Thursday, 12 March 2020

March 12th, 1980 - Marvel UK, 40 years ago this week.

BBC Two is an oft-ignored channel, having traditionally been the home of intellectuals and those who like cooking but there's no denying that on this night in 1980 it was the place to be.

Not only did we get Michael Woods setting off In Search of Arthur, we got another episode of Flash Gordon, in which Flash rescues King Vultan, even as Princess Aura sets out to capture Dale.

As if that wasn't enough, the station's arts documentary series Arena was giving us Rudies Come Back or The Rise and Rise of 2-Tone, as Adrian Thrills investigated the then-current chart success of Ska music and the tiny record label that lay behind it all.

But it wasn't only music lovers in Britain who had something to get excited about because, behind the Iron Curtain, things were also stirring.

Only two days previously, the Soviet Union had launched its first-ever Rock festival, in Tbilisi, Georgia. The event lasted from March 8th to March 16th and is often considered a turning point in the history of Soviet and Russian culture.

Speaking of music, back in the UK, while the Shadows held dominion over the LP chart, with their covers album A String of Hits, the singles chart found Fern Kinney supreme with Together We Are Beautiful, a song I still can't sing without it turning into Janet Kay's Silly Games.

Star Wars Weekly #107

I bet you can't wait for me to tell you what happens in this week's pulse-pounding issue.

Neither can I.

Which makes it all the more galling that I don't have a clue what happens in it.

Obviously, the Star Wars gang's present and my keen senses tell me we're also getting the origin of Star-Lord.

From memory, I can't recall whether that origin bears any resemblance to the one in the movies, so I shall choose not to comment upon it.

Spectacular Spider-Man #366

Just to prove my Star Wars ignorance wasn't a fluke, I can proudly announce that I know even less of what goes on in this book.

I do know Spidey's up against Doc Ock but that's all I know.

Doctor Who Weekly #22, Tom Baker

Hooray! I've found a comic of whose contents I'm not totally ignorant.

It looks like we've got the finale to the Fourth Doctor strip The Space Beast in which our hero finds a way to render harmless the bomb that's been implanted in his stomach.

He does this by wrapping the lead from a woman's roof around himself, in order to block off the detonation signal.

And that kind of improvisational thinking is why he's the greatest hero in the universe.

We also get an adaptation of The First Men in the Moon as scripted by Don McGregor.

It would appear there's also a text adaptation of the William Hartnell story The Time Meddler which famously featured the first appearance of a TARDIS other than that owned by the Doctor.

And, to wrap it all up, we get more from The Twilight of the Silurians.

Hulk Weekly #54, the Black Knight

It's a strange cover which highlights this week's Black Knight tale, rather than one featuring the book's actual star - and doesn't even include the Knight anyway, meaning he has to be added as a near-afterthought.

As for the insides, the Fantastic Four finally get to have their first-ever encounter with the Hulk who proceeds to flatten them.

In a more modern tale, set in Canada, Sasquatch is preparing to confront the Hulk.

Back in the USA, an amnesiac Beast's hanging around with Unus, the Blob and Mastermind who are tricking him into robbing the house of someone wealthy.

Higher up, the Silver Surfer's flown into the future, in order to thwart Galactus' Space Barrier.

And the Defenders are enduring their 85th consecutive week of trying to rescue Jack Norriss from Scorpio.


Anonymous said...

2 Tone is often discussed as if it were some sort of independent Steve, but it was financed by Chrysalis Records so I don't think you can really call it a tiny label.

Personally, I've never quite understood the hype around the Specials and all that. It seems odd that music journos who'd spent the late 70s raving about punk because it was something new suddenly got excited about bands trying to imitate the sound of old Prince Buster records. Especially at a time when reggae was in a really creative period (Janet Kay notwithstanding).

Pretty sure Star Beast lasted for more than four issues of Dr Who Weekly, so the finale wouldn't have been in #22.


Charlie Horse 47 said...

