Thursday, 23 April 2020

April 23rd, 1980 - Marvel UK, 40 years ago this week.

Other than Zimbabwe gaining independence, this week in 1980 was one of limited eventfulness.

Come to think of it, I'm sure this is the 20th time I've reported on the independence of Zimbabwe. Just how many times did it gain independence?

Not that I care. Political reality's nothing to me, not compared to the jostlings and battlings of the UK singles chart.

And so it is that I can report that, in this week of that year, Blondie hit the top of that chart, thanks to the song Call Me.

I do believe it was a Blondie single in name only and that, of the group, Debbie Harry was the only one on it, with the rest of the contribution coming from the magic production fingers of Giorgio Moroder.

As if that weren't excitement enough, a remarkable feat was afoot, for, at that very moment, The Jam had no less than 7 singles in the Top 75, leaving no one in any doubt as to their rise to commercial dominance.

Over on the album chart, the roost was still being ruled by Rose Royce's Greatest Hits, which was a serious achievement, bearing in mind they didn't really have that many hits.

Incredible Hulk Weekly #60

As the comic nears its doom, the Hulk's still at Hulkbuster Base and trying to retrieve Jarella's body, despite the best attempts of Glenn Talbot to stop him.

But who is the mystery man who has the power to judge the world's mightiest mortal?

It's Captain Marvel.

My knowledge of the rest of this issue is limited but I assume Captain Britain and the Black Knight are still on their quest for something or other and that Valkyrie's probably having her first encounter with the ever-annoying Lunatik.

Spectacular Spider-Man Weekly #372, the Punisher

Now it's trouble! The Punisher's in Peter Parker's flat and confronting him about his, "Secret."

But what secret?

I don't know. I don't remember.

And that's where my knowledge of this week's contents begins and ends, as I don't remember anything else about it.

But, from that cover, I do believe this is the issue in which Jonah has the mental breakdown which ultimately leads to him losing his memory.

Star Wars Weekly #113

Luke and friends find themselves in an abandoned underground city - with a terrifying, pink monster!

Monark Starstalker's still doing whatever it is he does in his debut appearance.

Simon Ryker's mind somehow ends up in Deathlok's body.

I've no idea where Deathlok's mind ends up being.

Perhaps both minds are in the same body and fighting for supremacy?

And, in this week's Tales of the Watcher, an alien crash-lands on Earth and offers knowledge in exchange for assistance.

But will mankind's greed scupper the deal?

Knowing Tales of the Watcher, I think it's a safe bet it will.

Doctor Who Weekly #28, the Movellans

Is it my imagination or is the cover date on this comic the 23th of April?

Regardless, the Doctor's still having trouble with The Dogs of Doom.

Then again, they're called, "The Dogs of Doom." From a name like that, you'd expect to have trouble with them.

We get a two-page text article about the mighty Movellans.

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

And we get a text story titled Evil Egg. Don't ask me.

Lastly, we finish off with yet more from the Abslom Daak tale Star Tigers.


dangermash aka The Artistic Actuary said...

Obviously, I've checked inside ASM #203 to see whether any of the images on that cover come from the inside. It turns out that only three of them do. So it's not a fitting tribute to the way Stan put the cover of ASM #38 together after Steve ducked out. The exception is that big blue Spider-Man figure. It's ringing some bells for me and I wonder whether it's been swiped from a Gil Kane opening splash page somewhere around ASM 90-120 but I can't tell you for sure. My first thought was the splash page of ASM #99 - I did check that one and it's not there.

Inside, I don't think JJJ loses his memory. He's taken away by Jonas Harrow for some sort of experiment. He's been much grumpier than normal in recent months, especially with Peter. It's as if the writer was gearing up for the big reveal that Jonah looked under the mask when he had the opportunity a few issues back. But Denny O'Neill is about to come on as writer and throw away all that plot development by explaining it as Jonas Harrow in the opposite building pointing a hate ray at him.

Anonymous said...

The Punisher seems to be turning up a lot in these 40 years on posts now its the 80s... and its not even the end of April 1980 yet. What a cockwomble he was (and no doubt still is).

You know how I dislike contradicting you Steve, but I had quite a few issues of Astonishing Tales back in the day, and I'm pretty sure Simon Ryker didn't end up in Deathlok's body. They were both fighting inside a big computer - in cyberspace I suppose we'd say now - then returned to their own bodies, only Deathlok's was a clone, so he was human again.

Except *SPOILER ALERT* the twist was that Deathlok's original body was still alive too, because... well, I'm not sure why really, and it didn't seem the writer was either. Something to do with him already being dead before becoming a cyborg?
The whole series didn't make much sense if you thought about it at all.


Anonymous said...

