Sunday, 2 February 2020

Fifty years ago this month - February 1970.

Hark!

What's that sound?

It's the soothing tones of Heavy Metal being invented.

That's because February 1970 was the month in which Black Sabbath's eponymous debut album was released.

Not that it had to be released. An album that mighty was clearly capable of breaking free all on its own, leaving nothing but bent bars and shattered walls behind it.

But it wasn't alone in testing the durability of decibel meters, because that month also saw the recording of the iconic LP The Who: Live at Leeds.

That title was nonsense, of course. Not one of the Who lived in Leeds.

Captain America #122, the Scorpion

I'm not sure what happens in this one.

I do remember it beginning with the Scorpion just out of jail and trying to re-find his confidence by mugging an innocent passer-by...

...who just happens to be Steve Rogers who proceeds to beat him up.

I assume, though, that that isn't the entirety of the issue, as that would involve a twenty-page fight scene, which seems unlikely.

Thor #173, Ulik and the Circus of Crime

It's the clash we've all been aching for, as Thor tangles once more with the Circus of Crime.

As we all recall, the last time that he thwarted them, it involved him being hypnotised into becoming their new strongman, for purposes of criminal activity and, this time, I do believe it's poor old Ulik who's conscripted into the same role.

Quite how the Circus happens to come across the terrible troll, in the first place, is something I have no clear recollection of.

X-Men #65

I think I've read this one, a long time ago.

Is it a Neal Adams drawn tale?

Is it the one in which Professor X reveals he's not been dead all this time and that he's been hiding in the cellar, in case of alien invasion, with the aid of Marvel Girl?

Amazing Spider-Man #81, the Kangaroo

Australia's deadliest man arrives on American shores and proceeds to endanger the whole of New York by stealing a vial filled with a deadly bacteria. Now Spider-Man has to beat him without breaking the vial.

But how can a man who's only armed with super-strength, super-speed, super-reflexes, a spider-sense, genius intellect, years of experience, and near-unbreakable webbing hope to stop a foe as mighty as the Kangaroo? How?

Daredevil #61, Mr Hyde, the Cobra and the Jester

I genuinely have no recollection of ever having read this tale before.

But if Mr Hyde, the Cobra and Jester combined can't even defeat Daredevil, it doesn't say much for them.

Even the Circus of Crime might be able to do that.

Iron Man #22, Crimson Dynamo and Titanium Man

I have vague memories that this involves the Eddie March version of Iron Man getting beaten half to death by the metal Marxists before the original Shellhead shows up to save him, leading Tony Stark to learn the valuable lesson that only he should ever wear the mantle of Iron Man.

I would have thought the actual lesson to learn is you should make sure someone has a thorough medical examination before giving them a job as a super-hero.

Fantastic Four #95

It's one of the oddest - and least impressive - Fantastic Four tales of the late 1960s, as the team try to prevent The Monocle from assassinating someone or other, with his deadly camera of evil.

Avengers #73, the Sons of the Serpent

The Sons of the Serpent are back, and up against the Black Panther in a tale which gives us the same shocking twist at its climax that all Sons of the Serpent tales seem to.

Incredible Hulk #124, the Rhino

Seemingly cured of his unfortunate tendency to turn into a mindless beast, Bruce Banner decides it's a perfect time to marry Betty Ross.

Only for the Leader to have other ideas, and set the Rhino on him.

I do believe this issue features Sal Buscema's first ever work on the strip, years before he'll eventually replace Herb Trimpe as main Hulk artist.

29 comments:

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Kangaroo, Jester, Toad, Batroc... being able to jump around was a big deal back in the day!

dangermash said...

Was this mismatch month?

Spider-Man, Avengers, FF, Thor and Hulk have quite an easy time of it but how are Cap and DD supposed to beat off Scorpion and Mr Hyde respectively?

Anonymous said...

The eponymous album by Funkadelic was also released in February '70 - clearly it was an eardrum blasting month.

The answer to your questions about X-Men #65 is yes, Steve. But perhaps the most notable thing about that issue is that it was written by Denny O'Neil, which is something of an anomaly for a Marvel comic (at this point anyway).

I'm curious about the use of old money British import covers this time round - is it a Brexit thing? Are you doing your bit to mark getting your country back from the tyrants of Brussels this weekend?

-sean

Killdumpster said...

A bit of music trivia:
Black Sabbath's original band name was Earth.

While never a huge Who fan, I did own Live At Leeds on 8-track tape.

Steve W. said...

Charlie, if all those jumping villains teamed up, no hero would be able to stop them.

