Sunday, 9 February 2020

Forty years ago today - February 1980.

Yesterday was a massive day for all lovers of international sporting contests, as it saw the World Beermat Flipping Championship take place at the Ship and Shovel pub in Hampshire.

And the winner was...

...someone or other.

Amazingly, I can find no coverage of the event on either TV or radio. Nor can I find a single person Tweeting about it. Therefore, it seems I shall have to forever remain in darkness as to the outcome.

But perhaps all hope is not lost because there is one place where I can go in expectation of finding answers.

And that's the contest's official Instagram page...

...which contains no information about the result, whatsoever.

It looks like we're going to have to bury our sorrows in some comics.

Avengers #192

From what I can recall, a worker at the steel plant owned by Wonder Man falls into a vat of molten steel but just happens to have a chunk of Thor's hammer on him.

This turns him into a big, glowy thing which wanders around the plant and is instantly attacked by the Avengers, even though it shows no hostile intent whatsoever.

Conan the Barbarian #107, the Snout in the Dark

More rampantly racist rampaging, as Conan has to protect an innocent white girl from both a demon and every black person she encounters, while everyone bangs on endlessly about each other's skin colour.

Fantastic Four #215, Blastaar

Blastaar's back from the Negative Zone - and he's more powerful than ever!

Then again, the Fantastic Four are back from near-death and they too are more powerful than ever!

Incredible Hulk #244, IT lives!

The Hulk comes up against IT, that giant statue which had its own strip for a brief while.

Sadly, it takes the Hulk barely more than a couple of minutes to reduce the thing to rubble and end its career.
Iron Man #131, the Hulk

If I recall correctly, Tony Stark and Bruce Banner work together to develop a cure for the Hulk. I don't recall whether they succeed but, as the Hulk's still around, I would suspect they don't.

Amazing Spider-Man #210, the Punisher

The Punisher's back - and it can only spell trouble for the criminal underworld.

And for any readers who are fed up of the sight of him by this point

Come to think of it, I don't have a clue just what foe the mismatched pair of crime-fighters are after in this issue.

Spectacular Spider-Man #39, Schizoid Man

ESU has to be the most incident-prone university in history. It barely seems to possess a student or professor who hasn't developed super-powers at some point.

And now it's happened again, as one of Peter Parker's college acquaintances turns out to have mental health problems which lead him to conjure up monsters.

Not that that's what really matters, because I've a feeling this is the issue in which, thanks to Curt Connors' dabblings in science, Spider-Man turns into Spider-Lizard!

Thor #292, Odin vs Thor

Olympus and Asgard are still at war with the Eternals. I suspect that, by this point, everyone involved has forgotten why.

But the big question is, is Odin going to kill Thor?

I'm guessing the answer's no.
Captain America #242, the Avengers

I genuinely don't have a clue what happens in this one.

So, I'm going to guess the Avengers we see on this cover turn out to be illusions and only exist in Cap's fevered imagination.

Uncanny X-Men #130, the Dazzler first appearance

The Dazzler makes her discotastic debut, as the Hellfire Club continues its quest to defeat the X-Men and gain control of the Phoenix.

Fortunately, Kitty Pryde is around to help scupper its evil plans.


Charlie Horse 47 said...

You know Steve, I do profoundly appreciate your attempts to keep us up to date on the beer-mat flipping international contest. That's why I refer to SDC, in conversation and writing, as the "venerable Steve Does Comics!"

It also seems to me that with your writing skills, wit, and tech saviness, you may have a shot at being the social media coordinator for those obviously under-served world championship UK competitions like the beer-mat flipping, Conkers, and bog snorkeling. I mean, their social media coverage is pitiful at best! I agree with you 100%!

Someone needs to do it though! I mean, you see the coverage the Super Bowl and World Cup get, these guys are being left behind in the slow lane!

If I lived there, I'd do it! I can smell money a mile a way buddy!

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Steve - why did you stop posting in alpha order? I used to be able to quickly scroll to the comic cover based on that. Now... I have to scroll the whole thing!

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Charlie wants to know if that is a nipple on Hulk's right pec??? Anyone?

Killdumpster said...

Dazzler was one of the reasons that I tamed down my comics consumption. When she came about disco was pretty much dead, and punk/new wave was the flavor. We here in the states had our pathetic Urban Cowboy phase in full swing also, as well as the Sugarhill Gang introducing rap.

Having a steelworker in the 'Burgh possessing a bit of uru made for a plausible story, since Thor repaired his hammer here in my town.

Blaster has always been a fav, mostly because his temperament is usually written consistant. Nasty.

I believe Schizoid Man may have been inspired by King Crimson.

I now have to read that Spider-Lizard story.