PS Poor old Georgio Moroder still doesn't really get the credit he deserves in histories of electronic music. If only he'd been from the Peoples Republic of Sheffield, things might be different for him now...


Steve W. said...

Sean, I bow to your superior knowledge of Deathlok. I must confess I used to rapidly skip over his adventures when I read them.

Dangermash, you definitely deserve some sort of award for your dedication to researching the posts.

The blue Spidey is definitely from the era you're talking about. I wonder if it's from the Bullitt story where he teams up with Iceman to find the kidnapped Joe Robertson?

dangermash aka The Artistic Actuary said...

It's not in ASM #92, Steve. I think I've looked through all the Gil Kane issues now (even #150) and can't find that picture anywhere. It looks like it belongs on either a splash page or one of those Gil Kane montage panels ("Where! Where? Where?”).

Oh, and the secret that the Punisher discovers? I thought it was that Peter and Spider-Man we in cahoots but Punisher thinks Peter was a member of the gang that Punisher and Spider-Man has. A fight with in the previous issue.

Sean - this was a two part US and four part U.K. Punisher story that was reprinted in the U.K. very soon after the US version. That's why Punisher was around so much. This deja vu is going to happen more and more often with the U.K. so close to catching up with the US. Be ready for more Charlie fawning over Dazzler and her nipple clamps soon - she'll be in the U.K. comic in two weeks time unless there are some Spectacular Spider-Man stories reprinted after we're done with the Punisher.

Charlie Horse 47 said...


I tried to use your Amazon link but it is to Amazon.UK, not Amazon.US where I live. Not only is the price for a used book in the UK is over 3x what I would pay here, the UK site says it is not shipping to my region due to high demand. And the postage... my lord! Your postal workers must live large!

Well... you need to set up a link to just (for the USA) and I'll be making you richer than you were yesterday, though not beyond your wildest dreams.

So get that link up there there pardner!

Anonymous said...

I take your point about the quick turnaround on Spidey reprints dmaTAA, but the Punisher was on the cover of DD and Cap in recent posts as well as ASM. He's definitely coming into his own as a popular guest star (unfortunately).

Gotta say, while I bow to your superior knowledge of all things Spider-related, that blue Spidey does not look much like the work of Gil Kane to my eye.


Killdumpster said...

The Punisher has been indeed a "cockwobble" in newer comics, but the fault lies on the writers

Last I remember, Frank Castle was turned into a Frankenstein monster-type, had become a Ghost Rider, and become a lackey for Thanos.

Most of those moments his character wasn't written with his original personality intact.

If I were to choose my favorite pink comics monster, it would have to be Hulk's foe the Missing Link.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Cockwobble, cockwobble, cockwobble...

Charlie feels better now!

Steve - how much can I make on a "Prolific" survey? I ain't all that busy these days! And you get a referral fee!

Redartz said...

Hmmmmmm....that blue Spidey looks, to these eyes, to have Romita inks, but not pencils. Keith Pollard, perhaps? As for the other images on the cover, looks like Jim Mooney.

On Giorgio Moroder- liked ( and still like) his work, but yes, he seemed to be noticed only as a producer,and only during that brief period when Donna Summer was hot.
Incidentally, I recently picked up an old compilation cd of songs from 1971-72. Had a song by Giorgio, not familiar to me but it had a noteworthy bit of electronica in it. "Son of My Father" was the title.

Anonymous said...

Sean, I might have to borrow that "cockwomble" term.
I'm running out of novel ways to insult my brother.
He'll probably use that on his subordinates at work, and it'll spread faster over here than any old virus.
I've found that any show with Matt Berry in it is a rich source of new (to me) putdowns. But then, I've always been a bit of an anglophile.


Charlie Horse 47 said...

I'm surprised we aren't showing Rose Royce some love with their huge hit "Car Wash!" We all love a little funka-a-disco-boogaloo don't we? I still think it's a fun song to listen too!

And man, you should see Charlie when he gets out his old shoes with the 2" wooden heels, the pleather jacket, the bell bottoms, and just busts a move! YOWZA!

Who would a thunk that Car Wash was 6 years earlier than Atomic Dogs! Man, who'd a thunk it!

Anonymous said...

As it happens M.P., my brother's working in America right now, so I expect terms like that are already proliferating across the land of the free.
He went over, and within a month the authorities banned all flights from Europe, which was pretty funny (so you lot are stuck with him now).


Anonymous said...

That Star Wars' cover is bit rubbish. I assume its Leia in the green, due to the haircut, but the only other character I recognise is Harry Osborne, who does't usually carry a gun, and is clearly in the wrong comic.

