Thursday, 13 February 2020

February 13th, 1980 - Marvel UK, 40 years ago this week.

There are times in life when a man has to do what a man has to do.

And that, no doubt, is why this week in 1980 saw Kenny Rogers ascend to the top of the UK singles chart with his track Coward of the County, that homespun tale of violence and vengeance which somehow managed to convince us it was family-friendly fare.

Happily, elsewhere, people were taking in lighter entertainment as, on this night in that year, the Winter Olympics opened in Lake Placid, New York.

I wish I could claim to have strong memories of it but winter sports aren't that huge a deal in the UK.

I do, though, have a feeling this may have been the year in which Robin Cousins won a gold medal for skating around stylishly.

Incredible Hulk Weekly #50, Spider-Man

A Russian military officer's still trying to blow up America, with a brand new anti-matter bomb.

Fortunately, Spider-Man's around to trick the Hulk into flinging that bomb into Outer Space, for us all.

The Black Knight still has a magic pearl that's sending him power mad.

The Defenders head for the Avengers Mansion and get into a fight with Wonder Man before it dawns on them that they're all on the same side and that stopping Scorpio and Evil Nick Fury might be a good idea.

The Hulk finally defeats Tyrannus in the Andes.

The Silver Surfer's still trying to raise the money to build a machine which can get him through Galactus' space barrier.

And the Beast is still adjusting to being covered in fur and no longer having a $500 vocabulary.

Star Wars Weekly #103, Walt Simonson

I do believe that's a Walt Simonson cover.

I also believe that, inside, Princess Leia's fighting a cat man, for some reason.

I also believe Deathlok's chasing around after a helicopter.

When it comes to this week's tale of the Watcher, it tells of a rich man obsessed with launching a successful mission to a distant planet, until it costs the life of his daughter and he's forced to concede that it was foolish of him to ever dream of reaching that distant world...

...the world known as Earth!

Doctor Who Weekly #18, the Mandrells

Hooray! The Mandrells make the front cover!

The main thought I have about the Mandrells is they always remind me of Barbara Mandrell and the Mandrell Sisters, a nigh-unwatchable Country Music show which used to be on ITV in the 1980s and made you lose the will to live within five seconds of it starting.

As Barbara Mandrell was totally unknown in Britain, it was always a mystery why ITV seemed so remorselessly keen on inflicting her on us all.

Elsewhere, the Doctor is still involved in the adventure known as Timeslip.

We get more of Marvel's Adaptation of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and we get a text story based on the 1960s Doctor Who serial The Crusade.

On top of all that awesomeness, we get more from Abslom Daak - Dalek Killer.

Spectacular Spider-Man Weekly #362, the Mindworm

But, suddenly, we're back into the realms of mystery because all I know of this issue is that Spider-Man's up against the Mindworm who's using his mental battle with the hero as therapy.


Anonymous said...

Have you suddenly decided to see if you make money out of Amazon Steve, or have I only just started to notice the links?
Well, if you can make a bit good luck to you, but if it works on commission somehow I can't see you getting much out of that Mandrell Sisters dvd from anyone that comes here, even at £50+ including shipping.
£50+ for a dvd! I know there are some chancers on Amazon, but that does seem particularly ridiculous.


Steve W. said...

Sean, I expect to be removing the Google Ads from the site, in the not-too-distant future, so I thought I'd compensate for it by convincing the world to buy Barbara Mandrell DVDs. I can't see any way such a plan could possibly fail.

Killdumpster said...

Hokey Smokes, Awful Country & Western-winkle!!

Kenny Rogers made my ears bleed! He had so many hits that just proves that the music industry caters to the lowest common denominator. We sold tons of his crap at my old record store. Damn inbred country bumpkins.

On top of that, they made a t.v. movie out of Coward Of The County, as well as the Rogers' song The Gambler. That guy... Errrgh.

Barbera Mandell's show was one of the reasons I'm glad I had the headphones on listening to music & smoking pot in my room. If my dad was home, all that was on was hillbilly shows.

