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Sunday, 31 May 2020

The most forgettable comics I have ever owned - Part 22: Metamorpho in 1st Issue Special #3.

Thanks to Charlie Horse 47 and Killdumpster for their sponsorship of this post, via the magic of Patreon.
***

1st Issue Special #3, Metamorpho
It is a fact undeniable to the rational mind that the art of Comic Reading is a branch of Quantum Physics.

This is why it's possible to both remember you once owned a comic and to simultaneously not remember you once owned that comic.

The third edition of DC's 1st Issue Special is a perfect example of that. For decades, I was aware I'd first encountered the word, "Daguerreotype," in the pages of a comic which starred Metamorpho the element man.

And, yet, it somehow never struck me that that meant I must have once owned a comic which starred Metamorpho the element man.

It's a paradox to make Schrödinger himself quail.

Regardless, mere weeks ago, in my internettings, I stumbled across this very comic book cover and realised, more-or-less at once, that I'd seen it before.

That was because I'd once owned it but had, by some means, completely expunged it from my memory until then.

From what I recall, our hero has a challenge on his hands as he tries to hunt down a French phantom that's showing up in various parts of Washington, doing criminal damage and trying to get the government to buy its inventions.

It all has something to do with the American War of Independence and the US government's foolish refusal to buy the phantom's innovative contraptions, back when it was still a living man.

And, now, that phantom seeks revenge.

Beyond that, I could say nothing of the book's contents, other than an ancient daguerreotype photo of the Capitol Building proves to be the clue that allows Metamorpho to wrap up the case and get back to his primary job of canoodling with his girlfriend.

However, it would appear to feature the artwork of Ramona Fradon, an artist whose work I was previously convinced I'd never encountered during my youth.

But what other comics lie out there, in the wilds of reality, that I still have no recollection of ever having owned?

And will I ever stumble across them?

Thursday, 28 May 2020

May 28th, 1980 - Marvel UK, 40 years ago this week.

Thanks to Charlie Horse 47 and Killdumpster for their sponsorship of this post, via the magic of Patreon.
***

It's not often the theme tune to an American sitcom makes it to Number One on the UK singles chart.

But that's what happened exactly forty years ago this week because, to the possible surprise of all, the main song from M*A*S*H*, which went by the name of Suicide is Painless, climbed to that very pinnacle.

If I remember right, it was because a Radio One DJ (Possibly Noel Edmunds) took to playing it on his show, prompting people to rush out and buy it.

Over on the album chart, somewhat lighter fare was ruling the roost, as Paul McCartney's McCartney II smashed straight in at Number One to prove there was yet life in the old dog.

There was also life in Nottingham Forest football club who, on this very night in that year, retained the European Cup, with a 1–0 win over West Germany's Hamburger SV. This meant the European Cup had been won by an English club for the fourth successive year.

Also feeling triumphant, no doubt, were the creators of Pac-Man, as this week saw the release of what would go on to become the highest-earning arcade game of all time.

Doctor Who Weekly #33, Daleks

Hooray! The Daleks make the front cover again!

This is thanks to Genesis of Evil, a reprint of an old TV Century 21 strip from 1965, which tells us the origin of the Daleks - an origin which bears little resemblance to the one we were given in 1975's Genesis of the Daleks.

However, despite this epoch-making event, the Dogs of Doom is still the main story.

We also get another Lee/Ditko classic from Strange Tales #73. In it, a scientist ignores all warnings and builds a time machine - only to find himself trapped in an infinite loop in which he keeps building his time machine over and over again.

To finish off the issue, we get yet more of that tale about the Yeti.

Spider-Man and Hulk Weekly #377

I'm assuming we're getting more of the origin of She-Hulk and issue #1 of Spider-Woman.

What the Hulk's up to, I can't say for sure but suspect he's now reached the Gardener storyline.

The FF may still be having trouble with HERBIE.

It also looks like Spidey's well on his way to becoming Spider-Lizard.

Forces in Combat #3, Machine Man

This week, Machine Man gets to hog the cover.