Is that a Simonson cover on Hulk?

Anonymous said...

Looks to me like the work of Paul Neary, who did a lot of the Dez-era weekly covers Charlie.
Which isn't to say that it might not bear an uncanny resemblance to something Simonson did elsewhere, as Neary could be quite free with the occasional uh... homage.


Anonymous said...

Flash! AAAAHHHHH! Savior of the universe!
I loved the movie and the song. saw it in the theater when I was a kid.
Whatever you say about the film, it did have Brian Blessed in it. That guy is one of a kind.
"Hawkmen, DIIIVE!!!"


Timothy Field said...

I think I may have been down to just picking up Star Wars weekly at this point. My dislike of the format of the superhero titles must have been quite strong, I'm tempted to find some from this era and see if that dislike was justified.

Colin Jones said...

I loved Fern Kinney's "Together We Are Beautiful" and I don't care how uncool that makes me.

BBC 2's 'Arena' series is still around. Just last weekend it featured Hilary Mantel - in my local Tesco her new book "The Mirror And The Light" completely sold out within days. I've been perusing the books in Tesco for years and I've never known a book to shift so fast.

Steve W. said...

Tim, I suspect I had all this week's comics apart from Doctor Who Weekly.

Colin, I must confess that Together We Are Beautiful didn't really float my boat.

MP, I always find the Flash Gordon movie is more fun to remember than it is to actually watch.

Sean, thanks for the Star Beast info.

Anonymous said...

(sigh) Steve, that is the case with so many things from our youth. It's like when I used to buy back issues of comics I had when I was a kid. Reading them again after decades I often thought, "Man, this comic is dang dumb. I sure was easily amused back then."
It's kinda fun anyway, though! I've pretty much scooped up new copies of any comic book I had when I was a kid that got read to shreds. It's sorta like time travel.


Charlie Horse 47 said...

Just as Sheffield is trapped between the past and the future, so is Fern Kinney with "Together We Are Beautiful" from 1980 trapped between Air Supply's "Lost in Love" from 1979 and Cheri's "Murphy's Law" from 1981.

I don't know if I can say more than that?

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Steve, Steve,

I have been reading ahead, to be prepared for the next "50-years-ago" segment from SDC.. I chose to read FF 97, "The Monster / Creature" because the long box with the "F's" was available unlike the box with the "C's" for Captain America 124..

Anyhow FF 97 had two (!!) Marvel Checklists inside!! One for FF 96 and its cohort and one for FF 97 and its cohort..

What say thee about this?? I don't know if I've ever seen 2 (!!) CLs in one book??

OR, is it not atypical actually??

Anonymous said...

I didn't understand a goddam word you just said, Charlie.
You're apparently hearing voices from otherworldly choirs.
They got medication for that, ya know.


Charlie Horse 47 said...

Speaking of Flash Gordon...

I want to thank KD for sending me "Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe" on DVD. My son and I killed it over Xmas break.

Thanks KD, it was dam fine viewing! You are a pal!

Also thanks to Sean (and someone else?) who was able to take my vague description of a memory of Flash, me and me kids had seen 15 years earlier, and being able to connect it to Flash/Universe.

You guys are the best.

Steve - When you hosting that Toga party for us? We are ready cause air fares ain't getting any cheaper than now with Corona Bologna threatening the planet! (I can state the world's busiest airport O'Hare is near dead.)

Anonymous said...

K.D., Sean and Steve, now I know who to hold responsible. Charlie is gonna get arrested stumbling around Heathrow wearing nothing but a bed sheet and a wreath around his head. You three guys are gonna have to pool your resources and hire him a lawyer. And it better damn well be a good one.
I'm outta this. I got a clear conscience.


Steve W. said...

Charlie, I remember the Marvel University site pointing out, in one of their posts, that Marvel comics with the same cover date didn't necessarily come out at the same time. Their publication was staggered,

I wonder if the presence of two Marvel checklists in one book reflected that. They were covering the comics that came out two weeks before that issue and also the ones that would come out two weeks after it?