I reckon Georgio Moroder partially realised his childhood dream to grow up in Sheffield when he co-wrote and recorded 'Electric Dreams' with Phil Oakey. Its included on most Human League collections and so should be able to claim temporary membership. A bit like Spiderman and the Avengers. Actually he can probably likewise claim temporary membership to Blondie and Kajagoogoo as well. That must be why he's so highly regarded.


Anonymous said...

Charlie, I need the funk as much as anybody. Detroit Spinners, Parliament ("we need the funk"), War, Rufus and Chaka Kahn, Ohio Players, James Brown, and yes, even the Trammps.
What I loved about the Spinners, and the Trammps, like James Brown's band, is they showed up in matching suits with choreography and a big-ass horn section behind 'em. They were a small army. They meant business.
Lenny Kravitz got it. You ever hear "Mama Said"?
Chile Peppers were good too.

I'm not gonna dress up like you, though, Charlie. I don't think I could pull it off at this point. I'm starting to look like a German general from an old W.W. II movie.


Charlie Horse 47 said...

MP - I honestly don't know how I'd describe Funk. I would say it was perhaps bounded between James Brown and Parliament / George Clinton.

But I knows it when I hears it!

Growing up in Gary, Indiana, listening to stuff like "Livin' with Vivian" on WWCA... I heard a lot of funk. But my pappy told me it was called "Progressive Jazz" lol.

The DJs seemed to talk more than play music or maybe 50-50. But then they'd play the FUNK!

But MP I'm glad we're on the same Funkin team buddy! Salut!

FWIW - Vivian was the "V" in VJ Records who signed The Beatles to their first contract in the USA.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

DW - now that is some real trivia there! It just proves... anywhere you go in the UK synth world, there is always a Republic of Sheffield connection!

You just gotta wonder if they rode the buses together, for free, to get around in Sheffield?

Anonymous said...


I believe they penned the lyrics whilst riding the bus. The song is actually predicting the time when all buses will be electric!


Anonymous said...

Actually, a lot of Moroder songs were thematically predictive with respect to transport. 'Call me' was obviously a call out to Uber, 'Take my breath away' is clearly jet fighter centric and 'Never ending story' details falling asleep on the Circle Line after a big night...


Anonymous said...

Sean, I hope so. Our ways of cussing each other out have become stale. But as a I mentioned before, I've heard clever new insults on Berry's shows such as calling somebody a "f*@%!#g donut" or "a high-functioning fried breakfast who can't spell Wednesday".
I think we all become richer through the exchange of cultures. I'm sure your brother will come back much the richer for his experience.
Tell him welcome to the U.S. for me!
Statistically speaking, he's probably not going to be murdered.


Steve W. said...

Charlie, Prolific generally pays the equivalent of around £6 ($7.42) an hour for completing a study but it varies, depending on the generosity of the researcher in question.

I have now changed the Amazon link to

On other matters being discussed:

It's nice to see Giorgio Moroder love in the comments section.

I now feel an overwhelming need to discover just where that Spidey image comes from.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

I must say! Sheffield, forever trapped between the past and the future, did a marvelous thing back in the day subsidizing its bus fares!

It gave us ABC!

It gave us Human League's Electric!

I'm sure Heaven 17 rode the buses seeking inspiration for "Crushed by the Wheels of Industry!" I can feel it in me bones!

Charlie Horse 47 said...


This is important!

Pres Cockwomble aka Bonespur aka King of Butt Hurt has said it is possible that if you inject surface disinfectants like bleach or lysol, along with swallowing a UV light so as to light up your innards, you might be able to beat the Corona!

Please! Please! Please! Do not try this! I assure you that swallowing a UV light will give new meaning to the expression "butt hurt."

Anonymous said...

On the subject of the UK weeklies catching up with the US comics - I'm pretty sure the Hulk storyline where he retrieves Jarella's body from Hulkbuster base was being printed in the UK mere weeks after the US comic. The Hulk takes Jarella's body back to her homeworld but finds it is being ruled by a malevolent figure called The Gardener.

Interesting that "Call Me" was really a Debbie Harry single - I recall watching a documentary about Blondie on BBC4 which claimed the rest of the band had been quite resentful about all the attention Debbie Harry got. And they were especially annoyed that many people thought "Blondie" referred to Debbie Harry, not the entire band.

A "cockwomble" sounds like Great Uncle Bulgaria's embarrassing brother - the family member we weren't told about :D

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Sean! Where is your brother stuck in the states?

I mean, being an immigrant and all, I suspect he has figured out a way to get free stimulus checks, free medical care, free cell phones, and well everything essential for free!

SO I suppose he's got it better than the majority of us! Point being I was going to hit him up for a loan?

Charlie Horse 47 said...


I have become a patron!

I have also purchased bird seed, ($28 worth) through Amazon via clicking through you.

You are going to be rolling in it baby!!!

