Thursday, 26 March 2020

March 26th, 1980 - Marvel UK, 40 years ago this week.

For any lover of great music, perhaps the biggest tragedy of the Coronavirus pandemic has been the cancellation of this year's Eurovision Song Contest.

Obviously, as a disaster, the cancellation of Eurovision is only a slightly lesser catastrophe for music than the contest actually going ahead.

But there were no such concerns on this night of four decades ago. Preparations for that year's competition were progressing strongly, with BBC One broadcasting A Song for Europe in which the UK's entry was chosen.

We all know Eurovision 1980 itself was won by Ireland's Johnny Logan, launching a trend for the Republic to win so often that they ended up deliberately trying to lose it by entering a glove puppet but that doesn't mean Britain's entry was overshadowed.

No, because the nation had a cunning plan.

And that was to wow judges and voters alike with Love Enough For Two by Prima Donna, a band made up of Kate Robbins, Jane Robbins, Sally Ann Triplett, Danny Finn, Alan Coates and Lance Aston.

They were definitely a band with a pedigree.

Lance was brother to Bucks Fizz's Jay Aston, Danny was a former member of the New Seekers, and Kate Robbins was Paul McCartney's cousin.

As Jane Robbins was Kate's sister, I assume she was also Paul McCartney's cousin.

Sally Ann Triplett was, of course, two years later, a member of Bardo who represented Britain in Europe, with their song One Step Further which bore a noticeable and suspicious resemblance to Manfred Mann's cover of Blinded by the Light.

It's hard to believe anything in any comic could stand comparison to drama on that scale.

But let's see if it does!

spectacular spider-man weekly #368, dr octopus

Spider-Man's on a boat and up against a man who's in a bad mood because he's lost one of his mechanical tentacles.

Meanwhile, the Sphinx now disposed of, Reed Richards sees-off the threat of Galactus by pretending to have built his own Ultimate Nullifier.

Galactus believes him and recedes quickly into Outer Space, thanks to the Watcher's assistance in the deception.

It's always good to see Uatu rigorously sticking to his vow of non-intervention.


star wars weekly #109

That is the most impassive-looking bunch of floating heads I've ever seen on the front of a comic.

Then again, perhaps they're merely looking unimpressed by my total lack of knowledge of what's happening inside it.

Doctor Who Weekly #24, Daleks, the Robot of Death

The Fourth Doctor's still dealing with whatever problems it is the Star Beast is causing.

You can win a poster by colourising a black and white picture of the first four Doctors.

We take a look at various robots the Doctor has had to thwart.

We get more of Marvel's adaptation of First Men in the Moon.

And we're treated to a text adaptation of the First Doctor's tale Galaxy Four.



Incredible Hulk #56, Iron Man

It's the question we've all asked since the early days of Marvel; "Who'd win a fight between the Mandarin's pointless robot copy of the Hulk and Iron Man?"

And now, at last, we're going to get the answer, as those two comic book titans clash.

No, I'm not totally sure why Mandy has a robot copy of the Hulk but he does - and he's unleashed it from its crate.

Come to think of it, I wonder who'd win a fight between it and the robot Hulk from The Eternals?

Then again, didn't the Thinker build a robot Hulk in Fantastic Four #100?

And Dr Doom built one in Incredible Hulk #143.

What is it with super-villains and robot Hulks?

Elsewhere, the Surfer's still in the future and self-pityingly gunning for the man who wrecked the universe.

The Beast's single-handedly foiling the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants.

And a whole nation celebrates as the Defenders have finally succeeded in rescuing Jack Norriss from Scorpio!

When I say, "Rescued," I mean Scorpio's killed himself in a fit of depression, leaving Jack free to leave of his own volition.

I'm not sure what the Black Knight's up to but I'm sure it's thrilling.

And I think the real Hulk's in the process of beating-up Sasquatch.

Marvel UK, Chiler Pocket Book #1, Dracula

But this is it! As predicted by Sean in the comments section, mere days ago, the launch of a brand new comic!

Admittedly, the Chiller pocket book didn't necessarily come out this week but it did come out this month.

And it heralds the imminent arrival of a whole slew of similar books Marvel UK will launch in this period, and which are almost as hard to put a date on as anything published by Alan Class.

But what's in it?