Then again, it might just have been a mistake by the editor.

Dougie said...

I have the first b/w Englehart story in a Marvel hardback on my reading pile. Bought it before Xmas in the Elgin Pop Shop. I'm really enjoying the latest adventures of Star-Lord and the Guardians in Al Ewing's US current series.
DC's Far Sector is a great sci-fi comic too.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Steve, Charlie and I and the rest of the USA are keeping Sheffield in its thoughts and prayers in hopes that the International Snooker Tournament is not also cancelled!

I wonder if a meat pie counters the effect of Corona? Anyone?

By the way, I been reading up on UK's Meat Pies in "Pie Fidelity" by a cool cat name Steve Brown! I haven't got that far in the book yet but what the hell is Spag Bol?

Is Spag Bol a pie?

Steve W. said...

Charlie, Spag Bol is Spaghetti Bolognese. I am confident that even the people of Britain have never tried to put it in a pie.

Dougie, thanks for the comment. My knowledge of what's going on with Star-Lord these days is basically non-existent. Does he still have a talking spaceship?

Steve W. said...

Ignore that last comment. I've now checked and it turns out the people of Britain have indeed put Spaghetti Bolognese in a pie.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Steve - I think you really need to add a column or perhaps alter one of the others, to "Steve Does Everything!" I feel bad asking about Spog Bol Meat Pies when someone may wish to opine on Doc Who or Judge Dredd or something comic related.

But the truth is, I LIKE PIE! Can't deny it! I mean, I saw "The Life of Pie" many times!

Anonymous said...

Steve, in Charlie's defense, you guys have been known to put a lotta weird stuff in pies.


Anonymous said...

I was surprised Charlie didn't ask here about the UK Pie Awards a couple of weeks ago.


Anonymous said...

Is there such a thing?
The whimsical side of me hopes there is.
That's about the only award show I would consider attending.
Particularly if there's a chance of free pie.


Anonymous said...

Yeah, there is such a thing M.P., part of British Pie Week apparently...


Anonymous said...

I applaud the concept of a "pie week", Sean, but what's in them there pies? Are we talking about eels, or fish, or hedgehogs?
I'm more partial to apple or pumpkin.
Or blueberry or strawberry. Any of your basic berries.
But not rhubarb. No way Jose. That is a satanic pie. I've seen people in my family shovel that down. Horrific!


Charlie Horse 47 said...

Sean - I nominate you to run SDC in case Steve goes down with Corona for a few weeks! You have truly impressive wealth of comic and just general info to share! Awesome sauce!

I did NOT know about pie week! I will research!

I grow organic rhubarb and pumpkins and strawberries in my back yard. Make a lot of rhubarb pie. The trick is I only use 1/4 of the sugar so it is somewhat sour. BUT - you do taste the rhubarb and a little bit of vanilla ice cream offsets the sour in a scintillating way! (Also, I only use Trader Joe's pie crusts which are just butter, egg, and flour... not artificial!)

But I never made no meat pies... I've heard they eat a lot of that in the UK? Even at soccer matches! But not at Snooker tournaments?

Charlie Horse 47 said...

UK Gents! Are folks hoarding over there, too? Can't find toilet paper here at all. Also I was at the grocery store and wiped out of eggs, potatoes, and a lot of frozen fruits and veggies and meats.

There was plenty of dried sea weeds snacks still on the shelves, lol.

It is Sunday morning and I contemplate how, 2,000 years later, it's still "I, me, mine" with just the littlest interruption to the social fabric. Does society truly have "a very thin veneer?"

Or, will someone share a roll of TP with Charlie if I run out?

(MP - you may appreciate this from your army days! I have actually collected all the dried leaves in my yard that I would use for compost / mulch in the spring. I mean... it works... and all the bugs are dead by now.)

Killdumpster said...

Entering the post way late, I'm amused that the familiar topics of Flash Gordon & meat pies have dominated once again!

