Thursday, 30 April 2020

April 30th, 1980 - Marvel UK, 40 years ago this week.

Today's post is sponsored by Charlie Horse 47, via the magick of Patreon.

You know what I've always loved?

Blank incomprehension about the lyrics of a song.

And that means I was in Heaven in this week of exactly forty years ago.

That's because it was the week in which Dexy's Midnight Runners sprinted to the top of the UK singles chart, with Geno, their tribute to legendary Soul singer Geno Washington.

Granted, when I say, "Legendary," I must confess my knowledge of his career comes entirely from that song.

And, having said that, "Knowledge," may also be an overstatement, as, beyond his name, I've gleaned no understanding of his career from it, due to not being able to understand any of the words.

Despite my blank incomprehension, though, I was a major fan of the record and was very pleased to see it at Number One.

Not so exciting for me was what was happening on the LP chart where the nightmare Rock-Classical fusion band Sky had snatched the top spot with their album Sky 2.

Sky were, of course, made up of such musicians as the John Williams who wasn't the John Williams who wrote the Star Wars theme, the bloke who wrote Clive Dunn's Grandad, and a bloke called Tristan.

I must confess I've never heard the album but, from my experience of their singles, I've no doubt it was a very civilised affair.

Incredible Hulk Weekly #61, Captain Marvel

Captain Marvel shows up to prevent the Hulk killing Glenn Talbot and ends up helping him to get to Jarella's world by, somehow, shrinking him to the size of an iota.

Other than that, I can say little of this issue but I do see the sensational She-Hulk's due to make her presence felt in the book, even though it has mere weeks to live.

Star Wars Weekly #114

I do believe the monster that was trying to kill our heroes last week is still on the loose and in as bad a mood now as it was then.

And it's even worse than that - because someone called Lopaki is out to take Luke and Leia prisoner!

Elsewhere in space, it's a shock to our systems as Man-Wolf suddenly has a presence in the comic.

He would appear to be in a tale from his spell as sword-wielding galactic adventurer.

In truth, I've no memory of him ever having been in the book, or of ever having read his outer space adventures, which is odd, as I've always been partial to Man-Wolf and would have thought such a thing would have stuck in my mind.

Regardless, I'm assuming he's been brought in to replace Monark Starstalker.

I, therefore, assume Deathlok and Tales of the Watcher are still present, though I couldn't say so for certain.

Doctor Who Weekly #29, Tom Baker

The Doctor's still up against the Dogs of Doom.

We get a look at the BBC's Radiophonic Workshop and are granted the chance to win a sound-effects record.

Marvel's adaptation of First Men in the Moon continues. It seems to have been going on for years. I could have walked to the moon in less time than it's taken them to fly there.

We get a text story called The Sands of Time.

And we get more of the Abslom Daak tale Star Tigers.

Dogs of War? Star Tigers? It's like you can't move, for deadly animals, once you travel out into the cosmos.

That's why I'm staying at home and spending my time reading this week's Spectacular Spider-Man Weekly.

Spectacular Spider-Man Weekly #373, the Punisher

Spidey's still teamed with the Punisher in that tale whose events I have little memory of and whose villain I don't recall.

I believe that, at Spidey's insistence, the Punisher only uses, "Mercy bullets," in this tale.

Do such things exist?

I'm suspecting not.

I'm suspecting they're just a comic book thing.


Timothy Field said...

Ahh mercy bullets, from a time when increased popularity resulted in softening characters. The next decade took a somewhat different approach...

Anonymous said...

Pretty sure Geno Washington was only really legendary in the UK Steve; being stationed on a US air base he was one of the few African American artists able to appear in British clubs regularly in the mid-60s, when Musician Union rules were quite strict about who could play.
Which isn't to say he wasn't any good live - not being an ace face on the scene back then I wouldn't know, but I expect mods into R&B would rather have come up on their ...uh, dexies watching him than some art school herberts from the Thames delta.