When it comes to the insides, as far as I can make out, the man the Howling Commandos are rescuing from a German POW camp is still gunning Germans down, ten to the dozen - even after they've surrendered. I suspect they should have just left him in that camp.

Elsewhere, Wulf the Briton's still in colour and has accepted a challenge to fight Rome's greatest gladiator!

But the thing that really leaps out is this issue contains eight stories. That's far too many for an early 1980s Marvel UK weekly. Even Dez never tried to cram that many into one book.

Empire Strikes Back Weekly #118

After 117 issues, Star Wars Weekly is no more.

From now on, it's to be known as Star The Empire Strikes Back Wars Weekly. It's a title that just rolls off the tongue.

This means, of course, that we get the beginning of Marvel's adaptation of that brand new movie, as presented by Archie Goodwin, Al Williamson and Carlos Garzon.

We also get a three-page article about the making of the film.

But it's not all dedicated to the movie of the moment, thanks to John Jameson still being trapped on a hijacked spaceship and having turned, once more, into the Man-Wolf.

Apparently, Lunatik features in this tale. I don't have a clue how that'd happen.

We also get a Tale of the Watcher in which an alien spaceship lands on Earth but, ultimately, leaves, disappointed that humanity never realised it was actually alive.

But, of course, the most exciting thing to come out of this issue is we get a set of Star Wars Letraset action transfers!

As I had this comic, that means I must have had them as well.

Why, then, do I have no recollection of them?

Sunday, 24 May 2020

Werewolf by Night #11 - Comes the Hangman!

Thanks to Charlie Horse 47 and Killdumpster for their sponsorship of this post, via the arcane sorcery of Patreon.
***

Werewolf by Night #11
As very long-term readers will know, I always view Werewolf by Night as being the most consistently forgettable book I've ever encountered. Many issues did I own. Zero stories do I recall.

And here's another issue, from my salad days, whose contents I've totally forgotten.

Granted, its battle against forgettability isn't helped by having, possibly, the most generic cover any werewolf comic could ever fear to have.

But that's just the outside. What happens when I plunge inside?

This is what happens.

Some people called The Committee are electrocuting Phillip Russell's nipples.

Phillip Russell is the father of our hero, and they want info out of him about his son.

Meanwhile, his son Jack's in the process of moving into a new home in an apartment block where every female inhabitant lusts after him, upon sight.

Werewolf by Night #11, splash pageUnfortunately, Jack's clearly the absent-minded type because so wrapped up is he in making his flat a desirable place to live that he forgets he's going to turn into a werewolf the moment the sun sets and, with no plan in place as to what to do when that happens, he heads down to the beach to get away from people.

This turns out to be a mistake because no sooner has he completed his transformation than a bunch of beach-partying body-builders decide he's trying to crash their fun and set out to beat him up.

At last, after eleven issues, the werewolf has finally encountered someone he can win a fight against - a group of people from a walk of life that's notoriously terrified of getting bruises - and only the arrival of the police saves the partyers from a fate no better or worse than death, which is death.

But, if things are bad for body-builders, things are even worse for the criminal under-dregs of Los Angeles, as there's a madman on the loose.

He's the Hangman - and he makes the Punisher look well-balanced.

His mind warped from watching too many movies, he's in the habit of rescuing females from street criminals and then locking those females in his dungeon, for their own good.

Werewolf by Night #11, HangmanInevitably, it's only a matter of pages before werewolf and psychopath bump into each other and, thus, begin a fight that's not exactly epic but does climax with the villain hanging the werewolf from a street lamp

To Be Continued!

If Werewolf by Night tales are always forgettable, I do tend to find them strangely enjoyable.

The protagonist's never impressive, being, as I've said before, the Hulk without the strength and vocabulary and this issue he's even less impressive than normal.

Thanks to a clear urge to portray him sympathetically, writer Marv Wolfman goes to great pains, via both thought balloons and captions, to point out the werewolf doesn't want to fight or hurt anyone and is only ever acting in self-defence, even though Gil Kane and Tom Sutton are drawing him to look the most savage and sinister I've ever seen him.

