Thursday, 6 February 2020

February 6th, 1980 - Marvel UK, 40 years ago this week.

This week in 1980 was an uneventful one, when it comes to the sort of matters that concern this site. I shall, therefore, fling myself straight into the Time Vortex to see what our favourite Marvel UK publications were up to.

Starburst #18

Hooray! Meteor is here!

Granted, that might not be the most exciting news in the world but it does at least manage to provide us with the main feature in this month's book.

Not that it matters, because all anyone with any sense really cares about is that we get a photo of the Liberator from Blake's 7.

It's interesting to see that this month's mag features an article about Project UFO, a show whose name I've heard repeatedly over the years but about which I still remain totally ignorant.

Rampage #20, Hulk

I know nothing of this month's main story but find it unlikely the CIA will be able to hold onto the Hulk for very long.

Things don't look quite so good for the X-Men who find themselves prisoners of Black Tom Cassidy and the Juggernaut.

Fortunately, there are Leprechauns on hand to save them.

And I haven't a clue what the Dr Strange tale involves.

Star Wars Weekly #102, Han and Leia

It's yet another thrilling photo cover, as Luke and Leia stand around, looking at each other.

Inside, our heroes are still being tried for trespass, by some people with wings, and we get a four-page text article about Carrie Fisher.

Elsewhere, Deathlok finds out that someone called Mike has married his wife, while he wasn't looking.

In this week's Tale of the Watcher, a tyrant invades another planet, only to discover the people on it are under the control of a vegetable - a vegetable which now takes him over as well!

Doctor Who Weekly #17, Tom Baker

Hold on. Wait. What? There's a new strip starts this week and it's called Timeslip?

Did Dez think a man of my quality would fail to notice they've stolen the title of a legendary children's TV show of the 1970s?

What next? Children of the Stones?

Anyway, it seems the story involves K-9 disassembling and the Doctor getting younger.

Now that the Invisible Man's out of the way, the comic switches to giving us an adaptation of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.

But perhaps most importantly of all, we get the start of a whole new story starring Abslom Daak: Dalek Killer, which I'm assuming his first ever appearance.

Will we ever get to see him show up in the TV show proper?

Well, probably not, as I'm sure it would have happened by now, if we were.

Marvel Superheroes #358

I've no memory of the main story but I'm assuming those are the Scarlet Witch's hands, as I can't think of who else they might belong to. I do gather, though, that Count Nefaria's mixed up in it all.

Inside, Jarvis is still being interviewed about life with the Avengers, while the Original X-Men are up against Mesmero, with a little help from Jim Steranko.

But, of course, the big news this month is that we get the origin of the Champions. Surely no man could demand more of a comic.

Savage Sword of Conan #28

My knowledge of this book's contents is virtually zero but I do know we get a full-page Joe Jusko pin-up of Red Sonja sitting on top of a dead dinosaur, and also a pin-up of Conan by Tony DeZuniga.

Spectacular Spider-Man #361, Swarm

This week's cover would appear to contain a pair of blunders, managing to get not only the date wrong but also the story. I do believe the issue actually features the return of the Mind-Worm, when Spidey gets dragged into the villain's dreams.

Incredible Hulk #49, Tyrannus

It's not just the arm from the living flame that's getting more Hulk than it can handle, as, with three Hulk tales in one issue, we are too.

First of all, there's a tale in which he and Spider-Man team up to deal with a Russian military officer who's out to  destroy the United States, with a big bomb.

We also get the Hulk fighting Tyrannus in the Andes.

And, as if that wasn't enough, we get the Hulk not doing an awful lot, as Moon Knight sets about rescuing Jack Norriss from the clutches of Scorpio.

Ant-Man meanwhile captures a teleporting villain by turning his teleporter against him, the Black Knight's up against a giant troll, and the Silver Surfer tries to get a job, in order to fund the construction of a device which might enable him to break through Galactus' space barrier.

But doesn't the Surfer have the power to make things just appear from thin air, thanks to his Power Cosmic? Can't he just make the money appear?

Then again, can't he just make the device appear?


Timothy Field said...

Well I've gone from recognising nothing last week, to all these seeming familiar this week. 1980 was obviously hit and miss for me, probably the pressure of starting secondary school.

Killdumpster said...

Loved the Avengers/Lethal Legion/ Count Nefario storyline. Action! Action! Action! As you like it!

Though Swarm may not be everyone's favorite villain, I kind of dug him.

Mind Worm, not so much.

Anonymous said...

The Swarm was a cool villain. An animated skeleton of an old Nazi fleshed out by bees.
"Killer bees" were kind of a thing back then. We were told swarms of South American killer bees were headed north. Basically, we were screwed.
I have a funny story about bees. When I was in the army I was in Nuremburg, drinking, and I got into an argument with some other G.I.s over a cab. They kicked the hell outta me. I was black and blue. I barely made it back to the barracks.
A couple weeks later, after I was completely healed, I was walking around and a bee stung me right above my right eye. My face swelled up again, and everybody in my company figured I got the hell kicked outta me again, probably for running my mouth. Nobody believed it was a bee.
"Either learn how to fight or shut up!" was what one guy told me.
"It was a bee," I exclaimed. " I didn't have this coming! I didn't pick a fight with that bee!"
It was the truth, but I don't think anybody believed it. I guess I myself would be suspicious.


