Tuesday, 4 February 2020

The Marvel Lucky Bag - February 1970.

There are certain times when you don't want to be someone who hates Love Grows Where My Rosemary Goes by Edison Lighthouse, and this month in 1970 was one of them.

That's because the mighty track spent the whole of that month at Number One on the UK singles chart, granting no respite to its detractors.

Not, that is, unless they sought sanctuary in the UK album chart, whereupon they'd discover three LPs which managed to seize the very pinnacle in that month.

Those albums were Led Zeppelin II, Motown Chartbusters Vol 3, and Bridge Over Troubled Waters by Simon and Garfunkel.

Those were popular.

These comics weren't quite so popular.

Chamber of Darkness #3

Brace yourself for a descent into mind-numbing terror, as Chamber of Darkness hits its third pulse-pounding issue.

Included in this book are:

Dave scoffs at a tree.

A man opens a box, at the behest of a mysterious woman - and then discovers she's Pandora!

Edgar Allan Poe's The Tell Tale Heart.

With all due respect to Edgar Allan Poe and Pandora, I must confess that Dave scoffing at a tree is the story I most want to read.

Silver Surfer #13, Doomsday Man

A scientist recruits the Surfer's help to deal with an unstoppable robot he's created.

Only for it to turn out the scientist wants to use the robot as a means to hold the world to ransom, thanks to him having granted it access to a cobalt bomb!

Sub-Mariner #22, Dr Strange

Now devoid of a comic of his own, Dr Strange recruits the Sub-Mariner to help him fight the threat of the Undying Ones.

It's a story which leaves Strange trapped in the dimension of the Undying Ones, a fate which will see him needing the help of the Hulk and Barbara Norriss, in the not-too-distant future.

Rawhide Kid #74

I don't have a clue what happens in this one but we haven't heard from the Rawhide Kid for a long time, so, here he is.

Our Love Story #3

It's the comic whose main story asks the question we've all had to ask at some point; "But How Can I Love A Square?"

Sadly, none of this issue's other tales feature titles anywhere near that magnificent but I have no doubt they feature just as much sobbing.


Anonymous said...

Of course you'd rather read the story about that Dave fella scoffing at a tree Steve - it was drawn by Barry Smith.

I read it in one of those mid-70s Marvels that reprinted old monster and horror stories, so I couldn't tell you anything about the rest of Chamber of Darkness #3, but The Warlock Tree is about the spirit of an old wizard/druid trapped in a tree with a sword during the (so called) dark ages, which hypnotizes Dave's girlfriend to try and free it. Something like that.

Its not very good though (I wouldn't want to accidentally give anyone the idea its worth tracking down because its by the young Barry Smith).


Steve W. said...

Thanks for the info, Sean. I've just done an image search for panels from that story. I do always find Bazzer's early work fascinating.

Anonymous said...

Yeah Steve, I reckon the development of his work from, say, X-Men #53 to Conan #24 is a big part of what makes Bashful Barry such an interesting figure, even if his end of the 60s stuff isn't as much to my taste as it is for some.
Obviously every artist starts out a fair bit less accomplished than what they're best known for, but its hard to think of anyone who went through an evolution anything like Smith's, and so publicly.


Fantastic Four follower said...

Marvels Mystery stories were very tame compared to DC House of Mystery/Secrets and Ghosts though Unexpected never really appealed to me either! Romance comics and westerns were basically of no interest to me though to be fair they seemed to be poorly distributed. Loved the Silver Surfer issue art and story, it was just what I expected with more action and less depressing monologues to spoil the mood on a Summers day. Also loved That Submariner issue and I always bought any Marvel with a guest star eg Submariner #59(Thor), Fantastic Four #73(Subby, Torch and Thor), Spiderman #77(Torch), Ironman #54(Submariner) etc.We were spoilt for choice. It really was a golden era!

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Well said Sean.

I'm curious though... Someone like Buckler was able to mimic styles quite well? As I recall he kind of kept the Kirby Marvel look going for a few years supposedly for kids like me who couldn't handle the King's departure?