You missed Man-Wolf doing the swords v science in a world gone mad thing?
Not sure how it would come across now, but I really enjoyed what I read of his run in Marvel Premiere when I was a kid.


cerebus660 said...

I actually saw Geno play live sometime in the '80s in that rock 'n' roll paradise, Stroud. He seemed pretty ancient even then but he played an amazing gig. He was in fine voice, had a cracking backing band and gave it the full James Brown onstage. His catchphrase seemed to be "sideways", pronounced "siiiideeeewaaaays" ( very slowly ) - I've no idea what he was talking about.

dangermash aka The Artistic Actuary said...

Forty years ago I was a month or two away from sitting English Lit O Level. One of the books we studied was Where Angels Fear To Tread, which features an Italian guy called Gino. Gino in the book and Geno by Dexy's on the radio remain inextricably linked to me.

Killdumpster said...

I remember Dexy's Midnight Runner's pseudo-Les Miserables themed video for "Come On Eileen". Ugh.

The sword & sorcery version of Man-Wolf made me want to yak. I picked up his first appearance in Marvel Premier, and was dismayed.

Much preferred the agonized astronaut/werewolfesque aspect that ran when he was a Spider-Man foe. Guess that was me being a "monster kid".

Not having read the Hulk tale, I'm uncertain if Marv-Vell was still linked with Rick Jones. With him sporting Nega-Bands, I'm inclined to think so.

If so, I'd bet my boy Rick was implemental in saving the day/resolving the conflict. Lol.

Anonymous said...

I thought Geno was a brilliant song even if I didn't really get the lyrics until a few years later. Dexy's regularly feature on Australian One-hit wonder charts/collections (Come on Eileen being the one) which always amuses me. Geno, Jacky Wilson Says and the other singles never made it down under.


Killdumpster said...

Steve, I believe "mercy bullets" were rubber bullets.

They hurt also, according to an old militant friend of mine.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, that's what I heard.
But if a rubber bullet hits you in the head, in the area of the brain, it may well kill you just like a real one.


Charlie Horse 47 said...

Allow old Charlie to ask what is probably a dumb question...

The Spectacular Spider Man cover was printed on that "newspaper" stock whereas the others are normal comic books? Why so?

Sean - please can you speak English for "your cousins" lol. I love it but I just can't understand it!

Rubber bullets would kill too, but they were far less dangerous than the real ones. Often they now use a form of rock salt too, so I've been told. Nothing like a shotgun blast of rock salt to the face to calm you down?

Anonymous said...

Actually rubber bullets don't hurt, they seriously injure and kill people (hardly surprising, as they were invented by the British army for use against the Irish).
Steve is quite correct, "mercy bullets" - projectiles that send you to sleep for a little while (awww) - are just comic book nonsense.

Personally, I prefer my comic book nonsense to be about man-wolves waving swords while flying on strange dinosaur creatures in an alien dimension.


Anonymous said...

What didn't you understand Charlie? Did you not have dexies in America?

Actually, now I think about it, I don't recall any controversy about the name Dexy's Midnight Runners, which seems odd as its the kind of thing you'd expect BBC to have had a problem with.


Anonymous said...


It's short for Dextroamphetamine, which should explain. Also, Spidey and Hulk both had newsprint covers, presumably for economic reason. Star Wars and Doctor Who both should have, and did, sell much bettering so got the glossy.


Anonymous said...

DW, so it's a stimulant, right? Are you saying the band's name was a street term for a kind of speed?
I didn't know that, but I guess it explains the video.

Sean, I don't think putting Man-Wolf in space with a sword was a good idea.
George Lucas has a lot to answer for.


Anonymous said...


I believe the speed allowed them to club all night and hence the term 'midnight runners'.

Anonymous said...

M.P., Dexy's Midnight Runners were referencing the sub-culture around American soul music - specifically the mid-60s mods who made up Geno Washington's audience - which became bigger in the 70s with the Northern Soul clubs, which was very much associated with recreational stimulants.