Killdumpster said...

Charlie, whoever won the Beermat championship, I'd bet even money that they probably had nipples.

Killdumpster said...

If I saw that Avengers issue on the spinner rack, I know I would've bought it because the "bad guy" looked like Nuklo.

The Hellfire Club instantly bored me with their inception. I have no idea why, but the concept of the Club as unstoppable, conieving villains just didn't resonate with me.

Guess I liked kicking it old school too much, with Magneto, Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, etc.

Steve W. said...

I can proudly announce that I've found the official webpage of the Beermat Flipping Championship, which contains the results, photos and videos of the great event. It can be found right here:

Anonymous said...

If the Avengers thought they were defending a Pittsburg steel plant in 1980 they needn't have bothered as the writing was already on the wall, and Reaganomics weren't far off.
Surely Tony Stark at least would have known that it was a bit pointless?

Those Avengers are indeed illusions on the cover of Cap #242, Steve - how do you do figure these things out?
From what I recall they were created by the Manipulator, the two faced fella from a (then) recent Avengers fill-in written by Steve Gerber, who turned out to be a robot (the Manipulator that is, not Steve Gerber).

A bit of a rubbish month for the comics by the looks of it, although X-Men #130 was alright. Marvel jumping on the latest craze there, with er... disco.


Redartz said...

As KD said, Dazzler was a bit late on the scene. Now if she'd debuted in 1978...

That Iron Man issue was great, but it's the Spiderman/ Punisher tale that sticks with me. Much about the story was pedestrian, but the cliffhanger ending was spellbinding. It looked like Frank Castle had pieced together Pete and his alter ego. Turned out he was close, but missed the truth. Hindsight says it would have been more interesting had he truly figured it out. Oh, and a fine cover...

Anonymous said...

PS Charlie is starting to see Hulk nipples where there aren't any.


Anonymous said...

Btw, is that right about punk being the flavour in the US - it wasn't deader than disco by 1980?


Killdumpster said...

You're absolutely right, Sean.

Reagan was full-blown to cripple the steelworkers' union. He lifted tariffs & sanctions on foreign metal.

I had a not-bad union job in the early 80's, an oil pipe mill that supplied independent oil productors.

After Reagan lifted the sanctions, the US was flooded with foreign steel. Quite a bit from Japan, but most of it came from the UK.

It took me a couple years to find a a steady job. There was a year I had no transportation, car or even a motorcycle. The worst point I went through was grabbing condiment packages, which I made a form of soup out of.

Never took welfare or food stamps, maybe too proud and/or stupid. Lol.

Rock N' Roll literally saved my life. Got back into the merchandise side of the business, and roadied for shows.

Right now, after returning to work after my head injury, I'm a fan of our Big Orange Buffoon.

My shop in overflowing with work, and is more than complimentary with bonuses & pay raises.

Hope soon Brexit may payoff for you folks as well.

Killdumpster said...

Sean, while punk wasn't mainstream during 1980 here in the US, it definitely had a strong underground following, especially on the northern east coast & West coast

East coast gave us legendary punk venues like Kitt-Katt, CBGB'S, Mudd Club, Electric Banana. etc.

East coast punk R&R legends include Ramones, Misfits, Plazmatics, etc.

The West coast gave birth to the Dead Kennedys, Vandals, DRI,Agent Orange, etc.

In between, North & South, we had Tex & the Horseheads, Dead Milkmen, Dayglo Abortions, Dr. Know, The Johnnys,TSOL, ,Naked Raygun... Uh, I could go on forever.

Not to mention a million locally produced little shows featuring neighborhood bands. I worked a few of those.

Hell, I PLAYED in 3 shows, when I got Shanghai'ed into being a temporary member of Grateful Unborn.

Wish I still had a tape of those shows.

Then again, maybe not. We were

There was alot of rock rebellion available in the 80s into the early 2000's, here in America.

Killdumpster said...

To quote the Expoited, " Punk's Not Dead!"

Killdumpster said...

Meant "Exploited", just in case you folks wanna Google them.

Steve W. said...

Sean, thanks for the illusory Avengers info.

KD and Sean, it does seem amazing, in hindsight, how Punk was already seen as ancient history in Britain by the start of 1980 and Disco was yesterday's news in America. The rate of musical change back then was extraordinary.

Charlie, the covers are never deliberately posted in alphabetical order. If they ever appear in that order, it's purely by dumb luck.

Red, thinking about it, that final scene is the only part of that Spidey tale that I remember.

Fantastic Four follower said...

