhall is at the lowest part of it, directly sandwiched between a river and a canal.

This week, we had half a month's rainfall in one day, water levels rose around the mall and it was cut off, with customers trapped inside overnight.

I must report that bus services to it were suspended. No harm to Sheffield's music industry has been reported.

Still, it's nothing compared to 2007 when the entire mall ended up underwater, with a local dam threatening to collapse and unleash millions of gallons of water onto it, via the city's sewage works. It really did look like the place could be doomed in that one.

Anonymous said...

Good to hear you're dry and in one piece, Steve. I read only today that northerners think the government has given up on them and they've been left to fend for themselves in the floods.
Ridiculous, eh? No doubt Boris Johnson is turning up in northern hospitals as I write, promising lots of money to help out if he's re-elected PM. Or, more accurately, elected PM.


Charlie Horse 47 said...

So you UK guys are having elections now? W.t.h... Are you doing Brexit though? I am so confused... President Bonespur knocked you guys off the front pages here!

Anonymous said...

You didn't know there was an election in the UK Charlie? The government have gone for an early election to increase their majority so they can get Brexit done seeing as calling an early election to increase their majority so they could get Brexit done worked so well last time.

You Americans holding elections every four years... pshaw! The Brits do it every two now (with a prime ministerial resignation in the off year for good measure).


Anonymous said...

PS Actually, thats not quite right about the off year because the last PM didn't resign til earlier this one. But you get the general idea...


Anonymous said...

Sean, despite the political turmoil in the U.K., I wonder if the parliamentary system might be a lesser evil than whatever we got.
Our system of government doesn't work very well if the executive is a psychopath.
Clearly there are flaws in the system.


Charlie Horse 47 said...

Sean, et al... I did hear on the radio on Friday something about your new elections. Truly Brexit and the UK have been booted off the front page.

FWIW apparently the Nation of Israel studied the US (I don't know what we call it) and the Parliamentary system very in depth, before selecting the Parliamentary. Each has its flaws but they felt the Parliamentary better reflected more of the people due to the compromising that must take place to create a majority coalition.

In any case they did not opt for something called an electoral college, lol.

(But I do defer to anyone who has studied this subject in depth, lol. Charlie is just a hack.)

Charlie Horse 47 said...

FWIW Willie Mosconi made the masse shot in The Hustler, not Paul Newman nor the sluggo who went by Minnesota Fats in real life, not the movie (Jackie Gleason) but claimed he did it for Newman.