For instance, at the climax of his battle with body-builders, we're informed by Wolfman that the werewolf's only attacking a cop in order to snatch his gun from him, when the pictures show no sign of him snatching the gun and depict the policeman, at the end of it all, clearly dead, on the ground, with his gun still in his hand. I can't help feeling this is the equivalent of a parent telling their child that their suddenly disappeared pet has gone away to live on a farm.

Werewolf by Night #11, transformation
But it could be argued that it's probably best to read this issue without reading the words and just concentrate on the pictures, which are great.

They're great because Gil Kane's always a reliable story-teller and Tom Sutton was born to do horror.

Thus, we get a visual depiction of the beast as a creature that could readily tear men's throats out.

The bad guy's also appealing. He may have those hints of the Punisher about him but even that character would view him as a lunatic cursed with a totally delusional take on the world. Why is his main method of killing people the use of a scythe, when he's called the Hangman? I've no idea but it does, at least, lend him an air of menace.

So, a werewolf vs a madman with a gardening implement, what more could you want of a comic?

Nothing. That's what.

It's just a shame that a werewolf is such a terrible protagonist for a comic because he can't actually do the things a werewolf is meant to do.

Like murdering people.

Werewolf by Night #11, scythe

Thursday, 21 May 2020

May 21st, 1980 - Marvel UK, 40 years ago this week.

Thanks to Charlie Horse 47 and Killdumpster for their sponsorship of this post, via the magic of Patreon.
***

Big lumps of rock.

Have you ever found yourself looking at one and wondering what primal urges led someone to put it there?

If so, you aren't alone and, on this night in 1980, BBC Two's Chronicle took a look at the subject, concentrating on a stone circle newly-found in Aberdeenshire, comparing and contrasting it with the better-known circle at Avebury.

BBC One, meanwhile, was looking at a somewhat less mysterious British icon, as The Risk Business asked whether there was a future for the double-decker bus.

It is, of course, to George Lucas' eternal shame that neither stone circles nor double-decker buses featured in The Empire Strikes Back which was released that very week.

No doubt, we were all going to see it...

...provided we could actually afford to. This was, after all, the week in which UK inflation rose to a positively vertiginous 21.8%.

In the United States, Mount St. Helens erupted in Washington State, killing 57 people and causing $3 billion worth of damage.

Back in Britain, that week, Joy Division's singer Ian Curtis was found hanged, having killed himself.

Star Wars Weekly #117

As far as I can make out, in a Michael Golden drawn tale, Leia and Luke find themselves trapped inside a living spaceship that's out to obliterate them.

Back in the Marvel Universe, Man-Wolf's also on a spaceship, and also in a fight for survival, although he's now back in his guise of John Jameson.

John Jameson is, as we know, an astronaut. So, presumably, he'll feel far more at home on there than his shaggy alter-ego did.

In this week's Tales of the Watcher, an unpleasant man travels to an alien planet, in search of its legendary treasure but discovers the treasure's actually a fountain of youth whose waters he's unknowingly imbibed, causing him to quickly revert to infanthood.

Doctor Who Weekly #32

This week, the Doctor visits an alien zoo, which is nice for him.

I don't know whether that ties in to the main story which is still The Dogs of Doom.

We get a text article about the notorious Horns of Nimon.

And there's an adventure reprinted from Tales to Astonish #33 in which a scientist builds a time machine to escape the perils of the modern world - only to discover that every era has its perils.

It sounds to me like he'd have been better off investing in a history book, rather than a time machine.

We also get an article about The Master, a text story involving K-9, and a strip about a Yeti.

Spider-Man and Hulk Weekly #376

Because you the reader demanded it, Marvel's top two super-hero weeklies have failed and now merge to produce a comic which reunites the original stars of Mighty World of Marvel, as well as introducing Spider-Woman and the savage She-Hulk!

How can we resist so much spidery-hulky goodness?

We can't!

At least, that's the hope of Marvel UK.

Forces in Combat #2

Hooray! We can win two Raleigh bicycles!

They'd better be Choppers or I'll feel highly disappointed when mine arrives.

All I know of this week's contents is the Howling Commandos have organised an escape from a prisoner of war camp - an escape which keeps being jeopardised by the fact that one of the people they're trying to rescue is a trigger-happy maniac who just can't resist shooting at Germans when he's supposed to be hiding.