I thought you'd be into Man-Wolf, but there you go. Mind you, I haven't read it in ages and accept the possibility it might not hold up well.
Its got to be better than anything with the Punisher and his magic bullets though, surely?


Anonymous said...

Well, yeah, Sean, you know I'm into cosmic stuff, Warlock, Captain Marvel, anything to do with outer space. I just figure a cosmic werewolf is a lot to ask the reader to rationalize. If I was eight years old I could probably get into it.
And I'm not a big fan of the Punisher. I never was. Vigilantism in this country turns pretty ugly pretty quick. But every country has a dark side.
It feeds into the lower common denominator. M.P. is an educated and enlightened cat.


Charlie Horse 47 said...

Surely Marvel had some kind of data to suggest that glossy covers sold more profitably than newsprint covers?

Sean, I was referring the following paragraph!

"Which isn't to say he wasn't any good live - not being an ace face on the scene back then I wouldn't know, but I expect mods into R&B would rather have come up on their ...uh, dexies watching him than some art school herberts from the Thames delta."

The words I don't understand: ace face, mods, come up on their dexies, herberts, Thames delta.

I have a notion about mods from QUadrephenia? Thames delta I suppose refers to the river but I have no idea what the "Thames delta" should invoke?

Charlie Horse 47 said...

MP - did you prefer your Marvell green and white, or pepsi can red and blue? I didn't know you were such a galaxy tripper!

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Sean - You will be happy to know that the Bahamas wants to mirror the success of Ireland! They figure if you guys can go from 20 to 100 mph in 30 years, economically, they can too! I can't think of a single reason why not because their comparisons are very compelling.

Point being that you being Irish might have an "in" to working in the Bahamas! Then, you could start Bahama Con! And then you could comp all of us with free rooms at the hotel! It would be a beautiful thing! I'd even be a sponsor!

Killdumpster said...

I remember dexies, but was more of a cocaine guy during that time period.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

UK Gents - are they still burning 5G cell towers over there? Do those folks still think 5G caused the corona? Nothing against that, per se, we have our share of conspiracy theories too.

Anonymous said...

"Thames delta" was a reference to the "blues boom" of the period Charlie. As I understand it, strict Musicians Union rules back then limited the number of performers from other countries, so the interest in African American music at the time was met by bands made of up of whiteboys who were enthusiasts for blues, soul or whatever, generally (but not always) from art schools.

Btw, I thought it was very big of you to sponsor a post where the first cover featured a red-and-blue Captain Marvel...


Charlie Horse 47 said...

Sean - I assure you that, just like putting the marvel covers in alpha order, a pepsi-can Marvel cover was purely coincidental!

Uh... why "Thames delta?" Is it just localizing the term "Mississippi Delta?" B.t.w. the Mississippi Delta is huge. When I saw it on a map my eyes popped. I thought it just a reference to the last bit of the Mississippi River south of New Orleans but it really refers from Memphis to Montgomery to Houston. When the USA does extreme poverty, it does it in a big way!

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Anyone! I need some insight! Anyone know why Fred from Scooby Doo has an orange ascot?

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I think the term "Thames Delta" - which I thought had a fair bit of currency - is definitely supposed to imply an element of absurdity in the idea of 60s kids from the south of England trying to sound like Howlin' Wolf.
(Although I guess the Rolling Stones had the last laugh there)

Burning phone masts seems quite popular in Birmingham.
Some of that might be driven by right-wing loonies pushing the anti-China line, considering the "controversy" over Huawei involvement in the British network (which is weird because they voted for their great helmsman Boris "let a thousand flowers bloom" Johnson, who's party has been very pro-Beijing since the mid-70s)


Charlie Horse 47 said...

LMAO off on "herberts!" Sounds like a natural progression from herbert to cockwomble?

Steve W. said...

As, "Herbert," as an insult, first appeared in the 1960s, I wonder if it came from that Star Trek episode where the space hippies call anyone who's not like them, "Herbert?"

Anonymous said...

That sounds logical Steve.


Steve W. said...