Some very very late Tomb of Dracula action featuring the Domini/Janus storyline, and also a Satana tale, written by Chris Claremont, that's reprinted from Marvel Premiere #27.

57 comments:

dangermash said...

Even if there's no Eurovision, I think we should still go ahead with the voting. It's not as if that ever has anything to do with the music.

AlthoughI understand that the Iceland entry is so good that there's an online petition to just hand them the trophy.

Timothy Field said...

Don't think I ever picked up a single Marvel pocket book ever, which is odd because I'd buy a dead cat with the Marvel logo on as a kid.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

You know, this has always been in the back of Charlie's head.

Assuming Spiderman is reprinting FF 210 with Galactus and Sphinx, Galactus has on his spandex pants. When did Galactus switch over from shaved legs and a kilt to a villain with spandex? Charlie used to wonder what was under that thing that the FF always seemed to be staring up at! Indeed, did Galactus shave his legs or was he just hairless (all over?)

And the same goes for the Watcher with his Toga! Though Charlie is not sure he was as tall as Galactus but there are probably panels where our super heroes are staring up towards his nether-regions as well!

And since the Watcher and Silver Surfer are bald, was also Galactus? Charlie did read Marvel Zombies recently, and seems to recall the Hero-zombies ripping off Galactus's helmet to eat him? But Charlie can't recall if he was bald.

Anyone help?

Anonymous said...

Why is the UK even still in the Eurovision anyway - didn't the Brits vote to leave?
Steve, I'm hoping you did some research and actually looked up that info about Prima Donna, because I dread to think what it must be like to know things like that and live with carrying it around in your head.

Like Tim, I don't think I ever had a pocket book either. Although not interested in the weeklies at that age I'm pretty sure I'd have gone for a load of Tomb of Dracula reprints if I'd ever seen them on sale.
Given the size, maybe they were often displayed with those old War Picture Library and Commando comics - that'd make them easy to miss.

-sean

Steve W. said...

Sean, tragically, I did remember Prima Donna. However, I did have to look up the membership. I thought Cheryl Baker was one of them but it turned out I was mixing them up with Co-Co who she was part of when they represented us in 1978.

Tim and Sean, I remember having one pocket book but I don't have clue which one it was. I think it might have been an issue of The Fantastic Four but I could be wrong.

Dangermash, I do believe Greece and Cyprus have already given each other maximum points.

Charlie, I'm fairly certain Galactus has been depicted as being bald without his helmet.

Killdumpster said...

Steve, did your Marvel Pocket Books reprint complete issues, as opposed to the UK books that only printed a few pages of a story in each book?

Steve W. said...

KD, I think they had 64 pages and reprinted three complete issues.

Anonymous said...

Gawd, Steve, now you mention it I do vaguely recall Co-co. What are you trying to do to us?

Btw, I've just been watching the first episode of mid-70s BBC suburban English apocalypse drama The Survivors. "I don't think its a flu virus..."
If anyone's interested -
www.youtube.com/watch?v=zAyjkaFYnzE

Does anything say end of the world more than no Radio 4?

-sean

Steve W. said...

My memory of Survivors is that it started off all grim and tense and ended up being a show about the joys of organic farming.

Steve W. said...

Just like The Tripods starting off being an exciting drama about alien invasion and ended up being a show about the problems of wine production in France.

ColinBray said...

Steve W. upwardly mobile sci-fi must have been a feature of the 70s and early 80s.

Perhaps somewhere there is a missing Good Life episode that started off with a neighbourly dispute about a squealing pig and ended with Margo and Jerry becoming brain eating zombies.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't remember much about it apart from the opening titles Steve.
The first episode does seem a bit bourgeois and to have something of the Good Life about it, like theres a bit of wish fulfillment going on there.

But I just finished the second part, which was a bit more like what you might expect from the creator, Terry Nation. I didn't know he wrote it, so I'll give him the benefit of the doubt and try a few more...

-sean

Anonymous said...

Bollocks. Colin B just squeezed in and got there first with Good Life comparison...

-sean

Redartz said...

Ok, all the problems the United States has faced in the last few decades can be traced to it's inability to participate in the Eurovision Song Contest. Or, maybe not...