Sunday, 17 May 2020

2000 AD - April 1982.

Thanks to Charlie Horse 47 and Killdumpster for their sponsorship of this post, via the magic of Patreon.
***

April 1982 was a landmark in the annals of the British Empire.

It may have seemed, to most people, like it no longer existed and was a half-forgotten thing from the history books but we got two reminders that it was still out there.

First of all, by proclamation of the Queen, Canada patriated its constitution, finally gaining full political independence from the United Kingdom and even launching its own bill of rights.

That was all very peaceful and civilised but there was a more sinister blow to the Empire when, that month, Argentina took it upon itself to invade the Falkland Islands, by landing forces near Stanley, thus beginning an infamous conflict whose events would affect the future of both countries.

It sounded like the world could do with a little peace.

And the girl Europe knew only as Nicole clearly agreed because, that April, she won the Eurovision Song Contest with her tune of that name, although its official title was Ein Bißchen Frieden. Somehow, things always sound less angry when said in English than they do when said in German.

In the cinema, we were all being terrorised by the remake of Cat People, complete with a theme song by David Bowie.

Over on the singles chart, three tracks held the Number One slot, that month.

The first was Seven Tears by the Goombay Dance Band.

The second was My Camera Never Lies by Bucks Fizz.

Bucks Fizz had, of course, won the previous year's Eurovision Song Contest and their victory meant this year's competition was held in this country.

The third and final Number One of the month was Ebony and Ivory by Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder. Apparently, Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder are officially classified as one-hit wonders, as they never had another hit together.

Over on the album chart, April kicked off with Iron Maiden's The Number of the Beast at the summit, before it was dethroned by Status Quo's 1982. The Quo may have only known three chords but they did, at least, know what year it was.

However, the veteran rockers' triumph was short-lived and they were quickly robbed of it by Barry Manilow whose Barry Live in Britain finished the month in the top spot.

But wait!

What's this?

Look at those pictures below!

Four issues of 2000 AD - and not a single Judge Dredd cover between them? What madness is this?

No madness. Merely a blow to the senses. The good judge was indeed inside the comic, as were Robo-Hunter, Rogue Trooper, the Ace Trucking Co and the Mean Arena. We can only assume Dredd was too busy fighting the Apocalypse War to pose for any covers.

Robo-Hunter seemed to be up against some sort of Hound of the Baskervilles analog, although, given the hero's nature, I'm sure the, "Beast," turned out to be more digital than analogue.

We only got two Future-Shocks that month, which was a shock in itself, especially as Tharg was celebrating the book's fifth birthday by wishing the readers a happy fifth birthday. Clearly, Tharg had got a bit confused there.

Yet again, we got the chance to win a bag of KP Griddles.

Yet again, I suspect there is no one alive who even remembers KP Griddles.


2000 AD Prog 258, Ace Trucking

2000 AD Prog 259, Robo-Hunter

2000 AD Prog 260, Happy Birthday, Tharg

2000 AD Prog 261, Robo-Hunter

Thursday, 14 May 2020

May 14th, 1980 - Marvel UK, 40 years ago this week.

Thanks to Charlie Horse 47 and Killdumpster for their sponsorship of this post, via the magic of Patreon.
***

The world right now may be vexed by the spread of a well-known disease but things were looking far better in this week of exactly forty years ago when the World Health Organisation announced smallpox had been completely eradicated everywhere on the planet Earth.

I don't know how much fuss was being made about that landmark achievement, on TV, at the time but I do know that, this evening in that week, BBC One was asking the question, "Do you really believe in reincarnation?"

And who was it asking it of?

Lene Lovich, of course.

In that show, the Lucky Number singer discussed the topic with farmer Ian Crawford, policewoman Sue Grimes, unemployed fitter David Harwood, journalist Krysia Kobziak and disc jockey Dave Silver. You just don't get shows like that on the BBC anymore.

But, even so, the organisation still had an air of crisis to it and, on that very evening, its Man Alive documentary strand was investigating whether the BBC even had a future now the price of a colour licence had risen to an astronomical nine pence per day!