Thanks, Sean. :)

Cerebus, after that anecdote, I now have an image of Geno Washington as being Roy Jay, the 1980s comedian who dressed as a convict and whose catchphrase was, "Slither."

Killdumpster said...

That Trek episode with the space-hippies is one of my favorites. It featured one of my favorite grade-z actors, Charles Napier.

He was the tall, curly-haired singing hippy with the skimpy feminine costume.

Very early role for him. He later would be type-cast as a hillbilly/evil/psycho sheriff/cop.

Killdumpster said...

The whole Man-Wolf sword & sci-fi thing was just a big letdown, and that's from a guy that grew into Killraven & War Of The Worlds from Amazing Adventures.

That took a little force feeding, though.

Sean, would you have felt the same about the 'Wolf series if it had elves in it? Lol.

Anonymous said...

Charlie, M.P. is indeed a galaxy-tripping cat. (now he's got me doing it.) For the record, I preferred the blue-and-red Mar-Vell costume. That's the Captain Marvel I knew as a kid. But I can see how somebody might be sentimental for the green and white, if that was their introduction to the character.
Yeah, I dig the cosmic stuff. The F.F. on their space jaunts, the classic Guardians of the Galaxy, you name it. I guess I figured as a kid that outer space would be preferable to rural Iowa. The jury is still out on that, as far as I'm concerned.
K.D., I remember that Star Trek episode and that actor. And of course, Spock on the space guitar! It would've been a better episode if they had let Spock really cut loose with that ax, maybe a metal guitar solo. I bet he could've laid down some smokin' licks on that thing. Nurse Chapel woulda went wild. She'd be beggin' for the ol' Vulcan Grip.


Colin Jones said...

I'm another one who loved the song "Geno" despite its' lyrics being incomprehensible (except the line "Oh Geno"). I didn't know who Geno Washington was either but I was only 14 at the time.

But my favourite Dexy's song is "Because Of You" from the TV series 'Brush Strokes' which includes the curious lyrics:

You love nature,
You love nature,
You love nature,
Don't you?

By a spooky coincidence there's a documentary on BBC Radio 4 this very evening which will examine why people are attacking 5G phone masts. Being morons might have something to do with it.

Has anybody noticed that Incredible Hulk and Spectacular Spider-Man have both dropped "Weekly" from their covers for the second week running?

OK, just me then. I'll get me coat.

Killdumpster said...

Vulcan Grip would have been a great name for Spock's metal band.

Steve W. said...

KD, thanks for the sponsorship. I've added your name to the list of sponsors, in the blog's sidebar. If you want an image to be associated with your name, like I've done with Charlie's, either email it to me or post a link to it in the comments section, and I'll add that too to the sidebar.

I'll also add your name to Charlie's in the list of sponsors on tomorrow's post and in all subsequent posts.

Steve W. said...

Colin, Marvel UK did like their title changes in this era. One barely knew where one stood, in this period.

Anonymous said...

K.D., "Vulcan Grip" would be a cool name for any band! There's gotta be a band out there called that. Maybe "Vulcan Death Grip" would be better, if you were trying to be hardcore.
On another note, sometimes I like it when song lyrics are incomprehensible. It gives the listener a chance to use their imagination.
Take "I am the Walrus", for example. Although the lyrics are gibberish, the song itself has always struck me as being dark and ominous.
Eric Burdon of the Animals said once that "egg man" was originally a nickname Lennon used to call him, after he told Lennon about an incident with a groupie and some eggs. I won't repeat it here.
I guess it means that Burdon is the Egg Man. Mystery solved.
You guys seen him lately? He looks like Shrek. Happens to the best of us I guess. Who am I to talk.
He used to look like some kinda evil elf. Like maybe the gnomes switched babies.


Killdumpster said...

Hokey Smokes, Aging Rock Stars-winkle!

I was at a club party in NY about 20 yrs ago, and met Eric Burdon. He was bullshitting with Lesley West (whom I had worked a couple of shows for), and we had a great time. Burdon was a nice guy.