Loved that Spiderman tale, originally from Annual 13 and Spectacular Spiderman Annual 1. Of course the good Dr. Octopus was my favorite Spidey foe. And it's reassuring to know that Jack Norris is finally out of danger. But then, being the ex of the Valkyrie, he might still have attract some problems.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

As long as you UK guys are chatting sci fi. I went to look up "The Survivors" which led me to "The New People" which led me to "The Champions" from the UK. Is The Champions worth a look?

Charlie Horse 47 said...

As long as you UK guys are chatting Eurovision, I went to look it up and its been going since 1956? I recognize 5 names starting with France Gall from 1965. That means she be really old now.

But how come A-Ha isn't on there? I thought they won that thing like in 1985 which catapulted them to fame?

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Good lord... I just listened to France Gall's winner in E-vision 1965 "Poupee de cire, poupee de son."

For the obvious reason, I picture all you UK guys busting a gut...

Anonymous said...

As long as you Charlies are chatting France Gall, I was a bit surprised to see a few of her lps reissued in limited editions on Third Man Records and sell out quickly in the record shops here just before everything closed down.
Is she "on trend", as they say these days? Are old French Yeye chicks in? Strange.

-sean

Steve W. said...

Charlie, as far as I'm aware, A-Ha have never had any involvement with Eurovision. You may be mixing them up with ABBA who won it in 1974.

Red, never fear. Australia competes in Eurovision, so there's always hope that, one day, America too may be able to take part in the contest that gave us Dustin the Turkey.

Sean, I've never even heard of France Gall. I can pass no comment on her popularity.

Colin, I think you may be right. I still remember the very last episode of Blake's 7, where Blake got promoted to area manager of the local advertising agency and splashed out on a brand new futon.

Steve W. said...

Charlie, The Champions is worth a look. I wouldn't say it's a masterpiece but it's diverting enough and Alexandra Bastedo looks amazing in it.

Anonymous said...

The Champions struck me as fairly Transatlantic, Charlie; for the real excruciating 70s UK tv sci-fi experience you want Blake's 7.
Seems all the episodes are on Youtube. You know, just in case lockdown isn't driving you nuts enough as it is...

-sean

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Sean! Me and Charlie are glad to hear France Gall is on the up tick! She's only 73 or so... I mean, if Gordon Lightfoot can go on tour at age 80...

Steve - I think her biggest album was Babacar in 1987. I happened to be living in Deutschland at the time, so I heard her songs in our small german Cantina at lunch along with other greats like Toto Cutugno from Italy, or the Fantastischen Vier (Fantastic 4) from Germany.

Anonymous said...

Its the 60s stuff thats doing the rounds Charlie, like the Poupee de Cire... lp. I suspect it may well be that its actually interest in Serge Gainsbourg thats behind the reissues, as they all have a few of his tunes on them.
He's been on the uptick for a while now among Anglophone listeners.

-sean

Anonymous said...

I had a complete run fo the Fantastic Four pocket books which (spoiler alert) reprinted everything from Reed and Sue's wedding until pretty much the end of Kirby's run. They mostly reprinted two US issues to pocket book, with odd back ups. There was at least one double sized issue that increased the price from 15p to 30p, only for the regular (standard) issues to then increase to 18p. Tough times.

The pages were probably presented at the same size as in the Titans' (Landscape) days. I'd missed a lot of those FF stories and was happy to read the complete run, in sequence. I'd managed to miss that Black Panther, the Kree and Adam Warlock were originally FF characters. Great times.

DW

Anonymous said...

At first glance that Hulk cover reminds me of the Tales to Astonish #179 (The Titan and the Torment).

DW

Simayl said...

If anyone is interested Rebellion have just issued a nice paperback collection of The Rise and Fall of The Trigan Empire. I have fond memories of this strip from the pages of Look and Learn. The tales in this book first appeared in Ranger and Look and Learn between 1966 and 1967. Epic science fiction with gorgeous painted panels!

Charlie Horse 47 said...

UK Gents,

We hear that the Prince and now Bo Jo have C19. You have my thoughts and prayers. Bigly!

Colin Jones said...

Sean, stop being so mean about Blake's 7 - I've watched numerous episodes on YouTube and the series holds up pretty well in my opinion :)

I bought loads of those pocket books and here's a curious fact:

The first four (Chiller, FF, Spidey and Star Heroes) all included an address where readers could send letters but no letters page ever appeared in any of the pocket books!!