Nine pence a day? It was daylight robbery!

I don't know how much a 45 single cost back then but I do know that, that very week, Australia's greatest Irishman Johnny Logan scaled the very pinnacle of the UK chart with his Eurovision Song Contest winner What's Another Year?

Over on the LP chart, there was no such joy for Johnny. That summit was held by The Magic of Boney M, the band's magnificent greatest hits package. And, let's be honest, who wouldn't want a Boney M greatest hits package on their record shelf?
Incredible Hulk Weekly #63, Captain Marvel


The Hulk may be able to smash Captain Marvel but reality's smashed the Hulk straight in the face and the monster who was once, "Britain's Number One TV star," finds himself starring in the last-ever issue of his own comic.

From next week, he'll have to share a book with Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four, as he had all those years earlier, in 1972, when Marvel UK was first launched.

Other than that, I know nothing of the contents of this week's book.

I suspect, though, that Lunatik's still causing no end of chaos for the Defenders.

Spectacular Spider-Man Weekly #375, Morbius

Unless I misremember horribly, this is the tale in which Michael Morbius is suddenly cured of his vampirism, by a freak bolt of lightning.

I do suspect, however, that it won't turn out to be anything that resembles a permanent cure and his ailment will be back just as soon as a Marvel editor decides he's needed again.

Elsewhere, the Fantastic Four are fighting HERBIE the robot - and things aren't going well for them.

Of the other strips in this issue, I can say little.

Star Wars Weekly #116, Michael Golden

I do believe that's a Micahel Golden cover; and what a striking and distinctive thing it is.

Also this week, Man-Wolf's held captive aboard a space station that's been taken over by aliens.

The rest of this issue's a mystery to me but who cares about that when, inside, we can get news of The Empire Strikes Back?
Forces in Combat #1, Nick Fury, Marvel UK

Just to make sure I get even more work to do each week, Marvel UK gives us yet another comic.

This time, it's Forces in Combat, a strange melange of elements that seem to have little in common other than violence.

Admittedly, that's what all the other strips in all the other Marvel weeklies have in common too.

And so it is that we get a comic which includes World War II from Nick Fury, science fiction from ROM and Machine Man, secret agents in the form of Shang-Chi, Western action via the Rawhide Kid and Fantasy from Kull. I can't help but feel they're somewhat over-egging the pudding here.

Especially so, as the book also includes Wulf the Briton as drawn by Ron Embleton of TV Century 21 and Look and Learn fame.

As far as I can make out, that particular strip happens to be in colour and is the first non-Marvel originated material to be included in a Marvel UK book, having first seen light of day in Beaverbrook Newspapers' Express Weekly in the 1950s.
 
Doctor Who Weekly #31, the Daleks

Hooray! The Daleks are back - and tackling the Fourth Doctor. Something they did surprisingly rarely in the show itself.

We also get yet more of The Dogs of Doom. Whether the Doctor's still a scarf-wearing werewolf is a thing I cannot confirm.

We get a text article about the man behind Doctor Who. Could it be that John Nathan Turner is being foisted upon the poor readers?

We get Those Who Change, a Lee/Ditko masterpiece reprinted from the pages of Amazing Adult Fantasy #10, an issue whose cover star bears a noticeable resemblance to the Martians from Quatermass and the Pit.

We're also given a text story called Mind-Jump, a two-page Steve Moore strip involving a yeti, and a text article about the female foes of Doctor Who.

Of Abslom Daak, Dalek slayer, there is no trace.

Tuesday, 12 May 2020

The Marvel Lucky Bag - May 1980.

Thanks to Charlie Horse 47 and Killdumpster for their sponsorship of this post, via the magic of Patreon.
***

Fear! Fear! Wherever you went in your local fleapit, your only companion was the icy hand of dread!

That's because May 1980 saw the release of Friday the 13th.

I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "I bet it came out on Friday the 13th! What marketing genius!"

In fact, no, it came out on Friday the 9th.

Discovering that's a bit of a letdown, like discovering Halloween came out on Easter Monday.

But there was even more dread to come because the month also saw the release of The Shining, a film so terrifying I've still never managed to stay awake all the way through it.