Anonymous said...

Remember when Giorgio Moroder bought a print of Fritz Lang’s METROPOLIS, paid to have it restored, and then released it with a soundtrack featuring songs by Pat Benatar, Loverboy, Bonnie Tyler, Freddie Mercury and Billy Squier? Film critics at the time DESPISED it but I thought it was kinda great.

Also really liked his CAT PEOPLE score, with the Bowie song.

In other news — after reading here that the Monark Starstalker story was serialized in STAR WARS WEEKLY, I was curious to see what it looked like in b/w. So i found a guy on eBay who had all three issues in a lot at a decent price and snagged ‘em. Turns out, it’s kind of a mess in black and white! Seriously, there are some panels where I have no idea what I’m even looking at. So Steve, if that’s how you first experienced it, no wonder you were baffled.

- b.t.

Steve W. said...

Thank you, Charlie. I vow to spend the money for good and never for evil.

B.t, don't worry, I first read Monark's debut in his original US appearance.

dangermash aka The Artistic Actuary said...


Good shout about Punisher appearing in Captain America and Daredevil - I'd forgotten about those.

And the blue Spidey. I agree it doesn’t look like Gil Kane. Maybe more like Romita. But there's something about it that I can't put my finger on that made me think it was from a Gil Kane story. It's not nostril related. Probably more related to Gil's montage panels that had multiple Spider-Mans in them or some of his splash pages that features a large Spider-Man in the background of a Peter Parker scene. If someone finds that pose within a Gil Kane montage tribute panel in a comic drawn by another artist I'll feel vindicated.

Anonymous said...

Charlie, according to our beloved leader, the best thing I can do if I get the virus is to chug a gallon of bleach and shove a flashlight up my arse. ( the closest you can come to ultraviolet rays)
Colin, have you ever seen Debbie do "Call Me" on the Muppet Show? Wowza. She also sings "Rainbow Connection" with Kermit and it may well bring tears to your eyes.
It's on the U-Tubes.


Anonymous said...

I think Charlie imagines Sheffield as being a nexus of all realities, a thin spot between alternate universes, somewhat like the Twilight Zone. You may walk out to pick up some groceries and may never be seen again, trapped in some alternate reality that has an ironic twist.
Such a nexus exists in the Marvel Universe, in the swamplands of Florida, and it's appointed guardian is the macabre Man-Thing.
That's where Howard the Duck and Thog came from.
I knew a guy from there who swore up and down he saw a troll while he was out hunting.
Who am I to argue? I've never been to Florida.


Anonymous said...

Have you been to Sheffield, M.P.? Because that is an uncannily accurate description of the place.
Except of course for the swamplands - in South Yorkshire those are metaphorical rather than literal. And as I understand it that part of Florida doesn't also seem to be a glorious Latverian-style workers paradise.

dangermash aka The Artistic Actuary, yeah I was thinking Romita, but something about that didn't seem right to me either. So maybe its something he corrected in his capacity as Marvel art director? Which would suggest its from a cover.
But with the weeklies at this point it the whole thing easily just be a series of Paul Neary swipes...


Anonymous said...

MP, I hadn't seen Debbie Harry on the Muppet Show - but I have now.

Anonymous said...

*COULD easily just be...


Redartz said...

Checked out that video of Kermit and Debbie Harry. Wonderful, made my day!

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Yowza... I too checked out Kermit and Deb Harry. Very cute. ("Cute?" Man am I getting old?)

Charlie Horse 47 said...

M.P. - Florida has a lot going for it besides the worst drivers in the USA and the highest violent-crime rate.

Indeed, I am contemplating a serious move down there in the next 18 months. Melbourne? Just go rent a condo, do the beach, kayak the mangroves, get a tan, etc. Time to relax. Someplace short on tourists and long on nature.

Anonymous said...

That Debbie/Kermit duet is a nice thing to watch if you're shut in from the virus.
However, be warned: if you watch it after polishing off a bottle of Canadian whiskey you WILL start crying.
Charlie, I have never been to Florida, but as a state it seems to me like that one cousin of yours that keeps getting arrested all the time.
Everybody's got one of those. You see him at the family reunion and he's got some new tattoos and a nose ring. And a skanky girlfriend to boot, who comes on to you while he's over there talkin' to Grandma.


Charlie Horse 47 said...

MP - I do have some cousins that do seem to get arrested. The last time was for a simple DUI. The cop pulls him over and says, "You know why I pulled you over?" My cousin says, "Cause I been drinking?"


I only know this b/c my brother is an attorney and represented him and my other cousin(s) as well.

Yep, my brother made good as an attorney. His best selling ad in the paper said, "Drugs? Guns? DUI? Call Charlie's Brother!"