That months comics did seem poor. I liked Byrne and Sinnott on FF as opposed to just Byrne a year and a half down the road. Likewise Cap had been in a void since Kirby left but would amazingly hit a fantastic high when Stern and Byrne arrived in a matter of months. Xmen remained a class act with Millers Daredevil b ut Thor had been wandering aimlessly for months(years?) and the Avengers were about to dis-assemble for the best part of 5 Years... which I did not see coming, but did anyone? Team - Up and 2 in 1 had seen better days as had Defenders. Marvel would return in a few years with a great range of classic comics:Simonson on Thor, Byrne on FF, Stern and Frenz on Spiderman, Stern and Buscema on Avengers,etc but this seemed almost like treading water to me. My major gripe with this era's comics was the dark printing process that smudged the interiors, appalling. Just to clarify, I bought all the above and my moaning is from a hindsight point of view as I loved them all at the time!!!

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Steve! You da man!!!

I can't believe that cat flipped 65 (!) beer mats! Did you notice his technique? That dude's a stud!

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Sean, KD pretty well sums up Punk in the USA. I can say I was quite unaware of it living in Chicago other than hearing / reading a bit on the Sex Pistols and that's b/c they insulted your queen or something.

That said, if one considers Ramones as punk, then, well I was quite aware of it but didn't know it was punk. I think I mentioned on this venerable site before how I saw the Ramones in a tiny venue outside Chicago with their bloody speakers to the ceiling.

The funniest part was Joey, their lead singer, kept whipping my brother in the head with the mike chord, LOL! My bro was front and center leaning on the stage, I was bit to the right leaning on the stage. To keep from being jostled aside my bro was holding on to the speaker facing Joey, or such an object, and kept whipping him to make him let go, LMAO.

Hard to believe that whole band is dead already.

Killdumpster said...

Lets face it, Charlie, oh my brother...

We're at the time of our lives when everything that we knew growing up, in pop culture, is either dying or dead.

On a happy note, they still make booze!! Hooray!!!

Charlie Horse 47 said...


I have a thought! (First time in a long time!) Maybe it would be appropriate to change your logo (not the URL) to "Steve does Comics, Music, Movies, TV, and..."

Charlie and I feel bad for folks who come for comics and may feel misled when we talk about Punk and The Ramones?

Anonymous said...

Charlie, while that whole business with God Save The Queen was a bit ridiculous in this day and age - even in the 70s - you lot more than matched the Brits in the idiot stakes with rioting over disco records in a stadium.
Did you go to that before or after the Ramones gig?

Btw Kd, Brexit is starting to pay off already, at least if the Irish election this weekend was anything to go by (possibly not in the manner envisaged by the British conservatives).


Charlie Horse 47 said...

There's booze, MeTV and a host of other rerun TV stations, blogs like this so we can relive past joys...

Hey! Kids! I'm telling you its a real feel-good moment to go into a Comic Store and see thes $1 DC and Marvel reprints from 40 - 50 years ago! Seriously!

I mean, remember when you'd get a bobo seeing Marvel Tales (Spidey) or Marvels Greatest (FF) or Marvel Super Action (Avengers) pr DC's 100-page Giants! If reprints did it for us 45 years ago, no reason it won't have the same jazz now!!! I love it! You will too!

Tonight I will read Thor vs. the Super Skrull! Never read it before! Also Thor vs. The Absorbing Man (? Dude has a ball and chain on him).

Anonymous said...

I guess I would consider The Ramones to be punk. There's no reason the definition "punk" can't be a fairly large tent.
I figure Iggy was punk, the Cramps were punk, even the Butthole Surfers. And a whole host of other assorted goons. (By thy way, Charlie, I hate the fact that you saw the Ramones live and I didn't. I'm seething with bitterness.)


Anonymous said...

Nothing against old stuff - obviously, or I wouldn't be here - but its a bit sad if reprints are the best reason to go to a comic shop...


Anonymous said...

Don't knock reprints, Sean! The originals are superior, obviously, but they can get pretty spendy. And I've been short on cash ever since I quit the male gigolo game.


Anonymous said...

Womens loss is your local comic shops gain M.P.
I wasn't knocking reprints. Sorry if "nothing against old stuff" wasn't clear...


Redartz said...

Fear not Sean! Although there is a renaissance in reprints these days, there is still good new material as well. I don't purchase weekly, but do make fairly regular trips to our lcs to select a few...

Charlie- so cool that you saw the Ramones. Never came close to that. Saw the Go-Go's three times, though...

Anonymous said...

No, Sean, I was just joking. I've got some classic originals that I treasure. The smell of the paper, the's like going back in time. I've got some nice '60's and 70's stuff from Marvel and D.C. Thor vs. Galactus! The first appearance of Him/Adam Warlock! Etc...
And, honestly, I was never a male prostitute. I was merely a janitor with a lotta latent raw sex appeal. Everybody pretended not to notice.