But, even then, there was some respite from horror, thanks to May also seeing the release of Fame, another film I found quite boring.

But wait! What's that? There was another movie came out that month? One that even I couldn't be bored by?

It's true!

May 1980 saw the release of, arguably, the greatest Star Wars film of them all; the motion picture the world knew, back then, as The Empire Strikes Back but now knows as Part 5. Who can forget where they were when they first discovered Darth Vader was Luke Skywalker's father?

Not me. I was in the cinema, watching Part 5.

That month's oddity was a thing called The Nude Bomb which, it turns out, was a movie spin-off of the 1960s TV show Get Smart.

It is a film I have never seen.

Until now, I didn't even know it existed.

Howard the Duck #5

It's the story that had to happen! Howard the Duck turns into a vampire!

Now the Circus of Crime are in trouble!

That's a very strange and unique cover by Larry Fredericks. I'm not sure if it's terrible or if it's genius.

Marvel Team-Up #93, Spider-Man, Werewolf and Tatterdemalion

And that's a very striking cover by Don Perlin.

From what I can remember, Peter Parker and Jack Russell happen to be attending the same event when someone called Tatterdemalion shows up and gives them both a far harder time than a man whose super-power is being a bit untidy should be able to.

Fortunately, the combined might of wolfman and spiderman finally wins out and the villain is brought to justice.

Marvel Two-In-One #63, The Thing and Adam Warlock

Someone's stolen Counter-Earth, and Her resurrects Adam Warlock, the man who just can't stay dead.

As it turns out, this time, he can because no sooner is he revived than it becomes clear he lacks a mind and the disappointed Her promptly re-buries him.

Meanwhile, Moondragon wanders around feeling jealous of everyone else for being more powerful than she is.

Spidey Super-Stories #46, Mysterio

I've no idea what happens in this one.

I must confess I only selected it because the cover features the words, "Disco madness with Mysterio!"

If a declaration like that that doesn't make you want to buy a comic, what would?

Micronauts #17, Psychoman

Can it be? Is it the end of Psycho-Man, at the hands of the Micronauts?

I hope not. He's too good a villain to be disposed of in such a manner.

Speaking of demises, apparently, someone called Jasmine dies, this issue.

I don't have a clue who Jasmine is.

But I can bet she's no Psycho-Man.
Marvel Spotlight #6, The Origin of Star-Lord

At last, we get the origin of Star-Lord.

Although I'm pretty sure we've had it before.

Anyway, this version's drawn by Tom Sutton who doesn't seem an obvious choice for such a strip but I'm a Tom Sutton fan and, so, have no doubt he makes a distinctive job of it.

Man-Thing #4, Dr Strange and Baron Mordo

Deep in the swamps of Florida, Dr Strange finds himself having to combat a Man-Thing under the spell of Baron Mordo.

Obviously, it should be simple for Strange to defeat a foe as limited as the Man-Thing.

Obviously, Strange manages to make ridiculously heavy work of it, from start to finish.

Sunday, 10 May 2020

Forty years ago today - May 1980.

Thanks to Charlie Horse 47 and Killdumpster for their sponsorship of this post, via the magic of Patreon.
***

Here I am and another bank holiday Monday's just come and gone; arriving on a Friday, in a desperate attempt to catch me out.

Not that I, in my lockdown state, know what day of week it is anymore - or even what month it is.

But, hold on. It must be May.

How do I know this?

Because that's what it says on the front of the comics below.

Avengers #195

For reasons I can't remember, someone who runs a psychiatric establishment has kidnapped the Wasp.

But never fear, Yellowjacket and Ant-Man are here to rescue her!

And, let's face it, if you're in trouble, the words you most want to hear are, "Don't worry! Ant-Man and Yellowjacket are on their way!"

Conan the Barbarian #110

Conan gets captured by persons of restricted growth and ends up fighting a bear which he, of course, soon teaches a lesson it'll never forget, by murdering it.

Daredevil #164

If I remember right, this is the one in which a reporter confronts a hospitalised Daredevil, about the fact he's really Matt Murdock, and DD tells him - and us - the story of his origin.