Anonymous said...

Sure M.P., we believe you.
(Sorry mate, couldn't resist)

Steve, the Dr Strange story in Rampage is from just before Judo Jim Starlin started work on the series with all that Dr Stranger Yet stuff, and the "Witch At Large" is actually Clea off her head. It was a bit boring tbh, but saved by the reliably excellent artwork of Rudy Nebres.
But even he couldn't have salvaged that month's X-Men, with Claremont going full Oirish.
Feckin leprechauns...


Anonymous said...

I think "Dr. Stranger Yet" with the head what was apparently a warthog, was inspired. The Ancient One had become a drunken derelict. The universe had gone awry. That's Starlin, sure enough.
And Claremont, hack writer that he was, wrote a story that took place in Ireland in an old sea-side castle with leprechauns.
But Sean, there wouldn't be a leprechaun problem in Ireland if St. Paddy hadn't chased the snakes out.
The snakes kept their population in check.


Anonymous said...

Theres no such thing as leprechauns M.P., thats Christians you're thinking of. Crom, without the snakes around, the Christians really took the place over.


Charlie Horse 47 said...

Who drew Hulk on Rampage? Clearly not Marie Severin or Herb Trimpe or Sal B!

I've never seen such skinny quads/hams on the dude!

It's like he's been on the (stupid) Keto diet! (I added the word stupid to see if someone would get chaffed, LOL!)

Charlie Horse 47 said...


The world Beer matt / coaster flipping international galactic championships are tomorrow!!! You are being very, very coy about your plans to provide live coverage!!!

C'mon now!!!

Colin Jones said...

The Conan story is an adaptation of "The Scarlet Citadel" by Robert E. Howard in which King Conan loses his throne due to the scheming of an evil wizard. The cover shows Conan returning to his kingdom, Aquilonia, on the back of a pterodactyl, intending to regain his crown. This was perfectly normal behaviour in the Hyborian Age.

Steve W. said...

Colin, it wasn't only normal in the Hyborian Age, it was normal in 1980. I used to do it all the time.

Charlie, I shall endeavour to see what kind of coverage I can give the beermat flipping. I wouldn't build my hopes up, though. For some reason, none of the main TV channels seem to be showing it. I can only assume they couldn't afford the rights.

Sean, thanks for the Doc Strange info.

Tim, I recognise all the covers apart from the Starbust one.

KD and MP, Swarm was definitely one of the weirder villains Marvel managed to come up with in the 1970s.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Hey Kids! Comics!

Marvel just released a whole slew of new $1 "true believers." Awesome stuff from Thor, Tales to Astonish, etc!

It's worth a trip to your comic store! (I would call in advance b/c they sell out!)

D.C. finally pulled its head out of its dupa yash and is reprinting classic $1 books as well from Silver/Bronze Age forward.

Seriously worth a look! And the best part is you can simply recycle then when you're done using them... It's not like you paid $4 - $5.

Killdumpster said...

Thanks for the heads-up, Charlie.

MP, I read awhile ago where an entomologist said as the killer bees moved North, they were mating with regular bees.

They became more mellow with each generation, till the nastiness was bred out of them.

Just recently they played the 70's tv movie Killer Bees. Great nostalgic cheesy fun.

Wouldn't mind seeing the film Swarm (which is where Marvel probably got the idea for the villain) again. It starred Michael Cain.

Anonymous said...

Ah, the Swarm - that was the film when Michael Caine's career first started to take off after he left Britain.
As he says, living in a country run by bloody socialists in the 60s and 70s had held him back - he could only get parts in shitty flicks like The Ipcress File, Get Carter, The Man Who Would Be King and so on - whereas Hollywood gave him the opportunities that made his name, The Swarm, The Hand and the classic Escape To Victory.


Killdumpster said...

Steve, was that Jekyll & Hyde story originally printed in Marvel's Supernatural Thrillers mag?

That was an enjoyable adaption, as well as the Invisibe Man.

I think I lost interest in that title, if I recall correctly, when it may have been taken over by the Living Mummy.

Technically though, Jekyll/Hyde & Invisible Man are more sci-fi. There wasn't any supernatural elements in those stories, unless it would concern theories of man's good vs evil inner turmoil, madness, and toying with God's creational proccess.

Anonymous said...

Sean, you forgot Jaws IV, The Revenge.
But I kid. I've always liked Michael Caine.
The Scarlet Citadel was a classic. It was almost like Dante's trip through hell, when Conan was down there in a labyrinth populated by monsters. The giant man-eating snake was the least of it!
Steve, I was unaware that you rode around on a pterodactyl. It has long been my dream to ride a tyrannosaur down the main street of my town, while holding a flaming sword. But if I'm gonna make that happen, I better start planning now because I'm not getting any younger.


Anonymous said...

Sorry M.P., I haven't seen Jaws IV (no doubt an unforgivable lapse that displays my ignorance of cinema).
The Scarlet Citadel sounds familiar - was it drawn by Frank Brunner?