But does an artist like Buckler ever start off "raw" or is he simply able to mimic well from the get go?

Charlie Horse 47 said...

What a difference an ocean makes…

I was listening to the UK’s Talk Sport this morning driving to work and they were opining on the “winter break” coming up for UK soccer.

One of the musings was “Imagine Coach "X", whose team is really struggling now, being photographed on a beach in the Emirates with a fag and a Becks next week! You can hear the fans screaming for his head already because he should be toiling away on how to salvage the season!”

Everything in context LOL!

Anonymous said...

I reckon you're talking about two different things there in your first comment Charlie. Smith was heavily influenced by Kirby, but I don't think he swiped his actual work.
Most artists start out emulating a style they like - especially in the comic biz where they start 'em young - and the better ones find their own distinctive "voice" as they move forward.


Charlie Horse 47 said...

HI Sean,

I was actually meaning Buckler? (FWIW, I don't really have qualms about "swiping" and have enjoyed it on covers. Though, I do appreciate it when the artist gives credit to the original.)

What I was wondering was if Buckler had his own style eventually? Or was he just gifted at being able to mimic styles and didn't have his own per se? I just remember first seeing his art (I suspect around Avengers 101?) and thinking "Ahhh... someone to continue the Marvel Kirby / Buscema look!"

I'm not sure what I was afraid of at the ripe age of 11 or so? I think it was the loss of Kirby and probably other unknown artists starting to be used? My world was being rocked?

Anonymous said...

I know you were asking about Buckler Charlie, but my point was that swiping - which is what I suggested he did - isn't the same thing as being able to "mimic" a style, or continue a "look".
By definition, a swipe wouldn't credit the oiginal (maybe you're thinking there more of a deliberate homage...?)
See what I mean here -


Anonymous said...

PS Heres an example from Buckler's FF next to its source -


Charlie Horse 47 said...

Hi Sean,

Wow... the first link references Buckler and his attempt at litigation for being accused of swiping. I didn't realize it was such an issue in comicdom!

The 2nd link won't let me connect to it. Weird!

Well, as a kid, I had no idea Buckler was swiping per se. I just thought he was mimicking. And truth be told, I appreciated it!

I would say you are spot on about Barry Smith, for sure. No artist seemed to mature before our eyes as much as he did. That being said, the artists I grew up with were basically "old" by the time I saw them in the late 60s / early 70s?

All that said, here's a thought...? did Kirby's work change incrementally as much as Smith's? I mean, the Kirby who was drawing the Cap in the late 60s looked fairly different than the Cap in the mid-70s? Was that change as much as Smith's? Hard to compare, I know.

Anonymous said...

Ah, if that link isn't any good thats probably just as well, as I don't really want to be slagging off someone who isn't around anymore, especially as he's not anything to do with the comics listed here.

Kirby shape-shifted like Miles Davis - you've got 40s be-bop Captain America Jack, 50s cool romance and Atlas Jack, the 60s silver age, going electric in the 70s - but even so... Smith went from his first Marvel comic to Song of the Red Sonja in under five years.


Redartz said...

Ah, love those 'second and third tier' books, Steve!

It's an interesting exercise to study the evolution of artists' styles over the years. As Sean mentioned, Kirby went through many 'periods '. Personally, I prefer his early to mid 60's work.

Few artists changed so dramatically as Barry. But Keith Giffen and Bill Sienkewicz made big stylistic changes, as did John Romita Jr. Even big John Buscema had his progression. His 50's work was solid, but he really blossomed in the 60's at Marvel...

Steve W. said...

I do often think I must be the only person in the world whose favourite Kirby era, visually, is the early 1970s.

As for Barry Smith, I do always wonder whether he learnt to draw as he went along or if he could always draw like that and was initially drawing crudely on purpose, purely to try and emulate the Kirby all-action feel.

Anonymous said...

Not just you Steve - pretty sure I must've left comments here before about peak-Kirby being his time at DC in the early 70s.


Killdumpster said...

Steve W & Sean, I was a fan of that Kirby period also, but then again I'm just a a Kirby fan (Devil Dinosuar excluded).