Iron Man #134

The only thing I know about this issue is Iron Man tests his newly-updated armour to make sure no one can take it over again; like Peter Cushing did, a few months ago.

I assume there's more to the story than that but I don't know what.

Amazing Spider-Man #204, the Black Cat

The Black Cat's back and stealing things, causing bad luck to happen, while flirting with Spidey.

I'm not sure if there's anything else going on in this tale.

Thor #295

It's some long-winded nonsense, as Odin strikes a deal to give an Asgardian goddess to some giants who're doing up his house, prompting Thor to go off and get a magic ring in a tale in which no one's actions make sense.

Uncanny X-Men #133, Wolverine vs the Hellfire Club

The other X-Men may have been defeated by the Hellfire Club but Wolverine's not so easily stopped and goes on the rampage in their HQ before Cyclops seems to be killed in a psychic battle with someone or other.

Captain America #245

A woman who I think might be Steve Rogers' landlady decides to get revenge on a Nazi war criminal she's bumped into. Can Cap prevent her from doing the deed?

My memory is this tale's weirdly sympathetic to the Nazi war criminal.

Fantastic Four #218, the Frightful Four

The Frightful Four are back and have a great plan.

They'll get the Trapster to dress up as Spider-Man, so he'll be able to gain access to the Baxter Building and the querulous quartet will, at last, be able to defeat their old foes.

The only flaw in this scheme is it means the bad guys now have to deal with not just the FF but with Spider-Man too.

And, also, the Trapster tried the exact same plan in a Silver Age Daredevil tale - and that attempt failed miserably as well.

Incredible Hulk #247

The Hulk returns Jarella's corpse to her homeworld, only to discover the only part of it that's still inhabitable is filled with homicidal plants and deadly animals.

Needless to say, Hulkie soon sets about tackling the problem, in his own inimitable style.

Spectacular Spider-Man #42, the Human Torch

It's a magnificent cross-over as the Frightful Four lure Spidey to the Statue of Liberty, in order to capture him, so the Trapster can pretend to be him and invade the Baxter Building.

Why do I get the feeling I've already said all this?

Thursday, 7 May 2020

May 7th, 1980 - Marvel UK, 40 years ago this week.

Thanks to Charlie Horse 47 and Killdumpster for their sponsorship of this post, via the magic of Patreon.
***

Grab on to your Filofaxes and head on down to the nearest stock exchange because this month in 1980 saw the first-ever recorded use of the word Yuppie.

It would appear it turned up in an article by Chicago-based journalist Dan Rottenberg, titled About that Urban Renaissance.

Far from the world of yuppies, and in the very heartland of British working-class culture, that same month saw Liverpool football club win the domestic league for the 12th time.

In London, mere days later, the SAS stormed the Iranian Embassy, killing five of the six terrorists who'd taken the inhabitants hostage. This was an event so big that I'm fairly certain the BBC interrupted their broadcast of the snooker to show live coverage of it.

When it's the 1980s and even snooker gets interrupted, you know it's huge.

Spectacular Spider-Man #374, Morbius

As the boast at the top of the cover tells us, this comic has mere days to go before it merges with Marvel's other super-hero themed book. But, for the time being, Spidey's got better things to worry about - such as the return of Michael Morbius.

I do believe this is the one which begins with the living vampire attacking a group of teenagers on bicycles.

I can't imagine Dracula attacking cyclists.

That Morbius, he has no dignity.

I can confirm that, despite what the cover may imply, Mike hasn't suddenly grown to be the size of King Kong.

Star Wars Weekly #115

Our heroes are still being menaced by that big red monster.

However, thanks to Leia attacking the mechanisms which control it, and Luke getting handy with his lightsabre, the fiend's quickly dispatched and the siblings are free to return to their space adventuring.

Meanwhile, in a galaxy not so far away and not so long ago, Man-Wolf's fighting a man who's on a quest to find the Weirdstone, whatever that might be.

Even more meanwhile, Deathlok finds his mind's now inhabiting the clone of his original body and that his worries seem to be over.

I get a feeling that they're not.