Dangermash, let's not forget that Daredevil once beat the Matador, Electro, Stiltman, Gladiator and Leapfrog, all at the same time (Daredevil Annual #1). After that, it's a wonder anyone dared take him on.

Sean, I must confess my choice of shilling covers was indeed to mark the arrival of Brexit, by wallowing in some pre-Common Market currency of a kind I still don't understand.

I was totally unaware of that Black Sabbath information, KD. If only they'd thought of adding Wind and Fire to it.

Fantastic Four follower said...

Still love that time when I was young enough to love every Marvel comic unreservedly.. they could do no wrong in my eyes. Critical appraisal was years away hence my unfailing love for FF 95 and 96 with 95 being one of my favourite covers of all time! Loved Cap 122 and Colans 2 year run on the title should never have worked but that artwork remains sensational. At the time I thought Ironman and Daredevil were exciting but with hindsight the stories were poor but in DD's case the artwork was worth the price of admission and in truth both titles had been in decline for a while. X-men under Thomas and Adams was 10 out of 10 but #65 was a strange mishmash of art interference by Stan Lee and changes to Adams artwork led to him leaving the strip(I think) but what a legacy he left with 56 to 63 up there with best Marvels ever. The Hulk issues were very hit and miss but I always thought the Leader added class to any story he was in. Spiderman 80 was a low point in the title but again the art was fantastic and the title would soon be back to its best after a great Kingpin trilogy followed by a Sensational Doc Ock trilogy.Thought the issues featuring Iceman,Prowler,Beetle, visit to London all misfire but the Goblin drug story kickstarted for me 4 years of classic Spiderman! Thor by Kirby was suffering with mediocre stories but the artwork was very strong and this was my time period so I still love these issues which I am sure are despised by my fellow readers. Stan Lee was winding down and it showed but not to me at the time and even though he would continue to write for 2 more years the glory days were over!

Anonymous said...

It occurs to me that Paul Hogan could've portrayed the Kangaroo for comic effect in a Spider-Man movie, if he wasn't eighty years old. Kinda like Paul Giamatti briefly showing up in a giant robotic Rhino suit.
I just saw the last Spider-Man movie and I was underwhelmed. Jake Gyllenhaal's Mysterio was interesting, but other than that it was like a teenage soap opera. Arggh.
That kid playing Spider-Man now, I dunno, somebody left the barn door open and any personality just bolted.

M.P.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Kangaroo, Jester, Toad, Batroc, Leapfrog...

C'mon dudes... add to my all-inclusive list of powerful jumping villains!

Even DC villains are welcome! Though, I don't know if DC would stoop to that?

Redartz said...

Alas, by February of 1970 I'd almost abandoned Marvel- only still buying Amazing Spider-man; despite that Kangaroo issue. As FFF mentioned, there were some fine stories upcoming (especially the classic issue 90; expect some further commentary on that one when Steve gets around to the November cover dates). More frequently, I was buying Archies and Gold Key. I would return within a few years, though. And pick up several of these issues; the Fantastic Four story was rather forgettable imho. The Avengers was cool, though...

Ah, but thank goodness for the comics. In a time when our US politics leaves my head spinning and aching, I can always find a half hour of relief within some four color pages. Suspect you UK folks understand this incliniation...

Redartz said...

Oh, Charlie- how about the Acrobat? And maybe the Trickster from DC's Flash; don't know if he jumped around much but he ranks among your list in perceived threat...

Redartz said...

Curses, forgot to elaborate on the Trickster. He sticks in my memory for a cover on which he flees from the Flash by riding a Tricycle. Yes, a tricycle. From the Flash, of all heroes. Any question why Silver age DC tended to suffer in comparison with Marvel?

Anonymous said...

Charlie, D-list D.C. villain Hellgrammite (named after the nasty larva of the Dobson Fly) used to hop around a lot. That was his deal, basically.
Of course, the title for all-time jumper is that big green grasshopper the Hulk, who could cover miles in a leap.
Sometimes he would carry somebody under his arm, like Betty Ross or Rick Jones.
Actually, anybody the Hulk was carrying during one of these leaps would die on the first landing, the jarring impact separating every bone in their body and turning them to mush.

M.P.

Anonymous said...

Hellgrammite? Wow M.P., that is some pretty arcane comic book knowledge - I am impressed.
Somewhat disappointed you didn't mention the actual giant green grasshopper in Kamandi (but to be fair I don't think it put in a return appearance, so was easy to miss).

-sean

Anonymous said...