Obviously I send my best wishes to BoJo now he has the virus...ONLY KIDDING :D

Anonymous said...

Colin, stop being so mean about Boris Joh... oh, who am I kidding? No-one would ever believe that even for a second..
But ok, I won't be mean about Blake'7 again, at least not til Steve gets to the monthly in his Marvel UK posts - I can't promise anything then (;

Charlies, we hear the US is now #1. Bigly indeed!
"We have the best numbers, much better than China, the most cases, its the best coronavirus in the world, a beautiful virus..."

-sean

Timothy Field said...

Think we might only be a year or so away from the Blake's 7 comic, so that's something to look forward to.

Charlie Horse 47 said...


What was you UK chaps' opinion on "The Rise and Fall of The Trigan Empire." I think I asked before b/c I was reading about it in your Comic Scene magazine. (Last year I read it. Not sure if the Mag is still published or just online?)

My general recall is the art is superlative? Stories decent?

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Sean - for an immigrant, who predictably makes his livelihood stealing, dope dealing, the usual... you have a great wit!

I think you are doing President Bonespur better than Bonespur does Bonespur, LOL. Love it!

Point being, You should consider an honest living instead of crime and welfare and write speeches for Bonespur or SNL!

Honest to cripes, if Alec Baldwin were repeating your lines above, I think it would go manic on youtube!

Simayl said...

Trigan Empire had magnificent, highly imaginative and visionary painted art and the stories were a heady mix of ancient cultures and space opera. The art was the main appeal but the concept was very intriguing as it payed out on a weekly basis.

Steve W. said...

The Trigan Empire is a beautiful thing to look at. I first encountered it in Vulcan comic in the mid 1970s. Later, I had the big hardback collection: https://amzn.to/33UxNkH .

Tim and Sean, I didn't even know there was a Blake's 7 comic.

Colin, I still have a lot of affection for Blake's 7. Its nihilism appeals to me.

DW, thanks for the pocket book info.

Sean, Charlie and Colin, it's now been announced our ever-popular health secretary has COVID-19 as well. I'm starting to think our government hasn't been following its own advice.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Hatt Mancock too Steve. If its real - and not spin to create sympathy for Boris Johnson while the number of fatalities rises (I know, I am meaner than Colin) - and develops into a serious case, apparently Dominic Raab will be in charge. Yikes!

If you're at all curious about the Blake's 7 monthly a couple of the comic strips have been posted at
www.bronzeageofblogs.blogspot.com/2019/06/rip-paul-darrow.html
There, that should make amends for being mean about Blake's 7 above.

Good to hear of an affordable edition of The Trigan Empire. It can be slightly dull reading, but everyone knows Don Lawrence was one of the greatest comic artists ever, surely?

-sean

Timothy Field said...

Well Steve, I have just checked and you have about a year to find out about B7 monthly before it turns up on this blog.

Anonymous said...

Speaking about the virus, I am having the absurd but very unpleasant sense that this is going to lead to some post-apocalyptic scenario. Like the maybe the next president is gonna be the Great Humungus (although that would be an improvement at this point).
I was ready for the end of the world when I was a teenager, I was rooting for it, but now I'm fifty-one and just can't stand the aggravation. I need my sleep.
I can imagine Mad Max driving a semi-truck full of toilet paper across the desert being chased by mutants on motorcycles and hot rods, the last hope of civilization in a barren world.

M.P.

Killdumpster said...

I've heard stories where folks are trying to return the stacks of toilet paper that they bought in panic.

Killdumpster said...

As far as the subject of Hulk robots, I believe villains like Mad Thinker & Mandarin may have used the Hulk's visage as an element of fear.

Let's face it. Most heroes & villains probably would prefer not to have to tangle with him.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

KD - your thoughts lead to an interesting question... who is the ugliest Marvel character? Granted Hulk is big and green... but I suspect if you just looked at faces the Thing is uglier?

I mean, even the Thing thought he himself was ugly. (One often wonder if, in those Kirby-Lee FF issues why they didn't give Alicia a chance to see Ben as the Thing. Then if she still loved him, in spite of how he looked, he would feel good about himself and not have all that "mope" factor like Silver Surfer and Parker.

I mean, this almost could lead to two of SDC's famous polls:

1) Who is the ugliest?
2) Who had the biggest mope factor?