Doctor Who Weekly #30

Now we're in trouble. The Doctor would appear to have turned into a werewolf!

Complete with a scarf!

I can only assume this is occurring in the tale known as The Dogs of Doom, mostly because that's what it says on the cover.

After that, there's a text article about the show's special effects. No doubt, it'll be looking at how the producers manage to source so many egg cartons, milk bottles and rolls of tin foil every week.

We get a tale titled The Man in the Mummy Case created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. Given that creative team, I would assume it's not a Doctor Who adventure.

We also get a text story called The Sands of Time.

And, finally, we get more of the Abslom Daak outing The Star Tigers.

Marvel Super-Heroes #361, the Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy

The Avengers are called in when a huge orbiting spaceship threatens SHIELD's HQ.

This leads to a clash between the world's mightiest super-team and the Guardians of the Galaxy. How many pages of fighting will they get through before they realise they're on the same side?

Elsewhere, the X-Men find themselves up against the bluster of Blastaar.

I do believe the artist on it is Barry Smith in his very earliest days at Marvel.

In The Champions, someone called Edward Lansing's out to enslave the whole world, including our heroes!

Most intriguingly of all, the issue departs with a feature about the Marvel characters of the Golden Age.

Star-Heroes Pocket Book #2, Battlestar Galactica

For those who don't find Star Wars Weekly enough to satiate their need for sci-fi, the Star Heroes pocket book gives us a dose of Battlestar Galactica and the Micronauts.

I suspect I'd find the Micronauts tale, whatever it is, to be the more interesting of the pair.

Chiller Pocket Book #3, Dracula

I don't know much about this month's contents but I believe they're a product of Chris Claremont and Don Heck and are reprinted from Giant-Size Dracula #3.

How ironic that a tale intended for a giant-size comic should end up in a pocket book.

Fantastic Four Pocket Book #2, the Inhumans

As the cover informs us, the Fantastic Four find themselves battling the Inhumans and pondering just who these strange people are.

But that's not all. We also get a 1950s Marvel Boy tale and a Keith Pollard pin-up of the Frightful Four.

Spider-Man Pocket Book #2

I may know plenty about what happens in the FF pocket book but I don't have a Scooby what occurs in this one.

I know the book's often in the habit of giving us Marvel Team-Up reprints but can neither confirm nor deny that it's doing so again.

Savage Sword of Conan #31, A Witch Shall Be Born, Boris Vallejo

Hooray! The Savage Sword of Conan's still bravely seeing off all challengers to its crown of, "Britain's Number 1 Sword and Sorcery magazine!"

And no wonder, as it gives us Marvel's adaptation of A Witch Shall Be Born, complete with legendary crucifixion!

In other news, I don't have a clue who Marok the Mighty is.

Starburst Magazine #21

We get yet more coverage of The Black Hole, whether we want it or not and, it seems, yet more talk of Battlestar Galactica.

Not content with giving us BBC special effects enlightenment in Doctor Who Weekly, Marvel UK also gives us an interview with Mat Irvine who, famously, was the man behind the effects on the show.

Perhaps most intriguingly, we're given an article dedicated to the films of Jules Verne, which threatens to be quite thrilling for us and will, no doubt, include a photo of James Mason battling a giant squid.

Frantic #3

Frantic gives us its take on Alien.

And, also, The Martian Chronicles, for the handful of people who remember that show.

My main memory of the series is that someone in it got poisoned to death by a Martian cheesecake.

The things that stick in your mind after 40 years...

Incredible Hulk #62

The Hulk's still determined to return Jarella's corpse to her own world.

And now he's got Captain Marvel on his side!

Rampage Magazine #23, the Hulk

I'm genuinely blank on what happens in the main Hulk tale.

And I'm not really sure what happens in the X-Men one either.

I am sure, though, that it reprints whichever story comes after the New X-Men's first encounter with Magneto.

Dr Strange, meanwhile, finds himself up against the menace of Wormworld.

I really have no idea what that is.

I feel I have failed in my summary of this issue.

On the other hand, I've just summarised the contents of thirteen comics and am, therefore, awarding myself a No-Prize.

Next month, I have to do fourteen.