I was not informed of this giant grasshopper, Sean.
But I'm serious about the infeasibility of the Hulk carrying someone when he's jumping around.
The first landing would send that person's skull flying off like a baseball and the intestines shooting out like they were spring-loaded. It's science.
This would leave a vey sad and confused Hulk, indeed.
And sticky.

M.P.

dangermash said...

Charlie - in my Spider-Man game on the Sega Megadrive, Venom is a bit of a bouncer. He bounces around and, whenever he lands, fires a bit of webbing at Spider-Man after he gets his balance. I could beat him by adopting a similar bouncing strategy but landing a split second earlier, firing webs at him while he was getting his balance and then bouncing away before he could fire back. With the game getting on for 30 years old now, I don't think this needed a spoiler warning.

Killdumpster said...

Ok, Charlie, I'll throw our old pal Leap Frog at ya.

Selenarch said...

Charlie, I'd add Frog Man from Nefaria's Ani-men and Hank McCoy, the "bouncing baby Beast."

Anonymous said...

M.P., I think Hulk's jumping around is just unfeasible, whether he's carrying anyone or not.
He'd be splattered himself on landing, unless he's really dense - physically I mean - so he'd have to be a lot smaller than regular people. But he's bigger than Banner, so how would he create the extra mass, let alone enough of it?
That would require an enormous amount of energy...

-sean

Killdumpster said...

Comic book physics, oh my brother.

Killdumpster said...

Amazing Spider-Man #81 was one of the few Spidey comics I was able to get my hands on, during the 60's till 1970. While Kangaroo was lame, the Spidey pose on the cover is a John Romita Sr. classic.

Killdumpster said...

I think I may have told this story before, so stop me if you've heard it. Lol.

When I was 7 years old, I pulled my bike of a dirt road to tie my shoe-laces. While I was tying, I glanced up into the grassy bank. Standing there, just 2 feet away from my face, was a KANGAROO!!!

This was in deep country Western Pennsylvania!

I just knelt there, staring at it with my eyes bulging. It just stood there for awhile, then calmly turned and crawled into the brush.

No one believed me, and I was humiliated for approx 5 years. Till...

An ostrich was found wandering a corn-field. A rich guy that had a gated estate, not far from my house, liked to have exotic animals run free on his property.

It took a long time for the smirk on my face to disapear, and my honesty was never in question again.

Anonymous said...

For a while, some rancher around here (eastern South Dakota) had a zebra for some reason. You could see it from the road.
I hear them things are mean.

M.P.

Killdumpster said...

Yeah, MP, I heard you can't ride them.

That's the reason Tonya Harding's "zebra" was a painted horse, in the Sheena movie.

I more or less recommend that film. Story & effects are awful, but Tonya was certainly in her prime back then.

Killdumpster said...

It has been so sad that the Sheena character, from the golden-age of comics, was Weismuller-fied each time she's been portrayed in mass media.

Though the actresses who took on the role were indeed beautiful ( Irish Macalla from the tv show was a tasty treat also), I would have preferred the intelligent jungle-girl from the comics.

Anonymous said...

K.D., you're thinking of Tonya Roberts, not Tanya Harding! (snort!)

...although, Tanya Harding was something of a jungle creature in her own right.

M.P.

Anonymous said...

Who am I to laugh, I spelled the name wrong.

M.P.

Killdumpster said...

My bad, lol!

dbutler16 said...

Yes, that FF issue is pretty bad!

Professor X had a good reason for letting his X-Men (minus Jean) think he was dead all this time. Really! Well, it least it has some sweet Neal Adams art.

Spidey vs. the Kangaroo! Who would not want to see that??

I just love the idea of Ulik in the Circus of Crime. Can you imagine how p*ssed he must have been when he snapped out of it and realized what he'd been up to?

I am up for some Roy Thomas penned Avengers vs. Son of the Serpent, even though they're not the greatest Avengers foe. At least we get a nice little anti-bigotry message, which even today is sometimes needed.

dbutler16 said...

Yes, that FF issue is pretty bad!

Professor X had a good reason for letting his X-Men (minus Jean) think he was dead all this time. Really! Well, it least it has some sweet Neal Adams art.

Spidey vs. the Kangaroo! Who would not want to see that??

I just love the idea of Ulik in the Circus of Crime. Can you imagine how p*ssed he must have been when he snapped out of it and realized what he'd been up to?

I am up for some Roy Thomas penned Avengers vs. Son of the Serpent, even though they're not the greatest Avengers foe. At least we get a nice little anti-bigotry message, which even today is sometimes needed.

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