Tuesday, 7 January 2020

The Marvel Lucky Bag - January 1970.

A wise man once asked, "War! What is it good for?"

He then claimed it was good for absolutely nothing.

He was, of course, wrong because it's useful for giving people things to write songs about.

And proof of that was handed out in January 1970 when Two Little Boys by Rolf Harris reigned supreme atop the UK singles chart for the first half of that month. However, it then had to make way for Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes) by Edison Lighthouse, for the second half of the month, meaning it was a spell in which love and war held equal sway over the singles chart.

But neither love nor war could compete with the power of the Beatles when it came to the British LP chart, and the Fab Four spent the whole of January at Number One with their last recorded album Abbey Road.

So, that was the fate of the popular.

But what of things that were not so popular? What of Marvel's less successful titles which bore that month's cover date?

Well, clearly, some of them were less successful than might be thought because, suddenly, both Captain Marvel and Nick Fury had lost their books. Would they ever recover from this ignominy?

Yes they would but not for a while.

Ringo Kid #1

Not content with thrilling us with the adventures of Kid Colt and the Two-Gun Kid, Marvel now treats us to the escapades of the Ringo Kid, a character I know nothing about.

In fact, so ignorant am I that, up until now, I think I'd always assumed he was an actual real historical figure and not a Marvel comics character.

Happily, I am fully aware that Kid Colt and the Two-Gun Kid were not real.

I do suspect that's a Joe Maneely cover, leading me to deduct that this is a reprint mag.

Silver Surfer #12, the Abomination

The Surfer takes on the Abomination in the streets of London, thanks to a bunch of occultists.

But, of course, the scaly fiend proves no match for the pewter powerhouse.

Sub-Mariner #21

Now unable to breathe underwater, the Sub-Mariner's trapped on land and hounded from pillar to post, causing Dorma to threaten war if he's not handed over to the Atlanteans immediately.

With total predictability, things get out of hand very quickly and, the next thing you know, New York's being attacked by giant sea creatures, with the Atlanteans and humans all battling to stop them.

Where Monsters Dwell #1, Cyclops

It's the launch of one of my favourite Marvel monster comics of the 1970s, as Where Monsters Dwell gives us three tales of terror.

First, we get a young couple who revive a Cyclops and then have to figure out what to do with it.

Next, an explorer revives an alien called Gorgolla who shows his gratitude by proceeding to summon his people to invade Earth...

...only to discover they've all turned into pacifists while he's been away!

Finally, we get Gor-Kill, a gaseous alien who's using a new home in a dam to harass the locals.

Needless to say, a good dose of dynamite soon stymies his plans.


Timothy Field said...

Haven't got anything to say about the comics, but Rolf's Two Little Boys was a staple of our 1970s school assemblies. Did anyone else add "... Three, four and a half" after the "room on my horse for two" lyric, or was that peculiar to my school?

Anonymous said...

Apparently Two Little Boys was a favourite of the late Margaret Thatcher Steve, who'd probably have said war was also good for getting loonies re-elected (worryingly, that hypothesis looks like it may be tested this year).

Thats right about the Ringo Kid being (Atlas-era) reprints; I believe that a story in the series was sadly Joe Maneely's last work before his early death in a train accident.


dangermash said...

John Wayne's character in Stagecoach is called The Ringo Kid bit I don't know whether that's the same character as the one in the comic. And I didn’t need to google that.

Just like I didn't need google to remind me that there was an episode of The Apprentice UK years and years ago with that recurring task where they have to sell the work of budding artists and where one of the artists had a painting that was a blatant swipe of a John Buscema panel from this month's Silver Surfer.

And, just like all young boys that were always arguing with their brothers I always hated having all that crap about why couldn’t we be like the kids in that Rolf Harris song.

McSCOTTY said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
McSCOTTY said...

I loved Edison Lighthouses "Love grows..." when I first heard it back in 1970 and for me it still holds up as a truely great pop song. 1970 really was a great year for me regarding US comics as I noted in your last post on 1970 comics. I remember picking up Silver Surfer issue 12 , which I think must have been a rare comic in Scotland, let alone the UK back in 1970, it seemed strange and exciting to me that this character had his own comic . It's still one of my favourite comics of all time just for that feeling it gave me alone ( and the art).

Killdumpster said...