Recently heard a radio story about how folks in Italy believe you can only get authentic Spaghetti Bolognese there. Kind of like how they say our pizza isn't Italian. They truly are proud & defensive about their culinary creations. I know that from experience after living with a girl from a Sicilian family.

For good or ill, the mentioning of spaghetti makes me think of Spaghetti Os. I believe in the UK they are known as spaghetti loops, hoops, or rings. I know they are kiddie junk food, but I still love'em.

They're not bad doctored up with a little oregano, garlic, and diced onion. Gotta be the version with the meatballs, though.

Once made a pizza using a can, and it was tasty. They probably would make a good meat pie as well.

Killdumpster said...

Charlie, I'm going to grab a case of Spaghetti Is today! Lol!

Good thing I have plenty of toilet paper. Lmao!

Killdumpster said...

A message to my American brothers:

Comet TV is running the Flash Gordon Dino DeLaurentiis film all this month. Don't ask me why.

Know some of you guys love it, but I can barely get through it.

I wonder what Buster Crabbe thought of that film. I believe he was still alive when it was released.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

KD - w.t.h. did Buster Crabbe thing of it? I did see a bit of "new" Flash on Comet TV!

Killdumpster said...

M.P., mentioning rhubarb floods my brain with memories. As a child/teen I belonged to 4H, and had a nice sized vegetable garden. Had a huge patch of rhubarb. My sister would eat it raw.

Mom would make an apple sauce-like concoction out of it. Like you, I didn't care for it.

A girlfriend of mine worked at an Italian restaurant, and they made strawberry-rhubarb pie. They would sell out of it every time. Go figure.

Killdumpster said...

Charlie, I don't know what Buster thought about the Flash Gordon film, but I am going to search for an interview. There's got to be one.

I met him at a comics convention a long time ago, and that was before the the movie was made.

dangermash said...

I tell you what I'd like in a pie. Toad in the hole, peas and gravy. How good would that be?

Killdumpster said...

Had to look up toad-in-a-hole, as I had no idea what it was.

Outside of the peas, it sounds pretty good. I'd probably throw in some grilled onions.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Toad in the hole! Will someone explain or must Charlie make a trip to the google, LOL.

It sounds like something from the x-men, lol. Maybe referring to when the Beast slam-dunked ole Toadie down a mine shaft!

Steve W. said...

Charlie, Toad in the Hole is sausages embedded in Yorkshire Pudding. Yorkshire Pudding is a kind of inflatable pancake. Think of those inflatable paddling pools kids have but made of pancake mix. Toad in the Hole is the food of the gods.

People in Britain are indeed hoarding toilet paper. Why, I have no idea. Having said that, I've been in three supermarkets in the last week and none of them had run out of anything, so it seems to depend on where you are.

MP, I tend to feel that rhubarb pie is the only way rhubarb can ever be made edible.

Killdumpster said...

Unfortunately my toad hasn't been near a hole for quite awhile. Lol!

Sorry guys, but I couldn't resist any longer.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Steve - Thanks for that! Toad in the Hole is very very crudely approximated here by hotdogs rolled up in Pillsbury "rolls" pre-made dough. The roll dough is triangular in shape. You roll up a hotdog inside it and bake it. Dab it in mustard and it ain't bad.

KD.. Kd... kd... Ummm, I have to drop a deuce and you seem to be flush with TP. Mind if I come by?

Anonymous said...

Charlie, seems the winning pie in 2019 was vegan, although this year it was something with a dead animal in it, which I believe is the norm.

I don't why you lot in the US seem worried about the corona virus, when barely a week ago your president was calling it a hoax...


Redartz said...

Hi gang, taking a minute out of my current visit with my grandson to check in. Airport here wasn't bad, but saw some folks masked up. Stores, though, are sheer insanity. Feel like I'm in a Steven King book. Fascinating bit of study of societal priorities.

Oh, and Charlie, if you need tp, I'll share with any of my brothers at SDC!