In the 60's into the 70's it was the same. Jimmy Dean, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Porter & Dolly, Glen Campbell, & Hee Haw.

I stayed in my room & re-read my comics or drew. Well,the man paid the bills, so his choice on our single b&w.

To the comics, I've already stated that I dug the first furry Beast adventures.
The Defenders stories were so much more entertaining without the Sal Buscema artwork.

The BOC inspired/Lunatik, Egghead, Red Raja, & Scorpio storylines are some of my favorites.

I can't remember if Scorpio's "gang" in the Defenders were androids or some kind of biometric clones.

They were alot better than the group of crime bosses that used to plague the Avengers. Man, those guys should not have been in so many issues.

Circus of Crime, or Sons of the Serpent, could kick the original Scorpio gangs butt.

In the 80's, I believe, at the start of a new Surfer series Ben Grimm suggested the Surfer try to pass thru Galactus' barrier without his board.

Anonymous said...

'But you could've heard a pin drop when Tommy stopped and locked the door'

Those were some powerful lyrics ;-)


Killdumpster said...

Ok, I just remembered Scorpio's gang was modified LMD's. I think.

Sucks getting old.

Killdumpster said...


Anonymous said...

I'm with you on how great Kraft's run on the Defenders was, K.D. But you forgot the Vera Gemini storyline, in which the Oyster Boys themselves made a cameo! They were apparently demon lords in tuxedos who vied with Vera over control of Earth at a gambling table, possibly Atlantic City.
It was pure tyranny and mutation there, for a few issues.


Wyn said...

Just giving a shoutout for Sal Buscema. His Defenders issues were excellent. He is In my view one of the top 10 Bronze Age comic book artists. Let’s wait for the backlash.

Steve W. said...

Wyn, I've always had a healthy appreciation for Sal Buscema. He was clearly one of those artists who saw drawing comics as a job, rather than a feat of self-expression but his story-telling was clear and efficient and anything drawn by him was always highly readable.

MP, up until now, I was totally unaware of all this. You have greatly increased my knowledge.

DW, for a family-friendly singer, Kenny Rogers songs could be surprisingly dark. He is, after all, the man who gave us, Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town.

KD, I've just looked at a video of Barbara Mandrell on YouTube. She's definitely not my cup of tea but I am impressed by her musicianship.

Fantastic Four follower said...

Sal Buscema drew many Avengers between #68 and #92(his brother John was busy with The Silver Surfer) which coincided with one of the best ever runs in Marvel Comics history!!!! I thought his artwork did become less interesting over the next 30-40 years(Amazing career) but those issues from 1968 to 1971 were just the best!

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Sal was clearly a functional artist. I liked him initially... but eventually in smaller doses. Regrettably, from my perspective, he became ubiquitous like Gil Kane and, well, it just didn't attract me to buy a book after around Cap 150.

I mean, we don't go around talking about "up the nose nostril" Sal shots, right? So that's a plus!

Kane had to get ribbed by his colleagues over that, no??? LOL.

Anonymous said...
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Steve W. said...

Colin, I think there is a small part in everyone's heart that secretly loves Coward of the County.

Fantastic Four Follower and Charlie, I read a comic the other month (don't ask me what it was, I don't remember) that Sal both pencilled and inked. It was noticeable how much more detailed it was than the stuff that he merely pencilled.

From this, I conclude that he left his pencils simple, for the inker to add detail to later, because that's how he worked when he both pencilled and inked a job. I suspect that most inkers didn't realise that was his plan and simply faithfully applied ink to what he'd drawn.

You get an exception in Sal's very earliest work on the Avengers, where Sam Grainger did, indeed, add detail to what Sal had drawn.

Killdumpster said...

There is absolutely nothing in my heart that secretly loves anything that involves Kenny Rogers.

Sal was a cranking hack. If his art was enjoyable, it was when his inker laid in alot of embellishment.