Edison Lighthouse's "Love Grows.." fills me with fond memories. When it first came out, my two little sisters and I would sing along with it in the backseat of the car. Probably one of the few times we weren't at each others throats. Lol.

I think a couple times when we did that sing-along my cheap mom actually stopped and got us ice cream cones.

Steve W. said...

Tim, sadly, I don't remember ever hearing anyone singing those lyrics in my school. I do, though, remember kids singing a rude version of the Follyfoot theme song.

Sean; "Apparently Two Little Boys was a favourite of the late Margaret Thatcher." And she and Dennis reputedly spent eleven consecutive New Year's Days with Jimmy Savile. She was clearly a great judge of character.

Dangermash, thanks for the John Wayne info. I knew I'd heard the name somewhere outside of the Marvel Comics universe.

McScotty and KD, I agree. I do have affection for the music form the world disparagingly knows as, "Bubblegum."

Killdumpster said...

Yes Steve, I agree.

While I'm a punk/metalhead/alternate rock guy, I have a bit of nostalgic reverance for the pop tunes that came out while growing up.

To me , "bubble gum" songs from the 60's early 70's equates to happy times.

Unless my sisters got a '45 and played it relentlessly. Lol!

Anonymous said...

Hah! I originally mentioned Jimmy Savile there too, Steve, but edited the comment thinking that might be going into a bit too much of an off-topic rant.
Good to know I'm not trying your patience here (;...


Charlie Horse 47 said...

My understanding is that Stan Lee thought Maneely was the best artist at Atlas (nee Timely) back in the day and was quite upset with his untimely death? I think he also drew Subby's or Cap's come back with Atlas in the 50s, perhaps on the "Young Men's Comics" title?

Never heard the Rolf song here in the US. I youtubed it and gave it a lesson. Stopped about 3/4 thru when brother 1 rescues brother 2 on his horse. I assume they both made it to safety or did they both die together. Please advise, much obliged!

I enjoyed Bubble Gum / Top 40 music as much as the next guy... Archies, Monkeys, etc. in the 60s and 70s. Indeed, driving to/from work, when not listening to the UK's "Talk Sport" over the smart phone, I dial in 87.7 MeFM which is nothing but 60s and 70s bubble gum / top 40. Really, really enjoy hearing those songs from my child hood which simply are not played anywhere and certainly not on any albums I still have.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

FWIW the ONLY western comic in 1969, that charted in the top 50 selling comics, based on avg. monthly sales, was Ringo kid at 36 averaging 204,000 issues / month.

He was waaaaay outselling Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, and Aquaman who were at roughly 160,000 issues per month at 45, 46, and 47TH place.

Generally, Archies, Supes, and Bats owned the top 15 but for Spidey and the FF.


TC said...

Yes, the Ringo Kid was a reprint of a 1950s comic. About this same time (1970), Marvel reprinted their 1950s Wyatt Earp comic.

And Where Monsters Dwell and Where Creatures Roam reprinted the 1950s science fiction/fantasy/horror anthologies, such as Tales of Suspense and Journey Into Mystery.

The comic book Ringo Kid was unrelated to the John Wayne character.

BTW, Stagecoach was Wayne's big break, getting him promoted from the B list to the A list.

There was also Jimmy Ringo, a fictional character played by Gregory Peck in The Gunfighter (1950), and unrelated to either the Wayne character or the comic book hero.

The real-life gunfighter Johnny Ringo (1850 [?]-1882) may have been an influence, if only in name, on all of those characters. He was a member of the Clanton gang, and was played by John Ireland in Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957), and by Michael Biehn in Tombstone (1993).

Charlie Horse 47 said...

"Where Monsters Dwell" was my only go-to besides jocks in tights, at Marvel.

Oddly, I have this Huge-sized Archive book from Marvel on Monsters / Sci Fi that reprints the first 15 issues of Amazing Fantasy. I read it and was going to donate it to the Goodwill store, figuring it wasn't worth much. I ebayed it and the crazy bitch sells for like $200 opened!

For that much money, I wasn't interested in helping the poor no mo!

Steve W. said...

Don't worry, Charlie, as far as I'm aware, both brothers survived the conflict unscathed.

TC, thanks for the Ringo Kid/Johnny Ringo info.

Anonymous said...

A pity you opened that Marvel monsters book Charlie - think how much more you'd have got if you hadn't read it!
You can understand maybe why someone would pay a little over the odds for a book thats out of print, but I do wonder who pays crazy money like that.