Good luck with the pterodactyl. Start planning your Hyborian Age approach to politics now and maybe you could make the difference in November...


Anonymous said...

Caine himself once said "I made a lotta crap" because, as an actor, he wasn't sure where and when the next job was coming from. From my point of view, that's perfectly understandable.
The guy didn't come from money (his dad worked in a fish market) and he had a family to think about.
When you grow up rough you always have a certain anxiety about money.


Charlie Horse 47 said...

If we are talking films, and not beer-mat flipping...

May I recommend "Ford v. Ferrari?" It's quite worth watching!

The Shelby Ford driver Ken Miles for you English dudes to get an emotional connection!

Reminds of back in the 60s when all us boys in grade school had at least a superficial interest in McClaren, Ford, Ferrari, Lotus, etc.. Cool times!

Anonymous said...

My memories of the '60's are rather blurry, because I was in a diaper at the time.
Jesus, Charlie, how old are you? Do you have a nurse present?
You didn't vote for Nixon, did you?

...My dad voted for Nixon and my mom gave him shit about it for years. He also bet money on Sonny Liston.


Anonymous said...

Perhaps your dad voted for Nixon because he too had a certain anxiety about money M.P.?

Although I think you must be mistaken about Caine growing up rough. He's from London - didn't you know that makes him one of the metropolitan elite?


Anonymous said...

Now I know you're messing with me.
You might be right about my dad, but I spent a whole week in London and I had my head on a swivel the whole time.
Especially in Soho. I felt myself in possible danger.
And I didn't even see the East End.


Steve W. said...

KD, the Jekyll and Hyde adaptation was indeed reprinted from Supernatural Thrillers.

Killdumpster said...

Thanks, Steve. That was a great book for a "monster kid".

Along that line, Sean, I actually enjoyed Michael Caine's The Hand. Then again, I freely admit I'm a cinematic garbage enthusiast. I think one of my favorite Caine films is Zulu.

I only have vague memories of Jaws IV. Jaws just doesn't feel right without Roy Scheider.

MP, I voted for Nixon. It was a faux election we had in first grade. Good example for not giving little kids the right to vote. Lol.

Killdumpster said...

Malcolm McDowell, like Caine, has admitted that he's been in a lot of crap. Any actor that wants to keep working is bound to be in a few subpar productions.

On his deathbed Klaus Kinski stated that everything he ever did was "sh*t".

Bela Lugosi was in so much crap because he never turned down anything, after refusing to do Frankenstein.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

I was born in 1961, MP. This is noteworthy because Stan Lee wrote in his Soap Box in Hulk 135, where he fights Kang and the Phantom Eagle,

"1961... the last year, for the next several thousand years, that looks the same when written backwards and upside down..."

I remember buying that off the spinner and thinking I was blessed being born in such a year.

(I'm paraphrasing Stan a wee bit. Also since that was 49 years ago my memory may be tad off as to which issue I read it in.)

I do wish I had been earlier in 61 b/c then I would have lived under the Eisenhower presidency. He was a good egg and also is on the Silver Dollar which is special.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

It's quite possible that the world champion beer mat flipper has been determined in the UK as I type this.

The earth shudders as she waits for the results!

Fantastic Four follower said...

If I remember correctly That Michael Caine film, The Hand, featured him as a comic artist or possibly just an artist and the pages of artwork were drawn by.... Barry Smith! This brings me back to the days when I was amazed if comics turned up on TV programmes. Would you believe an actor on Crossroads(look it up) was reading Incredible Hulk #166 featuring Zzaxx, the thing from the Inferno way back in 1973.These were the days when reading comics was frowned upon by just about everyone and the collective noun for comic readers was weird or strange!! Marvel/DC movies changed the world!

Anonymous said...

Jim Steranko was once on Nationwide in the late 70s FF follower. I was gobsmacked.


Anonymous said...

Kinski was a complete lunatic, he probably should have been locked up, but he was in some good movies, particularly the Werner Herzog films. Herzog admitted that he considered shooting Kinski dead on several occasions. Kinski was not a guy you wanna be stuck in a jungle with. Murder is definitely on the table in that situation.
But he had some very good small roles in Dr. Zhivago and For a Few Dollars More. He could play a psycho with real flair.
And quite convincingly!
The Wehrmacht was really scraping the bottom of the pool when they conscripted that guy.


Fantastic Four follower said...

Would love to have seen Steranko on Nationwide. Any links please?

Anonymous said...

Sorry mate, hardly anyone seems to have seen it, and I guess it was before domestic video became common, so nothing on Youtube or anything like that. Someone needs to hassle the BBC to check their archive.
I was even starting to wonder if I'd imagined it til I found out Jaunty Jim was the main guest at the 1979 Comic Art Con in Birmingham (the item was about the con).


Fantastic Four follower said...

Many thanks.I remember the adverts in Comic Media News(A fantastic fanzine of the time)advertising 'Jaunty Jim'as the guest of honour at the con.Would have loved to go and meet him and had some comics signed.Surely no one has had his impact with such a limited body of work,30 comics between '66 and '70.Plus he always championed Kirby at every opportunity.Class act!