Pop songs are meant for populous consumption. No apologies are necessary for liking any song. If you like "Coward Of The County", congratulations.

Now, if you're leaning against a mud-ridden pickup truck, wearing a confederate ballcap, screaming the song out of a toothless face, yeah, you're a "inbred country bumpkin"

Gil Kane was head, shoulders, knees, and toes over Sal Buscema. Sal couldn't clip Gil's nostril hair. Hmmm... That might explain something about those nose shots....

MP, that run was a gas in Defenders.

Anonymous said...

Nah, the references were too overdone in that Vera Gemini storyline, just like the first time Kraft did it for Atlas comics in Demon Hunter, with "Harvester of Eyes".
Now Serge Clerc's "ME 262" in Metal Hurlant on the other hand...

Not a fan of Our Pal Sal myself.
Gil Kane is Gil Kane. I tend to like his work more with an inker that adds a bit of weight and texture, but all the same - you can't wrong with a bit of sinewy, claw-handed Gil up-the-nostrils action.


Charlie Horse 47 said...

You Brits will be happy to know that Chicago is voting to allow establishments to start serving alcohol before 10 AM.

This is because folks are gathering on Saturday and Sunday mornings to watch Premiere League (British) Soccer early in the morning but they can't be served booze. (6 hours time difference).

Go figure... Me, I just lay horizontally on my couch with me dachshund to watch the games. Eventually I sit up and get a cup of mud...

Killdumpster said...

By the way, does anyone know what happened to Dolllar Bill? Was this mentioned be for?

If it was, I'm claiming the saw blade-to- the-skull excuse.

Anonymous said...

You don't just get a beer or three from the fridge Charlie? Grab a smoke too, and there you go - breakfast of champions!
And don't forget the pies, if you want that authentic football experience...


Anonymous said...

Steve, that's why I'm here. That's what gets me out of bed in the afternoon.
If I was in Chicago, Charlie, I probably would drink in the morning.
And hey, I liked Sal Buscema. If his style seemed rushed or hackish it was probably because of his work load. He was the go-to guy. If you put a good inker on him it looked pretty good.
Unlike my friend Sean, I'm a glass-half-full kinda guy, who greets the world with a cheery smile every day. I virtually radiate positivity.


Charlie Horse 47 said...

Well, well, well... the four musketeers are back!

I am proud to say, Sean, that my frat started a nation wide tradition of drinking at 7 AM Saturday on football game days. I got the photos and articles to prove it buddy! It was the fall of 1980, I was a frat pledge, and...

Two frat brothers said to me at 6:30 AM, one Saturday morning, "Pledge Charlie what are you doing?"

"Pledge Charlie is waking the brothers this Saturday morning so they can go to their
Saturday classes. W.t.f. you think I'm here for?" (Purdue University has classes starting 7:30 AM Mon - Sat.)

"Well Pledge Charlie, yesterday we found the bar that opens the earliest here in Tippecanoe County, Lafaytte, Indiana! Now you are going drinking! Hurry up. Door open at 7!"

And so a nation-wide tradition began, called "The Breakfast Club."

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Red - if you are out there! Who opened for the Cars at Purdue around 1981???

Charlie Horse 47 said...

M.P. If you were in Chicago we could drink together on Saturday morning. And I'm sure we could go to Aldi's and get some chicken pot pies to simulate that British cuisine served at the soccer matches!

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Red- Never mind! I just learned that it was "Nick Lowe and the Chaps" who opened for the Cars at Purdue in 1981.

(Don't get any funny ideas about the chaps, chaps!)

Anonymous said...

Charlie, I can always go for a chicken pot pie, but these days I only drink on weekends and never before 6:PM.
I find that I get arrested or fired less often this way.
But, in your company I might make an exception. I'll even put aside my prejudice against Army helicopter pilots, who in the past I have found to be lunatics.


Charlie Horse 47 said...