Charlie Horse 47 said...

Steve - you neeeeeed to change that header, baby!

There is good new stuff being published. Problem is too much and not in numeric order. So absent a continuity who cares? Just make it up as you go to sell another book or two.

Ramones: 1-2-3-4! Ok, besides watching Joey Ramone whipping my brother, Rock n Roll High School, and being deaf for three days (b/c I went to the Indy 500 a day later) it wasn't all that. Just kidding. It was great! But I just didn't know it was "punk" lol. We thought it was salt-of-the-earth, garage-band, rock n roll!

Red - I did get lucky and see the Go Gos and Flock of Seagulls at Purdue University in the acoustically perfect Hovde Hall! Got my new wave on, for sure!

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Speaking of New Wave!

The masters of British Synth!!

From forkin' SHeffield UK!!!

Are coming to Chicago in May!!!!

Heaven 17!!!!!

Heaven 17!!!!!!

Heaven 17!!!!!!!

There is a God!!!!!!!!!

Redartz said...

Charlie- woah, you saw the Go-Go's at Purdue? I was at that show too! And the world again gets a little smaller...

Charlie Horse 47 said...

If I get to the show, pending surviving a divorce after 30 years or marriage, and possible job relocation to Miami, I intend to ask Heaven 17 about the free bus fares in Sheffield and if it was key to their getting together like it was to ABC!

Hell, I intend to ask them who's better: Human League or Heaven 17 or ABC and Why!!

I pray they do one wild-ass bombastic version of "Crushed by the Wheels of Industry!!!"

Maybe I can coax them into doing "Fascination" or "The Lebanon" as a spoof????

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Wait Red - You were at Purdue U for the Go Gos? No Way! What in the world... I don't know what to say! No wonder I had that extra warm feeling!

But were the Flock the openers for them? I saw both groups there, for sure, but I just keep thinking they were on the same bill?

Help me out Red!

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Red - Go Gos are doing a "reunited for a farewell" tour this year or next! Something brought them out of hibernation... I don't know if it was a movie or another group with whom they have some sort of affinity. But they are back!!!

Redartz said...

Charlie- yes, The Flock were openers. Big part of why we made the drive to West Lafayette. First time I heard their song "Photograph ".Mighty fun show. And yes, I did hear about the reunion tour. Might try for a 4th. Viewing!

Anonymous said...

Who's better, Human League, Heaven 17 or ABC?
I suspect you might not get an objective answer from Heaven 17, Charlie. Fortunately, I can give you the answer - none of the above, its Cabaret Voltaire.

Most of them attribute their sound to being from a city built on the steel industry, but I don't recall any synth bands being from Pittsburgh, so it probably is down to cheap bus fares.
Although for all I know Pittsburgh had cheap buses (but I'm guessing not).


Anonymous said...

I've always been partial to ABC.
And the Go-Go' older sister was a real fan. She had the permed-up hair, torn sweatshirt, high heels, make-up, the whole nine yards.
Now she's a parole officer in Connecticut.
My advice, fellas, if you ever go to that state don't get arrested.
La belle dame sans merci.


dangermash said...

After a great buildup to ASM #200, this is the start of a really bad run of about them ASM issues. Dazzler will appear in ASM in a couple of months time after she's barely establishes herself one X-Men. And that Punisher two parter is such a generic Punisher story. The artist even seems to be attempting to mimic Ross Andru. And don't get me started on Punisher discovering Parker's big secret, that he had a deal with Spider-Man to help him with photos and split the profits. That's the worst kept secret since everybody worked out that the fox in !ystery Singer UK was Denise Van Outen. Doesn't Punisher ever look at Twitter?

dangermash said...

Struggling with the typing today. Jus5 like ever6 day.

Anonymous said...

I can't see the Punisher now without thinking of Steve's comment about last month's Captain America.
Why didn't Spidey just smash this face in?

Second month with the Punisher on a cover, and its only February - its definitely the 80s.


Killdumpster said...

Sean, there were a couple syth bands in the 'Burgh, that were fairly popular locally. The 4x4s & Hector In Paris.

Hector In Paris almost got signed to Chrysalis Records, but their manager screwed-up the deal.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Steve Does Everything!

Steve you will be perhaps both stunned and proud to know that you scooped Hawksbee and Jacobs on Talk Sport by reporting the beer-mat flipping results a full 12 hours before they did!

Thanks to you, when I heard them talk about it on the radio this morning, it was simply a rerun for Charlie!

Hence forth you will be my sole source for elite British sports! Is it snookers or darts next in Sheffield???

Steve W. said...

Thanks, Charlie. It's why millions are abandoning TalkSport and flocking to this blog for all their latest sports news.