Redartz, 70% of my collection until '73 was 2nd & 3rd tier titles. Living out in the "sticks", and usually low on cash, made it very hard to continue stories or pick-up many top titles. The city kids usually got the hot books.

FF follower-
I too had Sub-Mariner #22. I really dug Strange's masked stage. Like you I also enjoyed guest-stars in books.

In my young mind I thought I was getting a "2 for the price of one", even if it contained a crappy vilian.

Killdumpster said...

Kirk Douglas, RIP.

Killdumpster said...

Gonna do a Kirk Douglas marathon this weekend. Sparticus, The Vikings, Devil's Rain, Saturn 5, 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea and anything else I may have. The guy was incredible.

Speaking of movies, and Kirby, I believe my interest in the MCU coming to an end. I'm still interested in the new Black Widow & Dr.Strange movies, but outside of that, maybe not.

The new Thor/Jane Foster Thor film could be interesting, but after that, I may be done.

The upcoming Eternals film seems to have too much forced diversity for my blood (no pun intended).

There is a Morbius film supposively coming out. I hope it's rated R.

Anonymous said...

Kd, how do you know if a film likely has "forced diversity" (whatever that is) before they've even finished making it, or released a trailer? Genuine question.


Charlie Horse 47 said...

Kirby - to me his bestest was Cap 100 - 109 or so. I liked his Kamandi. His return to Marvel was not my fav.

Forced diversity - If I may...

I was watching the UK's Netflix "The Stranger" this week. Of the 6 marriages and one "shack up", 5 were "mixed." 5 were indian-white and one was black-white. To me that would be a bit forced since it seems unlikely that 80% of marriages in the UK are "mixed."

But that is simply based on the math.

Anonymous said...

You have me at a disadvantage Charlie, because I have no idea what The Stranger is, or why it would need to reflect UK marriages as a whole.


Killdumpster said...

Sean, casting for Eternals has already been announced. Quite a bit of gender swapping & tokenization, altering the characters from the source material.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

I can recommend The Stranger. It is based on a book set in the USA but they decided to set it in the UK. It was filmed around Bolton and Manchester.

A sort of police / mystery type drams of a missing wife. Netflix.

It just struck us as unusual to see that many mixed marriages disproportionate to the population. Also, in the show they made a point of pointing out that the female "stranger" was of mixed race and that was not at all obvious to me and the missus, lol.

Colin Jones said...

Terry Jones, Nicholas Parsons, Kirk Douglas...and it's still only early February.

Charlie, in my town it's rare to see somebody who's black so most marriages are definitely not mixed around these parts.

I first bought a CD player in 1989 and one of the Motown Chartbusters albums was the first CD I bought to play in it.

Anonymous said...

Oh no Kd, the film isn't exactly the same as the comic?!? Its political correctness gone mad!

I still don't see how you know the casting means "tokenisation" when you don't know anything else about the film, but hey - if you don't like seeing, say, Mexican American women on screen thats up to you.
Personally, I'd much rather watch Selma Hayek than some Chris Evans or Hemsworth-type muscle man, but each to there own.

And Charlie - if you enjoyed that tv show, why would you think its an example of "forced" anything...?


Charlie Horse 47 said...

Hi Sean, Because I had read that in the UK there was a strong effort being made to represent being made to represent minorities.

It just seemed a bit "over the top" especially pointing out that the Stranger was of mixed race when she looked like a white female.

It was a decent show. Just an observation.

Also, my wife and I had the hardest time figuring out which country is was filmed in b/c everything looked spacious and newish... no old stones and bones and 6' ceilings. We were thinking it must be Australia or even New Zealand.

Steve W. said...

Isn't The Stranger set in Manchester? From what I've seen, about 80% of Manchester has been built in the last fifteen years.

Anonymous said...

Well Charlie, it was particularly the use of the word "forced" I was querying, as it seems to me you could just have easily called that, say, "unnecessary diversity".
Which still suggests that the default in a British drama should be to cast a white man unless theres a specific reason not to, but at least it doesn't carry the implication of right-wing conspiracy theories.