M.P. - Well Illinois, since 1 Jan, is legally putting the "pot" in pot pies. So we must be careful! UK dudes - is the weed legal there now?

I can't remember who/what Nick Lowe and the Chaps sang? Anyone? I thought Nick was from the UK? I do remember the Cars though and they were a worth act to see!

As I horizontally watch English Soccer on NBC with my dog, I see it is cold and raining in Southhampton as they battle against Bournemouth this Saturday morning. On the other hand it is a balmy 21 in Chicago which will inspire me to stay vertical today!

Funny how I haven't a clue where any of these teams/ cities are in England. I would never have found my way to last weeks beer-mat flipping challenge.

Steve W. said...

Charlie, Nick Lowe is indeed British. His best-known songs are Cruel to be Kind, I Love the Sound of Breaking Glass, And So It Goes, Cracking Up and What's So Funny About Peace Love and Understanding? He was also the bass player with Dave Edmunds' Rockpile, and Elvis Costello's producer.

Southampton and Bournemouth are close to each other on the south coast of England.

Pot is still illegal in Britain but I don't think the law's enforced very strongly.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Thanks Steve! I'm grateful someone is alive over there in the UK to humor our ramblings over here!

I am actually stunned how many 60s to 80s acts are touring the USA now. I mean, Gordon Lighfoot and James Taylor to Bow Wow Wow and Heaven 17. What the heck is going on?

FWIW my body in Indianapolis saw The Motels and Bow Wow Wow last night. I asked if BWW at least paid homage to Adam Ant and Malcolm Mcclaren. He said it was very much like what you'd have expected from Adam Ant actually.

He then sent a live shot of the singer for The Motels. Lordy... she looked like Ozzy Osborne! It's hell aging mates! (they did "only the lonely," and "then suddenly last summer.")

Redartz said...

Charlie- you were a Boilermaker? We could have hung out, one of my best pals went to Purdue. My degree has IU on it but we Herronites were part of Purdue as well. My alma mater "Ooeepooee". (Sorry for the Hoosier digression, everyone).

Would have loved to see Nick Lowe in concert. Saw the Cars in Indianapolis. And not much of a Kenny Rogers fan, but did like "The Gambler".

As for Our Pal Sal, I wasn't his biggest fan either. But he was great with a solid inker, say Joe Staton or Klaus Janson...

Anonymous said...

Sal himself did some pretty fine inking on the short-lived '90's comic Beware the Creeper.
I recommend it! The art is quite distinctive.
But, I guess it kinda petered out 'cause they ran outta weird stuff for the Creeper to be doing. He did get in a fist fight with a Ronald McDonald-type character in a burger joint.
Who, I ask you, hasn't fantasized about beating the crap outta Ronald McDonald?
I know I have. And Grimace too.


Anonymous said...

Charlie, I admit I'm a bit envious of you for seeing the Motels and Bow Wow Wow live. That's a show I would go to.
I liked the Motels. I think I got a greatest hits CD around here someplace.
That singer was a smokingly sultry siren, a striking woman, and I'm sorry to hear she looks like Ozzy now.
Maybe we all end up looking like Ozzy in the end. He truly is the Prince of Darkness. Or the Prince of Decrepitude, anyway. Laying on your belly in a parking lot snorting ants through a straw will take it's toll.
Was that hot little chick with the mohawk from Bow Wow Wow there? Jesus, she's gotta be in her fifties by now.


Anonymous said...

Can't say the Creeper ever seemed that interesting to me M.P.
If its all the same to you, I'll probably stick with Judge Dredd and the Cursed Earth Burger Wars for my vicarious anti-Ronald McDonald violence - if theres no legal action taken against a comic with him in it then they aren't taking the piss enough.


Anonymous said...

I guess you could say the Creeper is a one-trick pony, Sean, but can you say Judge Dredd ain't?

M.P. (still radiating positivity)

Anonymous said...



Anonymous said...

I guess I can't argue with that.
Well played, good sir.