Anonymous said...

Dunno about polls. 1) is unknowable, as we never actually got to see Victor von Doom without his mask, and 2) is obviously the Surfer.

-sean

Steve W. said...

1) Quasimodo.
2) The Surfer.

KD, I've heard no rumours of toilet roll returns in Britain. However, the panic-buying of them does seem to have finally died down at least slightly.

MP, it's true. In our post-apocalyptic future, he who controls the last toilet roll will control the world.

Tim, I shall look forward to it, avidly.

Sean, thanks for the Bronze Age of Blogs link.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Gents I have good news. At 7 PM last night, when our local grocery closed, they had a fair amount of TP still there! They moved it to the front of the store, at checkout, to control for theft?

So, since I was staring right at it I bought a 6-pack of soft!

Hope it fits!

Anonymous said...

What about ammo Charlie? I hear theres been quite a lot of panic buying of that in the US too.

-sean

Redartz said...

For your 'poll'-
1. Man-Thing, if he counts. A walking slime bog.
2. The Surfer, no doubt. Perhaps he should seek some Cosmic Counseling...

Redartz said...

Sean- don't know about Charlie, but my experience: shortages of tp, Kleenex, ground beef, soup, bread, and now they say pet food is flying off the shelves. As for ammo, that wouldn't surprise me.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Charlie says...

1) Modok is just over-the-top hideous to look at. Like a weeble on steroids.

2) Surfer is the winning whiner. I agree with Red... he needs a few head sessions with Ego or Watcher or Odin.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Holy Moly!

I just learned that in the UK they are using a scottish word to describe our Leader!. The word is "cockwomble" How often do you chaps use that word?

I am duly impressed that the UK is putting its mouth where its virus is and vaccinating the herd!!! Bo Jo, Prince Charles, and your Health Secretary are setting a fine example for our cockwomble of a leader by getting the virus! Steady as she goes!

ColinBray said...

Steve, on the strength of this comment I made a rather creepy image search for Alexandra Bastedo. Yikes. The beauty hurts.

Anonymous said...

If you really want a laugh, checkout the short clip of the Boris Johnson press conference earlier this month where he boasts about shaking hands with everybody. In a hospital. With virus patients.
www.youtube.com/watch?v=n3NAx3tsy-k
I don't think even Trump has suggested anyone should actually try to catch the virus.

Mind you, to be fair the "herd immunity" plan was before the science "changed".
(Don't ask me how science changes from week to week - I thought the whole point was that it was constant)

Better stop there, as I can feel a rant coming on...

-sean

Anonymous said...

K.D., about returning toilet paper, I assume they won't refund it if it's been used?

M.P.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

On the strength of Colin B's statement I did a google as well on Alexandra. Yowza... too bad she passed. We could had fun together.

Anonymous said...

Can you guys imagine what must be going on in Russia? They had empty shelves and stores before this, and a piss-poor excuse for an infrastructure and health care system to boot. Their population was already declining before the virus.
I suspect things are dire, even by Russian standards.

M.P.

Anonymous said...

Good to see the pandemic hasn't stopped you bashing the Russians M.P.
Its nice there are things we can rely on in these strange times.

-sean

Anonymous said...

Sean, I'm not anti-Russian at all. I've read Dostoevsky, Pushkin, and Alexander Solzhenitsyn's Gulag Archipelago. I'm currently re-reading Pasternak's Doctor Zhivago.
I'm not against Russians, I'm just against bad government.

M.P.

dangermash said...

1. Ugliest (out of all the "normal people') for me is Joe Smith from ASM #38
2. Mopiest is the Surfer. Peter Parker, Harry Osborn, Thing and Odin all have their moments but the Surfer never stops.

M.P, my missus came home with big roll made from recycled paper. Disgusting. I refuse to use it.

Charlie. Cockwomble is a good word that I don't get to use often. I like to save it for people that are stupid, powerful, full of shit and lacking in self awareness. So people like Donald Trump, Mike Ashley, Dez Skinn and whoever is at the ECB that keeps wanting to cut back on first class cricket and replace it with the 100-ball version.

dangermash said...

Oh, and in the comics Odin, Reed Richards, Jonah Jameson and Sub Mariner are all cockwombles but Tony Stark is king cockwomble.