Steve W. said...

Is anyone else seeing ads in the middle of my posts, all of a sudden? I'll see if I can find out how to get rid of them because it's really annoying.

Steve W. said...

I think I've managed to turn them off. If they reappear, let me know.

dangermash said...

Yes. I'm getting ads. Probably makes you a penny every time I look at the website. Maybe the software's been updated & your ad settings have been changed.

Steve W. said...

They've now disappeared, for me. I'm hoping they have for everyone else as well.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Sean - I mean, I did buy it to read it, so I am not kicking myself. So, I have no regrets about opening it. But, had I thought in my head it would be worth a few hundered bucks unopened (I bought it cheap like $35 - $40) I would not have. It was not initially (or maybe I got lucky) a hot Omnibus and was steeply discounted.

But now they are going for about $100 opened whereas I figured it would have been like $10-$20. .

Killdumpster said...

One of the few Ringo Kid stories I ever read was in some kind of annual sized western collection, featuring a Ringo vs the original Ghost Rider.

For a reason that escapes me, I had 50 cents in my pocket. I got that & the Marvel's Greatest Comics reprint of a depowered FF & DD vs Dr.Doom.

The western book was pretty much my 1st introduction to the cowboys. Ghost Rider & Black Mask were my favorites, but I dug most of the stories. All except the Apache Kid. He made me think of a shirtless Jimmy Olsen with a headband.

Killdumpster said...

TC- I'm not a big John Wayne fan (I'm more of a Bogart boy), but Stagecoach is brilliant.

Redartz said...

Count me among the proud devotees of "bubble gum" music! Archie's and the Partridge Family are currently residing on my tablet music player.

Never got into western comics, and only got into horror comics within the last decade. Interestingly both genres seem to be undergoing a resurgence in popularity. Vintage comics of many types are drawing attention over here. Is there much market in the UK for such books (especially 1960's and older)?

Anonymous said...

Do you mean old books produced here, Redartz?
Because to the extent that there is an interest in old British comics, by definition that would be in "other genres" so to speak, as there weren't really any superheroes.

When I was a kid (zzzzzzz) there was a variety of genres on offer - for boys, a lot of war and football (which tells you something!) - and it does seem like the owners of the survival from that era, 2000AD, are now putting out collections of more varied old stuff, rather than just the usual reprints of Dredd, ABC Warriors etc.


Anonymous said...

Actually, I've always been curious why there weren't US football comics. Obviously there wouldn't be much of an import market here (or many other places) for titles based on what they call football, but still - it seems odd DC or Marvel didn't give it a go back when they still tried out different things.
I mean, they tried Prez, Woodgod and the Dingbats! But not "football" or baseball?


dangermash said...

Yes - ads have gone Steve

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Sean! Dam fine question there buddy!

Well, as an outsider looking in, on UK comics... you did /do have a ton of sporting related stories: soccer and track mostly?

But the sports often just seemed to be the setting around the stories, a secondary plot Yes, ultimately Roy had to ultimately score the winning goal or Alf cross the finish line first but the essence of the story was some criminal activity most often, not shin splints or bruised toes?

Off the top of me head, your sports stories are often set in small towns too and folks in your small towns do follow the local soccer teams still. We do not have that local sports presence in our small towns, perhaps that's why we don't really have sports comics?

ANd, we have the 3 huge sports (baseball, football, basketball... and hockey up north), not just soccer. Perhaps it diluted the interest in any one genre?

But sports could be present, e.g., Flash Thomson of Spidey and Moose of Archie were football studs.

Anonymous said...

Charlie, thats right sport stories could be about something else, like criminality - which you could also say about other genres (look at Judge Dredd) - but not always eg Roy has bruised his toes, but keeps it quiet because he doesn't want to let his team down, so at the big match to clinch the league he misses an easy goal (oh no, what happens next?)...

Even in the 50s, when Americans did comics about everything they didn't seem to do sports - casting around for a new direction, EC even tried one about shrinks! - so I assume theres some fairly basic cultural reason publishers didn't give it a go.
Except maybe DC (sort of) -


Anonymous said...

Marvel did have at least one "football" related comic that I can remember. It was called "Kickers, Inc." and was part of the "New Universe" Oh, and it was terrible. One of the worst I read from that lot.